Photos courtesy of Sarah Kresse
Girls on the Nun Run from Oregon pose at base of statue of Mary in Santa Clara, Calif.
Photos courtesy of Sarah Kresse
Girls on the Nun Run from Oregon pose at base of statue of Mary in Santa Clara, Calif.
SALEM — A group of 10 girls from Willamette Valley Catholic parishes trekked to the San Francisco Bay area this summer for the fourth annual Nun Run.

It was a time to meet women religious and learn the truth about a way of life disfigured by Hollywood stereotypes.

Youth ministers Sarah Kresse from St. Joseph Parish and Cheri Posedel from Queen of Peace Parish led the all-female traveling crew, who stayed with the Dominican Sisters at Mission San Jose and visited other religious communities.

The girls traveled by van and arrived at Mission San Jose in time for evening prayer. The next day, they attended Mass at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco then met the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin Matara, an evangelizing order founded in Argentina with missions in the U.S.

Other stops included Carmel Mission, play on the beach at Carmel, Mount St. Joseph in San Jose, and a morning with the contemplative Dominicans at Corpus Christi Monastery. Then came a visit with the Poor Clares, a look at Santa Clara Mission and a visit with the Carmelites in San Francisco. The girls met the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in San Francisco before heading to Pier 64.

The girls prayed each evening and also heard talks about the vocation to single and married life.

Arlene Hernandez' favorite part of the trip was meeting the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin Matara. "If I were to be called by God to be a religious sister, these are the ones I could see myself as," Hernandez said.

Megan Hodges found the Dominican Sisters made her feel at home. Jacque Szczepanski admired the integrity and trust in God shown by all the sisters, plus Kresse and Posedel, who also told their vocation stories.

Naomi Guerrero was thrilled to hear how it felt to be called to religious life while Sarah Rogers liked visiting the Poor Clare Sisters, whom she found "so sweet and loving."

Helen Daniels was keen on the Santa Clara Mission, where the sisters assured her that everyone has similar fears and uncertainties about their direction in life.

“I loved the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration because it showed me that if you find what you are supposed to do, your true vocation, you will be happy," explains Carina Myrand.  

Kresse calls it one of the highlights of he year. She already has Nun Run 2013 on the calendar for Aug. 15-19.

"It is truly inspiring to meet with the women religious, hear their vocation stories, and discern how we live out our unique and beautiful vocations as women," she says.

Posedel was moved by the joy, peace and love of God evident in the life of the nuns.

"I pray that I can model my life by the example of these holy women and that through my life I can be an example of God’s love to the people that come into my life," she says.