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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,
In this issue of the SSMO Vocation Newsletter, you will read about two more of our nine Jubilarian Sisters who will be celebrating on July 30 here at the Motherhouse in Beaverton.

Discernment reflection questions are also listed but without the introductory comments that you can find in previous newsletters at the bottom of our Vocations web page. I am also sharing some new upcoming events. I hope you will share those with anyone who may be interested in discerning a vocation to religious life.

May these summer days provide opportunities for a change of pace and moments for prayerful reflection.

Sr. Charlene

Meet our Jubilarians

Sr. Agnes Marie Vandecoevering
The Vandecoevering sisters with their parents
Sr. Agnes Marie in the bakery

Sister Agnes Marie Vandecoevering

70th Jubilee

Born: Forest Grove, OR

Attracted to SSMO by: I wanted to give my life to God like my sisters did.


  • Ministry: Teaching C.C.D. in various parishes in Oregon and Washington during the summers with my sisters – Sr. Clare and Sr. Anne.
  • Style of Prayer: Talking to Jesus
  • Saint: Blessed Mother Mary
  • Food: Ice cream, frozen yogurt and milkshakes
  • Movie: “Our Lady of Fatima”
  • Holiday/Holy Day: Christmas – especially when it snows
  • Recreation: Watch movies

Discernment advice for young adults: Give yourself to God.

Sr. Anne Vandecoevering
Sr. Anne with her class

Sr. Anne Vandecoevering

70th Jubilee

Born: Forest Grove, OR

Attracted to SSMO by: My sister, Sr. Agnes Marie!

  • Ministry: Teaching
  • Style of Prayer: Contemplation
  • Saint: Blessed Mother Mary
  • Food: Angel food cake
  • Movie: “Our Lady of Fatima”
  • Holiday/Holy Day: Christmas
  • Recreation: Watch movies

Discernment advice for young adults: Give yourself to God.

The Vandecoevering Sisters

SSMO facts about sisters who are Sisters:

  • There have been 28 pairs of sisters who have become Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon
  • The Vandecoeverings – Sr. Clare, Sr. Anne and Sr. Agnes Marie are the only set of three sisters to become SSMOs
  • There have been four sets of four sisters who became SSMOs

Visit our Jubilee page to read more about Srs. Anne and Agnes Marie and to see stories about all nine of our 2023 Jubilarians.


Discernment questions

If you have been thinking about religious life and have a desire to serve God, you may be full of doubts or you may be quite clear. In either case, it is important to ponder and pray.

See the May and June newsletters for additional questions to consider.

Questions: Are Others Important to You?

  1. How do good friendships help in the task of good decision-making? How can you ensure your growth in healthy friendships?
  2. How do you relate to people older/younger than yourself? (teachers, employer, the elderly, children)
  3. Are you friends with persons in racial or language groups other than your own?

Religious Woman Saint –

St. Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala

She saw a need and responded

Last month, we touched on St. Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala. Let’s take a deeper look at her story.


Born in 1878, Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, of Zapopan, Mexico, visited the town’s Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan from a very early age. When she turned 23, Maria began sensing that she had a religious vocation.

Upon learning of this, Maria’s spiritual director invited her to help him by co-founding a religious congregation for the care of hospital patients. In 1901 the “Handmaids of St. Margaret Mary and the Poor” was founded.

She nursed the sick physically and spiritually. Maria was sustained by her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, while leading a life of strict poverty, in accord with her maxim that she and her fellow sisters should be “poor with the poor.”

During the worst years of the Mexican government’s persecution of the Catholic Church, Mother Maria risked her own life to shelter priests at her hospital. Her charity to those persecuting the Church prompted some of them to defend the hospital from attacks. Mother Maria died on June 24, 1963. She was canonized on May 12, 2013.

St. Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala’s feastday is June 24.

Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquira
Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquira

Marian Feastday – Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquira

Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá is the patroness of Columbia and is venerated by the people of Venezuela as well. Her Feast Day is July 9. The story of the miraculous image is amazing!

Check out this brief YouTube video about the creation of the image.

Upcoming events and opportunities

Discernment – Would you like help with your discernment? We are here to assist. Send a note to [email protected] for more information.

Every Thursday is Holy Hour. You are invited to the weekly Holy Hour with the Sisters. On the first Thursday of each month, the special intention is for vocations to religious life and priesthood. Join us at 6:30 p.m. at the SSMO Motherhouse Chapel.

Please call ahead so someone can meet you at the front door.

Sunday, Sept. 24 – Sunday with the Sisters – Join the SSMO Community for Mass at 9:00 a.m., an opportunity to meet the Sisters to learn about our Community and dinner at 11:30. Reservations required – contact Sr. Charlene at [email protected].

Sunday, Oct. 21 – Catholic women are invited to a virtual retreat hosted by the Vocation Directors of the Pacific Northwest.

The one-day virtual intercongregational retreat titled “Exploring Sisterhood” is for Catholic women between the ages of 20 to 45. Registration is required – contact Sr. Diane Tomkinson at [email protected] for more information.

Planning ahead:

July 17-21, 2024 – National Eucharistic Congress – Join your Catholic brothers and sisters in Indianapolis as we encounter the living Jesus Christ, experience profound renewal, and are sent out on mission for the life of the world. visit eucharisticcongress.org to learn more.

Jubilee Year: The next Jubilee Year, also known as Holy Year, will be in 2025. There is great expectation among the faithful from all over the world. Its importance is also recognized and respected by other faiths around the world.

A Jubilee usually lasts a year and a few days. It begins just before the Christian Christmas (2024) and ends the Epiphany (2026).

SSMOs in the news:

Check out Love shows in Lunch – a recent article by Catholic Charities about the SSMOs providing a monthly lunch for women in transition.

Lunch prep
Sisters working together to prepare a meal for women in need.

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