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Read the book with us!

Join us for a book study. November 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Sisters of Providence Mission to China. To prepare for next year’s celebration, Sisters of Providence, associates, ministry partners and you are invited to undertake a book study of the Congregation biography “Against All Odds Sisters of Providence Mission to the Chinese,” by Sister Ann Colette Wolf, SP. The Sisters of Providence were the first U.S. women’s religious Congregation to start a mission in China.

You can pick up a free copy of the book at Linden Leaf Gifts at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Or order it online at LindenLeafGifts.com and use coupon code ODDS19 and you will only pay shipping.

Contact Diane Weidenbenner at 812-535-2802 or dweidenb@spsmw.org
to learn more or join a book study group.


Vowed for love, mercy, justice

Sister Emily TeKolste shows off her cross as a newly professed Sister of Providence after professing her first vows on Sunday, June 30, 2019, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. We are so blessed to have Sister Emily with us on this journey of living out love, mercy and justice in service of God’s people.


Sisters recognize benefactors at dinner

Ray Peña of Terre Haute, Indiana, center, received the Sarah and Joseph Thralls award in honor of the countless hours of handy-man service he has contributed to the sisters. Pictured with Sisters Lisa Stallings, left, and Dawn Tomaszewski, right.

Approximately 275 benefactors joined the Congregation for a meal and awards presentation during the 19th annual Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Evening at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on Saturday, June 8.

During the evening several awards were presented to benefactors.

The Queen Amelia Award honors those who have significantly contributed financially to the Congregation and who have been influential in informing others of its life and mission. This year, the Congregation recognized the late Marianne J. Murphy of Fishers, Indiana, with this award.

The Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award honors individuals, a family or a group that has made significant contributions of time, talent and expertise to the Congregation. Ray Peña of Terre Haute, Indiana received this award in honor of the countless hours of handy-man service he has contributed to the sisters.

The Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Companions Award was established in honor of Sisters St. Vincent Ferrer, Basilide Seneschal, Olympiade Boyer, Mary Xavier Leree and Mary Liguori Tiercin, the five sister companions who supported Mother Theodore and remained by her side assisting her as needed while offering their own wisdom and perseverance to advancing the mission. This year the award recipients were Father Ray Brenner of Jasper, Indiana; Renee Kallok of Forest Park, Illinois; Mary Ann Thacker of Vincennes, Indiana; and the Sisters of Providence Security Staff.


Congregation dedicates Havlik Center

On July 7, the Congregation officially dedicated the Havlik Center and opened its doors to the public. The center, named in memory of Sister Terese Marie Havlik, who passed away in July 2018, is intended as a place where the well-being of sisters and others with physical and cognitive challenges can be promoted and enhanced. It includes a kitchen and a quiet room plus a multi-purpose area with tables and chairs for educational activities, games and celebrations. The center also includes an interactive computer system, the iN2L (It’s Never Too Late), which is a main feature in the room.

“The Havlik Center provides a comfortable, stimulating, home-like space for all to gather, connect, create and participate in events and opportunities that enhance well-being,” said Katie Harich, the Congregation’s well-being coordinator.

The center was created through a generous gift from Sister Terese Marie’s family, who wished to honor Sister Terese Marie and her dedication to the service of others.


Sister Katherine Francis French celebrates Golden Jubilee

Sister Mary Beth Klingel (left) and General Superior Sister Dawn Tomaszewski (right) with 2019 Golden Jubilarian Sister Katherine Francis French.

During the 2019 annual meeting, the Congregation celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Sister Katherine Francis French during Mass on Wednesday, July 3.

Sister Kathy entered the Congregation Sept. 15, 1969, from St. Raphael Parish in Trenton, N.J. She professed perpetual vows Sept. 27, 1975.

Sister Kathy graduated from Immaculata College for Women in Washington, D.C., with an associate’s degree in 1968, and from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1971. She also earned a master’s degree in Religious Education from St. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University in Rome, as well as her LPN from Vinal Regional Vocational Tech in Middleton, Conn.

She has ministered as a teacher, director of religious education and licensed practical nurse in Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut and North Carolina. Currently, she ministers as a freelance Adult Faith Formation educator in the Diocese of Charlotte, N.C.


Climate Change Task Force moving ahead!

One year ago, the Congregation, Providence Associates and others elected to create the Providence Climate Agreement, a challenge to reduce our collective carbon footprint by two million pounds. The hope was to reach that goal by July 2019.

Those who signed on helped us reach 75 percent on the two million pound goal. The Congregation has decided to continue forging ahead!

This year during the annual meeting, the Congregation and Providence Associates elected to move forward with the agreement, continuing their pledge to reduce our carbon footprint to help make a difference regarding climate change.

At the 2019 meetings, those attending were amazed to learn that 47 percent of greenhouse gases from food consumption are attributed to meat. In contrast, only 12 percent come from vegetables, fruits and grains.
“I have heard sisters going through the food line, saying to the one next to them that ‘I think I’ll take a meatless option today,’” said Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp.

The Congregation, Providence Associates and others are now determined more than ever to do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint and hope you will join us on this journey to help save Earth before it’s too late.


Speaking out for migrants in detention camps

Sister Barbara Battista, SP, joined more than 70 Catholic and other faith leaders in an act of civil disobedience in Washington, D.C., on July 18. The group gathered in the Russell Senate Office Building and prayed until they were arrested for trespassing in order to bring attention to inhumane conditions, particularly for children, in migrant detention centers.

The plight of children and families forced from their homelands, risking death in the desert and imprisonment in horrific conditions upon entry to the United States seeking refuge, demands action, says Sister Barbara, justice promoter for the Sisters of Providence.

“We can all do something to say, ‘Here’s my part,’” Sister Barbara said. “‘Here’s our part.’ We’re all doing something to build the momentum. Will you join us?”

Ways to get involved:

  • Familiarize yourself with all aspects of the issue
  • Call your representative’s office
  • Write letters to the editor
  • Participate in public vigils
  • Attend town halls and candidates forums with your elected officials
  • Schedule in-district visits with your representatives
  • Use social media to spread awareness and build relationships

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

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Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

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