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A Father’s Day Tribute!

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A father and newborn baby.

“My dad was a very funny man whose sense of humor was dry as dust!”

That sentiment came straight from Sister Lisa Stallings in reference to her father. For Father’s Day, many Sisters of Providence wanted to share memories of their father as a way of honoring all fathers on their very special day.

Sister Lisa Stallings

Sister Lisa Stallings

Sister Lisa continued, “As a child, I would try to find wacky situations and stories so that I could tell him. A winning story was one that made him laugh – and one that wouldn’t allow him to beat me to the punch line. Even after he died, I would – from time to time – find myself saying, ‘Dad would just LOVE this!”

As a child, Sister Lisa played tennis and even participated in several tournaments. She said she was “reasonably successful,” against most of her opponents; except one.

“Dad would stand in the middle of the court and make me run from sideline to sideline until I was thoroughly worn down,” she said. “Every time we played, he would end the session reminding me that I had not yet learned the most important rule of tennis: ‘Put it where they ain’t!’”

Many other sisters shared memories of their fathers, including Sisters Jenny Howard, Barbara Battista, Beth Wright, Mary Beth Klingel and Carol Lindly.

Sister Beth Wright

Sister Beth Wright

“My best memory of my dad is coming home from school and smelling the wonderful supper (most of the time) he was preparing for us,” Sister Beth said. “And the best memories of my step-dad are the ways he showed his love for my mom and the love, wisdom and guidance he has given to me. He continues to share those gifts with me today.”

Sister Mary Beth Klingel

Sister Mary Beth said her father’s nickname was “Irish.”

“My dad was a man who was into recycling-reusing long before it became the thing to do,” Sister Mary Beth said. “He was a master gardener who taught us a love of the land and how to grow food for our table that lasted throughout the winter until the next planting season. Half of our backyard was designated for growing potatoes and delicious vegetables!

“Every tree in our yard was once a tiny sapling that he brought home from some wooded area near our home. My dad related to God through nature.”

Sister Carol Lindly

Sister Carol Lindly

Growing up in Fort Wayne, Sister Carol’s father was a Mason. She said while her father wasn’t Catholic – her mother was – he supported her decision to enter the Congregation.

“He was always there when I needed him,” Sister Carol said. “He even wrote me a poem shortly after I entered the Congregation.”

Sister Jenny said her father’s name was V. Louis. The “V” was for Vernon as she said he was named after his father, but her father went by “Louis.”

“He was a very quiet and gentle person who cared deeply about his family,” Sister Jenny said. “My dad had a strong faith and trust in God. I am confident that his daily faith-filled witness has been a great contributor to my own spiritual journey.

Sister Jenny Howard

Sister Jenny Howard

“During my grade school years, my dad and I had a ‘standing date’ most evenings after supper and dishes. We would head to our basement for a couple of games of ping-pong, or outside in the backyard to play catch, or some other outdoor activity. He was fun to be with and a great tease!”

Sister Jenny added her father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away during her senior year of high school.

“I miss having had the opportunity to have a relationship with him as an adult to adult,” Sister Jenny said. “However, he was a great ‘teacher of life’ for me and I am very grateful. Even now, these many years later, I still feel a very close connection with him.”

Sister Barbara said most people affectionately called her father “Papa Joe.”

“A lot of people called him Papa Joe,” Sister Barbara said. “He owned a corner drugstore in Indianapolis. He seemed to know everyone in the neighborhood!”

Sister Barbara Battista 2011

Sister Barbara Battista

Sister Barbara also shared two specific stories of her father, both involving his character.

“Dad took me to Riviera, a club on the Northside of Indy. I wanted to go down the slide, and my recollection is that the slide was very high, perhaps 10- or 15-feet high,” Sister Barbara said. “Anyway, I waited in line and then climbed the ladder with kids behind me all the way to the top. I was scared and there was dad standing in the 2-feet of water at the end of the slide waiting for me. I knew he’d catch me, and sure enough, he did. I screamed the whole way down! He snatched me up out of the water and through my tears I said, ‘I want to go again.’ He hung in there with me and let me go down many, many more times.

“Later in life, much later, dad took care of mom as dementia slowly took her from us,” Sister Barbara added. “Dad really stepped up and did everything for her, and for us. What a loving and generous man!”

Feel free to share your memories of your father with the Sisters in the comment section below!

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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