Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Former Spokane woman makes final vows as Maryknoll Sister

the Inland Register

(From the October 16, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)

Maryknoll Sister Julia Shideler (IR photo courtesy of Maryknoll)

Sister Julia Shideler, 35, made her final vows as a Maryknoll Sister of St. Dominic at a Mass on Sunday, Sept. 28, at Assumption Chapel, Maryknoll Sisters Center in Maryknoll, N.Y.

Founded in 1912, Maryknoll Sisters is the first U.S.-based congregation of women religious dedicated to world mission. Working primarily among the poor and marginalized in 22 countries around the world, they now number nearly 450 members.

Born in Oakland, Calif., Sister Julia entered Maryknoll Sisters on Aug. 14, 2005, from Assumption Church in Bellingham, Wash. She has spent the last six years of her life serving the economically poor in East Timor, a half-island nation just north of Darwin, Australia.

Baptized Catholic at the Newman Center in Berkeley, Calif., 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.

Shideler 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, Shideler 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.

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. 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 joined St. Francis Church of the San Juan Islands. This grace-filled time helped her clarify the Spirit’s guidance of her life and she chose to join Maryknoll.

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

Julia entered the Maryknoll Sisters in 2005, spending her orientation program in Chicago with a multicultural community. Her experience of prayer, community life and ministry during her novitiate was a powerful and transformative experience, which prepared her to live as a Sister in service to God’s mission.

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