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New Postulant enters Sisters of Providence

Emily TeKolste knocks on the door to Providence Hall seeking entrance to the Sisters of Providence community.

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, Indianapolis, Indiana, native Emily TeKolste was welcomed by the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, as a postulant.

Emily took part in the ritual of entrance Wednesday evening, as she knocked on the door at Providence Hall. She was greeted by General Superior Sister Denise Wilkinson.

From there, Emily was taken to the parlor of Providence Hall for a prayer service, a blessing and the official welcome into the Congregation.

Emily’s connection to the Sisters of Providence stems from Sister Tracey Horan, who entered the Congregation in 2014.

“When I encountered the Sisters of Providence, I had just moved into the Indianapolis Catholic Worker community,” Emily said. “I had moved there because I was searching for a way to get out of the suburbs where I grew up and into a more economically marginalized community. I was looking for deeper friendships, since most of my friends from high school and college lived in different states.

“I was looking for a way to connect in a deeper way with the world around. I wasn’t looking for religion or religious life in any way, but through interacting with Tracey, I began to feel the nudge to seek more information about religious life. I thought I’d find what I wanted to find in the Catholic Worker – and I did in almost every way you can name. But something didn’t feel right.”

Emily TeKolste (right) with General Superior Sister Denise Wilkinson, with the keys to her new home in the formation community at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Emily added her knowledge of White Violet Center for Eco-Justice – a ministry of the Sisters of Providence – also played a role in her decision.

“I was particularly interested in that because of my background in sustainability issues and work in sustainable agriculture,” she said. “As I got to know the Sisters of Providence, I felt comfortable with almost everyone I met. I felt that there were kindred spirits, and I enjoyed spending time with them.”

Emily said that, for her, the call to enter religious life became final in 2015.

“I was visiting my sister in Guatemala, and I found myself at one point overcome with the sensation that I was going to be a sister and I was at complete peace with it,” she said. “At the time, I had started the Providence Associate program, but switched gears toward exploring religious life.”

Emily said she had scheduled a visit with another Congregation after returning from Guatemala. After that visit, she then met with Sister of Providence Sister Carole Kimes.

“I asked if I could enter into a deeper discernment process with the Sisters of Providence while still exploring other communities,” Emily said. “She asked if I needed to continue searching or if I could just trust that God would reveal to me if I was on the wrong path.

Emily TeKolste

“So, we called Sister Editha Ben (director of vocations) and formally requested that I be able to start the process of working with a discernment guide.”

Director of Postulants Sister Marsha Speth will now help coordinate Emily’s schedule and ministry.

“She will be learning everything she can about the Sisters of Providence, and that includes learning about community practices, traditions and ministries,” Sister Marsha said. “I will also meet with Emily once a week for instructions and individual conferences.”

Sister Marsha said that Emily will work as a volunteer in the local area, and once a month, she will travel to visit Sisters of Providence across the country to volunteer with them.

After a year in the postulancy, Emily will be eligible to enter into the first year of the novitiate. It is at that point when she will receive the title of sister.

Sister Marsha said the Sisters of Providence are still welcoming new members on an annual basis.

About the Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of 214 women religious, with 300 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind., which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries can be found at SistersofProvidence.org.

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Jason Moon

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.

Media contact

For inquiries or information, contact Jason Moon at jmoon@spsmw.org or 812-535-2810.

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