Grandma's picture

Grandma's picture
Grandma's Passport photo

Thursday, August 28, 2014

5 - Sr Agnes's Letter to Betty - 19 April 1936

Click here to read story from beginning

Story so far: Grandma Cecile has begun planning her trip to see her relatives back in her home village of Nieder-Mohrau, Czechoslavkia. After she started making reservations, one of the first things she had to do was get her passport. That has been done.

Word has gotten to Grandma Cecile's oldest daughter, Sr. Agnes Beitel, that her mother is planning the big trip.  Apparently Sister must have received a letter in an Easter card from her little sister, Betty, that contained the news of Grandma's  intention. Betty, one of my aunts, was going on 12 years old at the time.

Sr. M. Liliosa/Agnes in her early years
It is interesting to note that Sr Agnes was still using the name Sr. Mary Liliosa. At that time, when someone joined the convent, they chose a new name to reflect their new life. Sr Agnes was one of the Sisters of St Mary of Oregon (SSMO). Most of them had "Mary" as a first name which was just represented by "M.", and then a second name which they would be called, as "Sister M. Liliosa" as she signed the letter here.  Years later, the organization decided that the nuns did not have to do this, and they could return to their original names. Sr. Agnes was one of the ones who chose to return to her family name. Funny, I always wondered why she did, as I thought Liliosa was a much prettier name than Agnes.

The letter in this post is the first letter contained in Grandma's collection. It is a reply from Sr Agnes to Betty. It also contained  a small Easter card that appears to be hand made.
Easter card, approx.3.5"x2.5"

 It was addressed to:
Miss Betty Beitel 
Route 1 Oregon
The postmark: 
Beaverton Oregon April 21 1936 8:30 AM
The return address: 

St Mary's of the Valley 
Beaverton, Oregon
(The SSMO were originally called St Mary's of the Valley.)

We learn several things in this letter:
 Sr Agnes was surprised by the news, so Grandma must not have said much about it before this.
Grandma must have just had all of her teeth pulled and was about to get false teeth. Maybe that's why she isn't smiling in her picture? 
Uncle Tony Beitel - one of Sr Agnes' brothers - must have been sick, but she doesn't say what had been wrong. 
Aunt Betty was involved in 4-H, as many of her descendants still are today. 
The Sisters were just building the chapel in their Motherhouse in Beaverton. 
Sr Agnes was expecting news of plans to build a new church in Sublimity. That still hasn't happened!

Here is the letter:
beginning of the letter

St Mary's of the Valley
Beaverton, Oregon
April 19, 1936
"My dear Betty,

I received your very interesting little letter and didn't think it would be fair if I didn't answer with a letter addressed just to you.

You surely did tell me some surprising
Betty Beitel Silbernagel
news. - especially about mamma. I'm anxiously waiting for mamma to tell me more about it and of course I'm strongly expecting to see her before she leaves. If she had to have her picture taken[1], won't I get one? I hope she is feeling well without her teeth and will feel still better when she gets her new ones.

How is Tony[2]? That was another big surprise. I thought his birthday was April 9th instead of May 9th, and prayed real hard for him that day. I can't keep the birthdays straight anymore so I guess some day you'll have to write them out for me. Nevertheless I guess my prayers didn't hurt Tony and I do hope he is feeling strong again.

I was surely glad to hear that you won 1st prize in your 4-H Club Work and I'm  quite proud of you. And yesterday was the day of the fair wasn't it? It reminds me of the time I went with Helen Froemel[3] to present her 4-H Work at the county Fair.

By the way, what did you get for Easter? - and I want to thank you all very much for the little box you fixed for me. Did you all go to Bernt's[4]?

One more thing I have been wondering about is this? - What are you going to do or rather where are you going to stay when mamma is gone?

Today is visiting Sunday and I was in the parlor with Sister Annette (Hilda)[5] to see Helen Huettner, who works at St. Vincent's. I think mamma knows her, at least she said she was at (y)our home the other year.

The men have been putting up the steel frame for the new chapel the last week. It is surely noisy business but we are all over anxious to see it going up. Have they started the Sublimity church yet?

Today is certainly a big day for little "Margaret"[6] and one I hope she  shall never forget. When she comes I shall have "a little something" for her. Tell Stella[7] and Ruth[8] I appreciated their letters very much and give Marie[9] and all  my love. I would like to send a word to them, too, but it is hardly possible today so you shall have to tell them all I said. Thank them also for the goodies they sent to me for Easter.

Now don't forget to write again and also don't forget to pray for your loving sister,
Sister M. Liliosa"
[1] - Sr Agnes is expecting a photograph, but you don't get extras from Passport photographs
[2] - Tony Beitel, one of Sr Agnes' brothers
[3] - Helen Froemel Meissner, a cousin from Mt Angel, Oregon, she would be a member of the wedding party of Anna Krantz & Gus Beitel later in the summer
[4] - Bernt's, probably was the Joe Bernt family in Mt Angel, Joe Bernt was a first cousin of Grandpa Alois Beitel and they did a lot of socializing
[5] - Sr Annette Huettner, I believe the Huettner's were cousins of the Froemels. In 1996 when I traveled to Humphrey, Nebraska, with Sr Agnes, my Dad - John Beitel, and Uncle Florence & Aunt Virginia Beitel, we met another of Sr Annette's relatives, Lorraine Huettner. I think Lorraine was one of her sisters, but don't remember quite for sure. I do remember that she made terrific rhubarb jam and was a fantastic and prolific quilter!
[6] - Margaret Lulay Berning, not sure what the occasion was, possibly her First Holy Communion?; she was one of Sister's nieces, Margaret was going on 7 years old
[7] - Stella Lulay Neal, another one of Sister's nieces
[8] - Ruth Lulay GrosJacques, sister of Margaret & Stella, another niece
[9] - Marie Beitel Lulay, mother of the previously mentioned girls and older half-sister of Sr Agnes

Story to be continued....  
To read Post "6 - Southern Pacific Company - 28 April 1936, click here

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