“I loved those little children,” says Sister Clare Vandecoevering, 88, of the students in her first teaching assignment. “They were precious.” A member of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, she spent more than five decades in the classroom. Yet in all those years, her love for students never wavered—a devotion flowing from her… Read More »

“After the war, a lot of men were looking for peace,” says Brother Martin Gonzales, a World War II veteran and a Trappist monk from Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey in Carlton, Oregon. “I remember reading an article in Reader’s Digest about veterans joining monasteries.” Born in 1925 in La Mesa, California, Brother Martin grew… Read More »

“Nature is my healing place,” says Benedictine Sister Joan Pokorny, 78. “It’s where I am most myself.” Growing up on a farm in Oakridge, Oregon, she felt a bond to the wonders of creation at an early age. “My mother started telling me that I was going to be a sister when I was 4… Read More »

Sister Charlene Herinckx, superior general of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, understands that each religious community’s retirement circumstances are unique. As a volunteer consultant for the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) Planning and Implementation Assistance program, she tries to help communities find strategies that are right for them.

“I believe my vocation came out of our family life on the farm,” reflects Sister Angeline Sohler, a Sister of St. Mary of Oregon. “Closeness to nature, daily work and play, and family prayer formed a rhythm of life.”

From his hilltop home at Mount Angel Abbey in St. Benedict, Oregon, Abbot Gregory Duerr, 81, can look down on the town where he lived from age 6.

Recently, the National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) recognized the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) with an award for distinguished service.

“From the time I was in sixth grade, I was determined to be a Sister of St. Mary of Oregon,” says Sister Rita Rose Stohosky, 82. That determination paid off when she entered the community as an aspirant in September of 1952.

“The love and devotion to Mary is what drew me to this community,” says Sister Barbara Jean Laughlin, 83, a member of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

Benedictine charism is in Sister Christine Rausch’s blood. In fact, four of the five children in her family are Benedictines.