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Emma Bezaire, SNJM

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Emma Bezaire was born in Windsor, ON, one of 9 children, to Wilfred and Evangeline Bezaire. She attended bilingual schools administered by SNJM.

Primary attraction to Congregation was to be of service to God’s people, to teach and to live Gospel values. Church was important to our family. While Emma believed that teaching in schools would be the primary ministry in religious life, the calls to other services resulted in great adventures opening doors and “widening the spaces” to live the charism and mission of the early foundresses.

Emma taught in elementary schools in Greater Essex County area. She was called forth to serve on SNJM Leadership Teams based in Windsor, ON, Portland, OR and Longueuil, QC. In 1989, the Adult Spirituality was founded by CSJ of London, CSSR of Toronto and SNJM of ON. While in this ministry, she was a board member of Retreats International. Emma was Vocation Director for her Province as well as networking within Diocese and serving on Congregational Formation Committee. Emma served on various committees on Congregational level as well as Province level. In larger Windsor area, she served two terms on Victoria Order of Nurses Board (VON).

Currently, she journeys with adults as Spiritual Guide and is facilitator for several Congregations based in QC, MI and Rome, Italy. She continues to serve on the Province Government Structures Committee and has spent blocks of time assisting at Villa Maria del Mar in Santa Cruz, California.

As Emma lives this year, she does so with much gratitude to all those persons who have been and are in her life. I am grateful to God for being called to SNJM Congregation, for the many opportunities to serve in various ministries. I am grateful to my family, SNJM, colleagues and friends. This is a graced time.

Mary Duffy, SNJM

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Mary Duffy, SNJM, MFT, ATR-BC

Mary grew up in San Francisco, California where she enjoyed the many experiences the city offered. She is the only daughter of Michael and Mary Duffy who both emigrated from Ireland. The Irish Catholic culture was a big part of her life. She followed her older brother Michael and attended St. Cecilia’s School from K-8 and loved her experience with the Sisters of the Holy Names who taught there. After graduation from Mercy High School and attending one year of college at San Francisco College for Women, Mary entered the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in Los Gatos, California. She taught elementary school for eighteen years, mostly primary grades and a few years of Montessori. She also did a year of teacher training for the San Francisco Archdiocese. Mary has been doing art all her life, but especially since 1982, when she started taking classes for her art therapy master's degree. After graduation from the University of Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, where she received her Masters in Art Therapy, she went to work with abused children at Maryvale, a residential placement in Southern California.

Moving back to Northern California in 1989 she earned her MFT and became a school counselor, and then a resource teacher. Children and their well-being have been the main focus of Mary's life, but art has always been something that has sustained her in this work.

Mary took an active part in the American Art Therapy Association serving on the Standards Committee for 7 years as a member and then chairperson, and was instrumental in setting up standards for licensing throughout the United States. She was also the National Treasurer for four years. Mary was supervisor for many beginning art therapists and taught Childhood Psychopathology every summer for five years at the University in Belmont. One of the major opportunities she had as an art therapist was to go to Kiev in Ukraine for three weeks. There she worked with street children and their care givers, helping them deal with trauma through art. This was a challenging and rewarding experience.

Mary has dabbled mostly in watercolors until the last few years when she began to devote more time to this exciting medium. While Mary enjoys many mediums and likes doing crafts and quilting, watercolor is her first love. The last few years while dealing with illness, Mary has had more time to spend painting. A few years ago she had the great joy of having one of her paintings accepted to be in a slide show at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco.

After moving to Merrill Gardens in Campbell, Mary started teaching seniors painting and coloring, which has also evolved into teaching art in the memory unit. This brings her great joy. Mary has had several art shows where she combines her art with her poetry. Her art grows out of her prayer experience and she sees it as a way of sharing God with others. She also supplies greeting cards to two gift stores in San Jose area and is part of boutiques that raise money for the Sister’s retirement fund.

Mary has found the last fifty years in community challenging and a blessing. She is most grateful for the wonderful people she has met through her ministries, and the precious community relationships she has shared over these years. She is grateful for these blessings and is happy to be celebrating her jubilee.

Carol Fleitz, SNJM

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I was born in Oakland exactly a year after Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1942. I had a very happy childhood with my five sisters and we had plenty of childhood friends in our neighborhood some of whom have lasted to this day. Each summer our family took a vacation in the mountains and it was probably there that my love for the out-of-doors and travel originated. I was happily involved in Girl Scouts for many years, enjoyed many camp adventures, and after high school became a camp counselor. Being in the out-of-doors was so invigorating for me.

The highlight of my school years was in the 7th grade at Our Lady of Lourdes. Sister Barbara Williams was an excellent teacher and she was the first person I talked to about possibly having a vocation. Thoughts of a religious vocation came and went during my high school years. After telling my Mother about my thoughts of becoming a nun, we decided I should go to Holy Names College before I entered. After my college graduation, I entered the novitiate in Los Gatos. My aunt, Sister Mary Christine, was very happy to welcome me to her SNJM community.

My years in the community included teaching in both grammar and high school; being a part of the campus ministry team at Marin High School; enjoying my campus ministry at UCLA for 7 years; and parish ministry in Thousand Oaks for 7 years and Pacifica for 15 years. In Pacifica, I worked with the pastor, Piers Lahey and Sister Eleanor as DRE. I worked mainly with RCIA candidates, a ministry I really love. Piers and I worked very well together and it was truly a blessing to have journeyed with him at Good Shepherd.

Over the years, I had the privilege of attending an interreligious campus ministry seminar in Israel. We visited Christian, Jewish, and Moslem holy places; heard excellent lectures; and visited Nazareth, Tiberias, the Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, and Tabgar, which is the site of the multiplication of loaves. We walked where Jesus walked!

I participated in Wellspring’s four-month sabbatical program in Glens Falls, NY, where I had time to reflect on what ministry direction I wanted to take and decided to continue working with RCIA and other aspects of adult education.

Another experience, I had was a four-week experience of working with Sister Cecilia Calva in Mexico in the summer of 1989. It was an enriching experience being immersed in a new culture and a new land.

When the Sisters of the Holy Names were celebrating 150 years as a congregation, I was privileged to be one of fifty Sisters to be invited to Fire for the Future in Montreal, the birth place of our community.

In 2005, I attended the 25th anniversary of the martyred church women in El Salvador. The most moving experience was the prayer service at the site, where the women were murdered and the testimony of people who knew these women. We visited the Monument to Memory and Truth, a wall inscribed with the names of the Civil War victims and the home of Monsignor Romero, where he was assassinated.

I am now happily retired in Alameda with a very loving and prayerful community in addition to living close to my family. I volunteer at St. Joseph Basilica in the RCIA program and volunteer every other month welcoming guests at our retreat house in Santa Cruz.

I am so grateful for all the blessings I have received in my 50 years as a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

Kathleen Hecht, SNJM

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Sister Kathleen is overwhelmed with gratitude for the relationships and experiences she has been blessed with, as she welcomes 2017, her Year of Jubilee.

After graduating from St. Mary’s Academy, Portland, she found herself trying to make a decision whether to enter the Providence or the Holy Names Community, as her passion was working in a hospital setting as well as in education. Following her beloved aunt, Sister Frances Jacobs, Kathleen chose to enter the Sisters of the Holy Names.

She began as a first grade teacher, influencing children, teachers and families to develop a love of learning and the beauty of life through reading, writing and the arts. Discovering beauty was a gift she received from her mother who decorated their home with flowers and welcomed all with open arms.

Teaching every student at their own unique level, acknowledging their best qualities, then building an individualized learning plan to meet each child’s needs is Kathleen’s legacy as an outstanding educator. She saw the life-long benefits of her teaching style and dreamed of leading a school with like-minded teachers. Earning an administration degree, she was principal of St. Paul School in Eugene for 12 years. Kathleen’s father shared his leadership wisdom with her: “Remember to gather people with different skills than you; your job is to facilitate those who you gather to create together something great.” She took this lesson with her and applied in whatever she did.

After 20 years of teaching, she joined the Oregon Province Leadership Team, offering her creative vision to help bring the dream of Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst to reality. Her Nursing Home Administration Certificate, along with compassion for the elderly, enabled her to make Mary’s Woods resident friendly and artistically designed. With a continuing concern for the elderly, she implemented the “No One Dies Alone Program” in the Portland area. Noticing that some families needed help in planning memorials for their loved ones, she became a Certified Celebrant helping families to plan memorials and presiding at funerals and weddings. Presently, Kathleen continues to care for the elderly at Portland’s Laurelhurst Village, formerly Mt. St. Joseph.

Kathleen’s life journey has been truly a gift. She is deeply thankful for the many enriching opportunities and wonderful people she has met along the way to share her love of life and caring spirit with!

Peggy Kennedy, SNJM

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The attraction to religious life began early for Sister Peggy. She was born into a devout Catholic family in Pendleton, Oregon, where Maury and Marie Kennedy and their six children (Jack, Rock, Peggy, Jim, Lauri, and Mike) regularly participated in the life of the Catholic community. She attended St. Joseph Academy and cleaned the Sisters’ chapel every Saturday morning. Her interaction with the Franciscan Sisters revealed that their simple life-style of prayer and ministry was permeated with happiness.

After moving to Spokane as a sixth grader, she was befriended by the Holy Names Sisters at St. Aloysius School and Holy Names Academy, where her desire to enter religious life blossomed. After her entry into the Holy Names Community, Peggy spent happy years as a teacher or administrator at St. Mary Magdalen in Everett, St. Alphonsus and Our Lady of Fatima, Seattle, and St. Patrick’s, Spokane.

She left formal education to live in a poor section of downtown Spokane, where she was transformed by the humble transparency and true holiness of the people with whom she lived. Aware of the vulnerability of women who lived on the street, she co-founded Miryam’s House in Spokane, a residence for women seeking support for their efforts to change.  Miryam’s House was the first sponsored work of five religious communities of women working together in the Pacific Northwest. Ministry at Miryam’s House led to her work at Spokane Mental Health with families court-ordered into treatment because of abuse and/or addiction.

Sister Peggy served in leadership for the Washington Province (while living at Graceworks, a SNJM residence for women leaving prostitution) and then at the Congregational level after one year as Mission Director at Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst. She then worked among migrant women at Nuestra Casa in Sunnyside, Washington, followed by ministry at Solanus Casey Center among homeless and very poor people in Seattle. She currently serves as a facilitator for various groups in Washington, Oregon and Mississippi.

Our loving God has been the constant throughout her life—always faithful—always active—always nudging—always deeper. “I am so grateful for family, friends, and the Sisters of the Holy Names who have journeyed with me and who are the cause of so many, many blessings.”

Jocie-Rhea Chism, SNJM

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The Mother House of the Holy Names Sisters in Quebec, Canada, was only a four-hour car ride from Glens Falls, New York, the home of the Chism family. However it was Jocie-Rhea Chism’s father’s transfer to Everett, Washington, six hours by plane, which began her relationship with the Holy Names Sisters.

The Holy Names taught at Immaculate Conception Grade School where she and her brother enrolled. Her connection with the Sisters continued through high school as she volunteered in the school’s weekend and summer school religion classes. Those experiences moved Jocie-Rhea to accept the possibility of a religious vocation and a teaching career.

After her entry in the Holy Names Community, Sister Jocie-Rhea spent 34 years as a teacher and administrator in Catholic elementary schools. Her first classroom assignment was first grade at St. Patrick’s School, Spokane, Washington. After several years in eastern Washington, she moved to Seattle to begin an administrative degree while teaching at St. Joseph School. With the resignation of the school principal, the pastor named Jocie-Rhea and Mr. George Hofbauer as co-principals. Their collaboration continued until she was selected as one of her Community’s Washington province administrators.

Completing her six-year term in province leadership, Jocie-Rhea returned to St. Joseph School as a third-grade teacher and, later, a librarian. Retiring from elementary education in 2015, she wanted to be involved in other Province ministries and felt that the retreat work of Villa Maria del Mar in Santa Cruz, California, would be a good fit and a new experience.

Reflecting on the contentment and joys gleaned from these 50 years, Jocie-Rhea treasures the love and constant support she has received from her family and friends who whole-heartedly included her in their lives. “The interactions of growing through life, involved in personal and caring relationships, is how I have come to know and trust my loving Creator,” she says. “It is also my good fortune to be a member of a group of women religious who live their lives focused on the needs of others. We share the grace of each other’s lives.”

Mary Annette Dworshak, SNJM

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All it takes is an invitation: For Mary Annette Dworshak’s mother Bea, it was Monsignor Hennessey’s invitation for her to be one of the first lay teachers at Sacred Heart Grade School in Miles City, Montana. For Mary Annette, it was the invitation of Sister Cecilia Horan, OP, to think about attending Holy Names College in Spokane.

Once there, Mary Annette discovered a culture of call that challenged her to believe that a few dedicated persons could say ‘yes’ to religious life in the turmoil of the mid-60s, and that she would be blessed with courage when her Community assigned her to be the only woman in the graduate philosophy program at Gonzaga University.

After completing her master’s, Sister Mary Annette taught English and Religion at Holy Names Academy in Spokane for five years before moving to Holy Names Academy in Seattle, where she has taught for 43 years. For many of these years, Mary Annette coordinated HNA’s Peace and Justice Program inviting the school community “to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8).

In Mary Annette’s passion for the SNJM corporate stands on human trafficking, water and migrants/refugees, she serves on the Congregation Justice and Peace Network and chairs the U.S.-Ontario Justice Network. As an educator, she encourages others to become aware of these justice issues and to collaborate to effect change.

In addition to saying “yes” to teaching classes and webinars on the History of the Church USA for the Catechetical Certification Program of the Archdiocese of Seattle, Mary Annette has helped the Sisters of the Lovers of the Holy Cross in Hue, Vietnam, improve their English conversation and has studied at Yad Vashem, the International Holocaust Center in Jerusalem.

In gratitude for her parents Bea and Ray, her sister Bernadette and her family, her extended Dworshak and Matyshoke families, and her SNJM community, colleagues and students, Mary Annette is deeply grateful for their life lessons in teaching her how to live the prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Kay Heberling, SNJM

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Born in Spokane to a music-loving family, Sister Kay’s life has been one of invitations, opportunities and rich experiences. She took on her first piano student at age 12, and later as a student at Holy Names Academy, Spokane, she was mentored by Sisters Frances Jean Paulsen and Marietta Coyle. Going on to Holy Names College, Kay enjoyed a unique time, which included the move of the college to its Fort Wright campus, where she catalogued the record library for FWC’s accreditation and studied with music mentors Sisters Flavia Bauer, Marietta Coyle, Xavier Mary Courvoisier and with visiting piano professor Dr. Bela B. Nagy who were all inspirations.

In 1964, Kay entered the Sisters of the Holy Names, known for their music and art. Her teaching career began in 1967, at her alma mater in Spokane, followed by assignments in Richland and Tacoma, where she was also on the Ed Board that consolidated coed Bellamarine High School. She returned to HNA, Spokane, and with its closure became a music instructor at Fort Wright College, while continuing with piano and guitar students and the folk group at St. Aloysius Parish. Pursuing her own piano study with Dr. Nagy, she attended the master’s program at the University of Southern California and studied with Tchaikovsky competition winner Daniel Pollack.

At Sister Lucie Hutchinson’s invitation, Kay joined the Marylhurst College music faculty teaching alongside Sisters Anne Cecile Daigle and Mary Claudia Foltz. She then spent 14 years at Holy Names in Seattle. She returned to Spokane after a death in her family and began teaching at Holy Names Music Center. She took on a challenging but rewarding responsibility taking in her nephew, parenting a junior high boy through high school and into college.

Since the late 60s, Kay has been enriched by liturgy programs both as a participant and leader wherever she has lived. She was also enriched by her participation with several symphony chorales with performances throughout Washington State, and in Carnegie Hall and in Beijing. She plays with the Holy Names Music Center’s New Horizon Orchestra Program and a senior string ensemble and continues to teach piano students ranging from age 4 to retired persons and is involved with some grade school music classes.

Throughout her career, Kay has striven to follow or lean on the shoulders of her great teachers and mentors as she carries on the Holy Names tradition, sharing the riches of life and music that she has been given and for which she is most grateful.

Jane Hibbard, SNJM

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Reflecting on the person she was at age 17, Sister Jane Hibbard wonders at God’s sense of humor and incredible grace in her call to religious life.

Born and raised in Eugene, Oregon, the oldest of four siblings and the only daughter of Margaret and Webster Hibbard, Jane attended St. Mary’s Grade School and St. Francis High School (now Marist). Education, in the formal sense, was always a challenge and she was accepted into the novitiate because “she has such a wonderful mother.” Her three brothers, John, Dave and Joe and their families continue to be the deepest of loving relationships. Jane’s parents were the foundation of love, joy and caring for others that have infused their lives.

The Holy Names Sisters were expected to teach after they graduated from college, and Sister Jane was sent to Bend, Oregon, where teaching the primary grades and living with wonderful Sisters of the Holy Names brought many lasting relationships.

The call to be an elementary school principal was unexpected and proved to be a good match for the gifts in ministry Jane had been given, first back in Bend and then at Holy Redeemer School in North Portland. Those were turbulent years in Portland and in the neighborhood. Living at the convent, with nine other Holy Names Sisters and working in tandem with a dedicated faculty, it was a positive and enriching 16 years.

Responding to discernment for leadership, at the time of the founding of Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst, a whole new vocabulary and sense of graced collaboration came into play. As a leadership team, Jane and the other team members worked with the Sisters as first they relocated to Portland and then moved back to Marylhurst, welcoming the new and expanding community to the Marylhurst campus.

As her call to leadership extended to the reconfigured province of four former U.S. and Ontario, Canada, provinces, she became acquainted with Sisters all over the United States and Canada. It was a very challenging and enriching five years.

All is good and all is gift. Jane is amazed and eternally grateful for these 50 years, for all the people who have enriched her life, and looks forward to the continuing journey.

Roberta LaManna, SNJM

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Sister Roberta celebrates her Jubilee filled with great gratitude to God and all who have walked with her: loving parents, six siblings, family, Sisters of the Holy Names, and all whom she has had the privilege of journeying with in friendship and ministry.

Having grown up with a family of seven children in a small Idaho town, Priest River, with a large population of Italians, Roberta’s “La Familia” roots sunk deep. Community defined her early years and influenced her life choices.

Roberta followed her two older sisters to Fort Wright College of the Holy Names in Spokane, Washington. It was there that she met the Holy Names Sisters. She so admired their faith, their skills, and their love of the students that Roberta felt called to enter the Novitiate at Marylhurst, Oregon.

Leaving “La Familia” was difficult, compelling a group of novitiate friends to once lock the book room door, share Christmas goodies sent by their families and tell stories of Christmases at home…sources of joy and community.

Genes for loving education no doubt came from Mike, her dad. Priest River Lamanna High School bears his name. Roberta developed her teaching gifts in first grade (Spokane, Richland). When she asked to move up a little (for example, 2nd grade), she was moved to Junior High (Richland, Seattle Inner City). She also spent one year at Holy Names Academy, Seattle.

Roberta then joyfully moved to the love of her life: teaching adults, which expanded from parish work (Puyallup, Coeur d’Alene), to adult leadership training in the Seattle Archdiocesan Renew program, to ministry at International Renew (New Jersey). Taking this training on the road, to Cameroon, the Philippines, Guam, England and many dioceses in the United States was a rich experience of the global Church.

Roberta’s mom Ann, not only taught her how to make homemade ravioli, but also modeled how to age beautifully, even amidst severe physical pain and an inability to walk. This elder model influenced the development of Wisdomworks, co-created by Roberta, a ministry serving elders, women, and organizations.

Roberta rejoices in God’s call to religious life and its unfolding mysteries.

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