Walking with Providence Associate brings burst of energy
Walking with Jane Fischer of Indianapolis on her journey toward becoming a Providence Associate has been a bright spot in Sister Peggy Nau’s year.
Sister Peggy’s life changed dramatically in early 2012. The then-72-year-old Sister of Providence was ministering in Oak Lawn, Illinois. She felt fulfilled in her ministry as a hospital chaplain for Advocate Christ Medical Center there.
Overnight, everything changed.
Sister Peggy suffered a major stroke. She remembers little from the two months after that she spent as a patient in the hospital in which she had worked. She then moved to Providence Health Care at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for long months of hard work, therapy and rehabilitation.
“The doctor seems to think I’m pretty much as good as I’m going to get now. My balance is a little off. And I laugh because I think my memory is bad, and I blame it on the stroke. But she says it’s age. I’m not so sure,” Sister Peggy said.
Sister Peggy now lives in Lourdes Hall, the assisted living facility for the Sisters of Providence.
Companioning Jane has brought a burst of energy into her life.
“Jane is so positive and so encouraging. It’s just encouraging. And she’s somebody outside who is alive and vibrant and loves life. That has been very good,” Sister Peggy said.
Jane has traveled to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods about once a month to discuss and reflect on spiritual integration units with Sister Peggy.
“We’ve really gotten to be good friends. And she shares deeply. I’m not really a person who shares very deeply, but I feel at times I have with her just because she’s so open. And she is so funny,” Sister Peggy said.
“Probably she wouldn’t say this, but I would say it’s been a better experience for me in many ways.”
After they covered a unit on prayer, Sister Peggy relates, Jane decided she wanted a prayer room in her house. So she took a room upstairs and converted it into a prayer room and sent pictures to Sister Peggy.
“It’s just exciting to see somebody really grab ahold of it and go. That’s been fun for me,” Sister Peggy said.
Sister Peggy has been a Sister of Providence for 53 years. Jane’s excitement has re-energized her.
“Because she’s so outgoing and so enthusiastic, I think she’s helped me recapture some of that enthusiasm for the Woods. And her spirituality too. Sometimes it’s easy when you go about your day, it gets kind of humdrum. But when somebody gets super excited, which she does, it’s contagious. It just awakens you.”
“And Jane has taken it to heart. It helped me to know that it is possible for people, even though they don’t have the background we sisters have, to grasp it and want more.”
“I don’t think I changed her. I think there were a lot of ideas that changed her outlook on faith. I think it has helped her claim a faith that was more vibrant.”
Sister Peggy thinks the Providence Associate relationship is vital in the future of the Congregation.
“There is so much to do. So much related to love, mercy and justice to be accomplished in the world. And we need help. We can’t do it alone. We need people who are committed to being disciples of Jesus in whatever their line of work is or whatever their interest is. There’s just so very much to be accomplished, and the associates I’ve been with or talked to have that desire. I don’t think we’re going to be able to do it without the associates.”
“If there are people willing to share our ministry and share our passion, we need them,” she said.
Sister Peggy highly recommends companioning a Providence Associate to other Sisters of Providence.
“My selling point might be the opportunity to grow yourself and deepen your own spirituality. And sometimes that can be scary.”
For her taking that step into something new has brought new life and energy at a time when she needed it.
Read a Q&A with Jane on her experience journeying with Sister Peggy toward becoming a Providence Associate.