Home » Blog » With great gratitude for our sisters who further the mission of God’s Providence in Asia

With great gratitude for our sisters who further the mission of God’s Providence in Asia

As we continue our celebration of Chinese New Year, during these two weeks of February, it feels like a very appropriate time to lift up our gratitude for our Sisters of Providence (SP) living and ministering in Asia. As a Congregation, our history in Asia began in 1920, when Bishop Joseph Tacconi asked the SPs to open a school for women in Kaifeng, China. The book, “Against All Odds: Sisters of Providence Mission to the Chinese, 1920-1990” written by Sister Ann Colette Wolf, SP, tells the founding story and experiences of Mother Marie Gratia Luking and her five companions in China, and the subsequent establishment of our SP presence and mission in Taiwan, following the end of World War II.

Taiwan is an island about the size of Indiana, located about 110 miles off the eastern coast of China. The population of Taiwan is approximately 23.5 million people. Currently seven SPs live and minister in Taiwan in two different locations.

Sister Donna Marie Fu, SP, our honored elder, lives and ministers in the city of Taipei, which is located in the north of Taiwan and is also Taiwan’s capital city. Sister Donna Marie has served in many significant and meaningful ministries, even at one time teaching English at the university level in China. Currently Sister Donna Marie is serving as our vocation promoter for Asia, and is tutoring students, from a nearby university, in the English language.

Taipei is also the location of our SP-sponsored ministry Miracle Home. Miracle Home was founded by Sister Delan Ma, SP, in the year 2000 in response to the needs of the aging society of Taiwan. Currently, Sister Rose Chiu, SP, serves as director of Miracle Home. Sister Anna Fan, who last summer professed her first vows at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, now also ministers at Miracle Home. Miracle Home offers a variety of needed services for the elderly which include home care, respite care, adult day care services, meals on wheels, and other holistic care community services. Miracle Home serves close to 425 clients, with a staff of 62 persons who serve as social workers, nurses, care givers, administration and staff. Through respect and care, Miracle Home’s mission is to improve the quality of life for the elderly.

In May of 1949, Mother Marie Gratia Luking and her SP companions established Providence School in Taichung. As you can see from the map, Taichung is located approximately in the middle of the island on the western coast of Taiwan. Through great leadership, the steady presence of the SPs, and continually responding to the needs of changing times, Providence University thrives today as a Catholic co-educational institution educating approximately 12,000 students. Under the guidance of the Gospel message of love, mercy and justice, Providence University is committed to the education of each student as a whole person. It strives to assist them in the development of lifelong values, research, and critical thinking skills so that they may effect positive changes in society.

From left, Sisters Celeste Tsai, Jenny Howard, Anne Therese Falkenstein, Rose Chiu, Sophia Chen, Anna Fan, Delan Ma and Donna Marie Fu. (not pictured, Sister Norene Wu)

Sister Celeste Tsai, SP, has ministered at Providence University in various leadership capacities for over 40 years. As Library director, she played a significant role in the renovation and modernization of the Luking Library, named after Mother Marie Gratia Luking. Sister Celeste is a wonderful “bridge” and an amazing connector of people and events. Her current role as Providence University Affairs consultant matches her gifts perfectly.

Sister Anne Therese Falkenstein, SP, ministers as a professor at Providence University, and also serves as the special assistant to the president. Sister Anne Therese has received several Teaching Excellence Awards throughout her tenure at Providence University, and plays a key role in representing Providence University in various settings around the world.

With a strong education background in psychology, Sister Norene Wu, SP (not pictured), serves as the dean of students at Providence University, and as assistant professor in the Department of Social Work and Child Welfare. Sister Norene’s leadership, and her gifts as a caring listener, help provide a safe, stable and well-rounded learning environment for Providence University students and staff.

Sister Sophia Chen, SP, currently ministers as a staff person at the Mother Marie Gratia Hostel for Girls, a women’s residence for students at Providence University, which is just about a 10-minute walk from the University. Sister Sophia also is a very talented artist, with many of her artistic creations on display at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, as well as other locations.

Serving as Vocation and Formation Director for Asia, Sister Delan Ma is involved not only in the discernment process for women interested in entering the SPs, she also journeys with these women during their initial stages of formation. We feel very blessed as Sisters of Providence to have three women in formation in Asia, and seven women in formation in the United States.

The Mission Statement of the Sisters of Providence calls each of us to honor Divine Providence through works of love, mercy and justice … to be a community of Catholic women religious who collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. We are so very grateful to our founding sisters, and to each of these women of Providence … Sisters of Providence who faithfully strive to live out God’s mission each day.

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Sister Jenny Howard

Sister Jenny Howard is a general officer of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Prior to her leadership role, Sister Jenny served as Vocations director for the Congregation.

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3 Comments

  1. Jane Fischer on February 22, 2018 at 8:44 am

    Sister Jenny,

    Thank you, Merci, and 多謝 (to-siā) !!!

    I have been quietly carrying Mother Marie Gracia Luking and this mission in my heart since about 1960. And now, in one blog, I get introduced to the Sisters and their work all in one blog. I’m just sitting here shaking my head, smiling and grateful for all who have said “yes’ to this call.

    History, Geography, Mission Statement and “get acquainted” all in one piece.

    我愛你 (góa ài lì)
    Jane

  2. S.. Rita Clare on February 22, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Jenny, thanks for this very informative blog on our ministry in Asia. I am certainly impressed with the great dedication of each of our Sisters in their ministry. May our Provident God continue to bless our efforts!

    S. Rita Clare

  3. Carol Nolan Nolan, SP on February 22, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    A wonderful group of friends carrying on this great work. Providence has never failed, even “against all odds.” Thank you, one and all!

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