Responding with courage and personal sacrifice to the call of Christ in the Church, our foundresses lived out their desire to become Women of Prayer, Community, and Service.
SSMO Constitutions, Article 1
Greetings from Beaverton! We are in the the first week of Advent! We are blessed this year to have four complete weeks of Advent.
The usual Advent theme is “Waiting for the Lord.” Truly we are! In the meantime, let us stop to ponder and give thanks for all the ways the Lord Jesus manifests his presence to us each day. And then ask ourselves: How can I manifest Jesus to others?
Each SSMO Vocation Newsletter will continue to have information about our Community striving to follow our Foundresses’ examples of living as women of Prayer, Community and Service.
Our Community joined in the celebration of the World Day of the Poor (established by Pope Francis in 2016) by collecting donations for the Magnificat Scholarship which helps provide basic school needs for three Valley Catholic High School students. The Sisters and Associates collected nearly $1000 for the cause.
Prayer, Community and Service: (For this issue, the topics are combined as they are so closely related.)
Our day begins (some days earlier than others) with Morning Prayer, followed by Mass. In a combination of prayer and service, many Sisters assist with our prayer time by serving as leaders, readers, musicians and Eucharistic ministers.
We have all experienced the preparation needed and excitement created by the preparation for Thanksgiving! Family and friends gather for the sheer joy of being with those they love. Unlike other days, on holidays the cooking responsibilities fall on several gifted chefs in the Community. We are never disappointed. We are beginning to have guests come to our dining room (after COVID-19) and this year we again enjoyed having the retired priests who live on campus as our Thanksgiving dinner guests.
Sister Maria plays the Organ
Sister Diana Jean baking
While many Sisters are busy about their ministry on and off campus, several Sisters serve the Community “in-house.” This includes almost daily peeling of vegetables (Sisters Barbara Rose, Maria Kieu, and Trúc Grace), homemade muffins for Sunday breakfasts (Sr. Diana Jean), and homemade rolls for breakfast on other days (Sr. Theresa Lan). Almost every Monday morning the aromas are wonderful as Sr. Ruth Frank lures any passerby to stop and sample her homemade cookies!
Characteristics of new members:
- 33% of new members have a parent born outside the U.S.
- 34% of new members have a relative in religious life
Religious Woman Saint for December
Blessed Mary Frances Schervier – Frances ran the household after her mother’s death, and established a reputation for generosity to the poor. In 1844, she became a Secular Franciscan. The next year she and four companions established a religious Community devoted to caring for the poor. In 1851, the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis were approved by the local bishop and the community soon spread.
The first U.S. foundation was made in 1858. Mother Frances visited the United States in 1863 and helped her Sisters nurse soldiers wounded in the Civil War. She visited the United States again in 1868. When Mother Frances died, there were 2,500 members of her Community worldwide. They are still engaged in operating hospitals and homes for the aged. Mother Mary Frances was beatified in 1974. Her feast day is celebrated on Dec. 15.
Feast Days of Mary in December
- Dec. 8 – Immaculate Conception of Mary
- Dec. 10 – Our Lady of Loreto
- Dec. 12 – Our Lady of Guadalupe
- Dec. 30 – Feast of the Holy Family
“Let not your heart be disturbed…Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything.”
– Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego
Q and A:
What is a canonical novice?
Church law, called canon law, requires that a new member of the Community spend one year as a canonical novice. Community Constitutions vary about how many years a person participates in a novitiate program. For the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, it is two years. From the SSMO Formation Handbook, “To prepare herself for living the vowed life as a Sister of St. Mary of Oregon, the novice deepens her relationship with Jesus and the Community through a year of prayer, study, reflection, and Community service. During her canonical year, priority is given to intense prayer and personal development.”
Our current novice, Sr. Trúc Grace has been engaged in various tasks in service to the Community and is taking the following classes: Sacraments, Scripture, Perfectae Caritatis and the developments in religious life after Vatican II, English, Saints and Virtues, SSMO Community History, Voice lessons as well as Faith Sharing with a group of Sisters.
- Dec. 3 – Advent Retreat – email [email protected] for more information
- Dec. 4 – Mass at the University of Portland
- Dec. 26 to 28 – Vocation awareness experience
- Every Thursday – Holy Hour with the Sisters. On the first Thursday of each month, the special intention is for vocations to religious life and priesthood.