Sisters honored at annual Bishop’s Dinner
PALM DESERT, Calif. – San Bernardino Bishop Gerald Barnes recognized the 2018 recipients of his Amar Es Entregarse Award during the Bishop’s Dinner on April 7, at the J.W. Marriot Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert, Calif. This year’s seven recipients included Sisters of Providence Carol Nolan and Loretta Picucci with Providence in the Desert, and Sister Cathy White and the staff of the Diocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection.
“It is a great honor, and we feel ourselves blessed,” Sister Carol said of receiving this year’s award.
The dinner is a fundraiser for the seminarians of the Diocese of San Bernardino. Each honoree was escorted into the banquet hall in procession. After the dinner, seminarians again escorted each award recipient to the stage, where Bishop Barnes presented the medallions.
General Superior Sister Dawn Tomaszewski was an honored guest at the event. In addition, almost all the Sisters of Providence in southern California were present at the dinner; their tickets were provided by Margaret Monahan, a long-time friend of the community who also attended the gala. Also in attendance were April and Don Bradley, members of the National Advisory Board of Guerin Outreach Ministries, the umbrella organization of Providence in the Desert.
The name of the Amar Es Entregarse Award is the bishop’s episcopal motto. It means “Love is the total giving of oneself.” The award recipients were recognized for the ways they epitomize this motto.
In her speech, Sister Carol pointed out the similarities between the work of Providence in the Desert and the mission of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Indiana. An immigrant herself, Mother Theodore and her five sister companions were sent from France across the Atlantic Ocean by the congregation of the Sisters of Providence in France specifically to teach the children of immigrants.
“Our ministry – here – has been to teach English to our immigrants, and music to their children, in the Low Desert,” Sister Carol said. “We are inspired every day by the wonderful people we have served and loved for 15 years. Most of them live in poverty, many of them live in fear, but all of them live in hope.
“In the prime of their lives, they give their bodies over to back-breaking work for long hours, picking and packing our food. They do this in the hope that their children can have a better life. They, above all of us, are the embodiment of Amares Es Entregarse. We are honored to be their friends, and I cannot think of a better place to have spent my time.”
Sister Cathy ministers in the Diocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection, which she helped create and now directs. Under her leadership, the office helps victims of abuse and abuse-related violence, their families and anyone affected by abuse from clergy, religious, staff and volunteers.
“This award was for our entire office,” Sister Cathy said. “We are all just amazed.”
Sister Cathy said six people work in the office and they serve 93 parishes and 32 schools within the diocese.
“All of us try to make sure that the people of the diocese understand how important it is to prevent abuse and how important it is for people to recognize the things that should be done to prevent abuse in the parishes and the schools,” she said. “By receiving the award, it says to the people of the diocese that the bishop feels that this is a very major part of his programs.”
Bishop Barnes lauded the work of Sisters Carol and Loretta, saying “With their team, Sister Carol and Sister Loretta go to people’s homes, advocating better housing conditions in the mobile home parks that are common to the area; they find resources for survivors of domestic abuse, and they teach music and other subjects to the children. They mourn with the community at funerals and celebrate with them at weddings and baptisms. The ministry of Sister Carol and Sister Loretta provides us with another example of the total commitment and faithful service of our religious women in this diocese.
“The total of giving of oneself, indeed.”
The bishop’s annual award was first given out in 2002.
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.