The poster for this year’s national collection for retired religious features priests, nuns and monks from western Oregon.
The poster for this year’s national collection for retired religious features priests, nuns and monks from western Oregon.

The national Retirement Fund for Religious campaign is using a squad of nuns, priests and monks from the Archdiocese of Portland as its poster-people.

The nationwide campaign began Sept. 1 with posters in English and Spanish sent out seeking donations for religious who have served over the years and now need care.

The main photo is a delighted Sister Clare Vandecoevering of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon in Beaverton.

Below her image is a line of other smiling religious from western Oregon: The late Father José Ortega Tejeda of Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, Sister Christine Rausch of the Benedictine Sisters of Mount Angel, Sister Mary Margaret Tan of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows, Brother Martin Gonzales of the Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sister Agnes Marie Vandecoevering (Sister Clare’s blood sister) from the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, Sister Joan Pokorny of the Benedictine Sisters of Mount Angel, Sister Ina Marie Nosack of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, Father Augustine DeNoble of Mount Angel Abbey, and Sister Theresa Ann Bunker of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon.

Sister Christine, 86, is profiled on the website of the Retirement Fund for Religious website, retiredreligious.org.

“Benedictine charism is in Sister Christine Rausch’s blood. In fact, four of the five children in her family are Benedictines,” the profile begins.

“It is our privilege to be featuring this wonderful group of senior religious,” Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, executive director of the National Religious Retirement Office, said in a letter to Auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith. “We are sure they will inspire a generous response to the national collection in December.”

The collection has distributed $803 million since 1989. 

Sister Stephanie said the Oregon connection came about when the office was planning a separate feature of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, who serve in Washington County and Mount Angel Seminary. She knew for the 2018 campaign she wanted to have images of men and women from many different traditions and was delighted to find this all exists in western Oregon.

It’s good if the campaign shoots photos in a chapel and the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon offered their beautiful house of worship. Sister Charlene Herinckx, superior general of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, is one a volunteer consultant for the national office.