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Sister Joyce Brophy

Current ministry:Congregational outreach ministries

Years in the Congregation:63

Contact Sister Joyce Brophy at: 812-535-3131

What would you like to hear God say when you get to Heaven? Welcome home.

What is your biggest pet peeve? I have a big thing about being on time, for myself and for others.

What is highlight of your week? It used to be Friday, but that doesn’t make much difference now.

What do you like best about Saint Mary-of-the-Woods? It is home.

What the world needs now… What we profess in peace, justice, mercy and love.

Q. Why did you choose the Sisters of Providence?

A. Although two of my Providence High School classmates were entering the local Sisters of St. Francis, I chose the Sisters of Providence. These sisters had been my teachers in elementary and high school. I felt comfortable with them and admired them. I wanted to emulate Sister Rose Scecina, my first-grade teacher, as a teacher and religious. A good friend and high school mentor, Sister Lois Ann Stoiber, was currently in the Congregation’s novitiate. I visited her at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and liked what I saw. With support from my father and some resistance from my mother, my choice was the Sisters of Providence.

Q. What do you value most about your ministry opportunities?

A. Whatever has been accomplished in my ministries is the result of trust in Providence, prayer and input from our sisters. No one of us could really accomplish alone what all of us together can do. I personally need community for this purpose. I need to know that others believe in what I do and support me. I believe I would have been a good person if I were not in the convent, but I am a better person because of the love and support given me here. Two ministry opportunities that are good examples come to mind. The first is the merger of the two Catholic elementary schools in Galesburg, Ill. I was asked to return there after assignments elsewhere for six years. My direction was to bring about this merger. Without the input, very hard work and support of the sisters from both schools this would not have been possible. I cannot emphasize that enough. The leaders of the lay Catholics quickly caught the sisters’ enthusiasm and accomplished this challenge to create Costa Catholic School. Another example, the need became evident for quality day care for the children of employees on both sides of the campus at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. When the Montessori School at Saint Mary-of-the- Woods College closed, the opportunity to use that area enabled this day care idea to become reality. Sister Barbara Doherty, then the college’s president, was very open to this plan. The college provided the space and the Congregation assumed sponsorship of the corporation. Many of our retired sisters have given time and experience to the success of this enterprise. I felt fortunate to be in a position to help enable this venture.

Q. What role does prayer have in your life?

A. I like praying with others as well as having time for my own private prayer. I cannot imagine life without prayer. I have special devotions that I pray privately each day. I feel called to group prayer. I do that each evening in a small group. I look forward to being with them.

Q. How important is a community lifestyle to you?

A. Living in large community groups or in small ones have been wonderful experiences, but that is because of the sisters who were with me. The times have not always been perfect, but that is normal. I learned so much from others with whom I lived and prayed and worked. Lessons that impacted both my prayer and professional life were there to emulate and to guide all through the years. It is different now from the early lifestyle of many Sisters of Providence. I have lived in houses of 26, 18 and 16 or 17. Our schedule was very ordered and organized. Early in community, I lived with two other sisters in a small house. I think that was the first time in community I had the occasion to live much the way a nuclear family would. We needed to depend upon one another with a very loving concern. This was a different concept of community for me, a learning and rewarding one.

Q. Has your life turned out as you might have imagined?

A. Some of the positions to which I have been assigned have been quite challenging. However, in these assignments, I have felt affirmation and trust. I’ve had love and I’ve had companionship. Being with other people who believe in the values and hopes I have is important to me. My relationship with God is of primary importance and I make more determined efforts to grow in this relationship through prayer and study.

Q. What gives you hope?

A. We strongly believe in the Providence of God and all that this implies. We, as a Congregation, are not afraid of learning more and taking on a new challenge. We are open to new things. We remain very faithful to our commitment and to one another.

We have something special! It is a good feeling of who we are when we are together.
– Sister Joyce

Q. When do you feel most energized?

A. Times when our Congregation comes together for a meeting or some kind of celebration. We have something special! It is a good feeling of who we are when we are together.

Q. What would you be doing differently if you knew Jesus would be coming later today?

A. I want to say I would be doing what I had planned to do anyway. I don’t think Jesus would want me to be doing anything different.

Q. When you think of God, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

A. God must be a lot like my dad. Dad loved us unconditionally. When we were little I thought my dad could do anything and everything. I know he loved us right or wrong, not that he accepted wrongs, but he loved you. He is usually my first image of God.

Q. What energizes you spiritually?

A. Sharing the Eucharist is important to me. A little practice I learned years ago is to be aware of others approaching for Holy Communion and thanking Jesus for His presence in each as they approach the table. No longer is it just “Jesus and me,” but “Jesus and us” who are sharing. It is just a private practice of my own, but something that means much to me.


Dessert: Anything chocolate

Time of day: Mid-morning

Season: Autumn

Actor/actress: Meryl Streep

Comic strip: For Better or Worse

Childhood activity: Riding my bicycle

Recreation: Reading

Animal: Dogs

Holiday: Christmas

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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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1 Comment

  1. Avatar Anthony Cetro on March 10, 2022 at 3:54 pm

    I just happened to run across Sr. Robert Ellen. I remember her from my time at St. Sylvester in CHicago. SHe and Sr. mRichard were quite popular.

    I just happened to find a story of Sr. Robert Ellen. I remember her from my years at St. Sylvester. She and Sr. Richard were quite popular. I am quite certain that Sister taught my younger brother at St. Angela in CHicago.


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