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Sister Joan Kirkpatrick: supporting lay people

Sister Joan Kirkpatrick (left) is the companion of Teresa Clark.

Sister Joan Kirkpatrick of Terre Haute, Ind. — 2008-2009 companion to Teresa Clark; 2007-2008 companion to Providence Associate Kay Sisk

1.) Why did you want to become a companion?

As the number of members in the priesthood and religious communities continues to diminish, I see this as the era of the lay minister in the Church. My desire is to be of support to lay people in their spiritual growth and their call to ministry in the Church.

2.) Did you know Kay Sisk before you became her companion last year?

I did not know Kay Sisk before I became her companion last year. Sister Mary Alice Zander, director of Providence Associates, partnered us.

3.) Did you know Teresa Clark before becoming her companion this year?

I did know Teresa Clark before becoming her companion this year. When she was working on the statue of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, I modeled a habit skirt so she could see the shapes the fabric took when I was in motion.

4.) What is it like for you to go through the Spiritual Integration Units?

I enjoyed going through the Spiritual Integration Units. They are well prepared and prompted me to take a fresh look at the topics. I appreciate witnessing the reactions and hearing the responses of Kay. I found it rewarding to see the love for and spirit of Mother Theodore continue to develop in Kay, to see her trust in Providence deepen. A bond of friendship now is shared.

5.) What do you enjoy most about being a companion?

I appreciate the experience of Kay’s sharing with me aspects of her life history, the challenges in her life and her spiritual journey. To be trusted to be in this sacred space is a privilege.

6.) What is the most challenging part about being a companion?

The most challenging part is allowing myself to be my natural self — not trying to control my influence or the outcome of our time together, not having expectations, but allowing God to use who I am and how I relate to her.

7.) What do you hope Teresa gains from this year of candidacy?

My hope is that Teresa will grow in knowing how deeply God loves her, how present God is to her and in her personal relationship with Jesus. Also, I want to share with Teresa the richness of the Providence of God and the heritage we have received from Mother Theodore and all who have preceded us.

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Connie McCammon

Connie McCammon worked in the communications office for the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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