After nine years in the Loan and Collection Department of the Bank of America and National Trust & Savings Associates, Evelyn Schwall had reached a turning point in her life. She realized that she wanted to follow her grade school desire and enter religious life. She visited communities to decide where she felt called. Finally, she joined her great aunt, Mother Juliana Hermens, and her older sister, Alberta, in the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.
After entering the Convent, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Marylhurst College (University) and then earned her Master’s Degree in education administration from Portland State University.
From 1958-1987, Sister Evelyn taught in Catholic grade schools and high schools concentrating on religion, clothing, biology, chemistry, U. S. history, shorthand and German. Her innovative and efficient spirit shone at Tillamook Catholic High School, where she helped plan and build a series of sound booths for listening to tapes and a science lab for chemistry.
Each one of her students has, she said, “a pocketful of knowledge in my head. I knew most of their families. Each left the impression of their personality.” She added, “When I see them, even though it’s 60 years later, I remember them. I remember the kind of students they were.”
When her mother needed support, Sister Evelyn found work in the nearby parish of St. Joseph in Marysville, Calif. From 1990-1994, she worked in the CCD religious education program and supported a fundraising project for the refurbishment of the church.
Throughout her life, Sister Evelyn has enjoyed knitting and crocheting. As she celebrated her 60th Jubilee in 2014, she continued to make beautiful scarves and afghans for friends and the annual Maryville Nursing Home bazaar. She also keeps up with the Schwall family – and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Photos from Sister Evelyn’s life and ministry are available on our Flickr site.