The Providence Associates Advisory Board consists of 14 members. Included in this membership are Sister Diane Mason, director; Debbie Dillow, PA, assistant director; and General Officer Sister Dawn Tomaszewski, liaison to the General Council.

Board members

Peggy Balensuela, PA, Terre Haute, Ind.

1.) Year appointed to the board:

April 2012

2.) Your ministry/job:

I have been on the faculty of Indiana State University since 1989. I am a professor of music, teaching voice and voice-related courses; I particularly cherish the opportunity to mentor young adults. It is a privilege to be part of a close-knit collegiate community in which I get to build a relationship with students throughout their undergraduate years.

3.) What is your connection to the Congregation?

I am a bit of a “late-bloomer,” having encountered the Congregation only after I moved to Terre Haute. I became a Providence Associate in 2008.

4.) What do you look forward to most about serving on the advisory board?

It is humbling to join the board at this juncture of the development of the associate relationship! I plan to listen and learn for a l-o-n-g time! Meanwhile, I hope I can be of useful service as a “local” in Terre Haute. I look forward to getting to know more PAs and sisters during my tenure on the board.

5.) What are your hopes for the future of the Providence Associate Relationship?

These are certainly unsettling times for women religious. I think associates can do much to be supportive and proactive in furthering the charism of Providence. The enthusiasm of the past years has brought us to a point where we can (must?) catch our breath a bit so that we can fine-tune and deepen our perspective on our role with the Congregation.

Geraldine-BaumGerri Baum, PA, Cary, Ill.

1.) Year appointed to the board:

April 2013

2.) Your ministry/job:

Currently I support activities of Sisters of Providence, NETWORK, Pax Christi USA, Women’s Ordination Conference, and various other organizations which embody discernment and spirit-filled response.

3.) What is your connection to the Congregation?

I am a graduate of Providence High School, Chicago. I’ve kept ties to the Congregation through my continued friendship with Sister Cordelia Moran. Also, my husband is a 1995 MAPT graduate. We have attended several MAPT events since then.

4.) What do you look forward to most about serving on the advisory board?

I look forward to contributing my talents and experience to the continued development of the Associates Relationship. I am grateful for the solid foundation on which the Associates Relationship has been established and Providence to move confidently into the future.

5.) What are your hopes for the future of the Providence Associate Relationship?

I hope to increase the sense of belonging for all associates and Candidate-Associates, near and far, with one another and the vowed members of the Congregation. The belonging can be any one of many things: healing, inspiration or prayer, just for starters

Sister Barbara Ann Bluntzer

Sister Barbara Ann Bluntzer, Corpus Christi, Texas

1.) Year appointed to the board:

Spring 2012

2.) Your ministry:

I am serving as a volunteer at St. Pius X Parish in Corpus Christi. (Sisters of Providence “retire” when they turn 70. She stayed at St. Pius X as director of religious education (DRE) until she was 74. She then continued to do a variety of things on a volunteer basis. She is now 80, and she continues to be present each day at the office and takes on whatever needs to be done, or what she initiates to do.)

At St. Pius X Parish, I help in a variety of ways: giving a couple of retreats a year to the parish school children; conducting an Earth Day prayer/celebration; teaching a class or two on some special topic; helping with dinners at the reception after a funeral; serving as a receptionist as needed; arranging for the collection of items for the needy; proof-reading the weekly bulletin; training presiders for the Sunday’s Children’s Liturgy; serving as an at-large representative for Women Religious on a diocesan committee; helping with local PBS station’s annual fund raiser; plus.

3.) What is your connection to the Congregation?

My connection to the Congregation is that of having been a Sister of Providence for 62 years. Presently, I am not on any SP committees, I but continue to be an active participant in our Local Government Unit (LGU) process three times a year.

4.) What do you look forward to most about serving on the advisory board?

I was honored to be invited to be on the Providence Associates Advisory Board, and I look forward to working alongside those members who are so willing to give of their time, energy and talent to the growth of the associate process (relationship). Hopefully, I will be able to share my experiences and ideas with the members and together we will grow.

5.) What are your hopes for the future of the Providence Associate Relationship?

My hopes for the future of the associates is that as more persons, far and wide, hear of the Providence Associates and their enthusiasm, others will seek information and want to become involved. The Providence spirit is alive and well with the members and their relationship with the Congregation.

Sister Terri Grasso

Sister Terri Grasso

Sister Terri Grasso, SP, Elmwood Park, Ill.

1.) Year appointed to the board:

2014

2.) Your ministry/job:

I’m currently serving as a chaplain, bereavement coordinator and volunteer coordinator for the Gottlieb Hospital Hospice program in Melrose Park, Ill. It is a profound privilege to journey with people who are preparing to leave this world and begin a new life. My ministry as bereavement coordinator challenges me to be honest with my own grief work as I try to accompany others through theirs. Clearly, I would not be able to fulfill these roles without the assistance of several wonderful volunteers.

3.) What is your connection to the Congregation?

I’ve been blessed to be a Sister of Providence for 54 years.

4.) What do you look forward to most about serving on the advisory board?

Working together with other board members in furthering the goals and plans of the associates as they continue to evolve.

5.) What are your hopes for the future of the Providence Associate Relationship?

My hope is to deepen the bonds of relationships among the Providence Associates and Sisters of Providence throughout the world and to spread the “good news” of the Providence Associates.

Monica-HaydenMonica Hayden, PA, Black Mountain, N.C.

1.) Year appointed to the board:

April 2013

2.) Your ministry/job:

I don’t have a job or a ministry per se at present. I’ve been retired for about two years. I am active in my parish, and I do some volunteer work. I’m just getting settled in a new hometown, so I am slowly integrating into the community.

3.) What is your connection to the Congregation?

My connection to the Congregation is through my role as a Providence Associate. I had no previous connection to the Sisters of Providence, whom I discovered quite by chance one day while reading our local diocese periodical (while living in Georgia) and saw an ad.

4.) What do you look forward to most about serving on the advisory board?

I look forward mostly to serving the associates in a more active role, particularly since by living far away I’m not able to participate more frequently or effectively in some of the activities or ministries of the Congregation.

5.) What are your hopes for the future of the Providence Associate Relationship?

My hope is that the Providence Associates become an extension of the Sisters of Providence, and continue to carry out their ministries – charism – even as the number of religious vocations might continue to diminish over time. My hope is that we associates maintain the spirit that inspired Saint Mother Theodore to found this Congregation through active involvement and participation.

Carol-KimesSister Carole Kimes, Indianapolis, Ind.

1.) Year appointed to the board:

April 2013

2.) Your ministry/job:

My ministries have included teacher, hospice nurse, formation director for the Sisters of Providence and caregiver for my parents. The last 71/2 years, I have been the full time caregiver for my parents. I had the privilege and honor of caring for my mom for the last four years of her life and for my dad the past 71/2 years. In addition to that responsibility, I also journey with several women as a spiritual companion/ life coach. Currently, I am in the midst of transitioning from my responsibility as caregiver to discerning God’s call for me in the next step of my journey.

3.) What is your connection to the Congregation?

I am a Sister of Providence who has been a member for 33 years.

4.) What do you look forward to most about serving on the advisory board?

I look forward to being a part of the board that furthers the vision and enfleshes the unfolding path of this membership component with the Sisters of Providence.

5.) What are your hopes for the future of the Providence Associate Relationship?

My hope for our future is remaining faithful to the call and fostering the critical relevance of this relationship with the Sisters of Providence as we continue to respond to the mission entrusted to us by our Foundress, St. Mother Theodore Guerin.  My hope is that as we strengthen the relationship between vowed members and associates we will be an example of love, mercy and justice to the world.

Sister Kay Manley

Sister Kay Manley, Forest Park, Ill.

1.) Year appointed to the board:

2010

2.) Your ministry/job:

Teacher of theology at Guerin Prep High School in River Grove, Ill., and Chair of the Theology Department

3.) What is your connection to the Congregation?

I am a Sister of Providence for 54 years.

4.) What do you enjoy most about serving on the board?

It is significant to me to be a member of the board as I have the knowledge that both Sister Mary Alice [Zander, RIP] and Sister Diane [Mason] were encouraging me to join the board. I am happy that I followed their encouragement.

5.) What are your hopes for the future of the Providence Associate Relationship?

I hope the relationship of SPs and PAs continues to evolve. It seems we are all involved in works of love, mercy and justice in many places. We exemplify Providence at work in our lives and the lives of those with whom we relate. As we unite and expand, Providence will permeate relationships in many parts of the world.

Maria Price, PA

Maria Price, PA, Louisville, Ky.

1.) Year appointed to the board:

Spring 2012

2.) Your ministry/job:

Executive Director, St. John Center for Homeless Men

3.) What is your connection to the Congregation?

I didn’t know the Sisters of Providence until I attended Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (class of ’87). I was immediately impressed by the leadership of sisters in administration and on faculty. They introduced me to Mother Theodore, and I was hooked.

4.) What do you look forward to most about serving on the advisory board?

I believe I will enjoy being on the advisory board as a concrete way to be of service to the community and the relationship which is still so new and in formation.

5.) What are your hopes for the future of the Providence Associate Relationship?

In a time marked more by questions about religious life than certainties, I hope our collective reflection and action will further reveal the loving designs of Providence. I am so honored to be part of growing into a new model of religious community in 21st-century America.

AS)-2009-11 Connie SchnapfConnie Schnapf, PA, Newburgh, Ind.

1.) Year appointed to the board:

Spring 2013

2.) Your ministry/job:

I have been working as a DRE at our parish of St. John the Baptist Church in Newburgh with both children and adults in various ministries for approximately 27 years and as a spiritual director for the last seven years.

3.) What is your connection to the Congregation?

I was taught by the Sisters of Providence throughout my grade school years. When I went away to college at Indiana State University, Terre Haute, I would find myself walking the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods grounds when I wanted to take some time away from my studies, even though I didn’t know anyone on campus. I have always felt at home there. I never dreamed I would finish my degree through the WED program many years later when my children were small. After I started working as a DRE at our parish in Newburgh, I became good friends with my co-worker, Sister Bernice Kuper, who was the pastoral associate at the time. It was through our relationship that I began to learn more about Providence and the associates. I feel I have always been connected throughout the years in one way or another.

4.) What do you look forward to most about serving on the advisory board?

I look forward to sharing my love and passion as a Providence Associate and I want to help build and nurture relationships with Providence Associates and the sisters. I look forward to working with the board and facing challenges that present themselves. I hope I can offer insights into ways that will best serve our associates and their desire to grow as men and women of Providence in collaboration with the sisters.

5.) What are your hopes for the future of the Providence Associate Relationship?

My hope for the future is that the associates will continue to flourish and grow under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the sisters. And through our connections and association with one another and the Sisters of Providence we will continue to stay open and respond to all the possibilities Providence offers. It is an exciting time.

Rosaline Secrest, PA

Rosaline Secrest, PA

Rosaline Secrest, PA, Terre Haute, Ind.

1.) Year appointed to the board:

Spring 2014

2.) Your ministry/job:

I am a retired high school math/physics teacher. These days my time is spent with family (we have 14 grandchildren), volunteering (St. Ann’s Medical Clinic in Terre Haute), participating in the lifelong learning institute at Indiana State University, and, of special importance to me, deepening my Providence Associate Relationship.

3.) What is your connection to the Congregation?

My connection and friendship with the Congregation began with a Pax Christi group in 1982 whose membership was largely Sisters of Providence. Although the membership has changed over the years, we continue to meet monthly. More recently I served on the Congregation’s Peace with Justice Committee for about six years.

4.) What do you look forward to most about serving on the advisory board?

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with others who are so dedicated to fostering the Providence Associate Relationship. I especially share the board’s commitment to a broader ownership of the relationship by all involved.

5.) What are your hopes for the future of the Providence Associate Relationship?

I hope we can strengthen this relationship for the current associates by helping each become more deeply committed to the charism of the Sisters of Providence as well as being more connected to each other. In addition I hope we will draw others to share this Providence Associate Relationship.

Lori Strawn, PA

Lori Strawn, PA

Lori Strawn, PA, Witchita, Kan.

1.) Year appointed to the board:

2014

2.) Your ministry/job:

Freelance writer, radio show host, editor

3.) What is your connection to the Congregation?

I attended Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (graduated 1987), became a Providence Associate in 2012.

4.) What do you look forward to most about serving on the advisory board?

I look forward to finding ways that we associates can further the charism of the Sisters of Providence through concrete, active means.

5.) What are your hopes for the future of the Providence Associate Relationship?

I hope that we will grow in closeness to the sisters and be of real, vital use to them going forward.

Staff members

Vicki Layton

Vicki Layton, administrative assistant

1.) Year appointed to the board:

2005

2.) Job title:

Administrative Assistant

3.) How long have you worked for the Congregation?

25 years

4.) What is your primary responsibility working for the board?

Taking, typing, distributing minutes of board meetings

5.) What do you enjoy most about working with the Providence Associate Relationship?

The inclusiveness of the relationship and how the sisters are open to entering relationship with lay persons, both Catholic and non-Catholic.

Amy Miranda

Amy Miranda

Amy Miranda, marketing manager

1.) Year appointed to the board:

2014

2.) Job title:

Publications/Marketing Manager in the Mission Advancement office

3.) How long have you worked for the Congregation?

Since 1999

4.) What is your primary responsibility working for the board?

I serve as the marketing manager for the Providence Associates. I come to board meetings with ideas and updates and leave with even more great ideas to implement in promoting and deepening the associate relationship. I am excited by the energy of the group and by the great participation and support offered by board members.

5.) What do you enjoy most about working with the Providence Associate Relationship?

I’m currently a candidate-associate. I’m really excited to now be working in marketing for the associate relationship. I’m passionate about promoting the Sisters of Providence and the Providence Associates because I see them as a group and as individuals making this world a better place to live. They serve very real needs that might otherwise be left unmet. It is wonderful to have found a place where I fit among other thinking, caring people of faith. I’m blessed to have a job and relationship as an associate that fit me so well.

Shawn Shamsaie

Shawn Shamsaie, director of the Information Technology Department

1.) Year appointed to the board:

2005

2.) Job title:

Director of Information Technology Department

3.) How long have you worked for the Congregation?

Since 1996

4.) What is your primary responsibility working for the board?

I mainly offer my time, ideas and technical experience if needed to support the mission of the Providence Associate ministry. I also help to create procedures and attend various activities. (NOTE: Shawn is usually our fabulous head greeter during the Rite of Commitment in November at the Woods!)

5.) What do you enjoy most about working with the Providence Associate Relationship?

I enjoy the friendly atmosphere very much. I am thankful for the relationship I have had and the opportunity to make relationships with the board members. Most rewarding is the spirituality that I observe with those entering the Providence Associate Relationship to become members.

Past board members