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Life changing bonds that unite us

Blog post author Sister Paula Damiano, front right, joins Providence Associates and Sisters of Providence in an active prayer.

Several months ago I was invited to give a retreat day for women at Our Lady of the Wayside Parish in Arlington Heights, Illinois. I made my way up to the Chicago area, spending the night with our sisters at Guerin Convent in River Grove, Illinois. After a few card games and lots of laughs, I settled in a bit early in order to leave the next morning at 7:15 a.m. to make the drive to Arlington Heights.

I made my way without incident and began to set up for the presentations for the estimated 50 women who would attend. I was not prepared for what happened next! … First two Sisters of Providence Associates arrived, and then two more and then three more until a total of 10 SP associates were in the group! I can’t tell you how moved I was at that point. There was a special bond that tugged at my heart. These women were “sister” to me and our union with one another was evident. By the end of the morning three women asked me for information about the associate relationship.

Sister Paula Damiano. left, joins Providence Associate Rebecca Zelensky in leading a retreat for women ministers in 2016.


The drive back to the Woods was a pleasant one. I thought about how wonderful it was to be able to “drop in” on the sisters at Guerin and feel completely relaxed and comfortable with them. And, the similar feelings I had with our associates – peaceful and assured. I remembered my dear friend, Sister Mary Alice Zander (RIP), the first Providence Associate director, telling me that the relationship between the vowed members of the Congregation and the associates had the potential to change lives.

This truly was my experience on a cold day in February. Bonds change us, love transforms us. When I arrived back at the Woods I could only thank God for our Saint Mother Theodore. She unites us – sister to sister, sister to associate, associate to associate. Indeed, the bonds that unite us are strong and lasting! Thank you, sisters! Thank you, associates!

Might God be calling you to walk more closely with the Providence community as a Providence Associate

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Sister Paula Damiano

Sister Paula has been a Sister of Providence since 1967. She has ministered as a teacher, director of vocations, pastoral associate and as a General Councilor for the Sisters of Providence. She currently ministers as director of programs and retreats at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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1 Comment

  1. Theresa Tighe on February 20, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Thank you for the loving and inclusive blog. We are truly united daughters and sons in our mother St. Theodore Guerin.

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