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Sister Lawrence Ann Liston

Current ministry: Administrator, St. Ann Clinic

Years in the Congregation: 49

Contact Sister Lawrence Ann at: 812-232-7447 ext. 104 lliston@spsmw.org

What do you like best about Saint Mary-of-the Woods? The beauty of the outdoors, the quiet peacefulness of the woods. It is a gift from God.

When I am not officially at work or involved in ministry, you’re most likely to see me… Working a jigsaw puzzle.

On weekends, I love to … Walk at the woods and visit folks in health care on campus.

I am passionate about … My ministry.

What the world needs now… Is peace and tranquility, caring.

Q: Why did you choose to become a Sister of Providence?

A: I started school at a public school. I came to St. Ann School in fifth grade. I had not really had any contact with the sisters prior to that. At first, I didn’t really like the sisters. I felt like I didn’t really understand them. They really took me under their wing and I became a helper in many ways. I had an artistic binge and so I did bulletin boards for the lower grades and worked with the first-grade teacher. I really came to know and understand a lot more about their life and their dedication. I really like people and I wanted to serve people and help people. I had that opportunity early on. By the time I was a junior in high school I had pretty well decided I wanted to dedicate my life to giving to others and the Sisters of Providence seemed like a good way to do that.

Q: What was your time like at St. Ann School? Was there a particular sister who influenced you?

A: They all reached out to me. Primarily, I was able to work with Sister Eleanor Marie, the first grade teacher at the time. I did bulletin boards and things for many of them, but she was probably the person who stole my heart. Sister Gertrude Helene Black was the principal and superior and seventh- and eighth-grade teacher. The office we are sitting in was our eighth grade classroom. I came back here 50 years after I left.

Q: What is it like to be ministering in the same building where you attended school? And your office is in one of your former classrooms?

A: This office is in the area that was the back side of the seventh- and eighth-grade classroom. All of this office area was actually one room. It was a four-room school. It’s wonderful to come back. I had been gone 50 years from the school, and I had been gone from Terre Haute 40 years. To be able to come back and to be able to serve the poor is really a gift to me. Many of the older parishioners, many of my classmates are still here, and a lot of them come and volunteer here at the clinic. It’s good to renew those relationships.

Q: And the ministry that brought you back was to provide health care to those who are without adequate care and adequate health insurance through St. Ann Clinic.

A: Yes, it is really sad to see what people go through. The need is so great. One of the great pleasures is the dedication of the volunteers. We see it all here: Huntington’s Disease, different cancers, hypertension, heart issues. A lot of them are “working poor,” who have jobs where insurance is not provided or they can’t afford the insurance.

Q: Why would a woman today find the Sisters of Providence lifestyle and commitment attractive?

A: I think our ministry has always been one of education. Originally, it was more in a classroom. I think the Sisters of Providence really have reached out in many diverse ways to educate people and to have the ministry of education reach out to many, many avenues that fit our sisters and people’s lifestyles. I think the availability of fitting ministries or lifestyle into the education piece creates an attractive opportunity. I think a woman would find a wide range of opportunities for education in diverse ministries, not necessarily a classroom. Education is a lifelong process, so I think we have taken it to the max and tried to expand how we help people to learn throughout life.

Quiet time also is very important, reflecting. It keeps me centered and gives me the energy to go on.
– Sister Lawrence Ann

Q: What role does prayer have in your life?

A: Prayer is very important. It is the focal point or the center of my life. Without it, I don’t think I could function. My more focused prayer time is in the morning when I get up. It kind of starts my day. I do a lot of praying throughout the day in simple ways for things that are happening and not happening with a ministry like ours, depending on finances coming from other ways, and the volunteers coming. Sometimes you have a quick prayer that this person will show up or some other need in relation to our ministry. Quiet time also is very important, reflecting. It keeps me centered and gives me the energy to go on.

Q: What role does Saint Mother Theodore Guerin have in your life?

A: I did not go to Rome for her beatification, but I did go for the canonization in 2006. I was very grateful. I have great devotion to her and I try to spread that devotion to people here. I am attracted to her simplicity and her love and care for the poor and the sick, as well as her influence in education.

Q: If you would have had an opportunity for a different lifestyle or career, what might it have been?

A: I think I probably would still be single and working with other people, trying to reach out to those less fortunate.

Q: Please complete this sentence. Sister Lawrence Ann is …

A: A caring and compassionate person who enjoys people, enjoys helping people and helps to make a difference in the way she impacts other people’s lives.

Q: Any particular life philosophy?

A: Keep it simple, be honest, work hard, give to others of yourself.


Food: Chocolate chip cookies

Flower: Yellow rose

TV show: Extreme Makeover

Recreation: Working jigsaw puzzles

Hobby: Sewing

Sports: Basketball

Holiday: Easter

Season: Autumn

Time of day: Morning

Dessert: Blackberry pie

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Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

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