Sister Wanda Marie Jordan, SNJM

(Donna Jordan)

June 17, 1934 – December 30, 2023

Sister Wanda Marie Jordan, SNJM departed this life on December 30, 2023 at Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Sister Wanda celebrated 89 years of life and 68 years of her religious profession.

A Mass of Resurrection will be held Thursday, January 25, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. at the Chapel of the Holy Names in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Burial will follow at Holy Names Cemetery in Marylhurst, Oregon.

Sister Wanda Marie Jordan, SNJM

June 17, 1934 – December 30, 2023

Sister Wanda Marie Jordan SNJM, 89, died on December 30 at Mary’s Woods in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Mass of Resurrection will be Thursday, January 25, 11am, Chapel of the Holy Names at Marylhurst, Lake Oswego.

Sister Wanda Marie was born Donna Marie Bryson in Portland, Oregon, in 1934. She once said: “It seems I’ve been part of the Sisters of the Holy Names all of my life. My sister Wanda and I were brought to the care of the Sisters of the Holy Names at Christie School at Marylhurst when I was a very small child and I was there until I was adopted.” Her education continued through elementary and high school with the Sisters of the Holy Names.

At age nine, Sister Wanda was adopted into the loving family of Robert and Lula Warnack Jordan and raised in Lake Oswego where she attended Sacred Heart Elementary School. Following her graduation from St. Mary’s Academy in downtown Portland, she started as a freshman at Marylhurst College, taking advantage of a scholarship to study voice. However, her call to religious life could not be denied and, six months later, she entered the Holy Names Novitiate at Marylhurst, eventually receiving the religious name Sister Wanda Marie.

Of her life, she said. “I have been very blessed. Coming from my background, being adopted into a loving family and living my life as a Holy Names Sister, the Lord has been so good to me. I’ve learned and grown spiritually in my mission as a teacher. And I consider the students, faculties, and parents I’ve worked with as my greatest gifts. I just truly love teaching.”

Sister’s teaching and administrative skills spanned all levels of education from elementary through post-secondary. She was a teacher and/or principal in SNJM elementary schools in Eugene (St. Mary’s), Lake Oswego (Our Lady of the Lake), Salem (St. Joseph’s), The Dalles (St. Mary’s), Portland (Cathedral, St. Ignatius), and Spokane (Cataldo).

Later she taught at her alma mater St. Mary’s Academy and was interim principal at Valley Catholic High School in Beaverton. She also served as Dean of Students at Marylhurst College and was supervisor of student teachers from Gonzaga University and the University of Portland about which she said: “We need good teachers in the world and I work hard to help them be the best they can be, to live up to the trust parents place in them.”

Overtime she received a BA in education from Marylhurst College and an MA in Elementary Education and Counseling from Western Oregon College. She also served for many years on the boards of Marylhurst University and the Christie School/Youth Villages at Marylhurst.

If teaching was Sister Wanda’s first love, music was her joy. Her vocal talents were recognized early including the voice scholarship to Marylhurst. She was generous in sharing her talents throughout her life and participated in several singing groups and local choirs. In an interview, she once said that “music is medicine for the soul.” Whether Sister Wanda was singing show tunes or liturgical music, the freedom and joy with which she sang truly was medicine for all listening. She could brighten up any room.

Sister Wanda will be remembered for her love of teaching, her commitment to education, and her enthusiasm in mentoring beginning teachers in practical and encouraging ways. She was a woman of joy and humor animated by her generous and welcoming spirit, love of play, devotion to her friends, strong faith and deep dedication to her religious community.

A Holy Names Sister for 68 years, Sister Wanda is survived by her brothers, nieces and nephews and the members of her religious community. Remembrances may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names, PO Box 398, Marylhurst, OR 97036 or online at