Name and title:
Diane Mason, SP
Director, Providence Associates
Tell three things about yourself that you want readers to know.
I love people.
I love to make others laugh.
I have a strong desire to go deeper within myself (spiritually) and to help others see the beauty within themselves.
When and why did you enter the Sisters of Providence?
I entered the Sisters of Providence on Sept. 18, 1961.
As a young person I had a desire to do something different, something challenging and something where I could make a difference in others’ lives. In the era I grew up, one would graduate from high school, get a job and marry. I loved life and truly lived it to the fullest while in high school. I attended all of the dances, sports events, dated, etc. But I still had a longing to be a Sister of Providence. The sisters taught me from first grade through high school in Lockport and Joliet, Ill. I saw the happiness the sisters seemed to have.
When I walked through those front doors of the novitiate, I never looked back. I was full of life, made others laugh and sometimes I got in trouble. I was not the perfect young sister. But I was sincere and passionate. I had to work very hard, but I always felt this deep tug in my heart that this is where I was to be. It is the mystery of the call. I thank God for giving me the grace and courage to remain faithful to this Journey of Providence.
Be a Providence Associate!Learn how you can become a Providence Associate! Contact Debbie Dillow at 317-994-6821 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to request an application.
The Sisters of Providence always saw to it that we were well educated. I received my BA from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. I went on to receive two master’s degrees, one in education and one in supervision administration.
My ministry as a Sister of Providence was in elementary education for 37 years. Twelve years I taught Junior High language arts, social studies and religion. Twenty-five years I was a principal.
I truly enjoyed my years as an educator. They were challenging years, years of professional growth and personal growth. I spent many long hours working with the people of God in all sorts of situations, and loved every minute of it. When I resigned the pastor asked me “Sister, where is this coming from?” My response: “From my heart Father, it is simply time to move on.”
After my years in education, I began study at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership. There I received my certificate in spiritual direction. The next two years I studied clinical pastoral education. My time spent studying CPE in two hospitals was a very sacred time as I dove deep within my heart and soul to find an inner peace. I call those years my years of great transformation!
Why did you want to be involved with the Providence Associates?
Sister Mary Alice Zander (RIP) was the founding director of the Providence Associates. She and I were in a group together for spiritual direction for five to six years. This was during the time I was discerning about resigning my position as principal. So she was very much aware of where I was in my life. Sister Mary Alice asked me to be on the newly formed Providence Associate Advisory Board, which met for the first time in November of 2005. I was excited about the possibilities that could come from this relationship. We had a long road ahead of us, and Sister Mary Alice paved the way. So that is how I really got involved with the Associate movement – an invitation was extended to me.
Tell about your work with the Providence Associates.
When I applied for the new Assistant Director position, everything was so new to all of us. We were, as Mother Theodore would say, “groping along slowly.” In everything we read it said, “Spirit led.” Those two words are so simple to read and understand. To live with it brings one to a new understanding that it really is God’s work being done.
I so enjoy working with the Providence Associates! I have always enjoyed working with and being with people. I see and hear so many Associates seeking a deeper spirituality. The Associates oftentimes will say to me, “I want what the Sisters have.” When I question them a little deeper, I find they want what they feel from so many Sisters: a warm welcoming heart, sincerity and love, and compassion for others. I believe that what the Associates see in the Sisters comes from years of prayer, learning to trust our Provident God and from living wholesome lives.
Why do you think the Providence Associate relationship is especially important in this time and place?
Changing times – a sign of the times! An article I read in 2013, “The evolution of the committed life in the 21st Century” by Maureen Fiedler states, “The major need today is to search out new models of the committed life for the 21st century, to discover how the concept and the reality of a committed life is evolving, and can evolve further, in the 21st century. Such lives offer real and needed service to our church and our world.”
I feel that is what our Providence Associates are doing. Our Associates are carrying the Sisters of Providence charism of love, mercy and justice to places we are not. Our Associates are sincerely and intentionally living out the mission of the Sisters of Providence, honoring Divine Providence. Do we have all the answers? Oh no – but we are trusting, searching and taking risks to move forward through a deeper understanding of what it means to be Providence Associates.
So together as Sisters of Providence and Providence Associates, the charism of Providence is being shared with a world that is starving for positive energy. I sincerely feel this is what is evolving in this place in time of our history.
What excites you about the Providence Associates?
Watching the Associates grow spiritually and watching their commitment strengthen. Watching their gifts being shared with the sisters and with one another. Watching and feeling their enthusiasm and energy come alive when they are together with one another. Watching them grow and “get” what it means to be an Associate.
What do you hope Sisters of Providence receive from Providence Associates?
I hope the sisters receive the positive energy that I feel the Associates sharing with one another and with the sisters. I hope the sisters really realize how much the Associates admire and love them as a group and individually.
What do you hope Providence Associates receive from this relationship with the Sisters of Providence?
I hope the Providence Associates receive the wisdom and giftedness that each Sister carries in her heart.
Complete the sentences:
I am passionate about … life
My favorite hobbies are … walking, watching sporting events and being with family and friends.
Someday I hope to … experience peace and justice throughout our world and our church.