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New Providence Associate candidates share what brought them here

Providence Associate candidate Cindy Montgomery speaks to others at her table.

Providence Associate candidate Cindy Montgomery speaks to others at her table.

During an orientation for the 32 new Providence Associate candidates at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on Oct. 8, each shared what brought them here. Among the stories were:

“Our friends are Providence Associates and we want to have the faith and joyfulness they have,” one couple said.

“I’ve raised six children and I’m ready for a new adventure,” said another.

“I’m a former Sister of Providence and I feel at home here.”

“I wanted to be part of this wonderful thing that Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded.”

“I attended Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College for a short time many years ago, and I never forgot the kindness I saw here.”

“I’ve worked for the Sisters of Providence for almost 20 years. And this is not just work. The sisters welcome you as a member of the family.”

“I had the sisters as teachers in grade school. I became friends with and kept in touch with several of the sisters over the years. When they passed away I felt an emptiness. I needed a new way to connect with the Sisters of Providence and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.”

“I am a child of war. I was brought to the U.S. in early childhood after I lost both parents and all my family to war. Through the tumbling of life I have become a preacher, a teacher. But having been separated from my natural family, I feel a cry for community.”

“When I retired I decided the next part of my life would be for me. But I missed giving to others.”

“I am here to boost my spiritual life.”

“I went on a tour at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods led by Sister Rosemary Nudd. It started historical and became spiritual. She passed me a Providence Associate brochure when I finished. I bought the Sisters of Providence Practices book and read it three times. I thought, ‘where have these women been all my life?’”

Providence Associate Candidate Sarian Bouma and her sister companion Sister Marie McCarthy walk and talk.

Providence Associate Candidate Sarian Bouma and her sister companion Sister Marie McCarthy walk and talk during orientation.

“It’s a great comfort being with people who love and value what I love and value. It seems to me the Sisters of Providence stand at the deep intersection between spirituality and social justice.”

“A friend told me ‘You are looking for the feminine face of God, and you’ve caught a glimpse of it in the Sisters of Providence.”

“I am on a journey to increase my spirituality and faith. I’m semi-retired and have more time to put into the effort.”

“I think each Sister of Providence is an ordinary person. But collectively they are far from ordinary. They are extraordinary.”

“I’m a naturalist and an environmental educator. Ten years ago I met my first alpaca. This February I attended an alpaca workshop at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice. I left feeling like I wasn’t leaving for good. I see myself reflected in Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and that brought me back.”

“I want to do more in my community. I want to build up my local community,” said one local candidate.

“Even as a child I was always in awe of the spiritual feeling you get here.”

Candidate Sherrie Mansfield during a reflective moment.

Candidate Sherrie Mansfield during a reflective moment.

“I’ve had two miracles. I think this is going to be my third.”

“I’ve worked for the Sisters of Providence for five years. And I am here because the sisters have loved me. I am a single mom to five kids. The sisters encourage me. They pray for me. They give me a sense of belonging.”

“My daughter is in her third year of formation with the Sisters of Providence. When I came for the first time she was an intern at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice. Every sister we met was so loving and caring.”

“I have the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin quotes calendar. Many days it is like she is talking just to me. She says things that are just so full of common sense. I think I would have liked her.”

“I was trying to quit smoking. I drove through the gates for my first master’ class at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, and at that second I was healed. I haven’t even wanted a cigarette since. I didn’t have any withdrawal.”

“I quit my job and became an intern at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice. I love this place and the sisters. I feel at home here.”

What about you? Is God calling you here? We invite you to consider a closer relationship with the Sisters of Providence as a Providence Associate.

The Providence Associate relationship is open to all people of faith, ages 18 and older. Find out more at ProvidenceAssociates.org.

Enjoy photos from the orientation here.

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Amy Miranda

Amy Miranda is a Providence Associate of the Sisters of Providence and a staff member in their Mission Advancement office. Amy is a 1998 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She currently manages the SP publication HOPE and works on marketing support for Providence Associates, new membership and Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

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2 Comments

  1. Mary Ryan on October 14, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Amy,
    Great article and beautiful photos. I enjoyed them. Thank you.

    Sister Mary

  2. Theresa Tighe on October 15, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    You captured the spirit of the event. You brought order to the comments of 31 people. No small feat. And took evocative pictures too. Although I must confess, I like the picture of St. Mother Guerin wearing her seat belt. We love her in part because she had common sense and a sense of humor.
    By the way, I am a retired journalist. I spent most of my career, almost 30 years, as a reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. But I started in a job much like yours at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
    I also enjoy “Hope” magazine. You have a real talent. Call me if you would like to talk journalism sometime. I’m Usually reachable after 1 p.m. If not just leave your number. Mine is: 314-647-7605.
    I learned most of what I value from my colleagues. A newsroom is a congenial place. You are somewhat on your own.
    Journalism -reporting and writing- is a true love of mine.

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