Sisters of Providence bestow honors on benefactors during annual Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Dinner
The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., bestowed major awards during the annual Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Dinner Saturday, June 5. The dinner is named in honor of the foundress of the Sisters of Providence who came to the United States from France in 1840.
The dinner is a way for members of the Congregation to express their gratitude for the support offered by their many donors and companions.
The Queen Amelia Award was presented to Jack Griffin of Washington, D.C. Sister Mary Rita Griffin, his sister, accepted the award on his behalf.
The Queen Amelia Award honors those who have made significant financial contributions to the Congregation and who have been influential in informing others of its life and mission. The award is named for Queen Amelia of France, wife of King Louis Philippe, who was a major donor for the young Congregation in the mid-1800s. She also encouraged her husband and family to contribute to the financially struggling Congregation.
“Like Queen Amelia, who came to know the Sisters of Providence through one SP, Mother Theodore Guerin, Jack came to know us best because of his sister, Sister Mary Rita, who has been a Sisters of Providence for 55 years. He is very proud of her and, I suspect, would do anything for her,” said Sister Denise Wilkinson, general superior, in announcing the award.
“Jack has made the Sisters of Providence a priority in his personal and family philanthropic efforts, of which there are many, especially in outreach to those who are poor and disadvantaged in the D.C. area. His sister says of him, ‘Jack has a passion to work collaboratively with others to enhance the quality of life for the poorer residents of D.C., especially through educational opportunities and by finding property and funding to build Single Room Occupancy dwellings for the homeless in D.C.’ For several years Jack supported his sister and her ministry among those who are poor. Most recently, his generosity to the Sisters of Providence has made possible key studies related to the current renovation of Providence Hall and he has provided a major gift to the Capital Campaign,” Sister Denise added.
The Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award was presented to John Perry of Terre Haute.
“Just as the Thralls name has become a familiar one in the annals of the Sisters of Providence, when the current history of the SPs is chronicled, expect to find the name of John Perry. John has been connected with the Sisters of Providence for more than 12 years, when he began to serve on the Congregation Finance Committee (CFC). Currently, he continues to serve on that group, as well as the Mission Advisory Board (MAB),” Sister Denise said.
“John, if we put our minds to it, we could probably calculate how many hours you have given to the Sisters of Providence attending CFC and MAB meetings. And the total would be staggering! What is beyond calculation, even with your keen mind for numbers, is the out-of-committee-hours you have spent researching and examining possibilities, making contacts on our behalf, exploring funding options, finding creative solutions around financing obstacles and even taking an SP conference call while vacationing in Florida. Like the Thralls, you have helped us make sense of the sometimes foreign language of the financial world. You are not only a thorough and patient teacher, but also a valued and trusted financial advisor,” Sister Denise added.
“John and his wife Karen journeyed with us to Rome for the canonization of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. Karen relates that John is most proud of being asked to read at the Vespers Service the night before the canonization. He tells people that he was the only man involved and probably for sure the only Protestant! Additionally, John has shared Mother Theodore’s story with the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs in Terre Haute, with his Memorial United Methodist Church congregation, the Osher Life Long Learning Institute and a youth group at St. Monica’s in Indianapolis. John is able to do this because our values and our mission are embedded in his thinking,” Sister Denise also said.
Nearly 150 guests attended the annual dinner, which had a theme of “What Does Love Look Like?” Guest speakers were people who have benefited from Sisters of Providence ministries: Darnell Bland, a student at Providence Christo Rey High School in Indianapolis; Rosa Maria Hernandez, whose son received assistance through the After School Homework Program at Providence Family Services in Chicago; and Martha Langarica, who participated in programs and classes offered through Providence in the Desert in Coachella, Calif., to learn the English language and successfully complete her citizenship test.
About the Sisters of Providence
The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of 214 women religious, with 300 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind., which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries can be found at SistersofProvidence.org.