Cathy Beckley, SNJM

One might characterize Sister Cathy Beckley as one of those energetic souls who will never let grass grow under their feet.

Cathy was born in Minneapolis. Her dad, Robert, was finished his engineering degree and her mom Mary worked as an RN. The family moved for a job in North Dakota where her siblings Sue and Mike were born. Next to California where Tom was born. Finally, Corvallis, Oregon, where Bill and Elizabeth were born. She treasured her years growing up close to her grandparents.

Cathy went to the Catholic grade school run by the Sisters of St. Joseph and recalls being given an old prayer book by her third-grade teacher. This planted the idea of becoming a Sister. As a junior in high school, she was in an assembly for College Reps and spotted a Sister in habit. She approached and said she was supposed to come to their college at Marylhurst as she was to be a Sister. The Sister gracefully suggested Cathy go to college and consider the Sister idea later.

After college, Cathy taught PE and coached in two Portland public high schools. She met Holy Names Sisters at St. Francis Parish and in her third year of teaching asked to live with them. This year was a grace-filled time and inspired by these Sisters she asked to join the Community.

From her early years as an SNJM, Cathy worked to bring compassion and encouragement to those she encountered. As a secondary teacher, counselor, and coach at Sacred Heart Academy, Salem, she brought her listening heart with a goal to empower and support the students.

She then went to Seattle for two years to complete a Master of Social Work. Following this, she was asked to serve as Dean of Students at St. Mary’s Academy, Portland. When told of an opportunity at St. Joseph Family Center, Cathy moved to Spokane and worked there for five years as a therapist. She later was strongly nudged to work with women on the street and founded the Women’s Drop-in Center in Spokane.

Responding to an earlier call to be an ordained Catholic priest, Cathy attended Gonzaga University completing a Master of Divinity. Using that degree, for the last 20 years Cathy has been a spiritual director and retreat director helping people on their spiritual journey. At the same time, Cathy has worked as SNJM Vocation Director accompanying women discerning a life as a woman religious. With a boatload of energy and an engaging smile, Cathy, who lives in West Linn, Oregon, has put heart and soul into her 50 years as a Holy Names Sister.