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Providence never fails is a good ‘saying’

I have no idea why I started to think of “sayings” the other day, but I did.
I was remembering that, as a kid, I simply did not get the point of the saying: “I see,” said the blind man as he tripped over his hammer and saw. My poor mother tried a million different ways to help me see the word play involved. Just didn’t happen for a long time — then one day it suddenly made sense. Who knows why?

Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated by sayings, adages. I hate to admit it, but I was also stumped for a time about: You can’t have your cake and eat it too. How could you eat a cake unless you had it? You begin to see my issue — it does take a house to fall on me.

Sister Bernice Kuper

But the saying that began this train of thought came into my life because of Sister Bernice Kuper when she was our director of novices. At one of our daily times of instruction, she made the statement: The donkey on the hill knows more than the wise man in the valley.

When I first heard it, it made me laugh; and remarkably, given my history, I got the point right away!

Now, almost 49 years later, it still makes me laugh and it frequently catches me up short. Often, when I’m stewing about a situation, the most unlikely person, a person so far removed from what I’m worrying over makes an observation or asks a question that unlocks the puzzle for me.

With that question or statement, the situation falls into perspective and a solution begins to emerge — no help from me except I managed to be listening for a change.

Sister Denise Wilkinson

The longer I serve in this incredible ministry of elected leadership, the more I feel like the “wise [wo]man in the valley” and have come to expect “the donkey on the hillside” to come to my rescue in the nick of time. As Providence would have it, Providence never fails to lead that hillside beast of burden to me and opens my mind and heart to another perspective.

Eastertide may be the perfect season to reflect on Sister Bernice’s wise saying. So often, in the Scriptures of these days, surprises await Jesus’ followers at every turn. Again, the most unlikely and unexpected persons pop up with a truth to tell, a sighting to relate, a meal to share. It behooves us — perhaps — to expect the unexpected, to listen to the most unlikely of witnesses, to see from the most opposite perspective from our own that we can find. Wisdom waits as our reward.

Happy Eastertide to each of you from all of us Sisters of Providence and all of our Providence Associates! May all of us find comfort and strength in the surprising new life of Jesus — our way, our truth and our very life!

Sister Denise Wilkinson
General Superior
Sisters of Providence

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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