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Home : Faith/Spirituality : Living Faith
7/18/2014 11:50:00 AM
Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon to honor jubilarians
Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon photos
Srs. Barbara Jean Laughlin, Evelyn Schwall, Ina Marie Nosack and Lawdean Lamberger are among jubilarians.
Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon photos
Srs. Barbara Jean Laughlin, Evelyn Schwall, Ina Marie Nosack and Lawdean Lamberger are among jubilarians.

BEAVERTON – In Catholic tradition, the word “Jubilee” is used to designate an anniversary year. In 2014, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon — the SSMOs — will honor six Sisters who have given a combined 375 years of service and ministry.

The 2014 Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Jubilarians are Sister Elizabeth Ann Vanderzanden (75 years); Sister Ina Marie Nosack (70 years); Sister Lawdean Lamberger, Sister Barbara Jean Laughlin, and Sister Evelyn Schwall (60 years); and Sister Veronica Marie Templer (50 years).

They will be honored during a Mass and reception on Sunday, July 27, at 1:30 p.m. in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel of the SSMO Motherhouse. The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus is located at 4440 SW 148th Avenue, Beaverton. Additional information about the 2014 Jubilarians is available at www.ssmo.org.

“A Sister’s Jubilee celebration is always an exciting milestone on her journey,” says Sister Charlene Herinckx, superior general of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. “It is a joyful celebration and an opportunity to express our gratitude for all the service and commitment that each Sister has contributed to the community throughout her life. It is an opportunity for the community to recognize these women and show appreciation for their many years of prayers and service.”

She added, “The 2014 Jubilarians have served the community in countless ways – from caring for our students as a teacher or housekeeper to bookkeeping and banking. One was a missionary. Another served as our Superior General. The joy that these­­­­ six women have contributed to both the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon community and the greater community has touched countless lives throughout their combined 375 years of service.”

• On Aug. 24, 1922, David City, Neb. welcomed its newest resident – Elizabeth Ann Vanderzanden. Her parents, Joseph Vanderzanden and Margaret Peters, moved frequently. She attended schools in Oregon, Nebraska, and North Dakota before returning to Oregon, where she graduated from St. Mary of the Valley High School in 1938.

In 1939, she entered the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon. Other Sisters have described Sister Elizabeth Ann as a wonderful housekeeper who supervised the community laundry rooms during the day and, during after-school hours, cared for St. Mary of the Valley Grade and High School resident students, supervising their studies and housekeeping hours. Those students lived in dormitories on the fourth floor above the school classrooms.

Sister Elizabeth Ann is also known as a fine seamstress. She was gifted in restoring worn clothing – making them seem new again for the Sisters. She also spent time embroidering sets of dishtowels for the SSMO Community’s annual Christmas bazaar. Sister Elizabeth Ann Vanderzanden celebrates her 75th Jubilee in 2014.

• As a fifth grader, Ina Marie Nosack “heard my first call to work for God and his people. The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, who taught me in grade school, were so happy and good to us that I wanted to be like them.”

As a Sister of St. Mary of Oregon, Sr. Ina Marie served as a principal, worked as a missionary in the Amazon jungle of Peru, served the Hispanic population in Oregon, and visited and taught in prison.

At the SSMO Motherhouse, she taught in the Community’s ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program; served as a driver; crocheted, embroidered and knit items for the Sisters’ annual fundraising dinner auction; and coordinated the bakery, where she is renowned for her cinnamon rolls, and the food canning department.

Today, as she celebrates her 70th Jubilee, Sister Ina Marie says, “I know that I am able to do these things because of God’s inspiration and my Sisters’ support. I am so grateful I responded to God’s call in the way that I did. Are you listening? Is God calling you?”

• It isn’t surprising that a former bookkeeper would enjoy Sudoku. That’s just one of the hobbies of Sister Lawdean.

After graduating from St. Mary of the Valley High School, Sister Lawdean earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Marylhurst College. She taught a wide range of classes – music, health, physical education and lower-division math – at Sacred Heart in Tillamook, St. John’s and La Salle in Milwaukie, St. Agatha in Portland and St. Mary of the Valley in Beaverton.

After her teaching career, Sister Lawdean served as bookkeeper at St. Mary, Star of the Sea Church in Astoria. In 1980, she was appointed general treasurer of the Sisters. She served in that role for 25 years, until the position was discontinued in 2005. Sister Lawdean currently serves as assistant to the SSMO motherhouse superior and volunteers for Medical Teams International.­­­

Given Sister Lawdean’s background in music education, it’s not surprising that her hobbies include listening to classical music.

“I truly believe that I was meant to be a Sister of St. Mary of Oregon,” she said.

• Sister Barbara Jean remembers: “In my baby book, mom wrote that I started going to church at 1 1/2 years of age. I remember asking for a Sister doll for Christmas when I was in the first grade.”

That early foundation of faith led to a visit to the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon motherhouse to attend a reception and vow ceremony. Sister Barbara Jean puts it simply: “I was hooked for good.”

She taught third through eighth grade and was a principal at schools in Portland, Milwaukie, Tillamook and Spokane. On the SSMO campus, she served as education coordinator, formation director, and director of the Associate Program.

From 2000-’10, she served as SSMO superior general. During that time, the Valley Catholic athletic facility was built. Groundbreaking took place for the new Valley Catholic Elementary and Middle School.

Sister Barbara Jean began her term by being diagnosed with leukemia. Fourteen years later, she “thanks God daily for the gift of life and health.”

• After nine years in banking, Evelyn Schwall reached a turning point in her life. She realized that she wanted to follow her grade school desire and enter religious life. She joined her great aunt, Mother Juliana Hermens, and her older sister, Alberta, in the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Marylhurst College and then earned her master’s degree in education administration from Portland State University.

From 1958-’87, Sister Evelyn taught in Catholic grade schools and high schools concentrating on religion, home economics, biology, chemistry, U. S. history, shorthand and German. At Tillamook Catholic High School, she helped plan and build a series of sound booths for listening to tapes and a science lab for chemistry.

In 1987, Sister Evelyn’s mother needed her support. Sister Evelyn found work at St. Joseph Parish in nearby Marysville, Calif., where she worked in the CCD religious education program and supported a fundraising project to refurbish the church.

Sister Evelyn continues to make scarves and afghans for friends and the annual Maryville Nursing Home Christmas bazaar.

• Growing up in Seattle, Veronica Marie attended Catholic schools. “I always admired the Sisters I had as teachers,” she said. “I knew I wanted to become a Sister or teacher or both.”

After attending a business college, she got a job with the Boeing Airplane Company – first as a typist then as a secretary. She then earned a bachelor of teaching degree at Seattle University.

In 1962, she became one of the first teachers at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in West Seattle. Several Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon were also assigned there. “The Sisters were always cheerful and helpful,” she said. “I knew this was the community I wanted to join.” She entered the SSMO Community in 1963 and taught typing, shorthand, bookkeeping and record keeping at St. Mary of the Valley High School (now Valley Catholic).

After concluding her teaching career, Sister Veronica Marie was assigned to Maryville Nursing Home and Memory Care, where she worked in medical records and later as administrative assistant.

“It doesn’t seem possible,” she says, reflecting on her jubilee. “Time goes so quickly.”

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