Marylhurst alum Sr. Charlene Herinckx, S.S.M.O. will be presented with the University of Portland’s highest honor, the Christus Magister Medal, at their 2017 commencement ceremonies on May 7.
Sr. Charlene Herinckx was elected Superior General of the Sisters of Saint Mary of Oregon (S.S.M.O.) in 2010 and was reelected in 2015. The only religious community to be founded in Oregon, the S.S.M.O. officially opened their convent in 1886, and in 1889, they opened an orphanage. Since that time, the sisters have been deeply committed to serving others, especially through education and health care. Through the years, the order founded St. Mary’s Home for Boys, St. Mary’s Institute, St. Mary of the Valley boarding school, St. Mary of the Valley High School (now Valley Catholic), and Maryville Nursing Home.
Sr. Herinckx was raised in Roy, Oregon, a small community near the Tualatin Valley, where the Sisters of Saint Mary began teaching in 1912. The sisters taught Charlene’s parents, siblings, and extended family, playing a vital role in her faith development. She entered the convent as a candidate in 1966 and professed perpetual vows in 1974.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from Marylhurst University, Sr. Charlene earned a master’s degree in education at the University of Portland and a second master’s degree from the University of San Francisco. A teacher and principal at schools across the Portland metro region, she also served on the National Religious Vocation Conference Board.
University of Portland’s Christus Magister Medal is awarded annually to men and women of international distinction. Awardees have demonstrated a vigorous spiritual life and an accomplished professional career that has significantly advanced knowledge, been of inimitable service to his or her fellow men and women, and been an inspiration and consolation to the world. The Christus Magister Medal is the University of Portland’s highest honor.
Sr. Charlene Herinckx graduated cum laude from Marylhurst University in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in general science and a minor in elementary education.