What brings you here? What are you searching for?
We’re all searching for something, aren’t we?
This past Saturday, 36 new Providence Associate candidates gathered for orientation at Saint Mary of-the-Woods. (Two couldn’t make it and four more will gather for an orientation in California soon, bringing this year’s total number of Providence Associate candidates to 42!)
One of my favorite parts of orientation is listening to the stories of the candidates tell about what brought them here. What brings them to seek a deeper relationship with the Sisters of Providence? What are they searching for that they hope to find with the sisters?
I’d like to share a bit of what candidates said Oct. 10.
One candidate said her 27-year-old daughter had come to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She said she saw her daughter “became complete” here. So now she is coming as a Providence Associate candidate seeking to feel complete herself.
Many, many candidates had life-giving relationships with Sisters of Providence. One candidate, who is also a staff member of the Sisters of Providence, said the sisters have become her family. They help her take pride in who she is.
One candidate said she is motivated by social justice, diversity and equality and she sees all these values lived out by the sisters.
Another said she works as a caregiver. She said she has been coming to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for years. She will come out and just sit on the grounds to find peace and solace. She said that when a client she cares for passes on, a piece of her goes with them. So she comes here to the Woods to get that piece of herself back.
One Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College graduate said that in recent years she has been reading more and more on Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. She sees the Sisters of Providence as Saint Mother Theodore’s spiritual descendants and she wants be a part of that. She said she admires the sisters for their energy, their action, their peace and their calm and the way they accept change with faith and trust.
One candidate first got to know the Sisters of Providence because her dad came to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for care at Providence Health Care. She said he loved it; it was such a peaceful place. It left a lasting impression on her.
One candidate said she met a Sister of Providence at a Providence Spirituality and Conference Center retreat and the sister said to her, “You should be an associate.”
Another candidate, who has lived all over the world, was helping an English as a new language student at the Noblesville school named for Saint Mother Theodore to learn about Saint Mother Theodore. She became intrigued with Saint Theodora and, and though not Catholic, went to her feast day Mass at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. While she was there she learned about the associates program and decided to apply.
A 2002 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College said she shares the SP mission of peace, justice, compassion, forgiveness and environmental stewardship. She quoted the new SP mission statement in saying she wants “to collaborate with the sisters to create a more just and hope-filled world.”
What about you? Is something drawing you to a deeper relationship with the Sisters of Providence?