Holy Names Sister Susan Mitchell, 72, died March 31 in Portland. Funeral arrangements are pending and will be announced later.

The daughter of Ben and Grace Hanigan Mitchell, Jr., Sister Susan was born Oct. 6, 1948, the oldest of five children. She was raised in a loving, Catholic family that lived on farms in St. Paul, Beaverton and Newberg. Her family worked, played, and prayed together. Sharing in the farm work and household chores, she learned responsibility and a strong work ethic. She was surrounded by a large extended family who have continued to stay connected throughout the years. Sister Susan attended Catholic schools in Beaverton through grade seven, then went to Newberg public schools. She knew she wanted to be a sister when she was a sophomore in high school. When she told her mother about this desire during her senior year, her mother, who had graduated from Marylhurst Normal School, introduced her to the Sisters of the Holy Names.

Following her high school graduation in 1966 Susan entered the Holy Names Sisters’ Novitiate at Marylhurst. With the completion of a bachelor’s degree in education at Marylhurst College, she taught for 18 years in Holy Names schools, including Holy Redeemer, Portland; Our Lady of the Lake, Lake Oswego; and St. Joseph’s, Salem.

Her next ministry evolved after being introduced by a friend to L’Arche, an international federation of communities of faith where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life and create home together. In 1990 Sister Susan joined the L’Arche community, whose first Portland home was at that time newly opened. For the next 23 years she lived and worked at L’Arche Portland, where she helped to open a second home and assumed the roles of assistant, community coordinator, and finally community leader/executive director. She retired from L’Arche Portland in 2013, remaining an active member of its extended community as a volunteer and participant in community activities.

Most recently, Sister Susan served as community life coordinator for the Sisters of the Holy Names in assisted living at Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst, Lake Oswego.

A Holy Names Sister for 51 years, Sister Susan is survived by her brothers and sisters Ben (Kayla) Mitchell, Margaret (Bob) Reed, Will (Denise) Mitchell, Mary Rietze, her nieces and nephews, her many friends, members of the L’Arche community and members of her religious community. Remembrances may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names, PO Box 398, Marylhurst, OR 97036 or online at www.snjmusontario.org/donate.