9/5/2013 10:12:00 AM For 50 years, Donnés have served the Sisters of Reparation
Catholic Sentinel photo by Clarice Keating
Sr. Mary Immaculate and Peggy Augustine organize the Sisters' library.
Clarice Keating Of the Catholic Sentinel
As with any house, upkeep is a constant part of life – and that’s especially true at the historic seven-bedroom home where the Sisters of Reparation of the Sacred Sounds of Jesus live.
But the work doesn’t stop there – the busy Sisters host retreats in their home and go out into the community to serve the poor and sick.
Mother Mary of the Angels Bunty and Sister Mary Immaculate Bunty are the sole residents of the convent in Southeast Portland’s Hosford-Abernathy Neighborhood.
The two women don’t do their work alone.
Dozens of lay people, called the Donnés of Reparation, assist every month with yard work, sewing, cooking for events, organizing mailings and setting up for Mass, offering prayer and sacrifices, and contributing financially.
Donné is French for “I give of myself.”
These helpers were honored Aug. 24 during a Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Alexander Sample, marking 50 years since the founding of the Donnés of Reparation by Mother Mary Rose Thérèse, foundress of the community.
“Many hours of service have been given by our beloved Donnés throughout the years in the variety of missions and ministries of the Sisters,” the Sisters said. On the occasion of the anniversary, the two nuns prayed for Donnés past, present and future who have worked together in peace and harmony to build and strengthen the church.
“It was a beautiful, memorable day for everyone,” said Peggy Augustine, who has been serving the sisters regularly for nearly a decade.
Though their work is primarily for the glory of God, Augustine said, it’s also enjoyable. She loves meeting other Donnés through her participation in the Ave Maria Chorus, helping with canning and cooking, and other assignments. Recently Augustine tackled the house’s library, organizing books and resources so they are easier for the Sisters to locate when they are preparing for retreats and formation lessons.
“I love the Sisters,” she said. “They’ve brought me closer to the Lord.”
Augustine worries for the future of the community, now that there are only the two sisters left. She prays for vocations, that young girls will see the beauty and holiness in the Sisters’ way of life and feel called.
Doreen Modena has been helping the Sisters since ’93, when another member of her prayer group at St. Agatha Parish encouraged her to visit Rose Hall for choir practice. She began singing in the choir, and recruited her husband Bob, who helps around the house – repairing the chimney, fixing leaks in the roof, and cleaning gutters.
“They are very special people,” Modena said. “It’s wonderful to go [to their convent]. You can really feel the peace.”
The Reparation Sisters and their choir perform at The Grotto during holiday season, and also during Providence’s Festival of Trees.
Mary Rose Miller was introduced to the Sisters many years ago by her 7-year-old nephew, John Miller. John is now in his 30s and works for the Archdiocese of Denver (Colo.).
Miller helps in the kitchen during retreats at Reparation Hall. She and other volunteers help cook, serve and clean so the two Sisters can focus on teaching. Over the years, the Sisters and Donnés have come to feel like family to Miller.
“Whenever you are in need of prayer support you can look to your friends you have in the Donnés as a strong prayerful support,” Miller said. “There have been times in the past when I’ve needed it and I’ve received it, and I was grateful for that.”
Every few months, the Reparation sisters send out a newsletter describing the ways in which they anticipate needing assistance in the coming weeks. For 50 years, the Donnés answered the call, supporting the Sisters in their spiritual endeavors.