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Joyful experience in Taiwan

Two of the most privileged and sacred moments I enjoy in my ministry as general superior are receiving the vows of our newer members and praying the blessing prayer at the funeral of a deceased Sister of Providence. Each experience touches me deeply and evokes feelings of profound wonder and gratitude.

I’m thinking the above because I just returned from Taiwan and first profession of vows of one our Asian novices. What a joyful experience!

Some students, staff and faculty (and spouses and children of the same) of Providence University in Shalu, several Missionary Sisters of Providence (founded by our Mother Marie Gratia in the mid-1900’s) joined the Sisters of Providence for the liturgy and luncheon afterwards. Also celebrating with us was a woman who later that afternoon we welcomed to our pre-postulancy program. We feel very blessed that Asian women evidence an interest in becoming Sisters of Providence and demonstrate a deep commitment to serving the mission of Providence.

I left Taiwan carrying away an image of the work our sisters do so competently and joyfully in that part of Earth.

The image comes from a fruit I was introduced to for the first time this trip — the dragon’s eye. Each piece of this fruit is the size, consistency but not color of a red grape. It’s covered by a thin brown skin easily peeled away. The fruit itself is transparent and so the big black seed in the middle is easily seen.

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Sister Denise Wilkinson, center, with Sister Delan Ma, left, and Sister Rose Chiu in Taiwan recently.

In a nation where Catholics number only 1.39 percent of the total population, each ministry our sisters perform is, at its heart, evangelization. Whether working with the elderly at Miracle Home in Taishan District or with the Providence University community in Shalu District, the sisters’ works of love, mercy and justice preach the Gospel boldly. The sisters’ ministerial lives are as solid and transparent as the fruit of the dragon’s eye.

What one sees through their transparent selves is the solid seed at the center of their ministries and their very lives. That seed planted in their hearts is deep reliance on “that Providence that thus far has never failed us.” Their energy testifies to the hope that the providential seeds they plant, water and tend day after day will bear abundant Gospel fruit well into the future.

And, let me assure you, these SPs approach life with dragon energy. One description I read of the dragon’s symbolism in the Chinese zodiac follows and is very apt for our SPs in Taiwan:

Possessing magical powers, the versatile Dragon is capable of soaring to the highest heavenly heights or diving to the depths of the sea. On one hand shrewd, healthy and full of vitality, the Dragon also possesses a mystical side, intuitive, artistic and strangely lucky.

How blessed we are as a Congregation to number these women among us!

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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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