A wonderful time to get to know the sisters of these Woods
“It was exciting and energizing to meet so many sisters and talk about life. It was also enriching to be able to have one-on-one time with a couple of sisters who are still in formation,” wrote a young woman who recently spent the weekend getting to know the Sisters of Providence.
It’s a wonderful time to be in these woods. It’s a season of colorful leaves! It’s another season of experiencing Providence all around us, in the forest where Saint Mother Theodore Guerin started the community of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
October is a month of great reminiscing and celebrating our rootedness in Providence. Our Mother Theodore’s birthday was Oct. 2. Oct. 3 was her feast day. Oct. 15 was the anniversary of her canonization. Oct. 17-18 was the biennial Saint Mother Theodore FEST and the weekend for women considering life as a sister. On Oct. 22 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and the Sisters of Providence celebrated our 175th Foundation Day.
The FEST was a culmination of the year-long celebration of thanksgiving for the mission of God that called Mother Theodore and her five companions here 175 years ago. This call, rooted for tomorrow, continues to be responded to today through the lives and ministries of Sisters of Providence, Providence Associates and our ministry partners.
It was fitting that our discernment weekend for women interested in knowing more about religious life was during the FEST. It energized me to have seven women who came from Georgia, California, Michigan, and Indiana to have closer interactions with sisters, especially our sisters in initial formation and our sisters who minister in new membership.
One participant said she appreciated the time to ponder about religious life. She said she enjoyed being around sisters, vowed and not “yet,” and being with other women thinking about religious life.
Another participant said she liked the “deep conversation, hugs and nice meals.”
Another enjoyed the adventure time with a younger sister, the FEST energy, and the prayer.
One said, “The fellowship with women of the same faith was refreshing. It reminded me to get more involved with my parish rather than just be a church goer.”
“I was able to learn more about Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and the wonderful legacy she left behind. I learned so many quotes and I would have to say my favorite quotes are “….Put yourself gently into the hands of Providence…” and “….Don’t press matters, be patient, be trustful,” another said.
“It was a blessing to see the SP campus and learn more about the community. It was enriching to observe a glimpse of the SPs way of life even if it was only for a few days.”
Some of the blessings of the weekend for me were the presence of those who love Mother Theodore and those who came for the FEST eager to know more about her. This was enriched by the presence of these seven women who are thinking of religious life as an option.
My hopes for these women, who are in different stages of their faith journey, is to remain open to the Spirit in keeping alive their desire for a deeper personal relationship with God. May they be inspired by Mother Theodore’s life to get rooted in the future and be a part of living her legacy.
The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods are a community of Catholic women religious who collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy.
We minster as health-care professionals, in social service and as eco-justice advocates, as teachers, administrators, artists, canon lawyers, community leaders and parish life coordinators. We continue to be the face of Providence in our concern for the dignity of all peoples, in our care for God’s creation, and in our response to sustainable systemic change and commitment to peace & justice.
As we come to the last three months of the Year of Consecrated Life, and as we celebrate National Vocations Awareness Week Nov. 1-7, I ask each of you to please intentionally invite and encourage someone who might be searching for a meaningful life to consider exploring the possibility of becoming a Sister of Providence.
At our morning prayer today we used this reading from Mother Theodore’s Letters and Journals (p. 325):
She is writing to Bishop Bouvier in France about the coming of their present Bishop, Bishop de Saint Palais, to France. “Since the departure of this good Bishop, we have received two postulants of superior merit, and we expect another who, to judge from her letters, will not be inferior to them either in talents or virtue….
It is certain that our novices and postulants are, in general very nice, and give us great consolation, and particularly, great hope for the future.”
Certainly appropriate sentiments for our current situation! Thanks to all involved. We are blessed.