Sharing stories, building relationships
32 women and two men began a year-long journey as candidates with the Providence Associates on Oct. 11 at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Over the course of the coming year, each candidate will meet regularly with a Sister of Providence or Providence Associate companion to learn, share and grow together and in Providence.
An important part of the orientation toward becoming Providence Associates is the sharing of stories.
Listening to each candidate share what led them to the Providence Associates is sometimes touching, always meaningful.
Several say they are seeking something more in their lives, seeking a deeper spirituality.
One young woman sees this as a way to keep her accountable to community service. Another is seeking intentionality.
Several were Sisters of Providence staff members who have seen God’s loving care lived out by the women who employed them through the witness of their lives.
Some have been to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for retreats and events and in doing so have found a home and a community with the sisters.
Others are former Sisters of Providence who have never left in their hearts. One is discerning becoming a sister.
Several are friends of Providence Associates who have heard their tales of life-giving experience as a Providence Associate and are looking for the same.
More than one are nearing or just beginning retirement and now feel they have time to explore something more, something deeper within themselves.
Many are women who have found a home at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College as students who want to stay connected. One said, “I feel like I am most authentically me when I am here.”
One is the self-proclaimed president of the Saint Mother Theodore fan club. (Check out the fingernails that attest the claim.)
Among all the varied and authentic reasons they have come here, we wish many blessings on this year’s group of candidates as they begin a journey into something more. As they embark on a journey of relationship. A journey of community. A journey into making this world and their individual lives a deeper and more fulfilling place.