Kyle Meadors: Mother Theodore is here with us … working on our level
Kyle Meadors grew up in Missouri and now lives in Illinois. He professes a deep love and admiration for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and says he is enriched every day through his associate relationship. He also believes he is at home when he has the opportunity to visit Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
Please share a little bit about your life history and experiences.
I was born and raised in a small town in Arkansas. I lived there until I was 21 and then I moved to Springfield, Missouri, in 2006. It was there that I became active in Catholic Campus Ministry which is staffed by the Claretian Missionaries. I came to Chicago in the summer of 2010 to take part in the Claretian Volunteer Program and I spent two years as a Claretian Volunteer.
Do you have a special connection to the Sisters of Providence?
My spiritual connection to the Sisters of Providence stems from my love and admiration for Mother Theodore Guerin. While she is a Saint, I always prefer to call her Mother Theodore Guerin because, to me, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin makes her sound like she is up on a pedestal whereas Mother Theodore makes her sound like she is here on our level – working with us.
Why did you desire to become a Providence Associate?
I felt called to the Providence Associate relationship because I wanted to try to live more fully the Providence charism and help to make Mother Theodore known by others.
What did you find beneficial about the process?
I think the amount of time required to study, pray and discern was most beneficial. It’s not like you can say “I want to be an associate” and you are made one on the spot. It took a lot of hard work, and it was all rewarding. In the year-long process leading up to my first commitment, I learned a lot about the Congregation and the Providence charism that I didn’t know until I started working with the Spiritual Integration Units.
Please describe your relationship with your companion. Do you still meet?
As Providence would have it, I was companioned by Sister Pat Mahoney who was very close friend of the late Sister Mary Alice Zander. I corresponded with Sister Mary Alice concerning the associates shorty after my arrival in Chicago. The application process had already closed for that year, but she kept in contact with me making sure I didn’t forget about the opportunity. She sent me articles, cards, etcetera, during the next year. I am having my own health battles, and, out of the blue, I heard from Sister Mary Alice just a few weeks before she died. I was very humbled to be companioned by Sister Mary Alice’s close friend. Yes, we still meet every few months.
What are your impressions of the Spiritual Integration Units?
The Spiritual Integration Units are wonderfully written. I really enjoyed the thought-provoking questions and reflections that were provided.
Has being an associate enriched your life in any way?
Being an associate enriches my life every single day. I try to always remember that I chose to live out my commitment by being involved, as much as my health will allow, in works of peace and justice. During my two years as a Claretian Volunteer, I was at 8th Day Center for Justice with Sister Kathleen Desautels, SP. While I am no longer working at 8th Day, I did work on their annual Urban Plunge last month. I did this out of my commitment to justice – and my commitment as an associate.
Have you participated in any activities or gatherings?
I have not taken part in any PA activities outside of the commitment at the Woods. I hope to be more active with the local Chicago associates after the launch of the Providence Circles at the annual meeting. I did attend the Saint Mother Theodore Fest in 2011 just after I became a candidate-associate.
What do you want to gain through your relationship with the Sisters of Providence?
I think I want to gain a better understanding of Providence (God). Each member of the SP community has something to offer, and I have had the great fortune to come into contact with many SPs. The exchange of ideas only makes me more interested in getting to know our Provident God more intimately.
What advice would you give to someone who might be thinking about becoming a Providence Associate?
I would tell anyone that even has an inkling that they may be interested in the associates to do two things: First, pray WITH Mother Theodore Guerin and second to get into contact with Sister Diane. I prayed with Mother Theodore, and I felt that I should reach out to Sister Mary Alice Zander – and it has made all the difference in world. I was welcomed into Mother Theodore’s family exactly as I am.
What do you like best about Saint Mary-of-the-Woods?
Even though a permanent shrine will soon be built for Mother Theodore – I believe the Woods is her actual shrine. The beautiful ginkgo tree that stands on the grounds is one of my favorite places to visit when I am HOME at the Woods. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is truly a place set apart. I always feel renewed after visiting – and, I can never explain the feeling that comes over me each time I come through the gate. It’s a feeling of home.