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22 New Providence Associates

The newest Providence Associates of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. From front left: Jennifer Calvert, Donna Snelling, Traci Tucker, Marcy Meldahl, Jean Smith, Helen Flavin and Director of Providence Associates Sister Diane Mason. Second row from left: Amy Miranda, Tracy Biggs-Green, Marilyn Rausch. Third row from left: Charles Fisher, Jane Fischer, Suzie Ray, Terry Urban, Duane Drake and Marsha Bialaszewski. Back row from left: Assistant Director of Providence Associates Debbie Dillow, Tara Lane, Lorraine Scheidler, Rev. Rebecca Zelensky, Sarah Wilson, Susan McDowell and General Officer for the Sisters of Providence Sister Dawn Tomaszewski.

The newest Providence Associates of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. From front left: Jennifer Calvert, Donna Snelling, Traci Tucker, Marcy Meldahl, Jean Smith, Helen Flavin and Director of Providence Associates Sister Diane Mason. Second row from left: Amy Miranda, Tracy Biggs-Green, Marilyn Rausch. Third row from left: Charles Fisher, Jane Fischer, Suzie Ray, Terry Urban, Duane Drake and Marsha Bialaszewski. Back row from left: Assistant Director of Providence Associates Debbie Dillow, Tara Lane, Lorraine Scheidler, Rev. Rebecca Zelensky, Sarah Wilson, Susan McDowell and General Officer for the Sisters of Providence Sister Dawn Tomaszewski.

Twenty-two women and men recently made their first commitments as Providence Associates with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. That brings the total number of Providence Associates in the United States and Taiwan to more than 200.

By numbers alone, that is exciting.

This new way of being in relationship with the Sisters of Providence began in 2007. It continues to grow into itself and to deepen. As numbers of professed sisters are dropping, the number of associates continues to grow. It brings hope for the future.

Jean Smith, Sarah Wilson and Traci Tucker carry candles during the entrance procession for their commitment ceremony as Providence Associates.

Jean Smith, Sarah Wilson and Traci Tucker carry candles during the entrance procession for their commitment ceremony as Providence Associates.

For each individual new associate, it is also exciting on a personal level.

I understand this more deeply this year. I was among the 20 who made their commitments this past Saturday.

Perhaps the best way to share some of the individual joys, excitement and conversion is to hear it from some of the newest associates themselves.

Jennifer Calvert of Worthington, Indiana, who works in medical records for Providence Health Care at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, calls the time she spent reflecting and learning with her companion, Sister Rosemary Borntrager, a “transformation.”

“All my life, I had mostly looked at the surface of myself and outer appearances regarding others. That was how I was early on. My how things can change! As I look inward to the special intimate place, that which only God sees, it is with great amazement I see the transformation within me, one of love, mercy, and justice — replacing self-centeredness, vanity, and narrow mindedness,” Jennifer said.

Diana M. Garza, an educational consultant from Falfurrias, Texas, who made her commitment on Oct. 21, said, “Through the units I learned about the Sisters of Providence and their mission. The units also consisted of self-reflection and prayer. At times the units were not easy for me, but Sister Barbara was always there to inspire and encourage. She was a great mentor and friend.

New Providence Associates Diana M. Garza and DeAnna Havel of Texas sign their commitment statements during their commitment ceremony at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on Oct. 21, 2014.

New Providence Associates Diana M. Garza and DeAnna Havel of Texas sign their commitment statements during their commitment ceremony at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on Oct. 21, 2014.

“It’s an honor to represent this community of strong, progressive women religious. I recall a quote from Saint Mother Theodore: ‘We are not called upon to do all the good possible, but only that which we can do!’ I want to do what ‘I CAN do’ as an associate to help the Sisters of Providence continue their mission of love, mercy and justice.”

Marilyn Rausch of Indianapolis, recently retired as a medical doctor, says, “In uniting with the mission of the sisters to promote works of love, mercy, and justice, there is new meaning to ‘living life with a purpose on purpose.’ I have learned not to predict what miracles are waiting to be discovered, but to appreciate the blessings of the moment as being evidence of that Providential Care.”

Rev. Rebecca Zelensky, senior minister at Central Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Terre Haute, Indiana, says, “The Spirit of God has done and is doing incredible, life-giving things among and through these extremely faithful sisters and associates, and I am very excited to be able to serve God with them.”

Marcy Meldahl, a human resources professional from Knoxville, Tennessee, says, “I want to be a part of an organization of women where intelligence is not threatening, where I am fed spiritually and whose activities seem to reflect Jesus’s stated expectations for humanity. I also want to continue to find ways to ensure ‘love, mercy, justice.’”

DeAnna Havel of Corpus Christi, Texas, says, “The past year was a remarkably insightful and spiritual journey. I have experienced a type of surrender to the providence of God’s will that has brought peace to my heart and mind.

“I see God’s hand at work in my life and I feel as though this is my personal fullness of time.”

The excitement of making a year-long commitment with the Sisters of Providence is still fresh. But the fullness of the relationship is just beginning.

Please keep all of us newly committed Providence Associates in your prayers as we continue to discover what living out more deeply a mission of love, mercy and justice means for us in our day-to-day lives.

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Amy Miranda

Amy Miranda is a Providence Associate of the Sisters of Providence and a staff member in their Advancement Services office. Amy is a 1998 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She currently manages the SP publication HOPE and works on marketing support for Providence Associates, new membership and Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

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