Becoming a Providence Associate
Welcome to our newest Providence Associates! Some of the 26 new Providence Associates who made their first commitments on Saturday share some of their experiences here. Each has spent the past year journeying with a Sister of Providence or Providence Associate companion as together they learn more about the Sisters of Providence, each other and themselves. See the photo album of their big day here.
Kim Knoblock, Terre Haute, Indiana
“For me, the process was like being able to attend a retreat in the middle of my everyday life. I met with my Spiritual Companion, Sister Connie Kramer, every few weeks as we discussed our units. The units highlighted the mission and ministry of the sisters, relationships, commitment, Providence Spirituality and many other topics. I came to appreciate, even more, the lives and ministries of the Sisters of Providence, and how God’s Providence has been active in my life, as well. God’s love for me, and for all of us, brings out my desire to want to live my love for God by helping God’s people. Being a Providence Associate, for me, means saying “yes” to God with my life. We can be God’s love for others, just by living mindfully and with intention. Now, I am blessed to be able to do that in relationship with the Sisters of Providence and the Providence Associates.”
Jeanie Fentz, New Palestine, Illinois
“Now, I feel I have a special connection with Saint Mary of the Woods. I am a graduate of the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College external degree program and their master’s in pastoral theology program. I have had a connection with the Sisters of Providence since first grade when they taught me at Saint Philip Neri Grade School in Indianapolis. This is even better because I feel that now I am one with them.”
Jacqueline Fischer, Moberly, Missouri
“After leaving Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for 18 years to pursue another professional opportunity, it has been my relationship with the Sisters of Providence that I have missed the most. Going through the process of becoming a PA has been one of the most meaningful journeys of my life. I’m truly honored that I’ve been accepted to join this group and that the Sisters believe in me enough to feel confident that I will carry out their mission of love, mercy, and justice in my daily life and work.”
Beth Weis, Chicago, Illinois
“Every step of the process from orientation to meeting my companions to the year of study has affirmed that Providence, though unexpected and unbidden, is alive and well and welcome in my life. The Sisters of Providence are an amazing order of women religious. I have found camaraderie, companionship, compassion, laughter and wisdom in each one I have met. I want to be like them when I grow up.”
Sabrina Falls, Indianapolis
“Before going on a quiet personal retreat in the summer of 2013, I had not known about the Sisters of Providence. During this retreat at “the Woods” I was powerfully blessed to receive God’s healing and love through the ministry of the Sisters of Providence.
What I now know to be called the “charism” of the Sisters of Providence touched me deeply and I felt drawn to consider becoming an associate.
This feels like a significant and inevitable step along my journey of faith and I am excited about where Providence will lead me next as I grow toward spiritual integration and wholeness.
I pray to be faithful in offering whatever gifts of the Spirit I have received and come alongside the Sisters of Providence and associates—that together we will honor Divine Providence through ministries of love, mercy, and justice among God’s people!”
Beth Speer, Farmersburg, Indiana
“I have a lot of irons in the fire already, but because I love the sisters I want to do something to help share in their ministry.
This year of discernment has been a wonderful experience. I was matched up with Sister Carole Fedders. She has been a great companion for me.
I am not Catholic, so I’ve had a lot to learn about what that means. I came here believing that Catholics were very different in their beliefs than us Baptists. I have been pleased to find out that our core beliefs are the same, although we may worship differently.
I already receive a blessing to serve God as an employee of the Sisters of Providence. I get to serve God by serving the sisters as they serve God. I am excited to see what God has in store for me in this new role as Providence Associate.”
Zenaida Contreras, Terre Haute, Indiana
“When I got invited to join the Providence Associates, I had no idea what I would learn about relationships and commitment, creation, mission, love, mercy and justice. It was a nice wonderful experience with my companion Sister Mary Moloney. I decided to join to really understand and make my commitment deeper and more meaningful.”
Betty Sloan, Indian Head Park, Illinois
“This experience has given me another look into the lives and works of these remarkable women. One cannot help but be impacted by their joy, dedication, generosity, and vision. To be around these women is a privilege. As a direct result of their influence, I feel closer to God and I allow him to speak to my heart and to help me be more influential in the lives of others.”
Holly Herber, Indianapolis
“The process is a multi-faceted journey of introspection, spirituality and action. It focused on both daily living and big picture. If ideas were like paints, I felt that it took all the mess of paints I had and actually painted a picture — and that picture is our own hands and feet, and how I can strive to be Christ’s hands and feet in my daily life. Being a Providence Associate means to me to be God’s hands and feet to the community around me in a simple way and in a broader way.”
Mary Jo Ricketson, Sudbury, Massachusetts
“The Sisters of Providence have a beautiful way of welcoming you to their community of faith and service. Although the process is not always easy, I always felt supported, comforted, encouraged, guided and loved. It reminds me very much of the quote on the wall of Saint Mother Theodore’s shrine as you leave that amazing space. She told her sisters, ‘Have confidence in the Providence that so far has never failed us. The way is not yet clear. Grope along slowly. Do not press matters; be patient, be trustful.’ After being in the shrine and coming closer to understanding Saint Mother Theodore and her love of God, her message spoke very clearly to me. There were many moments of struggle and doubt but it did not worry me like before. I understood from her that the struggle was part of the process. She reminded me to trust in the Lord always.
Being a Providence Associate means to have a special bond with other women and men through, with and for God. I think our shared desire and willingness to serve God and others can be a powerful force for bringing God’s goodness and love to this world. I hope that I will be able to both give and receive this love in ways that allow me to use the gifts God has given me to work together in community for the good of all.”
Kristina Allen, Terre Haute, Indiana
“The past year was one of tremendous learning not only about myself but about God and how he wanted me to look at my community, my faith, my family and my world. I had to be willing to be challenged regarding my beliefs and to give up what did not meet the values and ideals that God set forth for me. I saw parts of myself that needed restoration, to which God attended to so lovingly. Sister Ellen Cunningham never left my side and encouraged me all along the way. She spent times answering questions and praying for me to find the right answers. Nearing the end of the process, I really liked the person I came to be as well as the desire created in me to delve more into the mystery of God.”
Adrienne Curtis-Davis, Westchester, Illinois
“What does it mean to me now? It gives me an open invitation to work and serve with the Sisters of Providence.”