What brings you here?
An invitation from God can come out of the blue or be a long time developing. It can be subtle or obvious. It just takes some faith, some need or some prompting to accept the invitation.
The stories of what bring this year’s newest Providence Associate candidates to accept a prompting from God to deepen their relationship with the Sisters of Providence are as varied as the women and men who began this journey with an orientation on Oct. 20.
One candidate says she is searching for a spiritual community that is progressive and action-oriented.
Another says she is making the association she has always had with the Sisters of Providence more formal.
Another said he was called and invited by a sister friend. After a litany of excuses he looked further and decided he wanted what the sisters are about. Peace. Love. Mercy. Justice.
Another said he has started listening to God more. This is a way to bring out the inner relationship with God that is developing within him.
One Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College grad said she has seen lots of her friends becoming associates over the years and now is her time.
One candidate said she is recently retired and getting more active in her parish. She sees this as a way to deepen her own faith and spirituality.
Another attributes her timing to Providence. Her newspaper blew open to a page telling about the Providence Associates. As a person who works with women who are incarcerated and addicted, she needs support and the Holy Spirit to help her walk that mission. She’s hoping to find that support here.
Yet another says she is here looking for others, who, like her, are progressive. People like the Sisters of Providence who look to the future and are pushing forward.
“I have two friends who have become Providence Associates and it has made a big difference in their lives,” another said. She hopes to become a better citizen of Earth and of heaven.
Another says she’s always known she was going to be a Providence Associate. It’s just taken her awhile to come to the right place in her life.
One says she had driven past Saint Mary-of-the-Woods lots of times. She finally stopped one day and bought some books. She was fascinated at how Saint Mother Theodore lived out such trust in Providence. “I wanted that,” she said. “I’m not progressive, but I will do anything for Christ.”
Another said she saw information about Providence Associates in the Catholic newspaper and it just jumped out at her. “I just say yes to whatever comes my way.”
One woman’s daughter encouraged her to attend a retreat at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. While here she read about the Providence Associates. She is retiring soon and thinks this path will help her develop more spiritually, become closer to God and to serve.
One woman found her invitation from God in an unexpected place: a water aerobics class at the Malden, Massachusetts, YMCA. After class while chatting in the locker room, she mentioned a need to renew her spiritual path. Well, Sister Shawn Marie McDermott, SP, also takes water aerobics at the Malden Y. That started a discussion between the two that led her here. “I had never heard of the Woods or been to Indiana before,” she said.
Another candidate had Sisters of Providence as teachers in school and used to teach at Woods Day Care. “This place feels like home.” She said she sees this as a way to put her prayer life into action by reaching out.
One said she has run from God in the past and is ready to stop running. The Sisters of Providence justice work resonates with her because as a nurse she at times has to demand justice for her patients.
Yet another candidate said a group from her church came to visit the shrine. She picked up “Love, Mercy, Justice: A Book of Practices of the Sisters of Providence.” This helped nudge her further toward becoming an associate. She said she believes in lifelong vocation and figures she has 30 years to go.
The Providence community welcomes our 20 newest candidates. We look forward to walking with them this year and into the future.