Celebrating our Legacy and SNJM Foundresses

As we celebrate our 165th anniversary throughout 2024, it is imperative that we continue to remember and revere our SNJM Foundresses. Earlier this year, the following prayers were shared with our faculty, staff, and students. We hope that you will be inspired by the SNJM sisters and the role that they have played in founding our beloved school.


In 1859 Oregon had only recently become a state of the Union, admitted to statehood on February 14, 1859. It was a population concentrated in the Portland and Willamette Valley areas. Principally, these people were homesteaders who had braved the long miles of the Oregon Trail to settle the fertile lands of Western Oregon. A tenacious lot, they were willing to put all their energies into carving out a civilization in the wilderness.

The Catholic Church in the Northwest was a small segment of that western population. Mainly French Canadian, former Hudson Bay employees compose the population who had opted for permanent settlement in the promising land of the Willamette Valley. In 1859 the Church in Oregon was barely 20 years old.

Responding to the pleas of Francis Norbert Blanchet, Archbishop of Oregon City, Mother Teresa of Jesus, Superior General of the Holy Names Community, agreed to send twelve of the seventy sisters 3,000 miles across the continent and across a culture to Portland, Oregon. Who were these Sisters who created a variety of ministries which have invited hundreds of women to share in the mission of the Holy Names Sisters for 165 years?


My spirit is with each of you. I am here in this Chapel praying with you. applaud your conviction and your courage. Be assured that your presence in the world today makes a difference.

Our early founding was possible because of the love and vision we shared. We relied on each other, and this trust enabled us to move through some very difficult and pain-filled times.

I honor your past. I celebrate your present. I go with you as you create your future.