Verna Scharbach started collecting donations inside her own garage in the early 1970s to address the tremendous need in the Mt. Angel and Silverton area. That Humble beginning, in partnership with the Benedictine Sisters, has turned into Mission Benedict in Mt. Angel, which serves hundreds of people each month by providing food, clothing, household items, furniture, gas vouchers, emergency financial assistance and resource navigation. Her fellow volunteers remember her passion for meeting the needs of the community in a caring, non-judgmental manner. Verna passed away in January after dedicating her life’s work to Mission Benedict, but her legacy lives on today as witnessed by the loving tribute paid to her by Mission Benedict volunteers, staff, the Benedictine Sisters and friends on April 27th and May 11th, 2021, dedicating a beautiful lilac tree on the Mission Benedict grounds in her honor.
This was followed by the sprinkling of rainbow-colored sand to reflect her vibrant personality that won her countless friends throughout her 102 years of life. Her service to the community earned her the Mt. Angel Citizen of the Year award in 2012, and in 2020, at the age of 101, the Spirit Mountain Community Fund’s Helping Hands Award.