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4/16/2013 2:11:00 PM
Montessori pioneer Mother Francine Cardew dies

Franciscan Mother Francine Cardew, a pioneer in Portland Montessori schools, died this week.

A funeral is set for 11 a.m. Friday April 19, at St. Henry Parish, 346 NW First St. in Gresham. Visitation begins at 9 a.m.

Mother Francine helped establish Southeast Portland’s Franciscan Montessori Earth School in 1977. The school’s basic philosophies melded the experiential learning ideas of Maria Montessori with the earthy and peace-focused spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi. Mother Francine stepped down from her post as leader at the school in 2008, but continued to serve by building the school’s endowment.

She lived with the Franciscan sisters in Bridal Veil and was a member of St. Henry.

Mother Francine did post-graduate work at Georgetown University and held a master’s degree in education from the University of Portland.

The Oregon Montessori Association named her principal of the year for 2003. In 1993, Associated Oregon Industries Foundation selected her as principal of the year for all of Oregon.

She served on Portland’s Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and held posts in national Montessori associations.

In the mid-1970s, she served as associate superintendent of elementary education for the Archdiocese of Portland. She held a similar post in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, B.C., where she was also a member of the Royal Commission on Education and a lecturer on Canada’s Catholic education system.

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