Sister Delores Adelman

Growing up on a farm in Gervais, Delores Adelman couldn’t have envisioned the path that ultimately brought her to the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon – a path that has blended service in education and care for the body and the spirit.

Her own education took her to Marylhurst College, Portland State University and then the Oregon School of Massage. She was a teacher at schools including Sacred Heart in Tillamook, Holy Trinity in Beaverton, St. John in Milwaukie, St. Mary’s in Spokane and St. Mary’s in Stayton – and served as principal at Sacred Heart in Gervais and St. Agatha in Portland. She was Dean of High School Residents at St. Mary of the Valley High School before serving as Motherhouse Superior and Superior General for the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

A graduate of Leadership Beaverton, Sister Delores has demonstrated her commitment to the community through her leadership role in establishing the annual “Soup’s On” fundraising event, held in partnership with the City of Beaverton to address hunger in our region.

The event, which is held at Valley Catholic School, has drawn nearly 500 people each year. Guests have included U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle. The 2013 event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5. Established during the 125th anniversary of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, “Soup’s On” is, as Sister Delores has said, an opportunity to “reach out and give something back to the community.”

You can see her love of the outdoors reflected in hikes and backpacking around Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, and Three Sisters. She loves snowshoeing and cross-country skiing as well as gardening, sewing, cooking and tole painting (the folk art of decorative painting on tin and wooden utensils, objects and furniture).

Today, Sister Delores is also known as a talented and compassionate massage therapist. Beyond her interest in biology and anatomy classes in school, she enjoys her current service for a simple, heartfelt reason: “I love helping people feel better.”

In her own words

I was very fortunate to grow up on a farm where my parents modeled a truly Christian life through prayer, hard work, and service to others.

My religious vocation started when I was in the first and second grade with Sr. Innocentia as my teacher, a woman I really loved and admired. When I was in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, Sr. Lucy taught me. I received letters from Sr. Lucy throughout my high school years, but I was totally unaware at that time that it was her way of encouraging me to pursue my religious vocation.

By the time I was a senior in high school, I decided that I really did want to become a Sister. I loved the idea of living in a community (although I didn’t know anything about it) and I also believed that I could serve more people as a Sister rather than being married and putting my energies into a family.

Novitiate days were challenging at times, especially when the other members in my class would say they entered because they loved God. I wasn’t sure my motive was right, but it made me pray all the more that I would really learn to love God. That challenge is still always there, so I continue to pray that through my actions, the love of God is ever-present.

Although I taught school for 20 years, my two favorite ministries have been being Motherhouse Superior—where I was able to give my all to the Sisters living in the Motherhouse—and now as a massage therapist being able to offer healing, compassionate touch to people who need it. I have been very blessed.

Enjoy photos from the life and ministry of Sister Delores Adelman on our Flickr site.