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Ching Yi Tsai: trusting in Providence

Lilia Huang, Maricar Chao and Ching Yi Tsai (left to right) listen as someone speaks during a gathering of candidates in Taiwan in March 2009.

Providence Candidate-Associate Ching Yi Tsai is Taiwanese living in Taiwan with her husband, Jose Ernesto Parra Cortes, a Columbian, and their two children, Gabriel, 7, and Amparo, 5. Her husband teaches at Providence University (PU) in Shalu, Taichung County. The family speaks both Chinese and Spanish.

Ching Yi attended a Dominican high school and graduated from PU with a major in Spanish. Baptized a Catholic at the age of 26 with the name of Magdalena, Ching Yi is the only Catholic in her family of origin.

After graduating with a master’s degree, Ching Yi worked as a secretary at an Ursuline college. Today she is a staff member with the Campus Ministry at PU.

Ching Yi’s reasons for wanting to become a Providence Associate are twofold. First of all, she read a booklet on Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and found her quotes very inspiring. In 2006, she and a group of pilgrims traveled to Rome for the canonization of Mother Theodore. On one of the bus rides, Ching Yi heard someone talking about Providence Associates and she remembers thinking she would like to become one.

Ching Yi’s companion is Sister Editha Ben. Sister Editha is an instructor and staff member in the Office of International Relations at Providence University.

Ching Yi loves listening to classical music, traveling, reading novels and recipe books and watching movies.

1.) What is your relationship with the Sisters of Providence?

I didn’t know the Sisters of Providence until I joined the group of pilgrims for Mother Theodore’s canonization in Rome and helped in the celebration in Taiwan. I teach the history of Providence University to the freshmen and so I get to know more the life of Mother Gratia Luking [foundress of the school for women that became Providence University] and a little history of the Sisters of Providence. I’ve also helped in the 60th anniversary celebration of the Sisters of Providence in Taiwan. I meet the Sisters of Providence in our campus liturgies and other gatherings, and Sister Editha volunteers in the Campus Ministry.

2.) How do you see Providence working in your life?

Providence is helping me all the time. There were many occasions when I thought something would be impossible but Providence made it possible. God always knows my needs. When I look back, I see God’s plan for me. His patience carries me through. I’m growing in my awareness of God’s grace. God trusts me more than I trust myself. I often look down on myself as though I’m never enough. I’m beginning to be more appreciative of the small things because God is in the small things, too. I don’t have to aim at big things all the time.

3.) How has your companion, Sister Editha Ben, helped you through this year of candidacy?

Sister Editha has always been very understanding and patient with me especially when I get so nervous about the materials to be read. She never puts any pressure on me. She always tells me to just relax. And I am always able to open up to share as she listens to me. She affirms me a lot in my ministry. She understands when I use Spanish words to express something. When I doubted whether to continue the process or not, she helped me name my fears, suggesting that I think and pray more about it, and after reading her e-mails I felt more at peace.

4.) What is the most challenging part of your candidacy?

The most difficult part for me is comprehending everything and absorbing the materials because they are all in English. Also, I want to read more and do more but I can’t because I don’t have time and so I feel bad.

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

When I meet with Sister Editha, I always find something new. Things become clearer. I’m even surprised with the insights and new ideas that I come up with during our conversations. Our time to meet is a gift of God.

6.) Anything else you’d like to share?

When I read Sister Mary Alice Zander’s [director of Providence Associates] e-mail to pray for a sister who just died, I’m concerned about vocations. So I hope to help promote vocations, especially in Taiwan, to continue the work of love, mercy and justice.

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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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