Four honored for commitment to SPs
The Sisters of Providence recently honored several people who have made significant contributions to the congregation.
The Queen Amelia Award is presented annually to an individual, family, foundation or organization who has made significant donations, has given time and talent to the Sisters of Providence and who has promoted the Sisters of Providence to others. The award is named in honor of Queen Amelia of France who assisted Saint Mother Theodore on a fundraising trip in 1843.
This year, Ray Stoiber of Joliet, Ill., was honored with this award. Ray is unable to travel, so his sister, Sister Lois Stoiber, accepted on his behalf.
Ray’s relationship with the SPs goes back to his grade school days almost 80 years ago as a student at St. Mary Carmelite in Joliet, Ill., where he still lives. When his only sibling – Sister Lois – joined the community, he embraced the sisters as his own and has been a faithful supporter since. He was a forklift operator at U.S. Steel in Joliet for 32 years and after that was a watchman and doorman at St. Patrick’s assisted living residence in Joliet for 27 years. He has been a passionate writer of “Letters to the Editor,” having been published in the Chicago Tribune, the Sun Times and the Joliet Herald.
It has been heard it pays to be a friend of Sister Lois, as Ray – an ardent Cubs fan – often gifts her and her sister-friends with Cubs tickets!
The Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award is given annually to a friend of the congregation who has shared her or his time, talent and treasures with the Sisters of Providence. It is named after the Thralls couple who opened their home to Mother Theodore, her five companions and new postulants upon arrival at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
A group of three were honored with the Thralls Award this year for their work over a number of years to bring the Log Cabin Chapel to life: Earl Rodgers of West Terre Haute and Keith Ruble and Max Miller of Terre Haute. This team worked with Sisters of Providence staff member Dave Cox and Dave Patterson, executive director of the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau, to recreate the Log Cabin Chapel originally used by Mother Theodore.
Earl has a long-standing relationship with the Sisters of Providence and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College as the owner of a nearby construction firm. He is known as a hard-working man of integrity. Keith is retiring this year after 40 years as superintendent of the Vigo County (Indiana) Parks and Recreation Department. He has built more than 25 log cabins in his life and designed Fowler Park, an 1840s-era pioneer village. Max was the Purdue Extension Director in Vigo County for 36 years, retiring in 1996. He is known for his help establishing an industrial park; two wetland park reservations, including one of more than 1,200 acres along the Wabash River; development of an exemplary park system; and the founding of Leadership Terre Haute. Max personally transported inmates from the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Complex to work on building the log cabin chapel.
Keith’s words regarding the project summarize why the SPs selecting this team for the Thralls award. “Being asked to build a reproduction of the cabin that Mother Theodore used daily has been a high point of my life,” he said. “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 at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. My hope is that this little structure helps all people find hope, peace and love from God.”
The Queen Amelia and Thralls award were given at the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Dinner on June 1, which honors donors who have made large gifts to the SPs or have given annually for 10 or more consecutive years.