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Warm hearts welcome postulant Anna Fan

D022-Anna Fan postulancy entrance

General Superior Sister Denise Wilkinson (right), gives postulant Anna Fan a hug after the entrance ceremony.

A winter chill was not about to dampen anyone’s spirits Thursday evening, Nov. 13, when Anna Fan entered the postulancy with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. After a short, candle-lit prayer service in Owens Hall with Sister Editha Ben, vocation director, the two sang a short Taizé Magnificat in Chinese that would be sung again with the larger group. She and Sister Editha then briskly walked surrounded by snow flurries to the Providence Hall door and Anna “knocked” for official entrance. She was greeted warmly by General Superior Sister Denise Wilkinson and a group of sisters who welcomed her into the community.

During the entrance gathering, Sister Denise asked, “What do you ask of this Congregation?”

Anna answered, “I ask to enter the postulancy in order that I may come to better know and understand the movement of Providence in my life.”

Sister Denise said, “Anna, you have followed God’s call that has brought you to this door, to this moment. Now it’s time for another new beginning in our midst. Are you ready?” Anna answered, “I am by God’s grace,” and the group moved into the Providence Hall Parlor.

There was a reading from Saint Mother Theodore Guerin’s Journals and Letter, as a portrait of the foundress “looked on.” After several minutes of quiet reflection, Anna was presented keys to her new home at Owens Hall.

Members of the Congregation then blessed Anna –

on her forehead, “Receive the sign of the cross on your forehead. May your thoughts be kind and wise. It is Christ who is your life,”

on her ears, “… that you may always hear the word of God and act on it,”

on her eyes, “… that you may see God in all of creation,”

on her lips, “… that you may speak with love, and respond fully to the word of God,”

on her shoulders, “… that you may bear the gentle yoke of Christ, “

on her heart, “… that Christ may dwell there in faith, hope and love,”

on her hands, “… that you may touch all of life with reverence, gratitude and care,”

and on her feet, “… that you may walk as a sign of hope in the way of love, mercy and justice.”

Anna then prayed, “I praise you, O God, and I bless you. I pray that all who have walked through these doors before me will keep their hearts open to You and to all Your Creation. I ask that I might be open to You as I seek to live faithfully, as a sign of hope, … this life in Providence.”

Several songs were sung and there was much hugging and congratulations. It was a joyous occasion and the beginning of an exciting journey to religious life for Anna. One sister endearingly remarked, “You and Tracey are ‘band members,'” since Anna entered just a few months after Tracey Horan. This term was used earlier in the Congregation when larger groups of women entered at the same time.

Anna learned about the Sisters of Providence from working at Miracle Home ministry in Taishan, Taiwan, and by getting to know Director Sister Delan Ma. Miracle Home has served low-income and disabled elderly clients since 2000.

Visit Anna’s photo album for more pictures.

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Diane Weidenbenner

Diane Weidenbenner is the annual fund manager and donor relations for the Sisters of Providence Advancement Services office. She's also a Providence Associate.

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  1. Avatar Jennifer Rondeau Sider on November 15, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    It is with Anna’s spirit that the Sisters of Providence move forward!! I love the picture! The article touched my heart and the thought that arose was Anna is young, vibrant, energetic, happy and excited about her journey! There is much that a picture can communicate that words cannot. It would be my hope, with Sr. Denise’s and Anna’s permission, that this picture and story be used to invite others to the congregation. The word recruit comes to mind, but just doesn’t seem to fit Anna’s spirit!! God speed Anna and welcome to our beloved Saint Mary-of-the-Woods!

  2. Avatar Diane Weidenbenner on December 15, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Thank you, Jennifer, for your kind comment. Anna is settling in to Congregation life. Yes, we hope others will familiarize themselves with all of our women in formation and, think possibly, “Maybe I, too, could become a Catholic sister!” Women sometimes need to be asked if they’ve thought about religious life by a friend, family or parish member. We hope that everyone is as diligent as you in thinking about vocations and encouraging others to do so as well.

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