Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

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


Sisters of the Holy Names celebrate 125 years of service

the Inland Register

(From the September 19, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, celebrating their 125th anniversary this year, have had a long history of ministry in the Church in Eastern Washington, particularly in terms of schools. The photo above was taken in a classroom of Our Lady of Lourdes School many years ago. (IR photo courtesy of the Spokane Diocese Archives)

The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) have invited the public to a special celebration of the 125th anniversary of their presence in the Diocese of Spokane.

Bishop Blase Cupich will preside at an anniversary Mass at St. Aloysius Church on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2 p.m. The day marks the feast of Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher, foundress of the Order. The Mass will be followed by a reception at Gonzaga University’s Cataldo Hall.

Recognizing that ministry is always mutual, the event not only celebrates an important moment in the history of the Holy Names Sisters’ presence in the Northwest; it also expresses gratitude to the People of God in the Diocese of Spokane, with whom the Sisters of the Holy Names have shared more than a dozen decades of life and ministry.

When Blessed Marie-Rose founded the Order in 1843 in Quebec, her heart held a special concern for the education of girls, especially for those whom society shut off from such an opportunity. Her dedication to the work of the Gospel led to a positive response to appeals from Jesuit Father Joseph Cataldo to come to a noisy and burgeoning Spokane Falls to help bolster the work among Catholics already begun by the Society of Jesus in the area – decades before the formal erection of the diocese. His appeals were echoed by Bishop Aegidius Junger, bishop of Nesqually (later Seattle).

Thousands of the faithful have since benefitted from the ministry of the Sisters of the Holy Names. In the Spokane Diocese they assisted multiple parishes with summer Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) programs, established eight educational institutions, and staffed schools in nine parishes throughout the dfiocese.

Adapting their ministry to changing times, the Sisters continue their ministry in the diocese. As agents of change, the Sisters have expanded their “classroom” to engage in a variety of visionary ministries, collaborating with other orders of women Religious to reach out to underserved women.

The Sisters’ 125th anniversary year dovetails with the Spokane Diocese’s upcoming centennial celebration. Said Bishop Cupich, “The Sisters of the Holy Names number among those women and men of outstanding faith who have set a solid foundation for our local Church. In a very real sense, the Sisters have walked with us in faith from the very beginning and continue still to journey with us and nourish the life of our faith community. I look forward to telling them when we gather on Oct. 6 that our lives have been unquestionably enriched by their presence and their loving service.”


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