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Marylhurst Honors Woman Who Brought Catholic Education to the Region

Excerpt from an article by Cliff Newell in The Lake Oswego Review, October 20, 2011.

Celebrating the 200th birthday of Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher turned out to be an excellent idea, as proven with the party held at Marylhurst University on October 6.

As many as 250 people flocked to the university commons. This was a happy surprise for Judith Johansen, president of Marylhurst University, who had this idea.

"I called Christina Friedhoff, president at St. Mary's Academy," said Johansen, now in her third year as the leader of Marylhurst.

"I said, 'Let's have a party for Sister Marie-Rose.' This proved to be a sensational event. It caught everybody by surprise."

Showing up were alumni, supporters and friends of the Catholic community, but most of all there were the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. More than 110 of them "rolled into town" to celebrate a woman who paved the way for Catholic education in the Northwest.

"They came from all over," said Sister Carole Strawn, longtime archives director for Marylhurst.

Although Durocher died at age 38 in 1849 and never set foot in the Northwest, she was the one who started the mission to bring Catholic education to the region. While other missionaries flocked to California for the Gold Rush of 1849, the SNJM order stayed in the Northwest and made history.

"Sister Marie-Rose holds a special place in our hearts," Strawn said. "She formulated 'care-ism.' That is what we try to live out."

The sisters opened St. Mary's Academy, Marylhurst University and Christie School.

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