When Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her companions arrived at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, strangers in a new land, Sarah and Joseph Thralls welcomed them into their home and shared what they had. To honor that hospitality given to the Congregation, the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods helped create Providence Housing Corporation in 1999.
Providence Housing Corporation was formed to provide affordable housing for the Congregation’s neighbors in need. It provides apartments to low-income senior citizens and houses for low-income families in West Terre Haute, Indiana. Providence Place, as it is called, consists of 56 apartments and 17 single-family homes for people who qualify.
“For many of our seniors, Providence Place is home. We have residents that have lived here for 12 or 13 years,” said Megan Miller, director of operations for Providence Housing Corporation.
“Substandard housing is prevalent in the area. So we know that there is great need. Many of our residents have spent their lives working and raising children. Providence Place provides the opportunity for them to spend their golden years in comfortable, lovely surroundings,” Megan added.
Currently, Providence Housing Corporation has 150 people on a waiting list for the apartments. “We’re consistently full with very little turnover. Most often, people don’t move from here unless it is to transition to a skilled health care facility or to move in with family members,” Megan said.
Each apartment has approximately 900-square-feet of living space, includes one bath with low-step shower, a kitchen, and living room along with the two bedrooms. They also conveniently include a washer/dryer hook-up, lawn service and snow removal. Handicap-accessible units are also available.
In establishing Providence Housing Corporation, the Sisters of Providence gave a revolving loan fund of $50,000. This initial seed money was first offered to Pope John Paul II as a gift at the occasion of the beatification of Mother Theodore in 1998. The Congregation asked the Pope to return the money to Providence Housing Corporation as a gift toward providing for their neighbors, which he did.
(Originally published in the Winter 2015 issue of HOPE magazine.)