Catholic Social Teaching

16 Jul
July 16, 2014

Summer Blessings,

I’ve been asked by several people to update the information I posted a while back regarding Catholic Social Teaching.

The underlying theme in all Catholic Social Teaching is the dignity of the human person — as given to us by God. In Genesis we are told: 1) all creation is good; 2) humans are made in the image and likeness of God. This is the source of our dignity–we are valued, loved, and honored by God simply because we exist.

Our call is to act in ways that honor and promote dignity.

The best source of documents on Catholic Social Teaching comes from the Catholic Charities office in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  Here is the link:  Catholic Social Teachings


Keep cool and enjoy the sunshine!


Baccalaureate Mass

27 May
May 27, 2014

If you are graduating, or just want to support our graduating class, you are invited to attend the Baccalaureate Mass on Friday, June 13th at 7:00 p.m.

The Mass will be held in St. Anne’s chapel. Fr. John Kerns, pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church will be the presider.

All graduates, family, and friends are welcome to attend — you do not need to be Catholic to participate.

Graduates wishing to participate in the academic procession should wear their academic garb and gather at outside of Clark Commons at 6:45 p.m.



Delicates Drive

27 Jan
January 27, 2014

January 11th was Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Once again Marylhurst is joining forces with the Junior League of Portland to collect new underwear and bras for girls who have been rescued from human trafficking.

We invite you to contribute the cause by dropping off new underpants and/or new bras at the donation bins on campus. One bin is located just inside the door of Clark Commons; the second is located in the foyer of Marian Hall, near the Great Room.

The donations are then given to Janus Youth and SARC (Sexual Abuse Resource Center) two local agencies with ties to Marylhurst — so know you’ll be helping girls right here in the metro area.

All sizes of undergarments are needed. If you’d rather you can purchase a gift card (from Fred Meyer or Target) and it will be used to purchase underwear for the girls.

The drive continues until Monday, February 10th.



(Here’s a short video link to learn more about trafficking)

Fremont nuns honored for fighting human trafficking


Thinking about Service and Social Action

04 Nov
November 4, 2013

November is a time to give thanks for what we have and a time for us to reach out in service to one another.

There are many opportunities to engage in service in and around the Portland area. If you’re interested in finding a place to share your gifts and talents as a volunteer, please send me an email and we’ll set up a time to talk  .

For those of you living at a distance, I’d love to hear how you are engaged in service in your local area.

If you are concerned about the needs of homeless folks you can donate clothing to the Father’s Heart a local agency providing services to homeless men and women in Oregon City. A donation box is set up inside the main entrance to Clark Commons.

Finally, the Archdiocese of Portland has several events related to social action. Here’s the link to find more information:


On November 22nd there will be a walk in support of homeless persons, here is more information:


Friday, November 22: 4th Annual Walk of Awareness for Homelessness

7:00 – 7:30 a.m. Open house and breakfast hosted by Sisters of the Road Café (133 NW 6th Ave, Portland). Breakfast prepared by Sisters staff and members of the homeless community

  • 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Walk from Sisters of the Road to Pioneer Courthouse Square.
  • 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Interfaith Convocation on Compassion and Justice at Pioneer Courthouse Square

For more information, contact Paul Schroeder, 503.913.7853   Flyer

Why You Want To Attend: The Catholic bishops believe decent, safe, and affordable housing is a human right. Catholic teaching supports the right to private property, but recognizes that communities and the government have an obligation to ensure the housing needs of all are met, especially poor and vulnerable people and their families. At a time of rising homelessness and when many workers’ wages are stagnant and living expenses are rising, it is important to ensure housing security.




Happy Founders Day!

21 Oct
October 21, 2013

Today’s blog was written by Sister Carole Strawn, snjm — University Communications, Thanks Carole!

Today is the day in 1859 when the first Holy Names Sisters arrived in Oregon from Quebec. The Chronicles tell us the Sisters were greeted with rain and the unpaved streets of Portland were rivers of mud. … but they stayed anyway!

Here are other facts of interest about October 21.

Today is also the day of groundbreaking for the “new” college at Marylhurst in 1929. Below is an excerpt from the Sisters Chronicles.

Oct. 21, 1929. The Blessing of the Site for Marylhurst College. 

Excerpted from the Catholic Sentinel: “Monday, October 21, marked the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters in Oregon. This date has always been kept by the Sisters of Oregon as Founders’ Day, and has been set apart for special commemoration. One of the happiest features this year was the blessing of the site and the turning of the ground for the new college buildings at Marylhurst.
The beauty of the spot was enhanced by the glories of the day. To the west, facing the campus, was the lovely wooded hill, rising behind the Pacific Highway; at the right and in the rear, a girdle of trees, rich in their autumn beauty; to the left, half hidden by trees, stood the Provincial House… Not far away, in other blessed ground, rested some of the first missionary Sisters.* Their 7,000-mile journey by land and sea to Oregon’s shores had ended on a day and under circumstances very different from these. The time, twilight, with a bleak, cold rain falling; their destination, along neglected habitation on the margin of the town. The brilliant sunshine of 1929 seemed to typify the earthly success and the heavenly reward which have come to their sacrifices and labors of 1859.

*NOTE: Four of the original 12 Sisters are buried in the Holy Names Cemetery near Villa Maria, so we have a direct connection back to Canada =:)

Teresa of Avila

16 Oct
October 16, 2013

Today is the Feast of Teresa of Avila.

Teresa was a 16th century Carmelite nun. She wrote several texts on prayer and because of her unique and profound insights she is one of only a few people named as “Doctor” of the Church. This past summer I was lucky enough to take a class on Teresa and John of the Cross. What I learned was both earth shaking and simple.

Teresa teaches people how to pray. Her spirituality is deeply rooted in the Incarnation of Christ. In the book of her life she states:

I am not asking you now that you think about Him

or that you draw out a lot of concepts

or make long and subtle reflections with your intellect.

For who can keep you from turning the eyes of your soul toward this Lord,

even if you do so just for a moment if you can’t do more?

You can look at very ugly things;

won’t you be able to look at the most beautiful thing imaginable? (Way of Perfection, 26.3)

There it is in a nutshell, if you want to pray, look at Jesus.

Often times we use a lot of energy talking about, talking about, prayer. Teresa reminds us that if we wish to pray we just need to put ourselves in the presence of God.



October Saints

02 Oct
October 2, 2013

October is one of my favorite times of the year–as I said in my last post, I really do love Fall.

I  love Fall because it is a time of remembering some of my favorite people — Therese, Teresa, Francis, Mother Rose, Matthew… to name just a few of the Saints we celebrate this month.

I find that some people are confused by the word “saint” because they are under the false impression that we (the Catholic Church) have the ability to turn someone into a saint. Nothing could be further from the truth. What the Church does is identify people who through their lives lived the Gospel of Jesus in profound ways. The Church points these people out as models and inspiration for the rest of us on the journey of faith.

Take Therese for example. She lived at the turn of the 20th century in France. Her life was sheltered; she entered the Carmelite convent at an early age, and died in her early twenties. What makes a woman whose life is so different from mine a role model?  She bore suffering with grace and love. Therese suffered from TB and died a painful death. But, the suffering that I find more significant is her experience with one of the nuns in her convent. Apparently this woman took every opportunity to make life difficult for Therese. She scolded her, publically corrected her, watched her constantly—I think today we might say the woman was a bully.

How did Therese respond? With her “Little Way” which basically means she killed the woman with kindness.  Instead of becoming defensive, avoiding the woman, or appealing to her superiors for help she simple made the decision to always be kind to this nun.  If you have every been in a similar situation you know how difficult that can be; now consider the reality that you will spend the rest of your life living in community with someone who is out to get you. Therese understood that she would never change the woman’s behavior, but she also understood that she could change how she felt about the woman’s behavior by seeing the face of Christ in her. Imagine the discipline, the love, the strength it must have taken to consistently be kind to this nun, and the grace it must have taken for Therese to see in her the presence of Christ.

When I ponder the life of Therese I am always reminded that I can do better. I can learn to love the difficult people in my life. I can learn to be less difficult to the people in my life.



The Blessings of Fall

23 Sep
September 23, 2013



Okay, I confess, I’m a true Oregonian. That said I’m one of those people who gets cranky if we have too many sunny days in a row. For me, Fall is always a relief, a time to slow down, a time to look inward rather than outward. How can this be you ask? Doesn’t school start in the fall?

Fall is a bit of a paradox in that it is one of the busiest times of the year as well as the time of year when I feel called to slow down and embrace my prayer life more fully. It doesn’t matter how busy I am, this is the time of year when I feel drawn to prayer. 

When I make time for prayer, to be with God in an intentional way (as we are always with God) I find that I actually do have more time for all the business of Fall. I think maybe prayer grounds me, centers me, helps me to focus my energies so that when I am working at my desk I actually do get more done.

Fall, the beauty of the trees as they begin to turn, the comforting sound of rain on the roof, the wonderful soups and breads that we create with the bounty of the harvest…a time of sensory delight. Oh, and did I mention the light is softer than during the height of summer.

Fall is also the time for some of my favorite Saints:  Francis, Teresa, Theresa, Marie Rose Durocher, the Guardian angels, St. Matthew, to name just a few. So take some time to listen to their wisdom even as you find your days filling with many worthy tasks.



A Prayer for an August Monday

19 Aug
August 19, 2013

Creator of the universe, of all that is beautiful and good, help each of us to create deep within our being an inner space, a place:

Where the work we do will not overshadow why we do it

Where we can spend a few minutes in quiet each day, gaining the courage to continue

Where we can look at ourselves—who we are, what we are doing, how we are doing it

Where we can stop and evaluate what the world is asking of us, what we are asking of the world

Were we can re-affirm those values by which we live

Where we can remember that the love and warmth and compassion which are deep-rooted in each of us should reach the surface of our lives and spill over into the lives of those we touch each day.

Grant to each of us the honesty to do what is right and just, the courage to take a stand when necessary, the strength to face the problems of each day and the gentleness to handle them with care—so that it may be said of each of us as was said by the psalmist of old:

“Surely, goodness and kindness have followed them, all the days of their lives.”

Sister Joanne Glavin, SNJM, 1983

Walking and Talking with Holy Partners

05 Aug
August 5, 2013

This summer I’ve been working on a project for my Doctor of Ministry degree. The project is called, “Walking and Talking with Holy Partners”

The purpose of the project is to see how hearing and reflecting on the narratives of men and women who are perceived to be “holy” might impact our own spiritual narrative.  The process has been amazing as each time I present a session I find myself going deeper into the material. So far we’ve explored:  Desmund Tutu and Mother Teresa; Benedict and Scholastic; Francis and Clare; and Martin de Poress and Rose of Lima.

While I may not understand everything about these folks, I am noticing that as I consider their stories I am coming to see more clearly God’s action in my life. One of the temptations for me, as an educator, is to get into the head stuff – but the heart of my program is not about knowledge it is about story and practices.  So I invite the participants to engage some of the practices of the holy partners. I offer for your late summer consideration a few of the practices we’ve explored:

  • Reconciliation and forgivenss
  • Joy
  • Formal prayer such as:  Mass, the Divine Office, the Rosary
  • Spending time reading the “scripture” of nature
  • Fasting
  • Hospitality
  • Mindfulness
  • Journal writing
  • Use of the imagination
  • Service
  • Silent Meditation

Of course this list is not all inclusive, nor are the holy partners the “inventors” of any of the above practices. I do believe that every now and then we need to stretch our spiritual life a bit and try something new, something which may at first feel uncomfortable. If you’re interested in learning more about spiritual practices you might consider reading Soul Feast written by Marjorie Thompson. She provides a clear, simple, and solid overview of many of the above practices and a few others as well.