Sister Elizabeth Sohler, SSMO, 90

Sister Elizabeth Sohler is a member of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO). Her parish was a small mission, where the SSMO sisters taught catechism after Mass on Sundays. “Our faith was important to our family,” she recalls.

Sister Elizabeth, born in 1931 in North Plains, Oregon, attended a one-room public school for the first six grades. At the age of 14, she attended St. Mary of the Valley High School as a resident student. “There I saw the SSMO sisters daily,” she says, “and observed their way of life.

“I became a postulant on January 1, 1950, and was received as a novice on August 15 of the same year­—during my senior year of high school,” she relates. Sister Elizabeth made her first vows in 1952. She took courses at a nearby college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in education. Being a pianist, her first teaching assignments were in music, after which she taught the primary grades for several years.

Sister Elizabeth transitioned from teaching and served at Maryville, a skilled-care facility established by the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. She ministered as a bookkeeper in the business office for 27 years. “Maryville,” she says, “was a friendly place; we were family.”

Since retiring, Sister Elizabeth has remained very active with a host of volunteer ministries, including working in her community’s archives with her biological sister, Sister Angeline. “We gather the history of the community to share with the sisters,” she explains. She also works outside, especially in the flower gardens.

Sister Elizabeth has been a Sister of St. Mary of Oregon for 71 years. “There is always God’s work to do in some way,” she says.