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Sister Ann Casper

Current ministry: Executive director, Mission Advancement office

Years in the Congregation: 55

Contact Sister Ann at: acasper@spsmw.org or 812-535-2801

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

Q. When I’m not officially at work or involved in ministry, you are mostly likely to see me … A. Reading, watching TV sports, walking.

Q. On weekends, I like to… A. Keep my sanity by going to the office (laughing). I try to keep Sunday as my real Sabbath. It doesn’t always work, but I try to.

Q. What the world needs now … A. Respect and kindness.

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

A. I had a very easy vocation discernment, I guess you would say. In second grade, I already had thought about being a Sister of Providence. I had them as teachers, not in first grade, but beginning in second grade and all through my education I attended Sisters of Providence schools. I was just very naturally attracted to them and to religious life. I’ve often thought about that as I hear of other people who have really struggled and had all kinds of things they were interested in doing, and wondering if it was just laziness on my part that I didn’t look at other options, or if it was God’s way of calling each of us differently. I am inclined to think it is the latter. This was in the 1950s. I grew up in a home that was not overly religious in the sense that we had a lot of practices, but, certainly the Catholic faith was valued. We went to Mass every Sunday. It was the era that the daily rosary was often prayed in the home. I can remember doing that, gathered around the dining room table. And, because I was going to a Catholic school (St. Patrick, Fort Wayne, Ind.), the custom then was for students, the whole school, to begin the school day by attending Mass. You were seated by grades in the church. That would be pretty unusual today.

Q. You mentioned that your calling to religious life came naturally, but was there a particular attraction? What made you feel that way?

A. As a young person, I believe I was attracted more to the outward appearances, the habit, probably. I liked the way the sisters looked, the mysteriousness of it all. I liked prayer. I wouldn’t say I was pious by any means. As I mentioned, attending these religious services every day like Mass, and in high school (Providence Juniorate at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods) participating in everything the postulants and novices did, I never found that to be a drag. I think part of the attraction was the prayer life, the contemplative life, the quietness the sisters exuded in their being. The Sisters of Providence were certainly known best as teachers, so I’m sure that was also an attraction, but I wouldn’t say a major part of it. Actually, when I entered, I tried to talk them into letting me be a cook, but they wouldn’t hear of that. So, I ended up as a teacher and an administrator, and enjoyed that. I was attracted, also, to the idea that the sisters were personable, that they laughed a lot, obviously enjoyed each other. You didn’t see that much of them, but when you did see them together, it was obvious there was something about their spirit. Today, we would call that community. That also was an attraction to me.

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

A. First of all, I value the variety of ministries I have had, the opportunity that each one has afforded me to affect lives in a positive way and to be affected, also, by my students, by my colleagues, staffs that I have worked with. It’s certainly been much more than what I would call a job. It has definitely been a ministry in the way in which I have seen God operate in my life and in the lives of others. I’ve had a variety of ministries I have enjoyed. I was a teacher at grade levels from fifth on into high school. I was a secondary-school administrator. I have been in Congregation leadership, both as provincial and as general officer and I have served in various Congregation offices, such as my present ministry. But, they all have been very enriching to me as has the opportunity, as a member of the community, to be involved beyond one’s ministry. I’ve been involved with committees too numerous to even name. There again, they have added to my own personal enrichment and brought me into contact with many other people, not just sisters, persons who have a lot to share and are professional in their own right. It has been enriching and, hopefully, I have grown from those relationships.

Somehow God gets us where God wants us.
– Sister Ann

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

A. I think she would find herself attracted to women who are very dedicated to a mission, which we really say is God’s mission for the Sisters of Providence. We try to discern what that is. We live in community, and live a life of prayer, devote ourselves to ministry. I think many young people and not-so-young people are yearning for those elements in their lives. Overriding that, that sense of meaning or purpose in one’s life that we all try to discover. Why am I here? What purpose does my life have? I think each of us answers those questions in a different way, whether that be single, married or religious life. First, I would have to have that call. If I do believe that God calls us to whatever state of life, then, additionally, God’s hand is in a particular community that one decides to enter or particular spouse that one decides to marry. I think if we are open to God in our lives, and we Sisters of Providence would call that Providential, then the choices we make, especially as we look back on them, we would see God’s action in our lives. God called me to this Congregation. I was attracted to it. I had no attraction to any other religious congregation. Somehow God gets us where God wants us. I think another aspect of the Sisters of Providence being attractive to people is that we are a very vibrant community. We enjoy being together. We are a very creative group. We are strongly committed to whatever we do. Sometimes that can be as simple as organizing a meeting. If I had to do it all over again, I would certainly do it.

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

A. I never imagined being anything other than a Sister of Providence. So, I would say yes. Part of being a Sister of Providence is going with the flow, being open to the actions of God in one’s life. As long as I strive to do that, things seem to turn out all right.


Flower/plant: Pansy.

Recreation: Walking.

Hobby: Walking, watching sports on TV.

Sport: Football, basketball and baseball.

Quote: God is in reality.

Holiday: Thanksgiving.

Scripture passage: Is. 42: 1-4

Dessert: Warm bread pudding.

Time of day: Early morning.

Season: Spring.

Comic strip: Zits.

Childhood activity: Playing board games/cards.

Hero/heroine: Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

Saint: Mother Theodore Guerin.

Least favorite course in school: Math.

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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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