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Sisters of Providence bestow annual awards

Sister Lois Ann Stoiber, right, accepts the Queen Amelia Award for her brother, Ray, from Sisters of Providence General Superior Sister Denise Wilkinson
Sister Lois Ann Stoiber, right, accepts the Queen Amelia Award for her brother, Ray, from Sisters of Providence General Superior Sister Denise Wilkinson

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., bestowed major awards during the annual Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Dinner on Saturday, June 1. The gathering is named in honor of the foundress of the Sisters of Providence who came to the United States from France in 1840 and was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 2006.

The annual program is a way for members of the Congregation to express gratitude for the support offered by their many donors and companions.

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.

The 2013 Queen Amelia Award was presented to Ray Stoiber of Joliet, Ill. He was unable to attend. His sister, Sister Lois Ann Stoiber, accepted the award for him.

Ray Stoiber’s relation with the Sisters of Providence traces back to his elementary school days about 80 years ago when was a student of the Sisters of Providence. Once his only sibling entered the Congregation, he treated all sisters like his sister.

Ray was injured in a fall from a ladder two years ago, but still volunteers at a Joliet-area nursing home two days each week. Ray worked as a fork-lift operator at U.S. Steel in Joliet for 32 years and also served as a watchman and doorman at St. Patrick’s assisted living residence in Joliet for 27 years. He has had many letters published in the Chicago Tribune, The Sun-Times and the Joliet Herald.

He has supported the Sisters of Providence for more than 40 years. His multiple, significant gifts in any given year have supported every fund and every event the Congregation has sponsored in the Chicago area. He also is an ardent fan of the Chicago Cubs and often would purchase tickets for sisters to attend games.

“It delights me, after all of these years when he would shy away from any recognition, to present Ray, a faithful and generous friend and benefactor, with the Queen Amelia Award,” said Sister Denise Wilkinson, general superior.

Earl Rodgers, left, and Keith Ruble accept the Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award from Sister Denise Wilkinson, general superior of the Sisters of Providence.
Earl Rodgers, left, and Keith Ruble accept the Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award from Sister Denise Wilkinson, general superior of the Sisters of Providence.

The Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award honors an individual, family or group that has made significant contributions of time, talent and treasure to the Congregation. It is named in honor of the pioneer family that offered hospitality by way of a primitive cabin in a dense forest to Mother Theodore and her companions on their arrival at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840.

The 2013 Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award was presented to three well-known Terre Haute-area men who were instrumental in obtaining and constructing the Log Cabin Chapel, a replica of the chapel that was on the grounds when Saint Mother Theodore arrived in 1840.

The recipients were Max Miller, Earl Rodgers and Keith Ruble. Miller was unable to attend the dinner, but received his award on Sunday during Sunday Brunch at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Rodgers has been associated with projects at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for more than 30 years through his construction company, Earl Rodgers and Associates of West Terre Haute.

Ruble is an experienced cabin-builder who led the effort to build the log-cabin village at Fowler Park while he was superintendent of the Vigo County Park and Recreation Department, a position he held for 40 years.

Max Miller, accepts the Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award from Sister Denise Wilkinson, Sisters of Providence general superior.
Max Miller, accepts the Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award from Sister Denise Wilkinson, Sisters of Providence general superior.

Miller is a retired Vigo County extension agent and is well versed in log-cabin construction, and he has a penchant for Indiana history, particularly in the Terre Haute area. He has been involved in numerous noteworthy projects in the Wabash Valley.

The trio hauled timbers for the cabin which were made available from a donor in Southern Indiana and they coordinated the re-assembly at the site where the first log cabin chapel is believed to have rested. They also brought inmates from the U.S. Penitentiary south of Terre Haute to help with construction. They donated their time, service and knowledge for the project. The cabin was blessed and dedicated on Oct. 3, 2012.

Sister Denise recalled a quote from Ruble about the project. “During my career, I have been involved in building 25 log cabins. Being asked to build a reproduction of the cabin that Mother Theodore used daily has been a high point of my life. Since my lovely wife, Susie, went to school here (Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College), I have always had a love for the beautiful campus and for the Sisters of Providence. It has been a great joy for all of us to build this little log structure that represents where it all started. My hope is that this little structure helps all people find hope, peace and love from God.”

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.

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Dave Cox

Dave Cox was media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence for many years. Prior to his work with the sisters, he spent over 30 years in newspaper newsrooms.
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For inquiries or information, contact Jason Moon at jmoon@spsmw.org or 812-535-2810.

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