Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon will honor the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary as “Ecumenist of the Year” during an annual dinner set for May 11.
The Holy Names Sisters, founded in Canada, have served in the Northwest since Oregon became a state in 1859. They founded St. Mary’s Academy, a school for girls that is still in operation.
In recent years, the sisters have been leaders in social justice ministry, including a push to make Oregonians more aware of human trafficking. That spirit goes back a long time. Sister Miriam Teresa Gleason, who died in 1962, was a labor rights activist starting in 1912. She helped shape the nation’s first minimum wage law with the help of church leaders. She later became a professor of sociology and was an expert on the labor movement, respected by people of all creeds.
The sisters’ U.S.-Ontario Province is headquartered in Marylhurst, home to a university founded by the sisters. Holy Names ministry is distinguished by an aim to develop the human person through education, social justice, contemplation and the arts. Among the sisters’ core values are hospitality and service to people who are impoverished, abandoned or living at the margins of society. Last year, the sisters teamed up with Ecumenical Ministries and the Albina Ministerial Alliance to bring Rev. Otis Moss III to Portland for a lecture on “Redeeming the Soul of America: Race, Justice and Reconciliation.”
Also being honored May 11 is Judge George Van Hoomissen, who gets the “Rodney Page Ecumenical Service Award.”
A graduate of Central Catholic High School, University of Portland and Georgetown Law School, Van Hoomissen served two terms in the Oregon Legislature and was district attorney for Multnomah County before being named to the Multnomah County Circuit Court, Oregon Court of Appeals and Oregon Supreme Court.
Van Hoomissen was the first president of EMO’s board of directors, serving from 1974 to 1977. Under his leadership, the newly formed organization was strengthened by increasing denominational membership and launching new community ministries.
Also on the honors list are Andrea Williams of the immigrant rights organization, Causa, and Sahar Bassyouni of the Oregon Islamic Academy.