Ssmo Nativity Board

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

Dear Friends, 

Among my many blessings is having a friend who sends a daily illustrated quotation (Thank you, Lynn). The young poet Amanda Gorman provides this advice and encouragement:
There is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” 
As the people of the world continue to suffer from the loss of family, friends, property, livelihood, well-being, and happiness, let us be brave.

Wishing you many blessings in the New Year!

Sr. Charlene

Meet our Sisters – Sr. Josephine Pelster

Sister Josephine Pelster
Sr. Josephine Pelster

Josephine Pelster was born the fifth of nine children to Norbert and Louise (Unger) Pelster of Vernonia, Ore. Her faith-filled parents frequently prayed for vocations to the religious life.

Josephine was attracted to dedicating her life to God. She entered the Sisters of Saint Mary of Oregon on Sept. 8, 1965.

Sister Josephine found joy in ministry while being a nurse aide and then a registered nurse at Maryville.  After 30 years of nursing, she left nursing and entered into the ministry of chaplaincy. She feels blessed to pray with the dying and comfort loved ones.

Now, after more than 50 years of ‘Service with Love’ at Maryville she is retiring. However, she will not venture to far from Maryville because she will be volunteering at Maryville as sacristan, which includes coordinating preparation for Mass and distributing Holy Communion to Maryville’s  Catholic residents who are unable to attend Mass in person.

“I am grateful for God’s fidelity to me throughout my life, as well as the support and challenges provided me by the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon with whom I live and serve,” said Sister Josephine.

Visit: and to read more about Sr. Pelster and her role in the history of Maryville.

Christmas at the SSMO Motherhouse

We love decorating for Christmas. Enjoy a few photos from our collections of Christmas decorations that were on full display around the Motherhouse during Christmas.

Christmas Chapel decor
Snowman wreath
Nativity collection
Christmas dining room

Discernment Questions

Visit to see questions from previous newsletters.

Decision Making:

  • How do I go about making a decision?
  • How do God and my faith enter into my decision-making?
  • What are the elements of a good and sound decision?

Will I be able to enter if I have debt due to loans from my college education?

While you are expected to eliminate any personal debt you may have incurred before entering (as required by Church law), there are various ways to deal with education debt. An organization called National Fund for Catholic Religious Vocations was created about 10 years ago to help people deal with education debt. For more information, visit or contact Phil Loftus at 312-318-0180.

Religious Women Saints – January

Mother Marianne Cope In Her Youth
St. Marianne Cope

St. Marianne Cope (1838-1918) was German-born, but moved with her family to the United Sates at a young age.  She became a member of the Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse, NY.  She was an outstanding hospital administrator before answering the call in 1883 to relocate to Hawaii to care for those suffering from leprosy.  She served those with Hanson’s disease for more than 30 years and never contracted the illness.  She was canonized in 2012.

Saint Angela Merici
St. Angela Merici as a teacher, by Pietro Calzavacca.

St. Angela de Merici (1474-1540) was instrumental in establishing educational opportunities for girls by opening her home to them. Although it was never recognized formally as a religious order in her lifetime, Angela’s Company of Saint Ursula, or the Ursulines, was the first group of women religious to minister outside of the cloister and it became the first teaching order of women in the Catholic Church. She was canonized in 1807.

January Feastday of Mary

January 1 – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

On this feast day, we honor the Blessed Mother as the Mother of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated on the 8th day of Christmastide.

Holy Family in SSMO Stained Glass
Stained glass image of the Holy Family in the SSMO Motherhouse Chapel

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