The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon celebrate Jubilee
Seventy-five years in the same career. Can you fathom it? Sister Clare Vandecoevering can. She joined the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon when she was 16 years old. Today, at 91, she celebrates 75 years as a Sister. She is one of five Jubilarians the Sisters are celebrating this year.
Sister Clare (75 years) will be joined by Sr. Theresa Ann Bunker (70 years), Sr. Patricia Lulay (50 years), Sr. Julie Doan (25 years), and Sr. Juana Gutierrez (25 years) this July during their annual Jubilee celebration – they have a combined 245 years of service.
Each July, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon honor their Sisters who have reached a significant milestone of prayer, vocation, ministry, and service to God through Jubilee. Jubilee is a time to celebrate and recognize Sisters for their dedication to their ministry and community.
“The five women we are honoring this Jubilee epitomize what it means to consider prayerfully God’s call to service and the joy found in a lifetime pursuit of a true counter-culture life,” said Sr. Michael Francine Duncan, Superior General of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. “These Sisters are a vibrant part of our community, and their contributions to education, health care, and horticulture are a big reason why our ministries have grown and thrived for more than 136 years.”
The five sisters come from different backgrounds and have all blazed different trails answering their call to serve God.
- Sr. Clare grew up in a family of 14 (three of whom became Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon). She knew she wanted to be a Sister as early as first grade. She found joy in teaching – having taught in more than 100 parishes.
- Sr. Theresa Ann knew she did not want to teach but found joy becoming one of the first nurses to serve at Maryville Care Center when it opened in 1963.
- Sr. Patricia found her way into religious life after living on her own and working in Portland. This life-long learner found joy in caring for the Sisters’ gardens and grounds.
- Sr. Julie Doan escaped the North Vietnamese with her family as a teenager. Their boat was robbed and sunk by pirates, but they were saved by Thai-Chinese fishermen. As a refugee, she learned English, earned her associate’s degree, and started working as a Vietnamese interpreter. She was captivated by the Sisters’ love and acceptance. She found joy in their encouragement for her to complete her master’s degree and serve as an administrator and teacher.
- Sr. Juana grew up in Mexico and loved her time with her friends. Her family moved to Oregon in the 1990s and a friend introduced her to the Sisters. She has found joy in ministering to local Hispanic communities and teaching children.
These are just five of the stories that make up the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. These valiant women of prayer have faithfully served God and their community for more than 136 years. Currently, 48 Sisters are in the community, most of whom live in the historic domed Motherhouse in Beaverton Oregon.
The Sisters’ sponsored ministries include Valley Catholic School, Maryville Care Center, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Foundation, and Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Ministries Corporation. Approximately 550 people partner with the Sisters serving more than 1200 children and 120 Maryville residents and supporting dozens of ministries throughout the Pacific Northwest.
To learn more about these five extraordinary Jubilarians, visit ssmo.org/jubilee-2022.
To learn more about visiting or joining the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, visit ssmo.org/vocations.
To learn more about the Sisters’ sponsored ministries visit: