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A Providence Advent Calendar

AdventCandles-webAdvent is a good time to practice Providence Spirituality.

How often have you paid attention to Advent?

How often have you celebrated Advent with the Providence Community?

How often have you practiced Providence Spirituality by attending to a Providence Advent Calendar?

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her five founding companions observed Advent 175 years ago by lighting candles and praying in the log cabin chapel at Saint Mary-of-the Woods. Let us take the opportunity this Advent season to call one another forth to continue their legacy.

Advent invites us to begin the liturgical year by discovering beauty in darkness and light, by preparing the way for justice, by rejoicing, and by proclaiming the greatness of Providence. It reminds us to find time in our hectic schedule to reflect quietly on the coming of Christ, the presence of Divine Providence, into our lives. Advent beckons us to practice Providence Spirituality.

Responses to the Providence Associate Visioning (PAV) process speak to the desire of many of us in the Providence community to deepen our spiritual connection to Providence. Honoring this need, let us unite together this Advent by praying with a Providence Advent Calendar.

For most of my life I have had Advent calendars. As a child, my Advent calendars were simple, decorative pictures of angels and crèche scenes with little windows, one of which I would open each day of Advent leading up to Christmas. Some Advent calendars are made of wood, cloth, or paper and feature little boxes, pockets, or envelopes each containing a treasure like chocolate, a gift, an act of kindness, or a quote. Some Advent calendars start on December 1; others begin with the first Sunday of Advent.

The Providence Advent calendar below begins with the first Sunday of Advent and uses quotes of Sisters of Providence (SP) and Providence Associates (PA) found on the SP website and in other PA and SP materials. May it help you enter into this season with reflections and actions for each day of Advent! You might want to keep an Advent journal to capture your reflections.

Week One: Discover Beauty in Darkness and Light.
♦ Set up an Advent wreath. Light one candle each day this week before you
read the quote of the day and take action.
  ♦ Pray for World Peace, especially in Syria, the Middle East,
and France, Saint Mother Theodore’s birth place.

Sunday: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon and the stars, and upon Earth… Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.” –Luke 21:25-36
What signs of Providence do you see in the sun, moon, stars, Earth, and trees?

Monday: “… you ought not to give way to uneasiness about the future. Put yourself gently into the hands of Providence.” – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin
Give someone your hand today and offer comfort.

Tuesday: “I feel the touch of Jesus very often in the presence of our elder sisters. They are experts in encouragement conveyed by a touch on the shoulder, a hand on my arm, a smile… when one says to me, ‘I pray for you, everyday.’” –Denise Wilkinson, SP
How do you pray for and with the Providence community every day?

Wednesday: “When I look back on my journey, I see that I’ve moved closer and closer to people who are further and further on the fringes of society.” –Maria Price, PA
Reflect on how you see and know Providence in the presence of those who are homeless, in prison, low-wage workers, immigrants, all who live on the margins?

Thursday: “Providence is moving into the unknown with the firm assurance that God is present.” –Pat Mahoney, SP
Take a deep breath and say yes to the unknown in your life.

Friday: “I am so blessed that Providence led me halfway across the country, up a hill, and into these Woods, our Woods.” –Lori Strawn, PA
Where is Providence leading you?

Saturday: “Remember that how we treat the land is connected to how we pray and experience gratitude.” –Eco-tip #36: gratitude and prayer
Think about how your attitudes and spiritual practices impact your connection with creation.


Week Two: Prepare the Way for Justice.
♦ Light two candles each day this week before you
read the quote of the day and take action.
  ♦ Pray for those who are sick and infirm.

Sunday: “The word of God came to John in the wilderness; …prepare the way of our God.” –Luke 3:1-6
How are you called to prepare the way of Providence?

Monday: “Ours is a preparation for the generation that will succeed us, and eminent good will be done this way by us. You may not live to see it, but you will have sown the seed, and your sisters will come to reap what will have been sown.” –Saint Mother Theodore Guerin
Reflect on one way you are telling the next generation about Providence.

Tuesday, Feast of the Immaculate Conception: “What Our Lady of Providence has given me through the reflections and prayers written by the sisters, is a sense of Mary always being present to me. Through her presence I can, as Mother Theodore teaches, ‘love the children first, then teach them.’” –Jenny Nowalk, PA
Pray to Mary today and sing “Our Lady of Providence.”

Wednesday: “How do I see myself contributing to the legacy of Providence? My desire to make a difference in this world by making a difference in individuals’ lives continues to drive me. That will be my legacy and I believe that that is, in part, the legacy of Providence.” –Joan Frisz, PA
Reflect on the legacy of Providence you inherited and the one you are passing on.

Thursday: “Mission ultimately calls us to the ministry of the ‘long haul’–a faithful life journey of being love, mercy and justice . . . The mission of Providence is not for the puny of heart!” –Kathleen Desautels SP
Reflect on how you are called to the ministry of the long haul.

Friday: “To heed the call to be Providence in our world is to heed the call to be a people of radical Christian hope. It is to believe that our actions in the world can and do make a difference, though we have no guarantee of the kind of difference they will make.” –Marie McCarthy, SP
Make a difference today by complimenting someone.

Saturday: “Simplify: use less, consume less, eat less, buy less.” –Eco-tip #37: simplify
Choose a part of your life that you can simplify, and get rid of clutter.


Week Three: Gaudete–Rejoice.
  ♦ Light three candles each day this week before you
read the quote of the day and take action.
  ♦ Pray for the gift of joy.

Sunday: “Rejoice in our God always! I say it again: Rejoice!” –Philippians 4:4-13
Be joyful today that you are a member of the family of Providence.

Monday: “Happy are those who are able to pray!” –Mother Theodore Guerin
Think about the many ways that you pray: gazing at the trees, sitting in silence, walking a labyrinth, running, washing dishes, talking with a loved one, celebrating Eucharist, meditating with a group, listening to the daily news, protesting injustice, reading with wise elders, singing, dancing, and more.

Tuesday: “Our promise in this time is to be God’s loving care for all creation, to be one of the ways God sustains life. We desire to live in right relationship with our Earth and with all that dwells on Earth.” –Dawn Tomaszewski, SP
Hug or kiss a tree or feed the birds today to care for creation.

Wednesday: “The spirituality and witness of the Sisters of Providence is a magnet that continues to attract and hold close the depths of my heart. Returning as an associate is like coming home.” –Marilyn Rausch, PA
What attracts you to Providence and brings you home?

Thursday: “The work of answering the call to love tenderly, to act justly, and to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8) is a lifelong challenge.” – Bernice Kuper, SP
How do you answer this lifelong challenge in your life?

Friday: “…God not only created everything in the universe and thus everything that has evolved in it … but … God is and continues to be present in all of them.” –Jeanne Knoerle, SP
Give thanks for the presence of Providence in your life and in the cosmos.

Saturday: “Avoid consumerism this holiday season.” –Eco-tip #47: avoid consumerism
Make gifts or shop for Fair Trade items at a store like Linden Leaf Gifts.


Week Four: Proclaim the greatness of Providence.
♦ Light four candles each day this week before you
read the quote of the day and take action.
♦ Pray for children who will be born this week
that they may live in a world of peace.

Sunday: “My soul proclaims your greatness, O God, and my spirit rejoices in you, my Savior.” –Luke 1:39-55
Take time to greet a friend like Mary greeted Elizabeth with these words.

Monday: “Grant, O my God, that all who dwell in this house may love you much, may love one another, and may never forget why they came here.” –Mother Theodore Guerin
Love someone unconditionally today.

Tuesday: “Collaboration is working together with others to do a task and to achieve shared goals . . . Bringing your gift of self, deepening your own spirituality, believing in the God of creation.” –Diane Mason, SP
How are you collaborating with the Providence community?

Wednesday: “Reflecting on our spirit of re-founding excites me. There is much to be hopeful for in our future. We are ready to allow God’s loving care to reach out through us to meet needs of people for generations to come.” –Lisa Stallings, SP
How are you helping to re-found the Providence community to meet the needs of the next generations?

Thursday, Christmas Eve: “Birthing Providence, the universe is bringing forth God.” – Jeremy Gallet, SP
Reflect on how you are bringing forth Providence.

Friday, Christmas: Blessings of Christmas to you, your family and friends, the Sisters of Providence, the Providence Associates, and the Providence community!

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Diann Neu

Diann Neu

Diann L. Neu is a Providence Associate who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. She is a graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a former Sister of Providence, and co-founder and co-director with Mary E. Hunt of WATER, the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, http://www.waterwomensalliance.org

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  1. Avatar Lori Strawn on November 29, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Diann, this is wonderful!

  2. Avatar Lorraine Kirker PA on November 29, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Diann, thank you for this. I will use the Advent Calendar in my prayer practice this season and will share it as well.

    Blessings in Providence!

  3. Avatar Carol Nolan on November 29, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Beautiful, Diane! I will have this at my prayer space every day. Thanks you!

  4. Avatar jenny nowalk, PA on November 29, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Wonderful Diane! Thanks for putting this together for all of us! I’m honored to be included in the quotes…..and thrilled to see Sister Jeanne Knorle’s reminder of God’s Universal Presence and LOVE! How timely its and now necessary to care for each other!

  5. Avatar Bev McGuire, PA on November 30, 2015 at 10:48 am

    I love this Diann! Thank you so much for putting this together! I will include it in my daily prayers this Advent season.

  6. Avatar Sister Editha Ben, SP on November 30, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Just love you sharing your deep spirituality. Thanks, Diane.

  7. Avatar Kathleen Desautels, SP on November 30, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Diann, thank you for capturing the best of Advent’s call of Hope!

  8. Avatar Kathy Fleschner on December 1, 2015 at 7:27 am

    Thank you for the Providence Advent Calendar and all of the daily quotes. I am filled with gratitude for your love, concern, and faithfulness. I look to spsmw.org as a source of inspiration and hope.

  9. Avatar Paula Damiano, SP on December 2, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Just got to this….thanks so much!

  10. Avatar Jean Smith, PA on December 4, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Thank you so much for putting together this calendar. I will treasure it.

  11. Avatar Janice Smith, SP on December 12, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Diane, this is a wonderful spiritual exercise for Advent and I am sharing it with others.
    Janice, sP

  12. Avatar Joni Luna on December 5, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    This is great! Thank you for sharing your gifts Diane!

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