Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Three Religious communities welcome new members

the Inland Register

(From the Aug. 23, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)

Late summer sees five women taking steps toward various stages of commitment to life in three different Religious communities.

• Two women Religious – natives of Vietnam and El Salvador – will participate in Eucharistic celebrations of the canonical transfer of their perpetual vows in Spokane.

The ceremony for Gabrielle Nga Nguyen will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, and the ceremony for Ana Dolores Orellana will be at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 9. Both celebrations will be at Mount St. Joseph Chapel, 12 W. 9th Ave., followed by receptions.

“After sharing our life and mission with Sisters Gabrielle and Ana Dolores for more than three years, we welcome them as sisters,” said Providence Sister Margaret Botch, Provincial/Leadership Team Coordinator. “We have been mutually enriched by their presence. Their eagerness to love and serve Christ in the poor and their strong trust in Providence invite us to a deeper living of our common call.”

Both Sisters are living in Providence communities: Sister Gabrielle in Spokane, and Sister Ana Dolores in Portland, Ore.

Sister Gabrielle Nga Nguyen SP

Sister Gabrielle was born in South Vietnam in 1962. Her family escaped to the United States in 1975, settling first in Fort Chaffee, Ark. She entered the Congregation of Mary Queen in 1982 in Springfield, Mo., and professed final vows in 1991. After obtaining certification as an LPN, she served as a community health nurse at the St. Louis Vietnamese Center through Catholic Charities.

Sister Gabrielle met several Sisters of Providence at a workshop on transferring to another community and maintained contact with them for more than a year before deciding to take a closer look. She came to Spokane in February 2004 to live with Sisters in a “Come and See” experience to explore whether a transfer of vows into the community would be right for her. That experience included visits to the sisters living in Yakima, Portland and Seattle. She began the transfer process in July 2004.

Today, Sister Gabrielle is working towards her RN degree at Spokane Community College and is on call at Mount St. Joseph.

Sister Ana Dolores Orellana SP

Sister Ana Dolores, a Salvadoran citizen, has been a Sister of perpetual vows in the Religious community Mothers of the Orphans in Rome, Italy. She came to Spokane in August 2002, where her mother and most of her siblings have lived since becoming part of a sanctuary program at St. Ann Church before becoming documented.

Sister Ana Dolores began the formal transfer process with a prayer service attended by family and friends in Yakima in September 2003. She studied English as a Second Language and ministered with the Hispanic community in Yakima while living with Sisters of Providence at the candidate house. She completed a “Come and See” program that included five months living with Sisters in El Salvador to experience the life of prayer, community and ministry with them.

She currently is taking English as a Second Language at Portland Community College. She also is a volunteer at Providence Elder-Place and at Providence Portland Medical Center.

Sister Julia Shideler MM

• On Aug. 12, 2007, Sister Julia Shideler of Spokane made her First Profession as a Mary-knoll Sister at Maryknoll, N.Y.

Born in Oakland, CA, in 1978 and baptized Catholic at the Newman Center in Berkeley, she spent her early years at St. Augustine Parish in Spokane. When she was in second grade, her parents left the Catholic Church and joined the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Spokane. She received Unitarian Religious Education throughout high school and integrated Unitarian values and a commitment to spirituality and justice.

After moving to Orcas Island, Wash., in 1997, Julia began searching for deeper understanding and a more personal relationship with God. She went for a cultural “work-exchange” in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she gave English and French lessons in a private school and lived with a family. Her three-month live-in with a devoted Catholic family prompted her to reflect on her faith and the personal meaning of her baptism. It also gave her a greater desire for cross-cultural work.

At Western Washington University, she began exploring her Catholic roots. She attended some Campus Ministry masses at the Shalom Center that touched her deeply.

Within a year she decided to return to the Catholic Church and joined St. Ann Parish in Spokane in 2000. It was there she began to hear a call to Religious life. Dominican Sister Alice Ann Byrne, a fellow parishioner, was the only one she could talk to about her sense of calling. At the time she was preparing for a trip to Cote d’Ivoire with Whatcom College. The local parish she joined in Grand Bassam for three months gave her a wider sense of the universal Church and nurtured her desire for mission.

After graduating from Western Washington University in 2002 with a degree in Spanish, she moved back to Orcas Island to continue discerning her call to Religious life. She chose to join Maryknoll.

To further discern her call to Mission and to Maryknoll, Sister Julia went to live in Korea. She taught English for a year in Suwon and in 2004, she spent four months with a Maryknoll community in Majuro, Marshall Islands Republic (in the Pacific) for a live-in experience.

She entered the Maryknoll Sisters in 2005.

Currently, Sister Julia looks forward to her first mission assignment in South-East Asia – either East Timor or Cambodia.

Sisters Kim Marie Jordan OSB and Cindy Schultz OSB

• On Aug. 18, Cindy Schultz and Kim Marie Jordan made vows as Benedictine Sisters at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho.

The Benedictine Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho, welcomed two women as Sisters on Aug. 18, during the Rite of Temporary Profession. Novices Cindy Schultz and Kim Marie Jordan publicly accepted the monastic promises of stability, fidelity to the monastic life and obedience.

Sister Cindy Schultz, 47, is a Cottonwood native and grew up surrounded by the sisters.

A registered nurse, Sister Cindy worked at area hospitals and also volunteered as an EMT for 18 years. During all those years serving the health care needs of her patients, “God worked on my heart.”

Several years before she entered the monastery, Schultz began joining the Sisters for prayer and Mass.

She described the last three years in formation as “very enriching! It wasn’t always easy; at times I questioned myself, asking again and again, ‘Are you sure?’ But these years have confirmed my desire to seek God and to live the monastic life as a Benedictine.”

Sister Kim Marie, 53, is a divorced mother of two from Houston, Texas. She found out about St. Gertrude Monastery via an internet search in 1997.

“I was educated by the Benedictines as a little girl, and had become familiar with the idea of monastic life by visiting a men’s monastery in New Mexico,” Jordan remembers. “When I found St. Gertrude’s on the internet, I was curious and came for a 12-day Monastic Living Experience.”

She stayed in contact with the Sisters for the next six years as she tried to talk herself out of the move.

“Deciding to come to the monastery was like climbing a mountain,” she said. “The trip to the top was a struggle. It was hard to leave my friends, my job, my house and car. But once I reached the top and the decision to come here was made, everything became easy.”

Once she arrived in Idaho after selling her house and car, quitting her job of 14 years in the publishing business, saying her farewells to friends and family, she sat on her bed in her tiny room and exclaimed, “Oh, Kim, what have you done?!”

“I used to think I chose to come here, to St. Gertrude’s. Now I know that God chose this place for me.”

Both women will live at the monastery and enter into the ministries there.


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