Sister of St. Mary of Oregon Paula Fox died June 30 at Maryville Care Center. There will be a vigil service Wednesday, July 13 at 7 p.m. and a funeral Mass Thursday, July 14 at 4 p.m., both services at the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon motherhouse. Interment is Friday, July 15, at 9:30 a.m. in the sisters’ cemetery.

Sister Paula (née Gertrude Katherine) was born in Watertown, South Dakota, July 25, 1927, to Joseph and Matilda (Cordell) Fox. She grew up in a lively Catholic family with six brothers and three sisters. Her early education was in South Dakota at Holy Rosary School, Goodwin High School and Watertown High School.

After high school, Sister Paula attended Mount Marty University in Yankton, South Dakota, before moving to Oregon to attend Mount Angel College, the University of Portland, and the University of Oregon, where she earned her master’s degree in education in 1973.

Sister Paula taught middle school in North Dakota, South Dakota and Tillamook. She met the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon at Sacred Heart School in Tillamook. She entered the order Aug. 15, 1957, and professed perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1964.

From 1956 through 1982, Sister Paula served as a junior high teacher or school principal at St. Mary of the Valley (now Valley Catholic), St. Agatha, Sacred Heart, St. Mary, St. Matthew, St. John the Baptist, Our Lady of Sorrows, and St. Cecilia. She also served at schools in Washington. Sister Paula commented that her early teaching experiences, both in public and Catholic schools as both a layperson and a religious person, gave her a frame of reference and balance to guide her through 26 years as an educator.

In 1982, Sister Paula left the ministry of education to begin work in pastoral ministry/chaplaincy. She completed her National Association of Catholic Chaplains certification in 1989. She served as director of spiritual care or chaplain at Mount St. Joseph in Portland, St. John Medical Center in Oxnard, California, Providence Mount St. Vincent in Seattle and the sisters’ infirmary.

Retiring from chaplaincy in 2001, Sister Paula continued ministry through her work in the sisters’ English for speakers of other languages program. In addition, Sister Paula was an active contact sister with many of the SSMO Associates.

Before entering religious life, Sister Paula experienced a life-changing ministry in Delia, New Mexico. There, living among the poor, confronted by the problems of society and the Catholic Church, with her eyes and heart opened, she experienced (in the words of Pope Francis) “a privileged place of encounter with Christ.” That encounter inspired and supported Sister Paula’s more than 60 years of joyful, compassionate service. Sister Paula engaged people with respect, humor, music and stories and in love and prayer for their concerns and needs. She brought to others the Christ whom she deeply encountered and loved.

She is missed, loved and survived by her Sisters in Community, her many nieces and nephews, the Maryville caregivers and nursing staff, and her many dear friends and SSMO Associate members. Sister Paula was preceded in death by her parents Joseph and Matilda (Cordell) Fox, her brothers William, Norbert, Roman, John, Daniel and Hilary Fox, and sisters Louise Stricherz, Agnes Stricherz, and Carolyn Mitchell.

Memorial offerings may be directed to the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Foundation.

May she rest in God’s loving embrace.