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Posted January 24, 2005

I had Holy Names Sisters for grade school at St Joseph's Grade School and part of high school at Sacred Heart Academy - both in Salem Oregon.  I am constantly thankful for the level of education learned!  Two Sisters come to mind - Sr Mary Constance - 8th Grade and Principal - wonderful sense of humor and excellent teacher; and Sr Mary Regina - piano teacher and dynamo!  I was truly blessed.

Jim Fliflet
Seattle, Washington

Memories recorded at our celebration of the Sisters of the Holy Names, January 23, 2005

How much we've enjoyed our senior trips led by Sister Claudette!  God help the person driving in front of her and not going the speed limit!  Sister Anne knows how to get the ministries dinner going with her roving camera and big smile--in fact she always has a ready smile, especially after a good joke!  How much I appreciate Sister Judy's quiet grace, smile, and sense of humor (and we're not saying this because she is Father Ryan's sister, honest!).  Her input at many RCIA meetings, as a sponsor, is very enlightening.

Dave & Shirley Wright

I'll never forget being 'saved' by the Sisters of the Holy Names at Immaculate High School, in particular Sister Mary Courtman (Charles Marie), a true servant of the Lord.

Loretta McIver

I went to Holy Names Academy for my sophomore, junior, and senior years.  Sister Eunice Mary Armstrong always looked so forbidding and stern and I was afraid of her.  I went with fear and trepidation into trigonometry.  There couldn't have been a sweeter math teacher than Sister Eunice Mary.  She spent many hours tailoring the math class to fit our specific skills.  I took calculus the next year.  Sister Eunice Mary has remained one of my favorite teachers of all time!

Vicki (Conner) Nelson, 1970

During  my first two years working in the Chancery, I fell afoul of the "old boys' club" because of my outspokenness.  Sister Betty Paquin and Sister Frances Wink encouraged, nurtured, even protected me.  I believe Sister Betty even called my boss and told him to treat me better.  I appreciate the "intimidation factor" of the Sisters. Thank you all!  I retired in good standing from the Chancery last year.  Blessings!

Anne Fitzgerald

Posted January 22, 2005

I have been blessed with a life long association with the Holy Name Sisters beginning, day to day, in 1943 as a sixth grader at Cathedral School (and continuing through 1950 at Immaculate High School).  The instilled values and fond memories are with me forever even though the visual presences are gone. Thank you, Sisters. I remember you (and your names!) every time I am in or near the Cathedral--my parish, once again. 

Anne Szafranski Comer

Posted January 19, 2005

Nearly ten years ago my husband, children and I were present for the first time at an Easter celebration at St. James. What a glorious liturgy it was! Then a few minutes into Fr. Ryan's homily I started to take note of something else. My heart and my mind were being drawn to a beautiful and challenging message which reflected such deep faith and which was spoken with such conviction that I could hardly believe my ears! By the time Father was finished, I was in tears and wondering how, with such a generous and gracious God, I could ever have been anxious about anything at all. I don't remember what he said exactly but since then have often reflected upon the gift to my faith that I received at St. James that day.

Karen Genest
Seattle, Washington

Posted January 16, 2005

My best memory of St. James Cathedral is really what gave me a "boost" in my faith. I had visited the cathedral multiple times before (I loved how quiet it was. Surprising, most 14 year olds like me like "electric" noise). I inspired two of my friends to become Christian, so I thought that it would be good to take them on a trip to St. James, to get a sort of taste of Catholic culture. The moment they opened the doors into the nave of the cathedral they gasped at the gigantic space. They were impressed with the Rosales organ below, and they were impressed even more once they passed the font and looked up at the Hutchings-Votey organ above. I taught them what I knew about the history of the cathedral, and we went to the bookshop. There I was invited to meet with Clint Kraus and possibly try out the organ. I was shocked! I'd played on pipe organs before (they're my favorite instrument) but nothing like the two at St. James! I played for no more than 10 minutes, but I felt lifted the moment I pressed on the keys.  The beautiful, majestic sound of organ filled the room and I was instantly entranced. It was like a dream-come-true! That trip inspired me to start composing music for the church.

Kyle Kirschenman
Sammamish, Washington

Posted December 19, 2004

I visited Seattle in October after 9/11. I attended my first Mass with my sister and her family at St. James. She convinced me "it wouldn't kill me to go into a Catholic church"!  She explained to me that I couldn't take communion but encouraged me to accept a blessing from the priest. Man, was I ever Blessed! The people were singing Amazing Grace, and I began to cry. I came home to Kansas, searched out the nearest parish and attended RCIA classes. Thank you.

Leonna Winscott
Wichita, Kansas

Posted November 15, 2004

I just happened to be in Seattle over the weekend of November 13-14 ("just happened" = "was required to be on a business trip"), and I was positively awed by the 8 a.m. Mass.  The music was breathtaking.  I particularly enjoyed all of the Latin and the haunting voice of your tenor.  I have been at a Mass in St. Peter's, and as for a sense of true communion, the Centennial celebration Mass at St. James came in a close second.  The fair afterwards was delightful (I was declared a saint!), and I left feeling a bit saddened that I couldn't continue to be part of your community.  May your ongoing celebration be as awesome as the part I witnessed.

C. Renee James
Huntsville, Alabama

Posted November 9, 2004

My favorite memory is watching the baptism of my three daughters and their classmates during the Easter Vigil, and meeting the wonderful staff at St. James.

Kristi Greer

Posted November 5, 2004

The Cathedral was named after St. James, the Pilgrim, which is a fitting testimony for my own spiritual journey. Mine is a very special story; one that still guides my pilgrimage even to this day. Finding my spiritual home is one of the most important events in my life. I am a cradle-Catholic and like some Catholics, I grew up in a parochial school environment. Because of my family situation, I wasn't able to continue attending Catholic schools through high school. Like many teenagers, I developed a resistance to religion and defined myself as a "free thinker". This sense of independence guided me through college; however, I felt that I was still "homeless" regardless of what I did, what I believed in, and what direction my life took.  This began my journey to explore spirituality from different perspectives, seeking solace in different churches and denominations. At some point after graduating from college, I hit rock bottom and felt that it was time to come home.

One night on a cold November evening in 2000, I was walking from downtown Seattle to Capitol Hill and I bumped into a priest. He asked me where I was going and I replied that I wanted to go to the church up on the hill. He was gracious and friendly and told me the exact directions. With his smile and encouragement, I got the epiphany that maybe God was telling me that it was time to get back into the fold. I finally got to St. James but the doors were closed. It was probably around 8 p.m. on a weekday and I was freezing! I went to the back to see if I could enter, but no doors were open. I walked around trying to figure out where to go next. I was very cold and discouraged to find that the church was not welcoming me, so I decided I would just go home. However, before I could leave, Fr. Ryan approached me and asked if I needed any help. I told him I wanted to go inside the church to pray. He was so eager to let me in that we made no introductions. I was just glad to be inside since it was so cold that night. Since that incident, I've been a parishioner.

Allen R. Sandico

Posted October 17, 2004

In 1979 having been transferred here to serve with the U.S.Coast Guard, my wife and I made St. James our parish.  I will never forget the warm smile and welcome we received from Serge Acena Sr., an usher with a big smile and bright red carnation in his lapel.  When he found out that I was a Knight of Columbus he made sure I transferred my membership to Council 676 to which I remain a member today.  I also had the pleasure of being a Mass Server in the Cathedral for a brief time prior to leaving on my deployment to Antarctica.  Vivat Jesus!

Nick Jackman, USCG (Ret.)

Posted October 5, 2004

When my husband and I married in 1988 we moved to Seattle, from Puerto Rico, and made West Seattle our home for 6 1/2 years. My daughter was born in Northwest Hospital and my first experience going to a mass, where the language spoken is English, was at St. James Cathedral.  I have beautiful memories of the cathedral and almost bring tears to my eyes remembering the solemnity of your beautiful church.

Diana Mercado

Thank you for sharing your memories of St. James Cathedral!

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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303