A community of friends: the Providence Associate relationship
“The friends of my friends are my friends.”
I have always loved this quote; mostly because it has come true so many times in my life.
And it happened again when 65 Providence Associates, Candidate Associates and Sisters of Providence gathered for their annual retreat in March. Entitled, “Belonging as Providence: Rooted in Relationships,” the retreat was facilitated by Sister Ann Sullivan. She helped all of us reflect on how our understandings of God, the universe and ourselves shape our spirituality, shape our relationships.
The retreat carried a powerful reflection on what it means to be in relationship with each other and with Providence. During the retreat I watched that happen; I observed my friends become friends with other friends.
It started from almost the moment I arrived and sought out Christine O’Connor. Christine and I are companions on the journey as she seeks to become a Providence Associate. We meet regularly to explore the Spiritual Integration Units that are part of the integration process in becoming an associate.
But almost simultaneous with my finding Christine was the arrival of Donna Kehoe who wanted to meet and connect with Christine. Donna and I were companions when Donna was becoming an associate (was that really six years ago?) Because Donna knew me she wanted to welcome Christine. We teased about who was the grandmother in this relationship (I guess that would be me!).
Donna’s reaching out to us made me more cognizant of the other relationships unfolding in the room. Here was Jean Smith, whose initial and only connection with the SPs was a relationship with Sister Catherine Livers, at home at a table with associates from Terre Haute as well as Indianapolis where she lives.
A group of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College graduates attracted my attention when I realized they spanned many class years. And, of course, there was the “family table” that included Bev McGuire, mother of Jessi Blessinger and Jennifer Drake, who were in attendance along with Jen’s husband Duane. When I joined them for conversation they were plotting how to convince Jessi’s husband to become a Providence Associate.
The spirituality of Providence tells us that all of life is interconnected, that all is holy, all is one. There was “oneness” in that room that day. I could see it AND feel it. I know the source is Providence.
Providence Associates are women and men of faith who choose to have an intentional relationship with the Sisters of Providence. They commit to sharing their own unique gifts and talents with others while walking with the Sisters of Providence. But they also walk with each other and that is making all the difference.
We invite you to walk more closely with us as a Providence Associate. Applications are being accepted now for those who wish to become Providence Associates in the coming year. Learn more at Providence Associates.org or request an application here.
Beautiful reflection, S. Dawn, on a weekend of beautiful friendships and spiritual nourishment.
Thank you, S. Dawn! You got my day off to a lovely start but made me homesick too! What a treasure the associate relationship has been in my life.