Sister Christine Rausch is a Benedictine Nun who has been at Mount Angel Abbey for about 70 years. She decided to become a nun at Mt. Angel because the majority of her family decided to join other Benedictine orders, and she wanted to remain in the Pacific Northwest. At the Abbey, she used to work as a teacher for elementary students. Then in the early 2000s, she became an archivist for the Abbey. Although Sister Rausch is not Vietnamese, she was present for when MT. Angel received a group of Vietnamese orphanages and some families. This event was a part of the larger movement called operation baby lift. Operation baby lift was the evacuation of children from South Vietnam to place all across the world. Operation baby lift took place from the beginning of April 1975 and ended around April 26, 1975. When the children, nuns, and families arrived at Mt. Angel, Sister Rausch had been at the Abbey for twenty-five years, and she was working as a school teacher.

In this Oral History Interview, she is looking at pictures that were taken of this event, and explaining both what is happening in the photos and recounting the story of hosting a group of Vietnamese refugees. In this interview, Sister Rausch recounts how the group of Vietnamese refugees ended up at Mt. Angel, and her and her community experiences with hosting this group. Kernel Lambert, who is a citizen of Mt. Angel received a message from his friend Father Crawford, who was doing missionary work in Vietnam. Father Crawford asked him if he could bring a group of Vietnamese orphans, families, and nuns to Colonel Lambert’s home in Mt. Angel. The Colonel reached out to his city for help, and the community decided to house the group in the Octoberfest building. To prepare for hosting the group of Vietnamese refugees, people from Mt. Angel, Silverton, and Woodburn pitched in their time, money, food, and clothing. The group was able to fly out of Vietnam on April twenty-third through the help of a US military pilot. They arrived in Oakland California on April twenty-fourth, which is where the group was processed. They arrived at Mt. Angel the next day, on April twenty-fifth. Sister Rausch remembers watching the news on the fall of Saigon with a group of Vietnamese nuns. Sister Rausch states that many of the children who came to Mt. Angel were catholic, some of the children were suffering from polio, and others still had living family members in Vietnam. While the group was being hosted at Mt. Angel, the abbey sponsored trips for them, for instance, they took a group of children to hike around Mount Hood. After the children’s time at MT. Angel the group split up, and moved to different parts of the United States. Some children were adopted or put into foster homes around Oregon. Some of the nuns took groups of children to Texas and California. View the Benedictine Sisters of Mt Angel Digital Collection