The Sisters of Providence buildings are a technological hodgepodge. New computers sit next to typewriters, old table-based sewing machines next to electronic ones, and giant dictionaries next to compact discs. It is certainly a study in contrasts, where decades of technology sit comfortably side by side.
In this photo album Christina Blust explores the technology in use in the SP convent at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Christina Blust is a designer, musician, reader and generally curious person. As a 2006-2007 AmeriCorps volunteer at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice, she lived in Owens Hall for a year and learned the unique joys of wandering around the convent exploring. Now employed in Mission Advancement as the digital media and website manager for the Sisters of Providence, she gets to delve into the historical (and often humorous) wonders of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on a daily basis.
(Originally published in the Winter 2014 issue of HOPE magazine.)
The Providence Hall resource center still utilizes its carefully sorted card catalog.
Sister Kay Kelly gets around well in her motorized wheelchair.
A giant dictionary in the resource center
CDs available for checkout in the resource center, stacked just as we found them.
The physical library in the resource center
Amanda Maher uses the PA system in Providence Hall.
A state-of-the-art security system protects the convent.
One of many old sewing machines still in use at the convent.
This fancy new sewing machine was donated to the SP sewing room. The sisters are impressed by all of the buttons and the stitch selection.
Another of the many old sewing machines still in use at the convent.
A sister watches a video in the computer room. She was particularly proud that she had gotten the speakers to work correctly.
This typewriter is also in the computer room, for sisters wanting to type something up the old-fashioned way.
In the beauty salon where sisters get their hair cut is this seated hair dryer.
Sisters who get their hair cut and styled “in house” enjoy this nice hair washing sink.
A small library nook has a full bookshelf of VHS tapes.
Sister Noralee Keefe works on a Word document in her office.
This box controls the chimes in the tower of the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Whereas the bells used to be rung by hand, now the chimes ring electronically.
The Printery in Owens Hall still uses this binding machine straight out of the industrial age.
The binding machine proclaims proudly that it is a “No. 4 Boston Stitcher.” When in use, the machine makes sounds like this: “KerCHUNK kerCHUNK kerCHUNK!”
The fire alarms in Owens Hall are bright red horns.
These old gauges are deep in the tunnels of Owens Hall, where a whole slew of decades-old technology is still in use.
This incinerator, also in the Owens Hall tunnels, is no longer in use.
The toggle marked “Main” on this switchboard in the Owens Hall tunnels is entirely too tempting.