God, what are we doing today?
Sister Rita Rose Stohosky’s desire to be a Sister began in the sixth grade. As she went through school, Sr. Rita Rose thought more seriously about her faith and religion, and her desire to learn grew.
This July, Sister Rita Rose Stohosky celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, her 70th year with the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.
Sister Rita Rose remembers her first-grade teacher telling her class Bible stories. “My teacher would always stop at such interesting points in the story that I could hardly wait to hear what would happen next,” she said. Every day she would go back to school hungry for more until she was old enough to read it all by herself.
Sr. Rita Rose was delighted to discover she could join the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon at 16 and did just that. Her parents gave her a July Sweet 16 birthday send-off, and she moved into the convent in September. After two months in the Aspirancy, Sr. Rita Rose knew it was what she wanted. So in February, on Valentine’s day, she gave her heart to God.
Sister Rita Rose has always known she wanted to be a teacher. Growing up, she would “play school,” making her friends and family be her students. Even her parents could see her early passion for teaching.
She continued her studies as a Sister, earning a B.S. in Education and a master’s degree in Religious Education. Sr. Rita Rose taught in elementary schools in Oregon and Washington for 48 years. During the summers, she taught religion classes in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and even Alaska.
Sr. Rita Rose also earned a Nurses’ Aide Certificate and worked at Maryville on the SSMO campus. After leaving elementary school teaching, she taught adults English as a second language and volunteered at St. Vincent Hospital, working in the Pediatric Ward and as a Eucharistic Minister for 12 years.
In recent years, she has been ministering at the Sunshine Pantry, Family Promise, Catholic Charities, and for Children in Haiti, a nonprofit that provides food, clothing, and shelter for the poor and homeless.
Sister Rita Rose has never doubted her vocation. It has been a fulfilling life doing what she loves.
When asked what advice she would give someone considering this ministry, she said, “Develop a strong and consistent prayer life.” She recommends being in communion with God daily.
Sister Rita Rose says every day, she gets up and asks God, “What are we doing today?” She says her conversational prayers help her consistently listen and follow His will. She ends with encouragement for others, “always strive to stay close to God.”