The joy of serving God through music.
Religious life is a path that requires unshakeable faith, deep devotion, and a commitment to serving God and others. For Sister Mary Juliana Monti, she has dedicated six decades of her life in service to her calling.
This July, during the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon’s Jubilee celebration, Sr. Juliana is set to mark her Diamond Jubilee, a remarkable milestone that represents six decades of service to God.
Born as Josephine Ann Monti and raised by Italian parents, Sr. Juliana’s journey to religious life started at a young age. At eight years old, she was immediately captivated by the idea of dedicating her life to God. Growing up in a devout Catholic family, she was surrounded by a deep sense of worship and acts of service. When she began taking piano lessons in the third grade at St. Ignatius Parish, she quickly found her passion for music and soon discovered the joy of using her musical talents to serve God and the community.
Beyond her faith, spirituality, and service, Sr. Juliana’s warm and nurturing presence and intuition is cherished by her fellow sisters. She exudes a sense of joy, peace, and contentment that is contagious in the Motherhouse.
“She’s a wonderful musician, a wonderful cook, and a great friend,” said Sr. Patricia. “She has a gift for teaching. She has the ability to see the gifts of other people and she is very patient when it comes to the development of her students.”
Sister Juliana has been an integral part of the Sisters’ music school for nearly every second of her 60 years as a Sister. During her time teaching and helping lead the music school, known as Valley Catholic Music School today, she made sure children were able to learn violin as early as fourth grade, she brought music theory to the K-12 music curriculum and introduced middle school students to band, choir and orchestra. She is also responsible for starting the handbell choir and has provided lessons to students from elementary to adult on several instruments – including their own voice.
Although Sister Juliana has won several awards for her music excellence, the most passionate part about her ministry is teaching her students. Her commitment to learning, her deep connection with her students, and her dedication to God are all hallmarks of her teaching philosophy.
“Teaching my students and watching them achieve their goals is very fulfilling to me,” said Sr. Juliana. “It’s fun to watch their parents be so proud of their children when they see them perform.”
Sister Juliana is modest when talking about watching her students perform. The Sisters have a long track record of preparing their students to get on stage and succeed. From solo competitions to festivals, school plays and concert tours Sister Juliana’s students have literally performed, competed and won awards throughout the western United States.
Upon reflecting on her years of service, Sr. Juliana shares her thoughts for any woman who may be considering a life of service to God.
“I think the most important thing is to build a relationship with God first. Don’t hold anything back from Him. If He’s calling you, you will know it.”