Sisters hand out awards at annual dinner
Approximately 300 benefactors joined the Sisters of Providence for a dinner and award presentation during the annual Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Dinner at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on June 3.
The dinner takes place annually to honor benefactors for their gifts of time, talent and resources, while also presenting the Queen Amelia, Sarah and Joseph Thralls, and the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Companions awards.
The Queen Amelia Award honors those who have significantly contributed financially to the Congregation and who have been influential in informing others of its life and mission. The award is named for Queen Amelia of France, wife of King Louis Philippe, who was a major benefactor for the Congregation in the mid-1800s. She also encouraged her husband and family to contribute to the Congregation, which at the time, was struggling financially.
This year, the sisters recognized Sue and John Heck, of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, for the Queen Amelia Award. The family has contributed to the sisters for many years. Both Sue and John have supported the Congregation on a consistent basis for more than 30 years, through the annual fund, capital campaigns, special projects and more. Two of John’s aunts were Sisters of Providence and one of Sue’s was as well.
Sue also served on the Woods Day Care board for many years and currently serves on the sisters’ HOPE Magazine editorial board and the Guerin Outreach Ministries board.
The Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award honors individuals, a family or a group that has made significant contributions of time, talent and resources to the Congregation. It is named in honor of the family that offered hospitality by way of a cabin in a dense forest to Mother Theodore and her five companions after they arrived at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840 and continued to assist them as they adjusted to pioneer life in Indiana.
This year, the sisters recognized Indianapolis resident Marilyn Rausch for the Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award. Marilyn has volunteered with the Sisters of Providence for many years, sharing her time and talents on many occasions in many locations. She is also a Providence Associate.
Marilyn also had an aunt who was a Sister of Providence. She currently serves on the Providence Associates Advisory Board and freely shares her talents with the sisters, including making jewelry which she donates to Linden Leaf Gifts, a ministry of the Sisters of Providence. She is very active in St. Michael’s Parish in Indianapolis and has assisted Sister Arrianne Whittaker, SP, who is studying to be a doctor. Marilyn was also a doctor.
The Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Companions Award was established in honor of Sisters St. Vincent Ferrer, Basilide Seneschal, Olympiade Boyer, Mary Xavier Leree and Mary Liguori Tiercin, the five sister companions who supported Mother Theodore and remained by her side assisting her as needed while offering their own wisdom and perseverance to advance the mission.
This year, the Sisters of Providence awarded the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Companions awards to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College President Dr. Dottie King and Fred Nation, both of Terre Haute; Annette “Mickey” Lentz, of Indianapolis; Margaret McElroy, of Charlottesville, Va.; and Select Rehabilitation, based in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
Mickey has served the Archdiocese of Indianapolis as a teacher, principal, and administrator in the Office of Catholic Education for 50 years. Since 2009, she has served as chancellor of the archdiocese. She helped establish the Mother Theodore Catholic Academies, a consortium of Catholic schools in the center-city of Indianapolis, and was also instrumental in the establishment of a Cristo Rey model of Catholic education in the archdiocese.
Dottie is the 16th president of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, having been appointed to the position in 2011. She began her tenure at the college as a math professor before becoming the vice president of academic affairs. She was honored as a Sagamore of the Wabash in 2015, and received the Indian Torchbearer Award from the Indiana Commission for Women and the ATHENA Award from the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce.
Nation has offered a helping hand to the Congregation many times, including putting the sisters in touch with Flaherty and Collins, Indianapolis, in reference to the possible reuse of Owens Hall. He is a past president and current board member of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation. His connection to the sisters dates back to the 1970s when he served in the public relations office at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Since 2012, Select Rehabilitation has provided physical, occupational and speech therapy at Providence Health Care, located at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Patients at the facility often remark about the staff’s enthusiasm, and the organization was voted the Best Place in the Wabash Valley this year for physical therapy.
For several years, Margaret has supported the Sisters of providence. For a time, she worked with Sister Margaret Ann Inman, SP, founder and director of Providence Speech and Hearing Center, located in Orange, Calif. Even though she lives nearly 650 miles away, Margaret still finds time to visit the sisters in Indiana and is in constant contact with many of the sisters via phone.
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.