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Sister Mary Mundy

Current ministry:Pastoral Associate

Years in the Congregation: 47

Contact Sister Mary at: mmundy@hrparish.org

Q. What do you like about Saint Mary-of-the-Woods? A. The sisters.

Q. When I am not officially at work, or involved in ministry, you are most likely to see me… A. With a book, or with a book in my lap staring into space.

Q. On my day off, I love to …  A. I enjoy going for a walk. I enjoy arranging flowers for the dining room table.

Q. I am passionate about… A. Almost everything, it seems.

Q. What the world needs now is… A. Grace.

Q. Name one thing you miss about being a kid. A. Being barefoot and walking in the field.

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

A. That’s a good question. Three generations of the Mundy family ahead of me were Sisters of Providence so I heard about the Sisters of Providence a lot. I’ve often said I really believe I’m here, not so much by my own choosing, but those sisters who prayed for me before I was ever born. They prayed for the next generation to consider religious life within this community just as I have prayed for the generation after me. Being on this campus, and coming to visit the campus, there was something about being welcomed, about being at home. I came to the Aspirancy for high school and felt pulled in. During that time Sister Helena, my Dad’s first cousin, was the one who really said to me, “Have you thought about being a Sister?” I chose to say, “yes” to her and to this vocation. I’ve always had a sense that it was right for me to be a member of this Congregation.

Q. What do you value most about the ministry opportunities that you have had?

A. Oh, my. I’ve had terrific opportunities. Obviously, the people I worked with. I loved my ministry in the inner city, in rural life. I’ve done education. I’ve done pastoral work and internal ministry within the community in provincial leadership and as director of novices. Without exception, I have loved all my ministries. I guess it has to do with the relationships that are developed in ministry. No matter where I have been, from my first ministry forward, I would say people have given me the great privilege of hearing their stories. I’ve often had a sense that it is not so much what one does in ministry but it is the way one lives out our charism of love, mercy, justice in what we are doing. Probably my favorite ministry was working here (at SMW) in initial formation. That was very meaningful and rich. It was very God-centered and mission driven. I believe so much in this community that I love, just love, being part of it. And helping people get to know us is a marvelous privilege.

In my experience when you come to know yourself as a Beloved of God, you can like yourself a lot! Humility and truthfulness flow from that.
– Sister Mary

Q. Why would a woman today find being a Sister of Providence an attractive lifestyle choice?

A. Why wouldn’t she! Well, it’s certainly a place for women to be very proud to be women. They can stand very tall for who they are. Their voices can be heard. I think their voices are important. There is something humongous that has to do with community and being a voice with others, of being in actions with the support of other people. It’s the whole mission thing. I like us. I’d never be as authentic as I am today if not for people in this community who treasure me enough to put a mirror up in front of me and help me become more of who I really am. I don’t have to be somebody I’m not. In my experience when you come to know yourself as a Beloved of God, you can like yourself a lot! Humility and truthfulness flow from that. I believe women need to give themselves time to be attentive to what God might be asking. It’s helpful for them to have an open space in their hearts or their minds so it’s not too cluttered. God needs to have space to come in. They might find that the invitation to religious life is still a very, very important way to be in service, to make a difference in the world. It’s a great life. Not an easy one, but a great one.

Q. What role does prayer have in your life?

A. Prayerful living is absolutely the center and core of my every breath, in a sense. It is about an awareness of God’s presence in this room right now, in the rain this afternoon, in a pastoral visit I had yesterday, in the sipping of coffee with a friend this morning. It is God’s presence in the conversations. I do see an importance in saying prayers with others and uniting our voices, however. I think gesture and ritual are important, too. But, I think living is prayer…or at least can be. I see God in the sunrise and the awakening dawn while facing east in my morning prayer space. God always shows up. So do I. So does another day.

Q. How much influence does Saint Mother Theodore have in your life?

A. She has been and is very much part of my life! It goes back to my childhood days of coming to the Woods when we were kids and going to the crypt in the church to ask Mother Theodore for favors. We children certainly had a great awareness that Mother Theodore was special; the manner in which our parents and the sisters approached the crypt let us know this was a holy place; Mother Theodore was a holy person. I had the most serious and intimate conversations
with Mother Theodore, however, during the seven years that I was director of novices. Most mornings I got up early to sit in a corner of our novitiate community room for prayer and quiet. I remember well one particular morning. I had been talking to Mother Theodore while searching her “Journals and Letters” for an insight about how to address a particular concern I had with one of the novices. It was when I said to her, “This is one of your novices, too” that I
sensed the presence of Mother Theodore sitting on the couch across from me. She spoke kindly and directly to me asking, “Mary, do you love that novice? Does she know that you care about her? If she believes you love her and have concern for her, you can say about anything to her.” How relieved I was and how much easier it was to speak challenging words with love! So, yes, she has been a great influence in my life.

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

A. God saying, “Have another cup of coffee!” That was something I felt God often said to me on sabbatical a few years ago as we sat together and I’d get ready to move on. The invitation was to simply spend more time in each other’s presence.

Favorites

Flower/plant: Geranium, because it surfaces childhood memories of my Mom’s love of geraniums.

Book: Speaking With Authority (Catherine of Sienna and the Voices of Women Today) by Mary Catherine Hilker.

Vacation destination: Big Sur, the Black Hills, Yosemite and Brown County, Indiana.

Recreation: Hiking, camping.

Hobby: Reading.

Animal: Prairie Dog, playing hide and seek.

Scripture passage: Psalm 139.

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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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