The Sisters of Providence as a group have witnessed a lot of technological growth over the years. Sister Rosalie Marie Weller, the oldest SP, was born in 1911— the year before traffic lights were invented. Sister Arrianne Whitaker, the youngest SP, appeared in this world the same year disposable contact lenses became available — 1987.
With this wealth and range of experience, we decided to ask a few sisters what was the most important piece of technology they have experienced so far in their lifetimes.
“Of all of the inventions, I thank God every day for air conditioning. I am an active person and I am always hot!” 97-year-old Sister Marceline Mattingly said. She remembers as a child chasing the ice delivery wagon. “I think I remember that so well because I like being cool.”
At 88 and with a degenerative eye problem, Sister Ann Kevin O’Connor cites the Kindle as her favorite technology. “I am having so much trouble reading, this is my lifeline,” she said. “I can read this book. I can get email. I can review books and get free books. And, of course, I can get games. … The print is dark and large. I can’t read other documents, but I can read this — and I read it joyfully! I am lost without it.”
Kicking off the Boomer generation at age 68, Sister Denise Wilkinson’s response declares an end to an invention from her childhood: correction fluid. “I’d have to say it is Microsoft Word software,” she said. “I am a terrible typist and the software
saves my sanity — no more Wite-Out™!”
Sister Su-Hsin, age 48, values relationships. A native of Taiwan, Sister Su-Hsin is glad computer technology exists to help her stay in touch with loved ones. “It really helps me to connect with my family,” she said. “I have used Skype to talk to my family in Taiwan since I entered the community in 2004. I talk to my friends in Japan, Malaysia, Italy, Ireland, Korea and Taiwan using Skype and Facebook.”
It makes sense that Sister Dina Bato, 36, would give “the Internet” as her answer, since GenX – her generation – is credited with inventing it. “In addition to helping you stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues all over the world, it broadens your ability to learn a wide variety of things, given the wide array of resources at your disposal,” she said.
(Originally published in the Winter 2014 issue of HOPE magazine.)