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Sisters of Providence Identity Lens

History and Purpose

In the Chapter of 2001, we committed ourselves to explore and to share with others the implications of claiming the Mystery of Providence as the foundation of our identity, our spirituality, and the vision animating our choices. The Providence Identity Design Team engaged the Congregation in the following ways: Reflection questions on bookmarks during 2003, feedback from Design Team leaders on the relation between their work and the expression of Providence Identity, Providence Identity checks on the graffiti walls in the summer of 2004, and an LGU process in July-September 2005.

In working with the various editions of our Constitutions, it became evident to many sisters that a thread runs through our documents beginning with our foundation in France and continuing today. While the language has changed, our core purpose and identity remained constant: To honor Divine Providence and to further God’s plans through works of love, mercy and justice. This core purpose and identity are expressed differently in each particular era or time.

Responses from the Congregation show a strong convergence around the qualities and characteristics that identify us as women of Providence. Among those most often cited are: Awareness/consciousness of Providence, God-centeredness, trust in Providence, openness, risk-taking, hospitality, hope, care and compassion, vision and creativity, commitment in service, right relationship, and interdependence.

Based on the Congregation responses, the Design Team developed a “lens” through which we can examine our choices and decisions. The purpose of the lens is for us to examine intentionally how consistent and how true we are to living and witnessing who we say we are in light of our values expressed in our Constitutions and in our lived reality.

For Whom And For What Is The Lens Intended?

The lens serves as a focusing instrument that we can use to discern with clarity the authenticity of our relationship with God, self, others, and all creation. The lens serves as an instrument for us to examine our individual choices (e.g. – living and ministry choices, health and wellness, lifestyle). It also is an instrument for us to examine our communal choices which affect the future of the Congregation (e.g. – decisions made at Chapter, in LGU’s, with committees, boards, agencies and departments, in our Sisters of Providence sponsored institutions and ministries).

The Lens

Providence is one of the manifestations of the living God. Our purpose and identity as Sisters of Providence is to honor Divine Providence.

Providence, incarnate in creation, moves it forward and invites humankind to share consciously in Divine creativity, to conceive new possibilities, to perceive wholeness in brokenness and design in chaos.

As Sisters of Providence, we honor Divine Providence and further God’s loving plans by devoting ourselves to works of love, mercy and justice in service among God’s people. In particular, at this time, we devote ourselves with zeal:

—  To live in right relationship

— To bring hope and healing to humanity

— To act with justice

— To foster non-violence and peacemaking

— To reverence and sustain Earth’s resources for equitable sharing

— To risk engaging the world with creative alternatives

— To act in accord with the common good

Therefore, as we make individual and communal decisions and choices, we ask ourselves these questions:

— How does this choice or action concretely further God’s loving plans at this time?

— What positive effects will this choice or action have on my/our being in right relationship?

— How will this decision or action bring hope and healing to humanity?

— How does this decision or action promote justice, non-violence, peacemaking?

— How will this decision or action affect Earth?

— How does this decision offer a creative alternative?

— How does this action or decision affect the common good?

— What potential adverse effects might this choice or action have in any of these areas?

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Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

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