What is to become of us?
“Oh Sister, what is to become of us?” …
These were the words I overheard earlier this month as I sat in quiet reflection in the big Church at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
The sister (who I could not see, as she was behind me) was lamenting the passing of another Sister of Providence, her friend.
The question struck me. What is to become of us?
I’m not sure what Sister meant by this question, but it gave me pause and got me to thinking. What is our future: Sisters of Providence and Providence Associates? What is this path that Providence has laid out for us?
“Be assured that in leaving the past to the mercy of God and the future to God’s Providence you will derive from your offering very great peace and very great consolation.” — Saint Mother Theodore Guerin
Later that afternoon, I was walking on the grounds and the question came to mind again. “What is to become of us?”
I was walking near the cemetery and lamenting the loss of the older mature trees that used to line the road. As I reflected on the loss of the trees, it struck me that the loss of the trees resembles in many ways the loss of our aging sisters.
The trees, like the sisters, lived long beautiful lives and brought much beauty and joy to all who visited this place. The landscape of this place has changed and does not feel the same without them. Their loss is keenly felt.
As I walk the grounds, I see new growth in the places where those trees once stood. Wildflowers, grasses, and even a few young trees are sprouting.
What is our future? Is there new growth beginning? Perhaps some of it is through the relationship of the Sisters of Providence and Providence Associates. What is this path that Providence has laid out for us?
Those trees, though physically removed, still have roots that run under the surface of the soil that feed those grasses and wildflowers I saw on my walk. In the same way, the spirit of those lost sisters continue to feed the spirits of all who knew them and those yet to come to this place.
What is this path that Providence has planned for us? Let us find out together, Sisters of Providence and Providence Associates.
“This is the path traced by Providence. And I follow it.” — Saint Mother Theodore Guerin
Thank you, Jen, for this beautiful reflection. It gives me pause as I ponder the journey we have together as Providence Associates with the Sisters of Providence. What will become of us? Only Providence knows but won’t the journey be wonderful!
What a beautiful reflection, Jen! The question gives pause, but the answer is everywhere! Today’s calendar quote is so familiar: “Have confidence in the Providence that so far has never failed us. The way is not yet clear. Grope along slowly.” And on March 30, the quote was “Do not fear for our dear Congregation. Our Lord loves it too much to abandon it.” God has plans for us, all we have to do is continue to follow that path.
Thank you for articulating the question that often is in our hearts, Jen. Your reflection reminds me of another quote from our St. Mother Theodore: “What matters what becomes of us as long as God’s will is done?” I firmly believe that the new growth observed where the trees once stood is a sure sign of our future. The new vegetation with its own unique beauty and purpose replaces the trees–different yet full of life and hope. I agree with Debbie that the close relationship between the sisters and associates is one reply to our question and includes St. Mother Theodore’s complete and total trust in the Providence Who so far has never failed us.
Stunning reflection, Jen! Thank you for saying what is in so many of our hearts.
Thank you, Jen, for putting into words what is in my heart. The loss of so many sisters in a short span of time has touched us all. We are feeling a deep loss in my parish as well. This morning we will say goodbye to another special woman. But we are people of Providence and heirs to the foundation and legacy left by our beloved St. Mother Theodore. Trust in Providence is at our very core.
Jen, you voice the thoughts and prayers of many. “We walk by faith and not by sight.” This passage in Corinthians was read by many before us, including the Sisters we have lost, I’m sure. The strength, bond and faith in this Providential Community will keep us going. We may not see the old trees or the old Sisters, but the roots have been put down, as you pointed out. Our foundation is strong and our faith will carry this whole Community forward. Like Saint Mother Theodore, her Companions, and the Sisters known by many of us, we have to be open to change and trust in Providence. Thank you for sharing this with us and for all you do on behalf of the Sisters and Providence Associates.
I’m trying mightily to give up look to the future as dark. Hard in these times on many levels. But this I know. I needed love and guidance as a Freshman at St.Mary-of-the-Woods and I found it without condition. More than 40 years later my faith was foundering and I found love and guidance in the Providence Associates program.
God’s grace is with us. Mother Theodore is guiding us. She must have needed a deeper well of help from heaven to move us forward and our older sisters who are passing on will provide it.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR BEAUTIFUL REFLECTION. IT GIVES US ALL HOPE.
And your thoughts were formed in the natural beauty of the Woods. We are pledged to protect the Earth. And on a much lighter note even the super sleuth Nancy Drew went to nature when she wanted to clear her thoughts.
I can add nothing, Jen, to your beautiful reflection or to the thoughtful comments above. What a hopeful word this is: together.
“Let us find out together.” Thank you.