Sister Ethna Marie O’Doherty, SNJM

Sister Cecilia Miriam

May 19, 1919 – December 17, 2016

 Sister Ethna Marie O’Doherty (Sister Cecilia Miriam), age 97, died at the Marie-Rose Center at Mary’s Woods in Lake Oswego on December 17, 2016. She was a vowed member of the Sisters of the Holy Names for 73 years.

In 1920, William Vincent and Hannah Marcella Turley O’Doherty with their daughter Ethna left their native Ireland for the United States. Ethna grew up in Seattle, joined by two younger sisters, in a family full of faith and music.

As a senior at Holy Names Academy, Ethna received a scholarship to Marylhurst College. There she performed in musicals, excelled in academics and received the Pentland (later Joan of Arc) award, the highest honor given to an outstanding senior. It was there too, that the seeds of a religious vocation, planted in her heart as a child, grew and led to her entry into the Holy Names Community in February 1941.

After making vows in 1943, Sister Ethna began her first ministry teaching music in Spokane at Holy Names Academy and in Portland at St. Mary’s Academy. After 18 years she opted to leave music to pursue further studies in French. She spent a year in Paris, principally at the Sorbonne, and fit in trips to Spain, Italy and Ireland before returning to Seattle where she taught French at Holy Names Academy. Always an efficient typist, she then spent the next part of her active ministry as a secretary in several Seattle high schools, and served as a keeneyed proof reader until macular degeneration led to her retirement.

Like most retirees she found her days filled with activity. She sang in choirs, attended study and prayer groups, offered her services for any need, as an integral part of any parish she belonged to.

Many words would describe Sister Ethna life at Mary’s Woods, but one stands out: hospitable. She welcomed the newcomers, ate with and enjoyed many different groups, visited the sick, prayed with the dying, and comforted the bereaved. She loved to laugh and to sing and at age 95 joined the Marylhurst Community Choir and went with them to New York as they sang at Carnegie Hall. Above all, Sister Ethna flourished in God’s love.

Sister Ethna Marie O’Doherty, SNJM departed this life on December 17, 2016 at Marie Rose Center, Mary’s Woods, in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Sister Ethna Marie had celebrated 97 years of life and 73 years of religious profession.