Sister Catherine Grams (Sister Mary Michaelann), 90, died at the Marie-Rose Center at Mary's Woods in Lake Oswego, July 13. A member of the Sisters of the Holy Names for 70 years, her funeral will be held Wednesday, July 26, at 11 a.m. in the Chapel of the Holy Names, Marylhurst.
Sister Catherine, the first-born child of Michael James and Frances Slaird Grams, was born in Portland. She attended Holy Rosary Grade School and graduated from The Madeleine High School in 1944.
She had a problem most people would envy. Her talents lay in several directions. She was tall and strong and enjoyed being a fine athlete. Because her father died when she was five years old in the midst of the Depression, money was short, but her mother found a little cash for Catherine to have piano lessons and she loved music. Her fine logical mind drew her to science and mathematics and it was there she decided her future plans.
She entered the Sisters of the Holy Names at Marylhurst in July 1945. Her ministry in teaching began at Immaculate High School in Seattle, where she made lifelong friends. To this day the students and their families, particularly the Keough family of Milwaukie, remained close, inviting her to weddings, baptisms and memorial services and considering her part of their family. She also taught at St. Mary’s in The Dalles; Sacred Heart Academy, Salem; St. Mary High School, Medford; Marylhurst College; and 12 years at St. Mary’s Academy, Portland.
All the while she was teaching, she was earning a master’s degree in chemistry from Gonzaga University, Spokane. She later earned a master’s in religious education from Fort Wright College, Spokane. She also attended the CREDO program at Gonzaga. From there she moved to a new ministry in religious education. This ministry took her around the countryside, but particularly to the beach, including Newport and Tillamook, which brought her great delight.
The list of Sister Catherine’s other ministries included: driver for the Provincial House sisters, charge of the sisters’ beach house and companion to medical appointments. For four years she served as pastoral associate at Our Lady of Sorrows, Portland, and worked in downtown ministry for the Jesuits. After retiring Sister Catherine moved to Tillamook Town House, attended liturgies at St. Philip Neri and spent long hours in prayer amid her beloved plants and blossoms on her patio.
Sister Catherine was a planner. At the beginning of the school year, when other teachers were racing to get a couple of weeks ahead, she had planned the entire school year. When the forms for funeral arrangements first appeared she finished hers immediately except for the “date of demise”. Now her plans are complete and she is reunited with her mother and father and all are caring for her surviving sister, Mary Anne.
Sister Catherine is survived by her sister Mary Anne Grams and the members of her religious community.
Remembrances may be made to Sisters of the Holy Names, P.O. Box 398, Marylhurst, 97036 or online at snjmusontario.org/donate.