Sister Angeline Sohler, SSMO, 91

“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.”

Born in 1927 in North Plains, Oregon, Sister Angeline attended catechism classes and religious vacation school taught by members of what is now her religious community. “I felt called to be a sister shortly after my First Communion,” she recalls. Inspired by the sisters, she wanted to follow their example. She attended the Catholic high school run by her community. “I worked part-time for my boarding tuition by ironing, cleaning, etc., which gave me the opportunity to become personally acquainted with the sisters,” she says. “In my junior year, I was received as a postulant at age 15 and then became a novice at 16. At that time, in the 1940’s, girls often married in their late teens. It was the period of World War II, when life seemed short and was serious for everyone.”

Sister Angeline obtained her teaching certificate, bachelor’s degree, and, later, a master’s degree, all in education. She taught in diocesan Catholic schools for 45 years, beginning with the primary grades. “I especially enjoyed preparing the children for First Communion,” she says. “That was a special time for them and for me.” Later, she pursued a certificate in library science and served for several years as a high school librarian. In summer months, she taught religious vacation school at parishes in Oregon and southeast Alaska.

After her teaching career, Sister Angeline began serving in her community’s foundation office. She also assisted adults who were not native speakers in learning English. “I began with helping our (community’s) employees,” she says. “Then others heard about it, and they signed up.” Today, her community has a full English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, which offers progressive levels of instruction and citizenship classes.

Now age 91, Sister Angeline enjoys staying active. “In my younger years, I liked to go hiking,” she says. “For my 50th jubilee, I backpacked in the Alps for a week.” Although she’s hung up her hiking boots, she still likes to walk outside, enjoying the convent flowers. She also volunteers in the community archives. Being a 75-year jubilarian, she has memory of the community’s foundresses and early sisters, an asset in archive work.

Throughout her life, prayer and gratitude have been her daily companions. “Every day I think about what to be thankful for, and there’s always something wonderful,” she says.