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School children’s cards, donation brighten sisters’ day

Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods enjoying the cards from St. Paul students. From left, Sisters Noralee Keefe (formerly Sister Joseph Edward), Ellen Cunningham (formerly Sister Michael Aquinas), Mary Ann Phelan (formerly Marie Marcella) and Ruth Johnson (formerly Sister Joseph Maurice).

Exclamations and laughter. Oohs and aahs. Smiles and chuckles. These were the sounds as Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods gathered to view cards created for them by students at St. Paul School in Valparaiso, Indiana.

In late February, the Congregation received a large manila envelope from St. Paul school. It contained a bundle of cards created by students in grades kindergarten through eighth. It also contained a donation of $674 to support the sisters and their works of love, mercy and justice.

The Sisters of Providence have not taught at St. Paul School since 1901. So what was the story behind this wonderful blessing in 2018? St. Paul Principal Jane Scupham explains.

Celebrating vocations

The last week of January was Catholic Schools Week. Each day the school celebrated a different theme. On “celebrate vocations day” the school decided to support religious sisters. No sisters of any order have taught in the school for 25 years, Principal Scupham said. Most of the students really only know sisters through stories told by their teachers. So the day offered a chance to highlight religious sisters and have the students learn more about them. Each student was encouraged to create a card for the Sisters of Providence and donate some money. In return, students who did so were allowed to wear crazy socks or jeans instead of their school uniforms for the day.

“The kids loved it! And I was impressed with the outpouring of cards they did make,” Principal Scupham said.

The Sisters of Providence were impressed as well!

Bringers of joy

“I was the lucky one to whom all these wonderful cards were sent. It was lovely for me to open the package and see all this wonderful creativity tumbling out,” said Sister Ann Casper (formerly Sister Kenneth Ann), the director of Mission Advancement for the Sisters of Providence. She shared the cards with the sisters at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

“They brought lots of joy.”

In return, the sisters sent notepads and pens to the students and a note in which they promised to pray for the students.

“We feel gratitude for all the time it took the youngsters to make the cards. And the monetary gift will help to further the mission. They are some of our youngest partners!” Sister Ann said.

(Originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of HOPE magazine.)

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Amy Miranda

Amy Miranda is a Providence Associate of the Sisters of Providence and a staff member in their Advancement Services office. Amy is a 1998 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She currently manages the SP publication HOPE and works on marketing support for Providence Associates, new membership and Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

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