Last year, many alumna were presented a short questionnaire asking about their experiences with the sisters. On this questionnaire were some questions recalling experiences students had while in school. The following reflection recalls Madelynne Wavak-Wayne’s time at Providence High School with the Sisters of Providence. Madelynne graduated from the school in 1962.
What connected me to the Sisters of Providence?
I was sent to Providence because my mother, Phyllis Tanny Wavak, graduated from Providence and I was proud to be going to the same school. I stayed connected in a way that you stay connected to your church. It is a part of my roots and as you grow old, your roots seem more important and you become, in my case, a matriarch of the family. Providence is a very important part of my roots. The school and my family taught me the values and morals I hold dear. It is who I am.
What inspired me about the sisters?
Their unselfishness is what I always felt was their most endearing quality. Throughout their lives they gave and kept giving of themselves. Although I never became a sister, I truly believed that the sisters had to be the most giving people on the planet.
How do the sisters affect my life today?
As a 73-year-old grandmother and mother, I try every day to give unconditionally and continue to give to all around me just as they taught me so many years ago.
I am thankful for the years I spent at Providence in and around all the sisters. They were always helpful and fun. They never put me down or made me feel less than the student I was. I came from a home where I had to deal with alcoholic parents so I felt insecure and inferior. The sisters were my lifeline. They never judged me and always made me feel good about myself. I loved them. They cared.
Sister Winifred was my Physics teacher and she encouraged me to make a seismograph as a science project for the school science fair. It was a lot of work, but it was very enjoyable trying to figure out how to get this to work. When it was complete, it sat in a hallway under the stairs all year long measuring the movement of the students during change of class. Sister and I always laughed because at change of class, it was like a herd of elephants moving the needle on that machine. What fun we had!
Thank you and please know that I love you all so very much for how you gave me life.
People make fun of Catholic schools and the firm hand the sisters had, but when people talk like that I always say what a wonderful experience I had as a student at Providence High School.
To share your story or reflection, please contact Zach Pies at email@example.com or by calling 812-535-2817.