Shirley Krueger, SNJM

My Nun’s Story

When I was about 8 years old, my mother found me walking on the grass in our front lawn, reading from a prayer book that had belonged to my father. She told me that only priests and nuns walked around reading prayers, so I decided I would become a nun. Since I lived in Ashland, I don’t think I even knew what a nun was because we didn’t have any nuns there.

I think of this often and this may really be how I did become a nun. From time to time while I was growing up, I thought about this and always came to the decision that I did not want to become a nun. However, something must have clicked: I did become a nun!

When I was 26 years old and a member of the Cathedral congregation, I talked with Father Schaefers about what I was feeling. He said that the only Sisters he really knew were the Sisters of the Holy Names because his sister had become one. He told me to look into all orders. However, all I did was look into the Sisters of the Holy Names. That was it.

I was advised by Mother Mary Mark to continue my Portland State program because I only had to complete my practice teacher’s training.  I did this and entered the Sisters of the Holy Names in September 1963.

Since I did not attend any Catholic schools, I then spent several years at Marylhurst College filling in my theology background. After that I taught at Marist High School in Eugene, Oregon, for seven years and St. Mary’s Academy for nine years. Next I took a sabbatical in San Antonio, Texas, and recognized that I was an alcoholic. When I returned to Portland, I attended Portland Community College for two years to become an Alcohol and Drug Counselor. I then worked at Columbia River Correctional Institution for five years until I met their mandatory retirement age of 65. With the Holy Names blessing, I continued to work with AA members for the next several years. During this time I also continued my commitment to Centering Prayer from my time in Texas, and taught many workshops and groups throughout Oregon.

Having retired, I moved to Mary’s Woods where, in addition to all my other activities, I continue to be active in AA, joined the singing group, and participate in the Food Committee.

I have been looking forward to celebrating my Jubilee for the last 53 years and it is finally here!