Coming home to the Providence Associates annual meeting
Coming home means … friendly faces and laughter.
Coming home means … feeling at ease and at peace.
Coming home means … being together in Our Woods!
“Coming Home” was an apt theme for this year’s Providence Associate Annual Meeting. Although Friday night included a get-together, the meeting began in earnest on Saturday morning, June 28, with a greeting by Providence Associates Director Sister Diane Mason. Next was an opening ceremony written and sung by Diann Neu. Each table (assigned by nametag) reflected on the weekend’s theme. Next Sister Diane and Debbie Dillow provided the “Year in Review.” Afterwards, Monica Hayden covered the most recent draft of the Providence Associate Advisory Board’s strategic planning document. This important document provides the ongoing goals and tasks we face ahead — together.
Maria Price, Sister Carole Kimes and Rosaline Secrest presented statistics, evaluations and reflections on the Providence Circles. They then encouraged us to “speed date” our way into circles new and old! After a beautiful and joyous Jubilee Mass and reception celebrating sisters who have served 25 and 50 years with the Congregation, the associates got together for an informal gathering in Le Fer Hall.
Sunday began with Mass to celebrate the vow ceremonies of Sisters Arrianne Whittaker and Su-Hsin Huang. The afternoon was jam-packed with business: Sister Dawn Tomaszewski provided a compelling presentation on the Land Ethic, which was followed by more discussion and goal-setting.
Next we were honored to meet with the SP General Council. Sister Dawn discussed ministries and Saint Mother Theodore’s shrine. Sister Mary Beth Klingel got us revved up about the upcoming celebration of the Woods’ 175th Anniversary. (You don’t want to miss the year’s events!) Sister Jenny Howard spoke on National Religious Retirement Office funding, sustainability and new membership, while Sister Lisa Stallings gave us news about Providence Health Care. (A five-star rating in every category! That’s news!) The session ended with Sister Denise Wilkinson’s impressions on the ongoing struggles of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. A deeply moving closing ritual concluded the official meeting, but the fun wasn’t over yet! Our social with the sisters seemed to go over wonderfully well. There was dancing (led by Mel Marino Wolff) and singing, libations and goodies. A good time was had by all. And isn’t that what coming home is all about?
Monday, the final day of the annual meeting for those able to attend, allowed the Providence Associates to join the Sisters of Providence and their ministry partners for the first day of their annual meeting. The morning began with a look at mission integration in the ministries. Representatives of 14 ministries of the Sisters of Providence gave a snap shot of where their organization is right now. After an encouraging glimpse at much good being done in the name of Providence, table discussion began. Associates and ministry partners joined discussion begun in the sisters local government units on developing practical ideas for implementing SP mission, vision and values in the ministries. It was a fruitful day that left many who participated with a feeling of hope.