Spirit Magaine Spring/Summer 2020

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An experience like none other! That sums up Spring of 2020! “Stay safe - stay at home” orders, social distancing, WFH (Working From Home), attending Church services via live stream, digital learning weeks - not just digital learning days, isolation practices for the elderly and vulnerable – who could have guessed or imagined it? My mind flies to the times during which my ancestors experienced distancing – the Flu Epidemic of 1918 and the separations experienced during war from WWI through the Vietnam War era, as well as the anxieties of leave-takings due to diagnoses that hadn’t yet been obliterated by proven treatments – leprosy, polio and tuberculosis, for example. We human beings were meant for connection, for hugs and handshakes, for proclamations of comfort and love, for high fives and slaps on the back. Yet, our current time of pandemic pandemonium dictates a pulling apart, cautioning us that we are meant “to be together” in our efforts to avoid one another. What a blessing it is that we live at this time, in these days of technology. I can only marvel at the ways that we CAN stay connected – phone calls, FaceTime, Zoom meetings – visual and audio connections that take place in real time. It certainly isn’t the same, but it really is something to admire with incredulity. Join me in thanking those whose VALIANT efforts have allowed connection to take place during these unusual times – our frontline workers at Maryville, our caregivers in the Sisters’ infirmary, our IT staff, our teachers who have incorporated new methods into their lessons, our Marketing and Communications and Foundations teams, our Facilities and Maintenance staff, and our SSMO prayer warriors whose communication with God is more speedy than any fiber optic connectors tethering the internet. Bless you, for all that you do, every single day, to keep the SSMO charism, mission, vision and values alive. Until hugs and handshakes,

- Sister Adele Marie Altenhofen President, SSMO Ministries Corporation



​Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there have been many attempts to describe the feelings associated with having our world “turned upside down.” Like nothing else we have experienced, we struggle to find the message, meaning, and manifestations that God is still with us. While we have been astonished and inspired by the self-sacrifice of the healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers, we are also in awe of the creativity of those who have had to work at home while tending to the education of their children. It would be most appropriate here to express kudos to the employees of Maryville and Valley Catholic School. Caring and creative genius at work! ​As you may realize, these months of “sheltering-in-place” have coincided with my last three months in office – not exactly what I had in mind! If there is one skill I have developed over the years, it is planning ahead. That is a skill used far less these days! Instead I begin the day with a prayer for wisdom and courage because every day there has been a new question about our protocols and precautions regarding the virus. Of course, the non-virus related questions and tasks continue as well. ​ ith so many unknowns about when and how we will “reW turn” to the world, not being able to plan exactly what I will do with my sabbatical time was beginning to wear on me. Then I realized that God might be trying to inspire me to address some aspect of my life. Then I remembered this song which has been recorded by many artists – One Day at a Time. The chorus: One day at a time, sweet Jesus, that’s all I’m asking from you. Give me the strength to do everyday what I have to do. Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus, and tomorrow may never be mine. So for my sake, teach me to take one day at a time. What a powerful reminder this is for me! M ​ ay the life lessons learned over these months give us the grace and strength to live our lives courageously, intentionally, and generously. ​ ​Blessings!

- Sister Charlene Herinckx ’66 Superior General, Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon



Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Ministries Corporation Sister Adele Marie Altenhofen, President

A Note from the Editor Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Sister Charlene Herinckx ’66, Superior General

Editor: Stacy Kean, APR Photographers/Videographers: Will Campbell Ryan McGaughey Lizette Santiago

Dear Spirit Reader, Our communications team was pulling together story ideas for our spring/summer edition of Spirit magazine in February. Our theme was a look back at the tremendous growth on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus in the past decade. At that time, there was an unsettling distant rumble of the coming COVID-19 pandemic. In the first few weeks of March the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic reached our peaceful campus.

Contributors: Lizette Santiago Samantha Perez Patricia Frasco

Valley Catholic transitioned to off-campus digital learning, Maryville staff heroically cared for our most vulnerable, and the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon valiantly took on a variety of tasks to support their sponsored ministries.

The award-winning Spirit magazine is published by the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and their sponsored ministries. All rights reserved.

Questions, comments or address changes: SSMO Ministries Corporation 4440 SW 148th Avenue | Beaverton, Or 97078 503-644-9181 | spirit@ssmoministries.org


We knew that there would be stories to be told about this extraordinary time. We changed our publication date and captured a few stories of how our community responded to this life-altering global event. Sincerely, Stacy Kean, APR Editor


Page 6 - Sisters Are Not Slowed by Pandemic

Page 10 - Service with Love Continues at Maryville

Page 12 - Life During COVID-19

Page 14 - Valley Catholic Middle School Student Spends Spring Break Sewing

Page 15 - Valley Catholic Elementary School Gets Creative Valley Catholic Music School Keeps Playing

Page 16 - Valley Catholic High School Comes Together to Help Those Most in Need

Page 22 - Staying Connected to the Littlest Valiants

Page 24 - Growing Up on Campus

Page 26 - Looking Back

Page 29 - Distinguished Alumni Award Winner: Innovator

Page 20 - Congratulations, Class of 2020

Page 34 - Jubilarians

Page 28 - 2020 Gala

Page 36 - In Memory

Page 30 - Alumni Notes

Page 38 - Congratulations, Eighth Grade Class



Sisters Are Not Slowed by Pandemic Like everyone, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon had to rapidly adjust to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic. However, they quickly adapted and continued on with their various ministries and added new ones to answer the new needs of the moment. One of the needs that the Sisters were immediately able to meet was the requirement for additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Maryville. Mary Garcia, environmental services director at Maryville, was a step ahead of the game as she was preparing to make PPE for Maryville before the tidal wave of demand brought on by the global pandemic hit.

Above: SSMO Leadership Team, left to right: Sister Rita Watkins, General Councilor, Sister Sara

Mary and her Maryville co-worker, Liz Fochtman, Maryville’s nutrition services director who has a background as a seamstress, were busy securing materials and creating patterns for both masks and gowns. They enlisted the help of the Sisters, who formed a sewing committee chaired by Sister Denise Klaas. The Sisters quickly began turning out masks and gowns for Maryville. In addition to sewing hundreds of masks and gowns, the Sisters were also repairing them. The masks and gowns are designed to be cleaned and re-used, but they do occasionally need to be repaired.

Goggin, General Councilor, Sister Michael Francine Duncan, Superior General, Sister Denise Klaas, Vicar General


The sewing effort of the Sisters captured media attention. Stories about the Sisters’ sewing were featured in The Catholic Sentinel, Global Sisters Report, and The Oregonian.


Like so many households, the Sisters at the Motherhouse began to adapt to “working from home.” The Sisters continued in their various roles as teachers and administrators, and also continued to keep up with various tasks around campus. Three of the Sisters continued their work at Maryville and moved to the guest house on campus and have kept in touch with the Sisters at the Motherhouse, like so many others, via technology.

In addition to sewing hundreds of masks and gowns, the Sisters were also repairing them.

The early days of the pandemic shelter-in-place order coincided with the Sisters’ long-planned Chapter meeting. Much preparation, prayer and contemplation had taken place in advance for the Chapter meeting, at which the Sisters were electing their new leadership and determining the future direction of their congregation.

This page: Sisters worked on sewing projects for Maryville and stayed in touch virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic



The Chapter meeting happened on schedule, but with modifications and the use of the Zoom communication platform. The incoming leadership team was selected and will be installed in June: Sister Michael Francine, Superior General; Sister Denise Klaas, Vicar General, Sister Sara Goggin, General Councilor; and Sister Rita Watkins, General Coun-

cilor. The Sisters worked together to approve a direction statement to guide the Community through the next five years. Work on the statement began at the Sisters’ Community Days in August 2019, and the statement was drafted by Sister Catherine Hertel, Sister Sara Goggin and Sister Colleen Schmitt.

Women of Vision: Welcoming All with Compassion and Joy We, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, in order to live a more vibrant communal life, commit ourselves to an ever deeper living of our charism and mission. Guided by the Spirit, we strive to build authentic relationships of trust with one another. In gratitude for our diversity of gifts, we encourage opportunities to recognize, develop, and utilize the unique talents and skills of each Sister. As witnesses to the Gospel in our current times, we embrace technology and other creative means to respond to the Church’s mission of social justice and care for the vulnerable. As good stewards of God’s gift of our sacred space, we assess and enhance the Motherhouse and properties to reflect our values of hospitality, sustainability, and care for our Sisters.

©Mary Southard, CSJ Courtesy of MinistryoftheArts.org



A Legacy of Service: How the Sisters Responded to the 1918 Flu Pandemic This is not the first global pandemic experienced by the and care for the sick. To obtain permission from our Mother Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. During the 1918 flu pandemic, General, Sister M. Seraphim, I phoned asking to help out. ‘It will the Sisters adapted to answer the call of the day. be a noble cause, but I will say neither ‘yes nor no’ she answered. ‘We’ll go then,’ I replied.” Though they were teachers in Verboort, Ore., Sisters Mary Agnes and Mary Alexia O’Rourke turned to nursing and A similar account of the Sisters’ care for the students at caring for the stricken community of their students. Here their academy and boys’ home during the 1918 flu pandemis Sister Mary Agnes O’Rourke’s account of those days from ic is recorded in “These Valiant Women”: the book “These Valiant Women: History of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon 1886-1986”: “This was the year of the great flu epidemic. In the boys’ home, the convent, and the academy, there were numerous victims “When the influenza epidemic broke out in 1918, I was in charge of the worst plague in the history of the United States. The flu of the Verboort school. All the schools were closed as the flu was struck the boys’ home particularly hard. The dormitories became raging through the state. No nurses could be obtained. Whole hospital wards...The Superior, Sister Theresa, was on almost families were stricken suddenly - fathers, mothers, brothers and constant duty throughout the siege, and other Sisters from the sisters - and no help could be obtained. The school was closed, Motherhouse came to assist her. The sick boys had the best of and Sister Mary Alexia and I wished to go among the flu cases care and all but one recovered their health and strength.”

Left: Sisters Agnes and Alexia O’Rourke provided nursing care for the residents of Verboort, Ore., during the 1918 flu epidemic



Service with Love Continues at Maryville

Above left: A Maryville resident enjoys a “window� visit from her family Above right: Accordion Joe shares his musical talents


The Maryville team faced a once-in-a-generation challenge. As the gravity of the global COVID-19 pandemic became apparent, it was obvious that older adults with underlying health conditions were most at risk. Steps were immediately taken to minimize the health risks to both residents and staff. That meant no more group activities, group dining and Mass. Visits were restricted.

cream socials were changed to ice cream bar delivery to resident rooms. Movies and documentaries were broadcast into resident rooms. Valley Catholic students, who used to visit regularly, sent encouraging letters and artwork.

Fortunately, Maryville had a head start in securing masks and gowns through a sewing effort by the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon These major changes sparked creative ad- and, when the word went out about the aptations. Maryville activities staff brought need, more community offers to sew came activities to resident rooms, supplying the pouring in. When Maryville had a need of residents with games and art supplies. Ice hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, and


“We feel the love. We feel supported.”

other needed items, donations also came in from the community. Mary Garcia, environmental services director, and leader of the sewing effort said, “We feel the love. We feel supported.” The staff at Maryville met the challenge of the new demands brought by the increased requirements of creating a safe environment for their residents. During National Skilled Nursing Care Week, Maryville staff were recognized as heroes for their hard work on the frontlines. The music didn’t stop at Maryville. New volunteers, such as the Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band, came to entertain residents with bag pipe music around the building. Regular volunteers like Accordion Joe still came and played at the windows of appreciative residents. And, the love didn’t stop at Maryville either. It is hard not to have close in-person visits with loved ones. Family and friends got creative with signs, window art, balloons and more to celebrate Easter and birthdays. At Maryville, residents know that they are cared for and loved.

Above: Families found new ways to celebrate birthdays while practicing social distancing

Above left: Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band played bag pipes around the Maryville facility to entertain the residents Above right: Maryville staff celebrate National Skilled Nursing Care Week



phone calls trying to keep in touch with their family members. Some of the family members visit them through their windows in their rooms.

Life During COVID-19

We’re a very active family and our schedules are pretty full of work, school, and practice. Now, it’s very different, we are mostly doing everything at home. The only times that I go out is to go to work and to go to the grocery store. I get to spend more time with my daughter. On my days off we get to have lunch together, and sometimes I observe her when she’s on her Zoom calls. I really enjoy those moments with her. And on my days off, I get to wear my pajamas all day because I don’t have to drop her off to school or drop her off to her taekwondo practice. I do miss doing my everyday activities such as going for a walk while she’s in her taekwondo practice, because that is my only time that I can exercise. During this time, I can do some exercise by watching videos at home. In quarantine, I feel like I’ve been cooking more often than I used to, and I’ve been trying out new recipes such as Mexican recipes. I’ve also been watching some shows on Netflix. It’s funny because I never have time to watch TV. I miss going to church on Saturday evenings, which was part of my activities on the weekends because I’m a minister at St. Cecilia. The only way I can enjoy Mass is by watching Mass through Facebook Live.

Patricia, a health care worker at Maryville, and Samantha, her daughter and a student at Valley Catholic Middle School, share their stories

Overall, we’ve been learning how to stay healthy, such as eating healthier, cleaning the house appropriately, and not going out if it isn’t necessary. It’s been very important to stay informed on updates about this pandemic.



From my point of view, as a health care provider, my lifestyle has been impacted a lot and our lives have been deeply impacted. I’ve been working at Maryville for almost 19 years now and I have never had any experience like we’re living in now with COVID-19. It’s been so different the way we have to work now. We made so many changes to help our residents stay healthy; they even stopped doing regular activities including going to Mass and playing Bingo together. I know it’s difficult for their families. It’s been very upsetting seeing some residents not knowing what’s going on in the world with COVID-19. But it’s even more heartbreaking seeing their families not able to be around them as much as they used to be. The social workers have been working on helping the residents communicate with their families on Zoom. Also, we help them with a lot of


How many people do you live with? I live in two different households. I live with my mom and with my dad. It’s kind of difficult to manage the households, but I really enjoy living with both of them.

What have you been eating? I’ve been eating healthy foods. For breakfast, I sometimes make myself scrambled eggs with cheese, fruit smoothies, and toast with marmalade. At lunch, I make salads or eat dinner leftovers. For dinner with my mom, she makes the best food I know. During quarantine, when she feels down or tired, she makes beans and vegetable soup. When she feels inspired or “over-the-top,” she cooks new recipes. For


example, she makes pork chops with chipotle sauce, home- What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done so far? Anything bizarre made cordon bleu, and my favorite, green chili enchiladas. you’ve done out of boredom? My dad usually makes pasta, salads, and we order chicken teriyaki to-go. I think the weirdest thing I’ve done so far during quarantine is probably binge watching. I’ve been binge watching SuperWhat have you been watching, listening to or playing during natural and re-watching some old Disney movies. I’ve also quarantine and after digital learning? gone through stuff I had from elementary school, like toys, pictures and just random things I had around my room. I’ve been watching some spiritual documentaries, such as Footprints: The Path of Your Life. The documentary is What’s your secret to staying sane? about a priest that wants to take a five-hundred-mile walk with ten men in forty days to visit Santiago de Compostela I think my secret for staying sane is just enjoying the time in Northern Spain. They encounter ups and downs, but with family. Let’s face it, some people don’t hang out with eventually they find themselves, while keeping God in their their family for many reasons. I really enjoyed spending thoughts. I’ve also been watching my favorite TV series, time with my family, and we have had fun together. My Supernatural. I’ve been listening to some music from my mom and I usually pray the rosary in our free time or find heritage, Spanish music. There are various genres of music. some lectures online and research things in the bible. My There is cumbia, merengue, salsa, reggaetón, quebradita, dad and I usually go running near our apartment. Banda, and bachata. My personal favorite is reggaetón. My favorite artists are Selena, Prince Royce, and J. Balvin. This What’s the first thing you’re doing when this is all over? is what I listen to during quarantine and after my digital learning classes. ​The first thing that I’m going to do when this whole Coronavirus outbreak is over is either to go to the library or to Have you picked up a new hobby or resumed an old one? go walk around in stores. It will be great to just socialize in school and in taekwondo. During quarantine, I’ve learned some new hobbies. Some of those hobbies are journal writing, monochromatic sketch- What has quarantine taught you about yourself? ing, and cooking. When I do journal writing, I search for writing prompts. Monochromatic sketching is basically ​What quarantine taught me about myself is that I have so drawing, but you use one color. For example, I drew a rose, much time on my hands when I’m at home. I am usually a and I used a red colored pencil. Meals that I learned to cook very busy person with school and practice and just running are scrambled eggs with tomato and onion, and Spanish rice around. But, now, I have spent more time with my family with carne asada. Some hobbies that I resumed are paint- and with God, which is important. ing, baking, and practicing taekwondo. I resumed baking because I really enjoy baking with my mom, and we mostly make new recipes that we never tried before. The end result is always delicious. I started practicing taekwondo again because it’s the only thing that helped me throughout elementary school. In elementary school I used to be made fun of a lot, either it was because of my hair, by the way I talk, or the way I try to fit in certain friend groups. But taekwondo was my cure. When I first tried it, I was really nervous. But in the end, I really enjoyed it and it helped me to this day. It took me five years to receive my first-degree black belt, but hopefully in November, I get to test for my second-degree black belt. My taekwondo master teaches classes digitally, the same way my teachers teach through Zoom, a video chat program.



Valley Catholic Middle School Student Spends Spring Break Sewing The week before spring break, the physical campus of Valley Catholic School shut down and learning resumed in a digital environment. Sarah Thomas, a sixth-grade student at Valley Catholic Middle School, decided to spend her spring break sewing. As she was unable to leave home and has a love of sewing, Sarah was inspired to sew masks when she saw the need among the healthcare workers on the front lines. Her sewing effort resulted in 20 hand sewn quality masks for the staff at Maryville, the skilled nursing facility which is located on the same campus as Valley Catholic. The team at Maryville was grateful and very moved by this gesture.

Sarah’s mom, Archana Thomas, observed that the transition to digital learning and the news of the COVID-19 pandemic have made Sarah more aware and attuned to current events around her. “We all have to come together to help each other get through this pandemic,” said Sarah. Her sewing effort didn’t end with the 20 masks for Maryville. She has a goal of sewing 100 masks, and has donated some to the Sunshine Pantry, a food pantry she became familiar with through her food drive service projects at school, and she has gifted her hand sewn masks to family friends who are healthcare professionals.

“As a parent, I feel that making masks gives her a sense of Sarah has been a Valley Catholic student since kindergarten. purpose and responsibility,” said Sarah’s mom. Service experiences at Valley Catholic such as serving on the May Court and food drives have made an impact on her This page: Sarah, a VCMS and helped to prompt in her a desire to serve. student, spent her spring break sewing masks for Maryville



Valley Catholic Elementary School Gets Creative The pandemic shutdown gave the VCES teachers and staff a chance to show their creative sides. Shortly after the campus was closed and the switch to digital learning began, the VCES staff managed to put together an engaging and creative video Easter greeting. They also utilized video to share stories with students and to thank VCES volunteers. “I believe Valley Catholic was really out in front of the digital learning process. Through the digital classrooms and Zoom meetups, I was able to keep students actively learning and socializing with each other. I enjoyed regular communication with the students and families and made adjustments from time to time to help make the process easier on everyone,” said Tom Losch, VCES second grade teacher.

VCES teachers quickly adapted and weren’t afraid to show their personalities and have some fun as they maintained connections with their students. “Technology allows us the opportunity to continue to teach, learn, grow, and communicate with one another. It also helps us to stay connected as community during this time. It has been a blessing to be able to participate in staff videos shared out to our campus community to show gratitude towards volunteers for all that they do and to maintain a connection with families while we are apart,” said Christina Flint, VCES technology specialist.

Above: VCES technology specialist, Christina Flint and her daughter stayed connected with the VCES community via video

Valley Catholic Music School Keeps Playing Students at Valley Catholic Music School also quickly adapted to Zoom and other video sharing platforms to keep practicing and learning. A few “screenshots” show the students with their instruments as they kept progressing in their lessons and even collaborated in duets remotely. “We continue to remain very busy at VC Music School. We have been teaching lessons, having Zoom recitals along with some students participating in the Music School Scholarship Audition. All auditions were submitted online and will be reviewed and scored by two outside adjudicators over the summer. The top five scores for each school, ES and MS, along with the top four for HS will be awarded scholarship funds to assist towards their private lessons. We appreciate everyone’s participation and hard work that went into preparing for the auditions. The scholarship award winners will be announced by August 31,” said Beckie Hocker, Valley Catholic Music School director. Ellie (top) and Kaiyan (below) had their music lessons via Zoom



Valley Catholic High School Comes Together to Help Those Most in Need

Above: Valley Catholic High School students, staff and volunteers gathered to collect

In a time when Valley Catholic High School students were separated due to the COVID-19 pandemic closures, they decided to come together to help those most in need by assembling and donating over 400 care kits to Blanchet House. These kits were put together for distribution to people experiencing homelessness.

care kits for Blanchet House Opposite page: SSMO

Emma Olson, a VCHS senior, helped organize the drive with Liz McDevitt, director of campus ministry.

Foundation staff member Sharlayne Buuck snapped a photo of VCS president John Matcovich, VCHS prinicipal Doug Ierardi, and VCHS director of campus ministry, Liz McDevitt


“This project has made me feel more connected to my classmates and friends. I have been grateful to see my peers ready to make care kits and support Blanchet House. I was so glad to be involved in this opportunity to bring our community together during these somewhat isolating


“This project has made me feel more connected to my classmates and friends. times. Even though we were creating these kits in our separate homes, it is nice to know that we were all working together at heart to help those in need,” said Emma. In their own homes, students and families assembled the kits, which consisted of hygiene items, such as toothbrushes and sunscreen, and the kits included a water bottle. Additionally, students creatively shared inspirational messages painted on small stones. Once the kits were assembled, students and families dropped off their kits and they were taken to Blanchet House.

Even though we were creating these kits in our separate homes, it is nice to know that we were all working together at heart to help those in need.”

Scott Kerman, executive director at Blanchet House, said, “These care kits mean a lot to the people we serve. Living on the street as they must now, with no opportunity to go indoors for rest or restoration, is extremely hard on their physical and mental wellbeing and health… But perhaps just as important, these care kits demonstrate to the people we serve that they are not forgotten, that there are people out there who care about them. People who are houseless generally feel like society doesn’t care about them, that they don’t count. Blanchet House serves with compassion and dignity because we want the people we serve to know that they matter to us. We are often asked by the people we serve where the money, food, clothing, and other items comes from. They are astonished to learn that people who are strangers to them donate money, clothes, sack lunches and care kits. It makes them feel like they do count in all this, that people do care about them.”



The decision to reach out and help people experiencing hardship is part of the value system taught at Valley Catholic from the youngest Valiants through those in high school. “Live Valiantly” is more than a slogan. The many service experiences over her thirteen years at Valley Catholic shaped Emma Olson’s desire to serve. “Ever since elementary school Valley Catholic has taught me the importance of kindness and generosity. From my fifth-grade service project to the sophomore retreat, the school has shown us how we can be involved in volunteer work. Our close-knit community supports us in our endeavors to spread compassion and help those in need. I am so grateful for all the wonderful lessons I have learned over my thirteen years on campus that go beyond the classroom. Valley Catholic has helped me understand how I can take part in supporting everyone in our community,” said Emma.

Above: VCHS students and families loaded the Valley Catholic bus with over 400 care kits Right: A guest at Blanchet House with one of the care kits donated by VCHS (courtesy Blanchet House)



The care kit project for Blanchet House was one way that students could come together at a time when VCHS seniors were faced with how to make the most of a senior year experience they could not have imagined. Scott Kerman, the executive director at Blanchet House, who has a high school senior and a college senior in his family, offered some perspective and encouragement, “There’s no question that this is terribly sad and awful for students everywhere, but perhaps especially so for seniors who were looking forward to the final months of school and graduation. That things could be worse and are definitely worse for others out there doesn’t make what students are going through feel any better... It seems bleak, but what gives me hope and optimism is how this generation of students is stepping forward and seeking ways to be involved and make a difference. So, what encouragement can I give at this time to inspire a desire to serve? If you don’t, who will? The world is full of bystanders but not nearly enough do-ers. Ask yourself who you want to be!”

Above: Students painted inspirational messages on stones to share with guests of Blanchet House







Staying Connected to the Littlest Valiants While the elementary, middle and high school students transitioned to digital learning, staying connected to the Valiants at Valley Catholic Early Learning School took some innovation and creativity. It didn’t take long for the teachers at the Early Learning School to develop ways to connect to their students, help parents with at-home resources, and continue to engage the youngest Valiants during this crucial stage of their development. Rosebud teacher Kim Strine said, “We knew we needed to offer something that was developmentally appropriate for our youngest Valiants but not be too time consuming due to the working parent.”

Above: VCELS students display their toys during one of the neighborhood parades of the VCEL staff


Some of the opportunities offered in the Rosebud classroom included Zoom meeting each week for the children which included talking with each child, singing and reading stories. The Rosebud teachers offered “office hours” weekly, during which time parents could talk to teachers about their students and about their developmental milestones, and weekly emails were sent to parents with suggestions for educational activities.


The new way of connecting with the students has offered a window into their world. “This time has really helped us make connections with our families in a different way than we are used to. Being able to see each family interact together is not something that we typically see. It is so wonderful that we have been able Lynnettee Burton, lead preschool teacher, had similar of- to watch, not just the children grow, but the families grow ferings for the Daisy, Sunflower and Wildflower preschool as a unit,” said Kim Strine. students. “We looked for ways to connect with students with whole class activities, we have done personal Zoom Despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, calls with the students, weekly Bingo and Dance Parties, the youngest Valiants were able to connect with their teachStory Time, Show and Share. We provided interesting and ers and friends in a new way and continue to enjoy some of diverse activities for families via email. The teachers have the activities they experienced at school. been recording stories for families to view on YouTube. The hope is seeing a familiar teacher reading stories will Lynnettee Burton said, “Students are resilient, and they continue to foster the student/teacher connections and adapt, and I know that they are very anxious to be face to love of language.” face and playing again!” In April, all the VCELS teachers assembled in their vehicles at the school and then proceeded to drive through the students’ neighborhoods and wave from cars with streamers or balloons as students waved and held handmade signs. Despite the physical distance, there are still fun and heartwarming moments, Lynnettee Burton has been moved by the children’s concern, “The students that are just four and five years old asked about the Sisters to see if they are okay. The students wondered if our squirrel, ‘Timmy Tip Toes,’ would be okay with the school closed and the virus all around,” she said.

Above: Madison McComish, Daffodil teacher at VCELS, holds up an encouraging note for her students via Zoom Above right: A VCELS family holds up a sign to cheer on a parade of VCELS teachers and staff



Growing Up on Campus For Lauren Goodno and Caitlin O’Kief, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus looked different when they were young Valiants a little over 14 years ago. When the girls first came to campus, they attended school in the west wing of the Motherhouse. Changes in building codes and advances in technology contributed to Valley Catholic’s decisions to make some major changes in the past decade. Lauren and Caitlin reflect on what it was like growing up on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus and the upgrades and renovations that have impacted student life, both on and off campus.

Lau ren Go odno Growing up on the Valley Catholic campus has been nothing short of picturesque. I have been lucky enough to form deep-rooted friendships with teachers, peers, the Sisters, teammates, and staff members throughout my sixteen years on campus. Physically, the campus has changed over the years, through state-of-the-art additions such as the elementary and middle school, a pristine science building, a turf field, and stadium lights to go along with the new stands and press box. Overall, the most significant changes I have seen at Valley Catholic are the physical modifications and renovations of buildings. But, happily, the morals and values have remained consistent. The teachers and Sisters still embody the idea of living valiantly, a concept that has been instilled in me since kindergarten. Honoring the unique gifts of others, persisting as a lifelong learner, practicing opportunity for everyone, and striving for excellence in everything are all values included in the school’s mission. These ideas are continually practiced on campus, on the court, on the field, and everywhere we get the chance to represent Valley Catholic. The core values have held strong since my earliest days on campus and will continue for years to come. - Lauren Goodno



Caitlin O’Kief The last thirteen years that I’ve spent on the Valley Catholic campus have been nothing short of amazing, and I am so thankful for everything I have had the opportunity to experience. Being able to grow up alongside my classmates and watch them accomplish their goals has been exciting and inspiring, and developing connections with my teachers is something that has contributed immensely to my own personal growth. Although my life has changed in many ways from when I was in Kindergarten and going to school in the convent, my love for this school and for the people that have helped me along the way is still the same. From when it was just my family cheering me on at CYO games, to the point now when it’s the entire school community watching my team at the state championship, the support felt from all walks of life on campus is tremendous and special. The community is so loving and supportive, which has made me feel motivated and more comfortable with trying new things. I have been given so many amazing opportunities and have been able to do things that I used to think were out of my comfort zone. Valley Catholic is constantly looking for a way to improve and help the community, and make sure that the students and staff are provided and cared for. There has been a lot of external growth during my time on campus, including new sports facilities, buildings, and technology. All of these new additions are added with the intention that everyone who spends time on campus is getting the full benefit out of their time here and gets to share in the values the Sisters are always living by. The Valley Catholic community has helped me grow into the person I have always wanted to be, and I am very thankful to have been on this campus for the last thirteen years. - Caitlin O’Kief

Opposite page: Lauren Goodno, class of ’20 today and when she was a “little Valiant” This page: Caitlin O’Kief as a kindergarten student and as a VCHS class of ’20 graduate





A Decade of Change

A visitor who had not been on the SSMO campus since 2010 and came back to campus in 2020 would find the campus very changed. Numerous projects have added to the ministries of education and healthcare.

Valiant athletes continued to excel in athletics. The 20192020 school year marked the sixth win of the OSAA Cup for Valley Catholic, recognizing the school for excellence in athletics, academics, and activities.

A few of the major campus changes include the construction of the Valley Catholic Elementary and Middle School building, which opened in 2011. This LEED Gold certified building incorporates energy efficiencies and meaningful details such as site-harvested wood and custom glass windows in the chapel.

In 2016, the VCHS Science building opened. This state-ofthe-art facility enables hands-on learning and cross-campus learning opportunities. The greenhouse in the science building has been used in a collaborative learning opportunity with elementary students and high school students partnering to grow marigolds.

In 2014, a new turf athletic field and lighting allowed for “Friday Night Lights” at Valley Catholic. The new turf field ushered in an era of fun sporting events under the lights as

A Century of Change 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon’s purchase of their first automobile. It wasn’t a smooth start. Sister Juliana Hermens, then Superior General, purchased a 1920 Dodge. As recounted in the book, “These Valiant Women: History of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon 1886 – 1986,” none of the Sisters knew how to drive. An initial driving course didn’t help. When one of the Sisters drove to Aloha and drove the Dodge down the middle of the highway, “…other motorists fearfully left its pathway.” According to “These Valiant Women,” Sister Juliana herself decided to try her hand at driving and twice drove the vehicle into a ditch. Sister Juliana’s brother happened to rescue her when she had overturned the vehicle for the second time. She had sprained her wrist and her pride was a little bruised too. She and the other Sisters didn’t drive after that, leaving the driving to convent workmen until experienced drivers entered the convent in 1928.

Above: Illus. by Sister Angeline Sohler



Valley Catholic Gala 2020 28


Distinguished Alumni Award Winner: Innovator Roberta (Bobbie) Barsotti Weber ’62 is the Distinguished Alumni Award winner for 2020. She is an innovator in the field of early childhood development and education. Over her career she has impacted thousands of lives through her advocacy and innovative efforts for young children through research and committed work both nationally and statewide.

“Every family wants their children to be healthy, happy and strong.”

“Every family wants their children to be healthy, happy and strong,” said Bobbie. Her lifetime of work helped ensure that the youngest children were able to get a good start in life. Bobbie attended Valley Catholic, then called St. Mary of the Valley, from first grade though her senior year in high school. When accepting the award, she acknowledged the life-long friendships she had made at St. Mary of the Valley. Several of her classmates were on hand to help her celebrate.



Alumni Notes

Kate Takata ’09 was married on October 7, 2019 to Taylor H. Whitmire.

Mariah Stokes ’12 was married on November 18, 2019 to Allen Jiang.

Kelsey Keagbine ’10 was married on October 12, 2019 to Ryan Miller. Some of the bridesmaids in the photo are alumna too: Valley Catholic alumna noted from left to right - Emily Keagbine Conner ’07, Pualani Black ’10, Abigail Lindstrom ’10, Carson Olson ’10, and Megan Keagbine ’15.


Adam LaVere ’10 was married on January 19, 2020 to Dr. Molly Winterrowd. Paul Caballero ’10 and Andrew McGaw ’10 are pictured as groomsmen.


Chris Kiefer ’09 and his wife, Natalie, welcomed their second child, Gabriel Xavier Kiefer, into the world on October 2, 2019.

Meg Corrado-Coussens ’04 shared with us that big brother Mac is so excited to welcome twins William Daniel and Marjorie Suzette into the world and their family on December 26, 2019.

Elliott Jackson ’12 married Megan Tamblyn on July 13, 2019 at The Oregon Garden. Elliott met Megan at University of Portland where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Megan graduated with a degree in Nursing. Elliott received his Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Oregon State University in Ethan Cape ’16 and wife Kellie Cape welcomed Emma 2017. Elliott is working for HDR Engineering and Megan Jeanne Cape into the world on January 27, 2020. is working at Providence Hospital. Charles Purdy was Elliott’s best man and David Barry was a groomsman in in the wedding, both 2011 Valley Catholic alumni. Olivia Jack- Caitlin Reed ’05 and husband Matt Reed welcomed a baby son (Elliott’s sister) is a 2016 Valley Catholic alumna and girl into the world, Emerson James Reed, on November 17, 2019. was a bridesmaid.

Kristie VanDomelen ’06 was married to Joaquin Bowman on September 7, 2019 at Unger Farms.

Margaret Coucher Wilson ’09 and husband welcomed their second child, Jane Louise Wilson, into the world on April 13, 2020 at 7:56 pm.

Jessi Beyer ’16 is releasing her first book, How to Heal: A Practical Guide to Nine Natural Therapies You Can Use to Release Your Trauma, on May 5, 2020. The book details nine natural and integrative therapy methods that can be a powerful addition to your healing journey: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Craniosacral Therapy, Mindfulness and Meditation, Dance-Movement Therapy, Trauma-Sensitive Yoga, Equine-Assisted Therapy, Canine-Assisted Therapy, Ecotherapy and Nature-Based Therapies, and Flower Essence Therapy. Written by a fellow trauma survivor, this book includes information beyond the therapies to help the reader understand what trauma is, how it affects your life, and how you can help someone who struggles with a past traumatic experience. Visit jessibeyerinternational.com/chapters to download the first three chapters for free!



Alumni Notes

Mariel Zagunis won gold at the Acropolis World Cup in Athens, Greece on Saturday March 7, 2020 and secured a spot on her 5th Olympic Team. We wish Mariel luck as she takes on the Summer Olympics in Tokyo now scheduled for 2021.

Martha (Marta) Rigert DeLeon ’57 October 21, 1938 – December 24, 2019 Marta grew up on a fruit farm outside Beaverton, Oregon, as the middle child in a large family. Art was her lifelong passion. Her artwork reflected her activism for treating all people equally. Her children Mischelle, Greg and Michael learned to share and express her humanitarian convictions and artistic sensibilities in their lives.

Sr. Lawdean Lamberger ’52 SSMO passed away on February 16, 2020. Sr. Lawdean’s complete obituary is on page 38 in this edition of Spirit magazine.



With Grateful Hearts With sincere appreciation to our benefactors, whose steadfast support answers the needs of the day. On behalf of the Sisters, faculty, students, and residents, we are grateful for your partnership. Together, we sustain the nearly 135-year legacy of the Sisters and their sponsored ministries of Valley Catholic and Maryville. Thank you!


VC / SMV Alumni Podcast Valley Catholic and St. Mary of the Valley alumni are up to amazing things! With topics ranging from unique sports to psychology to humanitarian work, our alumni fill us in on what they are up to on the new podcast, Valiantly Spoken. Subscribe via Spotify or Apple Podcasts. We will release new content regularly; subscribe to our channels so you don’t miss an episode. Would you or an alum you know like to be considered for Valiantly Spoken? Email alumni@valleycatholic. org with a pitch for your topic!



Jubilee: Sister Elizabeth Sohler 70 T H J U BI LEE CELEBR ATION

Sister Elizabeth Sohler was born in North Plains, Oregon, and was baptized at St. Edward Parish. She attended public elementary school because there was no Catholic school in the area. She attended religious instructions taught by the Sisters of St. Mary in classes after Mass on Sundays and in summer school. She became acquainted with more Sisters through visits to relatives in the community. Sister Elizabeth boarded at St. Mary of the Valley in high school, and entered the Community in her senior year. Sister Elizabeth taught music for nine years: at St. John the Baptist School in Milwaukie, and at Holy Cross and Our Lady of Sorrows in Portland. She was an elementary teacher at Pius X, St. Francis, Roy, and St. Agatha Schools. Sister Elizabeth also ministered for 27 years at Maryville Nursing Home in the business office, doing payroll and billing for the families of the residents.

Jubilee: Sister Theresa Hathaway 70TH J U BI LEE CELEBR ATION

Sister Theresa Hathaway, celebrating 70 years, was born in 1933 in Cushing, Oklahoma. Her one sister is also a Sister of St. Mary, Sister Mary Ann. Sister Theresa entered the Sisters of St. Mary in 1950 and graduated from St. Mary of the Valley. Through the years, she earned a teaching degree and librarian certification. Sister Theresa has served as a teacher, principal, secretary or a librarian in the following schools: St. Mary of the Valley in Beaverton; St. Agatha, Our Lady of Sorrows and Holy Cross in Portland; St. John the Baptist in Milwaukie; St. Boniface in Sublimity; Visitation in Verboort; and St. Francis in Roy. In recent years, Sister Theresa served as director of the Motherhouse library. She has shared her talent for crafts by embroidering designs on dishtowels and today makes rosaries to promote the daily recitation of this special Marian prayer.



Jubilee: Sister Rose Mary Heineck 70 T H J U BI LEE CELEBR ATION

Sister Rose Mary Heineck is celebrating 70 years as a Sister. Sister was born in 1931 in Bend. After joining the congregation, she studied education and taught primary grades at the following schools: Visitation in Verboort, St. Matthew in Hillsboro, St. Francis in Roy, Sacred Heart in Gervais, St. Agatha and Our Lady of Sorrows in Portland, St. Mary in Stayton, St. Mary in Spokane, St. Cecilia in Beaverton, St. Mary of the Valley in Beaverton, and St. Paul in St. Paul. During her retirement, Sister Rose Mary provides valuable input to a variety of SSMO committees and has created art and décor for the community’s special liturgies and for community celebrations.

Jubilee: Sister Joyce Barsotti 6 0 T H J U BI LEE CELEBR ATION

Sister Joyce Barsotti, daughter of Bruno and Catherine Barsotti, was born in Portland, Oregon, one of 10 brothers and sisters. Sister graduated from St. Mary of the Valley in 1958. She and her five other sisters all attended St. Mary of the Valley for all 12 years of their basic education! After attending Gonzaga University in Spokane for a year, Sister was received into the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon convent and professed her vows in 1962. She then completed her Bachelor of Science in Education at Marylhurst College. For 25 years Sister was a teacher in the following elementary schools: St. Mary’s in Spokane, St. Mary’s in Stayton, Sacred Heart in Tillamook, and St. Cecilia in Beaverton. She also served on the Leadership Team for the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and as a Pastoral Associate at St. Vincent DePaul Parish in Salem. Sister received an MA in Theology from Mt. Angel Seminary and in 1990 she did post-graduate work in spirituality at the Institute of Religious Formation in St. Louis, Mo. This prepared her to be Director for both Initial and Ongoing Formation for her religious community. Since 1983 Sister Joyce has been involved in the Annual Summer Conference, a nearly week-long, family-oriented experience of church and formation. Her prayer ministry now supports all those who continue to seek the truth and joy of discipleship.



Sister Lawdean Lamberger, SSMO

(also known as Sr. Cecilia Lawrence) 1934 – 2020

Born on March 16, 1934, Lawdean Lamberger graduated from St. Cecilia Elementary School (1948) and St. Mary of the Valley Academy (1952). After high school, she attended Marylhurst College and worked at Meier & Frank’s and Grayson’s in the summers of ’52 and ’53, respectively.

School, Milwaukie; St. Mary of the Valley, Beaverton; St. Agatha School, Portland, La Salle High School, Milwaukie; and St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish in Astoria. In 2003, she returned to the Motherhouse in Beaverton and provided Community service in a myriad of ways.

In 1954 Sr. Lawdean entered the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and was given the name Sr. M. Cecilia Lawrence. In 1957, Sister earned a Bachelor of Music Degree. For several years, Sr. Lawdean taught music in both elementary and secondary schools. By 1961 she became a classroom teacher with a focus on Physical Education and Math.

Sister Lawdean preferred to be busy! She enjoyed making handcrafts, cross-stitching and needlepoint, in particular; playing cards; doing many duties of service at the Motherhouse; and volunteering at Medical Teams International where she sorted and checked expiration dates on items donated for shipping internationally.

By 1967, her assignments began tending toward finances, first at the school level, but ultimately as General Treasurer of the Community. In that role, she became a notary public in 1983.

Sister Lawdean passed away on Sunday, February 16, 2020 and is survived by her Sisters in Community, four nephews and their families, her sister-in-law Juanita, and many friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Lawrence and Cecilia Lamberger; brother Larry, Jr.; and her sister Carol Ann Lamberger.

Sr. Lawdean’s ministry locations include: Sacred Heart/ Tillamook Catholic High School in Tillamook; St. John’s



Sister Ina Marie Nosack, SSMO June 25, 1926 – January 24, 2020

Born on June 25, 1926, Elizabeth Nosack attended Sacred Heart Elementary School and the first three years of high school in Gervais, Oregon, before graduating from St. Mary of the Valley Academy in Beaverton in 1944. She entered the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon the same year and was given the name Ina Marie.

as the principal at St. Mary School in Stayton and then as the Motherhouse Superior.

In 1966, Sr. Ina Marie, along with three other Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, traveled to Cuernavaca, Mexico, to attend Language School before joining other missionaries in Tamshiyacu, Peru. Deep in the jungle of the Amazon, she served as principal of the newly established high school. When Sister Ina Marie returned to Oregon in 1973, she served

Sr. Ina Marie once stated: “God has truly blessed me throughout my life. My journey to Him has been filled with so many beautiful friendships that I have treasured.” She was also blessed with the friendship of family members. She has experienced the passing of all her siblings: Albert, John, Catherine, Francis, Jim, and Peter.

In 1984 she began a 12-year ministry with the Hispanic population at St. Alexander Parish in Cornelius, where she felt like she was returning to “mission territory” and was with the people and culture she so appreciated and enjoyed. AlIn 1956 and 1965 respectively, Sister Ina Marie earned ways a person of congeniality and service, her “retirement” bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education. Her teach- years were spent promoting vocations, serving the infirm ing career spanned grades 3 – 8 at the following schools: Sisters, baking, canning, and driving! St. Agatha, Portland; St. Cecilia, Beaverton; St. Boniface, Sublimity; St. Mary’s Boys’ Home, Beaverton; Holy Cross, Sacred Heart School in Gervais honored Sr. Ina Marie on Portland; St. Mary of the Valley (now known as Valley Cath- January 29, during Catholic Schools Week, as a Distinolic), Beaverton; and St. Mary, Stayton. guished Alum of the school.







4440 SW 148th Avenue Beaverton, OR 97078 ssmoministries.org