Sisters of Charity Federation Archives

Sister De Paul Sandoval, SC Interviewed by Sister Victoria Marie Forde, SC July 26, 2007




Sister DePaul Sandoval in her room at St. Mary's in the Motherhouse
interviewed by S. Victoria Marie Forde - July 26, 2007
Sister DePaul Sandoval, 94, in her room at St. Mary's in the Motherhouse interviewed by S. Victoria Marie Forde - July 26, 2007
Sister, what was your life like before entering the Sisters of Charity?
Very busy. I was from a family of 12; 3 had died before I was born. We lived on a ranch in Colorado and we all
pitched in to help. Our life was very busy; we all had our duties. I was one of five girls. There were four boys, and
they needed more help out doors with hay, and with the garden. And my brothers used to train horses, and when one
brother finished training them, when he thought it was safe enough for someone else to ride them, he would let me ride
them. That was very exciting for me. I loved the outdoors. I worked in the garden with my mother, and I helped her
with the cows and calves. In the evening I'd get on my horse and go find the cows wherever they happened to be. They
were very stubborn and decided to start eating when I would find them, so I'd be very angry, and by the time I got
home it was dark. I loved that work because it was all outdoors.
How many acres?
Oh, I don't know. It was a very large ranch. There was a mountain this side, and a mountain on the other side.
My brother used to have to go up and feed the cattle in the winter and the summer and check on them, and the roads
weren't very safe. After my father and sisters died, my nephew was left in charge of the ranch. He sold the mountain
and the land down the plain. Then he piped in water from the mountain; that way there was enough water for the
summer because it could get very dry. So he piped in water from the springs, and it is much easier now. My nephew
and his son run the ranch.
Do they still have horses and cows?
They still have horses and cows and a lot of work. This past winter was pretty difficult because of the snow, and they
were trapped. The county made a road, but they made it one way. If they met someone coming, they would have to
move back up. So they're still working out there. They have charge of their property, and they have a meeting, but I'm
out of it. I'm not in it at all; I signed over my part to the family when I left.
Tell me about when you left. How did you know the Sisters of Charity?
I always knew from when I was very young that I wanted to be a Sister. My sister used to get literature from
Miraculous Medal Association and holy cards with a picture of St. Vincent DePaul, and I looked at St. Vincent DePaul
and I looked at St. Vincent de Paul and I just loved him, with the children. I thought, "Well, that's going to be my
I was sent to the Sisters of Mercy high school because they had a boarding school.
Where? in Raton?
Yes, Raton. I was there four years; I graduated from St. Patrick's Academy. I enjoyed it very much. It was during
the Depression, and there wasn't much money around, so we used to pitch in and help the Sisters doing janitorial work
and taking care of the younger children. There was one brought in about two months old, and the Sisters took care of her
until she graduated from high school. We had all kinds of children small girls and boys. There were some who came
from the East with tuberculosis for the clean air and I used to help them go up the stairs, because they were short of
breath. I loved to work with those people.
There was a lady there from Dayton who had tuberculosis and she was kind of confined to an area in the
parlor. She used to play the piano beautifully. While the Sisters were saying their prayers, I let her play my music pieces
while I read a book. She later died in New Mexico.
It kept us very busy. We'd rather have a janitor. We had a security man who worked between the Novitiate and
the Motherhouse. The Sisters entered there; they went East. They were not amalgamated. They entered in Raton; from
Raton they didn't have the potential of getting their instructions that they needed, so they put them to work right away. I
liked the Mercies, but I was not attracted to their way of life; they were too scattered. They were in different places,

having to teach in different places, and I didn't think there was enough time for religious life—being together and
praying together.
I still had in my mind that picture of St. Vincent DePaul. I never forgot it. My Sister used to tease me about it
"that little old man." I had devotion to St. Vincent.
When I finished high school, I went to Trinidad Junior College for one year, and I used to pray my "office"
every day and kind of looked at the Sisters of Charity, but I couldn't make up my mind—but I knew 1 wanted to be a
Sister if nothing else.
What were you studying?
I was studying history and languages—a few things, psychology. We walked a lot. One student had a car -there
were about 28 students. The boy with the car put all the boys on the fenders wherever he would go; the rest of us
walked. It was during the Depression.
I felt attracted to the children of the ministers because they behaved better than the others. I used to go to their
homes. I felt close to them—from different churches. My Dad was the same way. To him there were no nationalities, no
religions. People were people; he loved them all. I followed that pattern because he just loved everybody. He had
friends of every nationality, everywhere.

Were you bilingual?
Yes, I spoke Spanish and English. After I went one year of junior college, my brother died. We couldn't hire
workers. I helped as much as I could with the cattle. In the mornings we would gather them and get them out to the
pasture. So I stayed home that year and the following year.
During the Depression gas was hard to get, and the cars were in terrible condition. We had to push them half the way.
One day we stopped, my sister and I—we went to Trinidad with my brother (the one who had died from brain cancer),
and as we were going past Holy Trinity Convent (my sister had gone to Holy Trinity for one year in Trinidad), my
sister said, "Let's stop by and see Sister Cornelius," and I said, "Oh, I bet she's busy."
Well, she opened the door, and she was so gracious and so polite and so sweet to us. She took us up to the parlor
and listened to us. My sister, of course, knowing her, was telling her, "My sister is teaching catechism to kids."
While I was driving the cattle, I would see these children who were going to the public school—a rural school,
and I said to myself, "Those children have not received their First Holy Communion. They haven't had any chance to
get any instructions. I think I'll start a class." So I started a class on Sunday. I would gather about eight children from
the neighborhood. I had enough sense to ask Father if I could do it, and he said, "Yes, bring them in once a month and
I'll check them out, test them." (That was Fr Sylvestiani. a native of Trinidad.) So I was thinking more and more of
becoming a Sister, but my brother had died, and I didn't feel like I could leave right then. Being the time of the
Depression. It was hard to get what you needed.
Getting back to the conversation with Sister Cornelius, when my sister told about my teaching catechism out
there at the ranch, she said, "Oh, there should be a Sister," and I said, "I'm going to be one." She said, "Are you going
to be a Sister of Mercy?" I said, "No, I'm going to be a Sister of Charity." When she said, "What makes you say that?"
"Well, I always wanted to be a Sister of Charity." She said, "Would you like to meet our Mother General? She's
downstairs in the dining room."
I couldn't believe it - that she would leave the dining room with the Mother General down there. So we went
down to the dining room. Mother Mary Regina and Sister Mary Carlos came up the steps to the office and met with my
sister and me. She said, "Would you like to go in February?" Well," I said, "I think that's too soon. "I think I'll wait
till later." She said, "Well, you can come in September." She accepted me right away— no questions or any tests. She
said, "Sister Maria George will send you an application. It will be very simple"— just fill in my name. It was at the very
time that Sister Blandina's book came out.
My dad had been taught by S. Justina and maybe by S. Blandina - I'm not sure about that, but S. Justina was
very good to him. He was very much a part of the Charities.
Would you tell us something about your father and S. Blandina and Justina? The book came out in 1932, but this is
before then.
S. Justina was very good to him - gave him a primary book - for first grade -just starting out, and she turned to
the back where it had the alphabet, and some of the bigger boys said, "Well you're so smart, you're already finished
with the book." So he got up to get his cap and go home, so Sister just took him and was very kind to him, very gentle.

She said, "Don't pay any attention to them." So she took care of those boys, and they never bothered him again.
He really made headways; he was a very brilliant man; he worked very hard. He was living with his aunt and
step mother, but I think he spent most of his time with Cecilia Adamson. My aunt, Celia Adamson, was the one who
took care of Sister Fidelis. And her daughter was the one who slept in the kitchen on a mattress, and Willie, that she
spoke about, was my cousin; she spoke of William Adamson. [See Sister Fidelis Goes to Trinidad, privately published.]
They took very good care of S. Fidelis when she arrived. They were there waiting for her.
Willie would take her to church. The first time she went to Mass, she stayed to say some prayers after Mass.
Willie told her, "The people won't leave until you do." Willie really was her right hand man, and then Willie was the
right hand man for S. Blandina. They thought he was one of the vigilantes that followed Billy the Kid. Billy would
have only been thirteen years old, hardly the leader of a gang. There was William Cornelius and there was another
William, but they were all called "the Kid."
I don't know too much about the time when S. Blandina was in Trinidad except for what is in the book. The time S.
Fidelis was there, my cousins just kept her under their wings. Whatever they had, they shared with her, and I don't see
how that poor Sister. . . She had just made her vows, just 20 years old. They were saints because the worst thing, I
would think, was that the Indians could be coming, or they could be attacked by the outlaws. They had a lot of respect
for the religious, but it was good to have someone in the house, particularly at night. It took months before Fidelis
heard from the Sisters who had gone on to Santa Fe. The other Sister spoke Spanish. It really wasn't necessary because
Willie and my aunt - I'm sure they spoke English. They were fur traders.
I guess that's the end of that story, but when the Sisters came back, I guess S. Fidelis got relieved but I just want
to feel sorry for her. One thing I'll ways wonder, how did Felipe Baca know the Sisters of Charity, and he said he would
give this land to the Sisters of Charity who teach in the school, the Sisters of Charity from Cincinnati. How did he know
that? That's very puzzling to me.
[Oct. 30, 2007 - Sister said that she found out that Felipe Baca's daughter Mercedes had been a Sister of Charity but
had died after a few years and was buried in Cincinnati. (Entered 1878-Died 1881). She and her niece had just visited
her grave in old St. Joseph's Cemetery.]
He did give the land for the school?
Yes, Felipe Baca did give land. It just came up a year ago that there was a condition that every Baca would be
tuition-free. Unfortunately, the last year the Jesuits were there, there was one Baca, and she was told she had to pay
tuition just like everyone else, and that was a big hurt, for they had been there for many years, and the school was there,
and it had grown. It was sad that that one girl applied at Holy Trinity; that was the last year it was open. [Closed May
So that was recently then?
Yes, that was recently.
What do you know abut the Jesuits coming to Trinidad?
The Jesuits were not the first ones; there were Franciscans. Those early priests were criticized for what they did,
and it was unfortunate because they were the only ones who understood the people and went -sometimes maybe in a
bar - to talk to the people. They had to do things that the people didn't expect priests to be doing - like working and
hammering and building and maybe socializing a little. I imagined they needed some socializing; so they went into a
bar for a beer. But that was held against them, and I always felt bad about that. It was the same in New Mexico where
the Jesuits were staying. They were criticized.

So they left and the Jesuits came?
I think there was one Franciscan left Fr. (Monaco?) He built the church and my father held the box that they put
in the cornerstone. S. Mary Joseph told me it was made by two students (my nephew was one of them). It was made
of solid wood; it was a very beautiful thin. The windows and everything are exactly the same as they used to be. The
church is very beautiful. The question was asked, "Why don't you modernize it like we did to [Motherhouse] Chapel?"
I love the Chapel because I can still see where I knelt when we made our vows and where I sat when we received the

habit right in the sanctuary. We received them there and then we went to our rooms to put them on.
Getting back to the entrance story-After you talked to Mother and S. Mary Carlos and then you said you were going to
enter in September - and so what happened? I think you finished telling us about Blandina and Justina and Fidelis right?
They sent me a list of all that I would need. It was during the Depression and it was hard to get everything. My
sister was a seamstress, so she made some things. There were two girls who were going to enter but changed their
minds, so Sister Cornelius has some things. There was another girl who entered with me but she was not acquainted
with the Sisters; she only stayed a month.
S. Marietta Scanlon who had been in Trinidad for a long time, a good friend of S. Cornelius, had been
missioned to Springfield, Ohio. She had to use a ticket on August 17, so S. Cornelius wrote to me and asked me if I
could go early—it was quite a few days early. So I was all ready, had my trunk packed.
You say she wrote to you. Wasn't she right there in Trinidad?
Yes, she wrote to me; we were out on the ranch. We got to Trinidad on the 16th.
Was your mother still living then?
My mother was living, but she died that year after I left. My brother had died the year before, my grandfather
the year before - three deaths in the family in a short time. But my family was very cooperative; never once did they
say no.
Where do you come among your sisters? Were you the youngest?
I'm the youngest of the girls. There were two younger boys after me. I'm the only survivor of the family.
The last four died when I was in Trinidad before I came here. One was a Franciscan Sister.
A Franciscan?
Yes, she was too old for the Charities, so she found a priest for spiritual assistance from Colorado Springs and she was a saint, they just loved her. She died at the same time that the other three died.
How old was she that she was too old for the Charities?
She was thirty or something. She just made the registration [of the Franciscans] by the skin of her teeth. They
told her just come to Denver. She was there for a few months—I guess as a postulant; then they sent her to Lafayette,
Indiana. They had a Motherhouse there. I don't think they're connected there any more because they went to Mt. St.
In Colorado Springs?
Yes. So then she went back there
Yes, and that's where she died. She was there many years. They loved her.
What was her name?
Sister Mary Carlotta— after my Dad. And I made twenty-seven retreats at Mt. St. Francis. Together we made
twenty-one. I still love that place.
Can we go back to where you came on the train when you were entering?
I was sick.
You were sick?

They had a Pullman, and I had to stay in bed all day.
You and Sister?
Marietta and Sophia. We arrived, and the Sisters were walking up and down the Avenue waiting for us at three
in the morning, and they took us first to the sewing room and ironed our capes. Then they took us to the bathhouse to get
cleaned up. We had to open the windows on the train and all the Kansas dust came in.
Where was the bathhouse?
It was behind the Chapel, and you had to go through the sunporch, and we had to put our nightgown on under
our habit. We got cleaned up and they put us to bed. We didn't sleep good at all. After a while they brought us down to
where people were working at the mangle. You couldn't stop the mangle - they had to keep going, so those people were
relieved, and then we ate with them. And I was surprised! Of all things there was a big bowl of ice cream - homemade
ice cream. I didn't think I was ever going to see ice cream again, or candy or any of those things. I was surprised at all
that we had - and I loved them all even when I was away out West.
So you stayed here [at Mt. St. Joseph] while you were a postulant and a novice?
Yes, a postulant and through my canonical [year]. They made me teach when I was a postulant. I went to St.
Williams then I loved it. I taught third grade at St. Williams—I gained some prestige.
You entered in what year?
So you stayed at St. Williams and taught for a while?
A whole year. I was there when my mother died. I couldn't go home because traveling was very difficult - it
took three days, it was too long. I didn't see my family for five years. Then I finally went West to Pueblo.

That's after you made vows?
I had made my first vows before I went to Pueblo in 1936.
All that time you were canonical - and all that?
I made my perpetual vows in 1939.
So you were traveling back and forth between the West and the East?
Yes, for vows we did.
St. Francis in Pueblo is where you were teaching?
Yes, I was teaching.
We are going to talk about the vows now.
S. Gabrielle gave us our instructions the first summer, and we received the postulant habit the fifteenth of
August and the novice habit on the second of July. That was the last time we had a Reception.
Was that the brown habits?
No, it was black—flannel two inches thick, and it was so hot—oh, so hot. We had a cape and an apron and a

white gimp.
Is that when they gave it to you, and you went someplace else and put it on?
That was the only time - I may be wrong - but I know they had it right in the sanctuary. And we received our
names. And when we went to ask Mother and petitioned for our vows, she asked us what name we wanted. Very few
got what they wanted. Anyway, when she said what name did I want, I said Sister DePaul and that's because she
herself, when she [Mother Regina] was in China, Sister DePaul Walsh died [in Cincinnati], and when she came home,
she said, (Mother Regina was very close to me), "I think that Sister DePaul died to accommodate you." And I thought
about that, and I always wanted DePaul in some way. But she thought, "Well, that's the only thing" - so I took the best I
could get, and I didn't change it. My friend [St. Vincent DePaul] - sitting there on the windowsill—I used to get roses
and fix 'em up and put them there.
It's a beautiful statue with the children.
Yes, the children, that's what appealed to me. That's why I liked being at St. Patrick's Academy where there
were orphans and different ones that came in. I got so attached to them. And I loved children. I loved teaching little
children, and I did get up to junior high, and then after I taught for several years I said I wanted to go back to first grade.
I wanted to do some things that I hadn't done in a while. Someone said "I thought she would have lost her mind." But I
would have stayed in first grade all my life if they would have let me do it. So they came there to learn—I don't know
how they do it now, but they would sit there with their hands folded, looking at you, especially at St. Francis.
There was one little boy who wouldn't leave the class after registration, and he just sat there. So his brother
asked if this was going to be his room, and after the third time, I said, "Yes. Doesn't he want it to be?" He couldn't
believe it was true. Rita Mary helped me with all the altar decorations, so I fixed it up and 1 always tried to make it
as pretty as I could.
This was in Pueblo?
No, St. Francis [Xavier} in Albuquerque. I taught there for eleven and a half years.
You lived at the [St. Vincent ] Academy?
Yes, but then St. Francis got a convent.
What years were you there? Do you remember?
I don't remember that.
That's all right. I was just wondering if I was in high school while you were there.
Yes you were there and your two sisters.
Did you open any missions? Did you go to any missions when they were just starting?
Yes, St. Francis. The school was already there. We started the community
You remember any Community Customs - before Vatican II?
I had gone to boarding school, and we washed our dishes at the table. The only difference was washed our own in
the pantry. I had a lot of practice at St. Patrick's because they were very poor, and we did the torial work with the dishes
and with the little ones and so many things. I was so happy. I would tell Sophia, "It's so ;ty her," and she'd say, "I hate to
tell you what I think of it." I have the second letter that I sent home.
have it?
Yes, it's very faded. I have it some place; I was showing it to someone. If I come across it, I will show you. I .just
raving about the place. I was so happy, and I spoke about Sister Blandina, and I said she's a very sweet Sister.

is when you met Sister Blandina in the infirmary? Tell us about that.
When I told the Sisters that my dad had been taught by S. Justina and S. Blandina, they said, "Well, S. Blandina in the
infirmary." [Unclear] Then I got the job of bringing trays to the Sisters in this area - the infirmary. They about eleven
Sisters who were bedridden. (The others had to stay in the mission until they got worse.) And one of them was Sister
Blandina, and I was assigned to Sister Blandina. I had brought her tray to her, and she was talking in Spannish to me.
She remembered Spanish people. And I took her tray one time and put it on what I thought was a nice beautiful table
with beautiful flowers, and a chair around it, and she said, "I want to tell you something. It isn't …ty to put the tray on
the commode." I didn't know what a commode was. I didn't put them on the commode again, get some good laughs.
And we talked about some people in Trinidad. And before I left, I got her interested in the Adamsons.
---------------- tape 1 ends here. Continued on tape 2----------------------Continuation of Sister De Paul - Tape 2
Today is Nov. 13, 2007, and I, Sister Victoria Marie Forde, am in Sister De Paul Sandoval's room [in St. Mary's, Mt. St.
Joseph]. She is kind enough to retape part of her oral history interview because the tape, we did it on [a minicassette]
wasn't of good sound quality.
Sister De Paul, you told us that you were one of the first ones who started the community at St. Francis in
Albuquerque. Do you want to tell us some details about that? Father was building a church, a new church, and so the
old church was left for classrooms, so we could use it for a convent. So we turned, converted some of the rooms
upstairs into the convent. The eighth grade classroom was the community room, and they left the blackboards because
they probably had needed them to study at night. And it was not a very nice looking place because the windows were
big. We didn't have drapes or curtains that would fit them, and we had blackboards to get rid of because we didn't want
them there. S, Catherine Roberta [McCullough] and myself took them down when S. Elizabeth Regina went for a
meeting. We asked her if we could do it, and she said, "Do anything you want; I'll be out of town." So we pulled the. .
. We got some tools and S. Catherine Roberta wanted to start it, and I said, "No, you don't know how to use tools.
You're from Cincinnati." So the doorbell rang, and I went to answer it, and when I came back, she had already taken
down some of the blackboards.
We spent a very cold winter there. The wind would blow and the sand came in and the windows, the wood was so thin.
And we didn't have enough, we didn't have blankets. Then a few ladies found out we didn't have blankets, so they
bought us one blanket each. And we didn't have, we couldn't heat upstairs. So most of the time we'd go to bed early so
we wouldn't catch colds, and the wind would blow into, through the drafty windows. So we managed very well for a
We didn't have much money to start to get much furniture, so we found old chairs and removed, I knew how to remove
the varnish from the chairs with varnish remover and how to paint them and we managed to furnish the rooms, and
some desks, they were not varnished, so we varnished them too.
And Sister Adele Baca lived with us, she was one of our Sisters, and her family had a store, a family store, so she
ordered the groceries from there, and I'm sure they doubled the order whatever she ordered plus a bag of black jelly
beans for Sister Adele. So we managed. We got apples from. . . . Sister Isabella gave us some of the commodities and
school supplies that they used to get, and she gave us some apples and some cheese. They used to get a lot of apples
and cheese so we had cheese sandwiches and apples cut up with grapefruit juice and nutmeg for dessert.
And the place was very cold and drafty, but the people were very wonderful. They came forth with whatever they
could do o help us. There was a very wonderful carpenter who made a beautiful china chest to put our dishes and they
tried to plaster the parts of the paper that were falling down, so I used the paint right out from the bucket. And then the
next morning I came in and it was cracked, worse than it was before, so we removed them and started again. All this
time S. Catherine Roberta and S. Raymond [Glutz] would help along, and we cleaned up the place as much as we
could. And we managed to live there very well for a couple of years.
Little by little we started getting things. And then we got furniture for the chapel. S. Rita Patrick had a friend in
Detroit who donated a hundred dollars and we had some money to build the prie-dieus and we used the chairs that we
had the chairs that we had varnished, not very well. And the altar was we took the paint off of it, and that beautiful
wood, that beautiful wood, Father Mazza, [S. J.], was at St. Mary's, and he came and he wanted to fix the chapel. He
removed the paint [on the altar] and put horsehide with tacks, beautiful tacks, and we had money to buy new curtains
for behind the altar, and it was beautiful because it had windows above. It was the operating room from the Santa Fe
Hospital, and now St. Francis convent. First it was a school, but it was sold to the parish of St. Francis.
First it was a hospital?
Yes, it was a hospital. First it was a hospital, the Santa Fe Railroad people, the Santa Fe
So first it was the Santa Fe Railroad Hospital in Albuquerque, and then they sold it to the parish. Yes, to the parish, and
the parish converted it into a school, and we had a school, and for a long time we went there. We went back and forth

from St. Vincent Academy, and then Father decided to build a new church, they'd have room, and we would have a
convent [top floor of the school].
Sister De Paul, you told us that you had a long teaching career that you loved, but when you were in Trinidad,
something happened, that the Sisters didn't go back to teaching one year?
Sisters were not given. . . . In the spring Sister used to give us a paper with intent if we wanted to come back or not. So
the Sisters, three of us did not get this paper of intent, and the lay teachers had theirs, and we wondered why. So when I
asked Sister, Sister James Ellen, she wouldn't answer. She just walked away. So I never knew why we were
Who were the three?
Sister Joseph Elizabeth Pino, Roberta Marie, and myself. Sister Roberta had been terminated the year before.
Well then, what did you do, once you were terminated?
Once I was terminated, I didn't know what to do. I just prayed. And within a couple of days, the lady who ran the adult
learning center for the junior college called me and asked if I would help them with the storefront which was just across
the street. And with the school for the people who were poor, the mentally handicapped, for some of them, and then for
those who were of different nationalities. We got some students from the college who during that time were Iranians
and people from Iraq and from around Trinidad. So we had some students from the college, and I taught there for eight
years, junior college.
I was paid and I was glad to have that money to help the homeless. They came at night and rang the doorbell, and it was
a very severe winter, and they looked like snowmen when they came to the door, and it didn't take long before the
Northern Railroad knew about it, so they referred some of the people, the transients. So they asked if we could put them
in the hotel, the old hotels that were not being used much anymore. And the Colombian Hotel had an elevator so
anyone who was crippled, was handicapped, we put them there. They charged only about. . . . The Colombian charged
seven dollars; the others charged only six or five dollars a night.
You were using the money that you got from teaching?
Yes, I was using the money that I got.
What were you teaching?
I was teaching the adults from Iraq and Libya English with their dictionary and our dictionary to converse. I was also
teaching the children from the rehab center, the mentally handicapped and also the Spanish adults how to read in
English. And so I had that job for eight years and I was very glad to have that job to help the transients mostly; it was a
very severe winter. They would come to the door and they would look like snowmen.
So what did you do after the eight years?
After [a few] years they moved the storefront to the junior college for about three years. It was the same school, but a
different location, and they provided transportation. One of the teachers gave me a ride early and coming back, we had
rotation, the rehab bus would give me a ride home.
In addition to that I found time to, in two afternoons, to visit the jail. I asked the sheriff if he would allow me to go in
because I was going to take books from the college. Many of the students . . . were in jail. And I took them their
homework, so I asked him if it would be all right if I'd go there at least once a week regularly. So he said he was very
happy because they hadn't had anyone from the Catholic church since Father Weber and Father Vifquain [SJ.].
How come the students were in jail?
They broke in or something.
What did you do after that?
In between I did things. I also took Holy Communion to the homebound. I found out, I asked Father if I could take
Communion to this couple, and he said he had a list for me. Since I couldn't drive; I walked all the time. In all kinds of
weather. I didn't mind; I was glad to do it. I was well and healthy and happy. Just what I always wanted to do but
never was able to do because I loved teaching. I never thought of getting out of teaching. So I walked up and down the
hills, taking Holy Communion to the homebound.
What about visiting other people of other faiths? You had told me before that you used to visit.
I went around, Father gave me a shoebox full of a list of the parishioners, and Father said, "Do you want to go around
and see people if they are still going to church?" So I went up and down the streets in the afternoon, and I found the
first street, I thought I'd never get out of Portland because there were so many children who had never made their First

Holy Communion, so many children who weren't baptized, and adults who wished to get their marriage straightened out,
so it took a long time get out of Portland. I don't know why but that was the street that took the most time, but I
enjoyed it.
It was a very wonderful winter, and I love to walk and I walked almost to the foot of Fisher's Peak sometime, and I
found some people who hadn't been receiving Holy Communion or were not able to go to church, so I was able to go to
them to take them Holy Communion there in their home.
And later on, little by little Father had more peopleand I had four volunteers [for driving].
That made it wonderful. Father said, "Don't take Communion every week, every other week," so I was glad to have
those volunteers for the places that were far away or if the weather was bad, and those people were very wonderful.
Time went very fast because I was so busy that before I knew it, I was told to come to the Mount when Sister Isabella
broke her hip. And there was no one else to be there in the convent except Sisters of other communities, and they
would stay.. . . And S. Isabella won the Mother Seton Award [Sister De Paul added later that S. Isabella invited many
Sisters for an afternoon reception, and some from Albuquerque and S. Zita Burke stayed overnight. S. Barbara Counts
arrived in the morning and pitched in and bought balloons and scrubbed placemats and helped tremendously to get the
place ready.]
And we had always. . . . From the time the Sisters had arrived in Trinidad, I'm sure whatever they had in the line of
food, we shared the food with anyone who knocked at the door. So after that we used to have what you call lunch
packs, brown bags, and we'd give them a sandwich or two and fruit and a can of pop and some cookies. We always
had cookies. Our cook was always making cookies. In a little brown bag, to the transients who knocked, to whoever
knocked at our side door always got a bag, no matter how busy we were or how little we had, but whatever we had, all
those years that was the tradition of the Charities. S. Isabella asked the Franciscans to keep the tradition of the Sisters
of Charity and continue giving brown bags to the transients.
This is after you leave, Sister Isabella asked them to please keep up the tradition.
--if they were going to keep the tradition, and they changed all the locks, and they didn't.
And they changed the name of the convent.
They changed the name of the convent to Our Lady of the Angels. This happened in one year, and the people were so
confused. They had no idea when they called, and they answered, "Our Lady of the Angels."
Sister, how did you experience the Vatican Council? What did you think about the Community's response or your
I think we adjusted to it beautifully. I don't think there was any question about anything that you couldn't do and there
was a freedom that those who wanted to change the habit or keep the habit, and they never questioned anything. There
was a freedom in the Community where everyone accepted it when they understood it, and everyone continued in our
own way, maybe in a different style in different ways, but it was the same thing, evangelizing and we're still visiting
the jails, I imagine, and I know the lay people in Trinidad are taking care of the jail, they're taking care of the soup
kitchen, and the jail, and they're taking care of all those things that we were doing. Things done by very good people.
And my nephew John, very active in the parish, and he tells me what they're doing, and it makes me feel good that this
is still being continued.
What about the important meetings of the Community? How did you experience them? the special Chapters, . . .
or the Gathering, the Congress? You know, we had the Gathering last summer?
Well, I remember there were some Gatherings I didn't come. I realized the expense, and my Sisters were not well
enough, and I never knew what would happen, so I stayed home, my two sisters and my brother, so I stayed home to
take care of them. So I didn't get too much; I got papers to read, and I found it difficult to understand some of the terms,
and after, I looked them up in the dictionary.
But when we had that Gathering, not last summer, I don't remember what summer it was, we had the people out on the
lawn, that really impressed me, when they blew those [ram's] horns, and we went down to "Gather Your People." It
made me feel that whether you want to or not, it gathered you together like a magnet, and I think that there was more
unity after that than we ever had before. The first Gathering in the Community we had questions, but in that [one] was
not questions about what we were going to change, what we were going to do, but we were all one. It was just like a
magnet, and we want to continue serving God in our own way; of course if extraordinary, we had to get permission.
But like going to the jail, I didn't feel like I had to get permission. The jailer said when I asked, "Oh, please," he said.
"We haven't had a Catholic priest, person come into the jail since Father Vifquain and Father Weber died. We get all
these ministers who confuse things and who cause trouble."
What sustained you in Community over the years? What sustains you now?
Well, the grace of God. I know that I've always felt I was where I should be. I got rattled sometimes if I was on a
mission where the poor weren't there, like when I went to the Shrine [of the Little Flower, Detroit], but I always had a
taste for the poor, and I found out it was the same and given the fact that I could give them firsthand information about

what it was like to have been out West, the sacrifices people made in order to get their religion. It was a blessing in
Right now what sustains you?
Well, the fact that we are united and so, working with each other and the charitableness of everyone. There are
different ways. We aren't all of the same; thank God for that. We aren't made of the same mold; we're all different.
That makes for variety.
And our prayer lives. We have our own little. .. . We don't pray together as much; some are not well enough to be with
us in prayer, but when we want a Mass that is lively, we can go to the Motherhouse. But the Mass here in the [Mother
Margaret] chapel is just right. Father has it at the same time every day, so we won't get confused. He is just ideal for
us. His homily is little bit maybe, but sometimes just a sentence, but never more than three minutes long. He's
considering those people who have to run out [She laughs], or who are already asleep, because they do sleep
sometimes, He is so gentle, he is ideal for people like us, he is an answer by God, because when they're sleeping, he
taps gently them to wake them up [for Communion], . . . Not in church, I'm not asleep, but I am sleeping more than I
used to. It's the medication that you take.
You're talking about Father Joe Bruening.
Yes, he's the perfect one for us.
And then you have Father Lou Lipps [S.J.] too.
Yes, he's very good too. We are very fortunate. . . . We don't have to worry about losing anything that we've acquired
in the past. We have it here. It's a different shape and form maybe, like the bell ringing and have to respond to it. It's
you at your own pace, but it's just ideal. It's hard to describe the pattern that they have here that everyone fits into, and
that's a real gift, to be able to do that, to be able to keep the community going at their own pace, No one's going to say
walk faster or. . . . You go at your own pace. If you want to die without anyone watching you--like S. Isabella, I don't
know what happened to her--you can; but if you want them to help--and it's wonderful to have them, I want them, you
can have them. But if you want them more or whatever you want, no one is going to question that.
Another thing that people remark, that I hear so often from others, is how friendly the Sisters are. And they go in the
dining room, and they hear them laughing and talking at the table, laughing. You can tell they're not. . . . It's just the
reward, I guess, for what we've done or haven't done. God in His goodness has given us this place.
That's a beautiful answer. Now the last question: how do you think God is calling you to be with God today? Like is it
with suffering? What is God asking of you today?
He's asking me to pray hard, as hard as I can, for all those who are out of the Church, that I know who are out of the
Church, and not responding to God's grace. Later Sister De Paul asked that this next section about a relative be
And you, your suffering? God is asking?
I suffer because I don't know everything [about relatives]. They don't tell me everything.
But I mean even physically.
Oh, no.
You don't have much?
No, I don't have pain, I can say that. I'm forgetful, I'm aware of that, I'm very forgetful, and my vision is not as good as
it used to be. I still say my Office because I have a large print book, and I still say my rosary.
So God isn't asking a lot of suffering from you?
Mostly prayer. Right now I am suffering because I have so much junk. [She laughs.] I know what I have; I know
I should move, I know it, but. . . .
You don't look like you have much. It doesn't look like much to me.
But look at those drawers.
Just one little dresser.
Well, if I can get that done, and get moved. They have told me, a person in charge of everything, not Pat Saul, a
layperson. Whoever. Well, anyway, they told me they have a room for me upstairs. Anyway, there's a nice parlor
outside of it for my family. You can enjoy that. While my family are here in the car, we go here and they go there.
When they come here [to my room], they feel at home. So I went up there , and I looked in the room, and I opened the
door and I didn't see a toilet anywhere, so I pulled a door open, and I saw the attic. Oooo. They were going to put walls

around the toilet and the sink, but it was too close to the attic. Then I looked at the width of it, and it reminded me of a
coffin, and it was on the way away from everybody. I'd be miserable. I do want to be around people. I may not be able
to come to the table, but I like to be
around people. . . .
So, Sister, what is God asking of you today? Let's go to that question.
He's asking me to pray, and to pray as much as I'm able to pray, in my own words, from a book, whatever, and also to
offer suffering-and I don't have much physical suffering, so I haven't suffered much, but anxiety and worrying about
my family sometimes and worrying about people who are going to be suffering from the lack of heat in their homes or
money that their gas is going up to four dollars a gallon. Then they won't be able to get to places that they want to get
to, especially when they're sick and have to get to the doctor or something.
So that's part of your suffering.
I'm praying that things get better, and I do watch the news and read the papers, just enough to know what's going on. I
see, but not what it should be.
Do you want to wrap it up? [Sister is getting tired.] Yes.
Thank you very much.

Dublin Core


Sister De Paul Sandoval, SC Interviewed by Sister Victoria Marie Forde, SC July 26, 2007


Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati; Monasticism and religious orders for women -- Catholic Church -- History; Catholic Church --- Education -- United States -- History


An interview with Sister De Paul Sandoval by Sister Victoria Marie Forde. This recording is a part of the oral history series housed at the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Archives.


Sandoval, Sister De Paul, SC; Forde, Sister Victoria Marie, SC


Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Archives




Online access is provided for research purposes only. For rights, reproduction, and use requests or more information, please contact the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Archivist






Oral History


Sister De Paul Sandoval, SC Interviewed by Sister Victoria Marie Forde, SC July 26, 2007



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Forde, Sister Victoria Marie, SC


Sandoval, Sister De Paul, SC


Cincinnati (Ohio); Trinidad (Colo.); Albuquerque (N.M.)

Original Format



35 Minutes 24 Seconds


Sandoval, Sister De Paul, SC; Forde, Sister Victoria Marie, SC , “Sister De Paul Sandoval, SC Interviewed by Sister Victoria Marie Forde, SC July 26, 2007,” Sisters of Charity Federation Archives, accessed April 24, 2024,


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>

Document Viewer