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Father Ray: inspired by Sisters of Providence work for justice and care for those in need

Sisters of Providence Mary Beth Klingel and Dawn Tomaszewski, right, present Father Ray Brenner a Companion’s Award on June 8 at our annual donor dinner. Father Ray was honored for his many outstanding qualities, work for our faith and support of the sisters.

“The Sisters of Providence are great companions and friends. They have been an inspiration to me and I admire their many ministries,” says Father Ray Brenner, a longtime friend and donor to the Sisters of Providence with a special devotion to Saint Mother Theodore.

Father Ray’s introduction to the Sisters of Providence was in 1969 at his first parish, St. John’s in Loogootee, Indiana. There he ministered with Sisters Emileen Norris and Jane Marie Osterholt, among others. It was these sisters and the many others who worked with Father Ray over the years who created this lasting relationship.

Reasons to support

Father Ray says he supports the Sisters of Providence financially because he has been inspired by the sisters and their diverse ministries caring for all people and our environment. He is inspired by the Congregation’s focus on justice and providing care for those in need, and is particularly interested in the work of the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice.

“The sisters’ love of the Earth and sharing this love helps make a difference for our homes and communities,” he shared. Like many, he also loves the alpacas and the many visitors they bring to the Woods.

Father Ray and his parish, St. Joseph in Jasper, commissioned and dedicated this statue of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the sisters’ first mission begun by Saint Mother Theodore Guerin in Jasper in 1842.

Looking to the future, Father Ray feels positive about the women joining the Sisters of Providence and the gifts they bring. The sisters’ focus on the environment will help the next generation have new skills and ways of caring for the environment, he says.

Father Ray recently retired after 50 years of service as a priest in the diocese of Evansville, Indiana. He plans to continue supporting the Sisters of Providence into the future. “I look forward to my continued relationship with the sisters and the great work they do.”

(Originally published in the Fall 2019 issue of HOPE magazine.)

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Harve Schlachter

Harve L. Schlachter is the Co-Director of the Mission Advancement Office and the Director of Development for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he worked in the Office of Institutional Advancement at the University of Saint Mary-of-the-Lake/Mundelein Seminary. He has also worked in the airline industry.

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