In the tranquil expanse of Oregon, amidst the rolling hills and verdant landscapes, lies the vibrant heart of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO) campus, pulsating with a profound commitment to nurturing vocations. At the helm of this sacred mission stands the SSMO Vocations Committee.

The SSMO Vocations Committee is a group of women whose dedication helps guide and illuminate the path for people who are discerning their call toward religious life. They are committed to their work behind the curtain; they walk alongside women and men who are embarking on their personal spiritual
journeys and fostering meaningful connections both within and beyond the Catholic community.

Engagement with the Community

Delving into the rich tapestry of the SSMO’s storied history, Sister Charlene Herinckx, SSMO Vocation Director, reflects, “Our Community has a deep-rooted engagement with the local community.”

For nearly 140 years, SSMO has been committed to educating youth and providing compassionate care for the elderly. This legacy of service extends far beyond Oregon’s borders. It reaches distant corners of the U.S. and other parts of the world, such as Washington, California, Chicago, and Peru. Throughout their valiant history, the Sisters have answered the call to serve, regardless of where the need exists.

These days, you will often find the SSMO Vocations Committee serving people and
building relationships at local parishes, and at meetings and conferences across the country. They are committed to meeting discerners where they are and helping guide them through their journey.

Sister Charlene regularly underscores the transformative power of prayer as the guiding light for the Sisters’ service and for a person’s discernment. For Sister Charlene, prayer offers solace but it also ignites a continuous stream of spiritual requests. Prayer binds the Sisters’ Community together in faith and compassion. Prayer is also the most important part of personal discernment as it develops a connection for us to hear and understand God’s call for our lives.

Sr. Charlene at a conference

“By being grounded in prayerful reflection, discernment involves a meticulous process of introspection, dialogue, and alignment with the needs of the Community.”
Sister Charlene

Fostering Meaningful Connections

The SSMO Vocations Committee embraces the significance of fostering relationships that transcend religious boundaries. They ardently encourage
women to be open about their discernment with friends and family and to take time to engage with Sisters from various Communities. Sister Charlene remarks, “One of the most illuminating pathways to understanding religious life is through
conversations with Sisters who have embraced this sacred commitment.”

Time spent with Sisters leads to encouragement for women to focus on heartfelt prayer, selfless volunteering, and introducing family and friends to Sisters. This process helps women embark on a transformative journey of exploration while building a stronger bond with Sisters and loved ones who truly care about their journey. It creates an environment characterized by nurturing support and encouragement for the discerner.

Sr. Alison
Sr. Alison serves her Sisters by managing the SSMO Archives.
Sr. Theresa Lan Nguyen
Sr. Theresa Lan serves her Sisters by baking fresh rolls each week.

Mission and Ministry

At the core of SSMO is a profound mission steeped in the proclamation
of God’s boundless love.

Ssmo Calligraphy2
SSMO Charism

The SSMO Mission:
We, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, share in the mission of Jesus by
proclaiming the Good News of God’s love.

The SSMO mission serves as the guiding light for the Community’s diverse ministries, spanning education, health care, and pastoral care. Sister Charlene underscores the importance of discernment by emphasizing that it serves as the cornerstone for shaping each Sister’s unique ministry. “By being grounded in prayerful reflection, discernment involves a meticulous process of introspection, dialogue, and alignment with the needs of the Community and the people they serve. Prayer ensures that each Sister’s calling resonates deeply with her soul,”
says Sr. Charlene.

Embracing Change with Grace

Gazing into the horizon of possibilities, the SSMO Vocations Committee exudes faith in the Community’s ability to adapt and flourish. Sr. Charlene affirms, “With trust in God’s providence, we possess the resilience to navigate the winds of change and thrive.”

Despite the ebb and flow of societal trends, Sister Charlene and the SSMO
Vocations Committee believe in the timeless relevance of religious life.

Each new Sister and everyone who is discerning is welcomed by the SSMO Vocations Committee with open arms and a spirit of inclusivity. Their welcoming spirit embodies the enduring strength and grace of the entire SSMO Community.

Welcoming New Beginnings

In a celebration of diversity and spiritual awakening, the SSMO Vocations Committee extends a warm embrace to everyone who feels called to embark on a journey of self-discovery and spiritual growth. With a deep sense of gratitude, Sr.
Charlene shares, “We rejoice in the arrival of new members, enriching our
community with their unique gifts and perspectives.”

The SSMO Vocations Committee Sisters spend many hours on the road and work long hours at several meetings and events. It can sound exhausting, but they find inspiration and excitement in a person’s discernment. That motivation and the
genuine relationships they build make their personal vocations meaningful.

Through open invitations and genuine connections, SSMO stands as a beacon of hope, guiding women towards the transformative embrace of religious life, where each soul finds solace, purpose, and belonging.

Sr. Anna Nguyen in the community
Sr. Anna serves the SSMO booth at a Vocations conference for young adults.
Sr. Krista
Sr. Krista can often be found in the wood shop working to enhance the campers’ experiences at CYO Camp Howard

A Call to Spiritual Exploration

Sister Charlene and the SSMO Vocations Committee extend an earnest invitation to all seekers of truth and spiritual fulfillment. They encourage women to embark on a journey of prayer, discernment, and heartfelt connection with Sisters who epitomize the essence of religious commitment.

For people who are eager to explore the path of religious life, the SSMO Vocations Committee beckons them to embark on a journey of discovery, navigating the sacred terrain with courage, faith, and conviction. The Sisters’ vision and support serve as a compassionate guide through discernment.

For people who are seeking guidance on their spiritual journey, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon extend a sincere invitation to visit their website or connect directly with Sister Charlene and the SSMO Vocations Committee. Discernment can ignite a transformative journey of exploration and self-discovery that resonates with
the timeless call of the soul.

The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon are here to help women who are discerning a call to religious life. 

We encourage you to review our vocation information, pray over your calling, and contact us with questions and requests for prayer.

Connect with our Vocations Director, Sister Charlene Herinckx at [email protected], to learn more about discernment and to request prayer from the Sisters about your calling.

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