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Online exclusive: Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and Sisters of Providence seek more collaboration

Celebrating common ground. Affirming existing collaboration. Exploring future possibilities.

These were some goals as members of the Board of Trustees of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and the Mission Advisory Board of the Sisters of Providence met together for the first-ever collaboration retreat March 4 in the College library.

The idea evolved from conversations between Sister Dawn Tomaszewski, SP general superior, and Dr. Dottie King, 16th president of SMWC. Both see how important it is for the Congregation and College to coordinate and collaborate as they carry forward a shared legacy of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

In her letter to Trustees, Sister Dawn, a 1974 SMWC graduate, stated the morning’s objectives:

  • To build relationships and come to know each other as partners in the mission of the Sisters of Providence
  • to explore points of existing collaboration [or coordination] between the SMWC Board and the MAB
  • to explore potential areas of collaboration for both
  • and to identify next steps to ensure a more collaborative future.

President King, a Providence Associate, spoke of her excitement about bringing the two groups together. She called it the “beginning of conversations to come.”

Trustee Alice Shelton said the retreat was very important. “The public tends to view Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and the Sisters of Providence as being very close together.”

Providence Associate Susan Weber facilitated the retreat. Trustees and MAB members defined what they meant by cooperation, coordination and collaboration. They reviewed current collaborations occurring, from shared landscape and maintenance work to engagement in spiritual activities like the Foundation Day celebration and Taize prayer services.

The group brainstormed possibilities for further collaboration. The Sisters of Providence General Council and the SMWC Cabinet will consider these ideas moving forward.

All gathered concluded the retreat by praying:

Saint Mother Theodore, help us to open our minds, hearts and wills, as we move together into a future full of abundant grace, challenge and possibility.”

(Originally published in the Summer 2017 issue of HOPE magazine.)

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Sister Cathy Campbell

Sister Cathy Campbell, SP, is a freelance writer and editor. She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Spirituality from Catholic Theological Union/Chicago. Sister Cathy also ministers as a retreat facilitator for the Providence Spirituality and Conference Center with special interests in scripture and the mystics.

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