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Sister Anne Therese Falkenstein

Falkenstein, Anne ThereseCurrent ministry: Associate professor, researcher, special assistant to the president and trustee at Providence University in Taiwan

Favorite website: www.spsmw.org because it keeps me in touch with so many of the great things that the Sisters of Providence, Providence Associates and other friends are doing to make the world a better place.

Favorite quote: “My life is my message.” Ghandi

Favorite music/song: If I had to pick just one, it would be “Quiet My Soul” by Monica Brown.

On weekends, I love to: attend a Mass that is intended for children and their families because it inspires me and reminds me of my own childhood within a Catholic family.

If I weren’t an SP, I’d be … why would I want to be anything other than a Sister of Providence?

When I am not officially at work or involved in ministry, you’re most likely not to see me …
because I enjoy being alone or swimming after engaging with people all day.

I am passionate about … helping students to believe in their ability and accomplish their dreams.

Contact Sister Anne Therese at: afalkens@spsmw.org

Anne-therese-sophs-cross-webHow did you meet the Sisters of Providence?

I am grateful and happy to say that Sisters of Providence have always been in my life. In fact, when I was born, I received an envelope from a sister with several Mother Theodore items in it to be hung on my crib. As I grew a little older, I attended St. Polycarp Elementary School in Somerville, Mass., where several of my teachers were Sisters of Providence. I remember so clearly that they relied on God, loved children, music, prayer, the parish, diverse cultures and one another. They were always so generous with their time and talents. I admired and enjoyed them and wanted to know more about them.

Why would a woman today find being a Sister of Providence an attractive choice?

As Sisters of Providence we have a very profound love and respect for one another. We pray daily, respect all human beings, collaboratively serve others including the poor, sick and underprivileged, care for the earth, challenge one another, support each other in good times and bad, accept each other despite our imperfections, celebrate each other’s successes, accompany one another in our disappointments, strive to be the persons God has called us to be, value the wisdom of various generations, are quick to forgive, honor the life and work of Saint Theodore Guerin and constantly discern God’s will. A woman who perceives life as a Sister of Providence as attractive understands that a call to a vowed religious life within a community involves a deep and intimate relationship with God.

graduation-webYou have been in Taiwan for a number of years. What prompted you to seek a ministry opportunity there?

As a young adult, I was compelled to seek a teaching position in Taiwan because I valued cultural and religious diversity, believed I could make a positive contribution to higher education there and wanted to be part of the Sister of Providence’s efforts on the Island. I was also influenced to minister abroad by Mother Theodore’s experience of ministering as an immigrant in the United States, by the example of another Sister of Providence who returned to our parish after serving in Peru when I was a preschooler and by the famous quote: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

Can you describe your current ministry?

Currently, I enjoy teaching English to sophomores and seniors at Providence University in Taiwan, conducting research, representing the school abroad under the title of Special Assistant to the President and serving on the Board of Trustees.

What do you find fulfilling about your ministry?

The aspect of my ministry that I love the most is engaging in conversations with students about religious beliefs, life and death, pop culture, world politics and controversial issues. My students are a great source of vitality and life. They help me to feel optimistic about the future because they care about the world and view themselves as agents of change.

koala-cross-webCan you talk a little about Providence University, the Catholic culture there, what the university means to the people there?

Providence University was founded by the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Mother Marie Gratia Luking of Connersville, Ind., is considered its foundress.
However, it is no longer owned by the Sisters of Providence and has been sponsored by the diocese of Taichung for many years. The school is comprised of five colleges and has been highly successful. The combined total of full- and part-time students is over 16,000.
There are not many Catholics among the student population, but all full-time students are required to participate in service learning, strongly encouraged to engage with other cultures through study abroad programs, offered professional ethics, Bible and religion courses, involved in campus-wide eco-justice projects and provided with Campus Ministry and Chaplaincy services.

 

Tidbits

What is the most important thing in your life right now?
The most important thing in my life right now is living in the moment and embracing natural changes as they unfold within me, in the Community, my family and among my friends.

What gives you your most pleasure or satisfaction?
Spending time doing simple things with trusted friends.

What gives you hope?
The ideals and dreams of my students give me hope.

What would be the one thing you most want people to remember about you?
That I loved deeply and always tried my best.

When you think of God, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Acceptance

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement has not yet been realized.

What do you think is the secret to a good life?
Being true to personal values.

What is your least favorite chore?
My least favorite chore is calculating and then submitting students’ grades on-line because grading seems to underestimate the importance of learning as a process.

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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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