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The reunion finale for Providence High School

“You ARE and HAVE BEEN pretty amazing!”

Sister Dawn Tomaszewski told this to the 475 alumnae who attended the final Providence High School Homecoming Luncheon, which took place on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, at The Diplomat West Banquets near Chicago.

Sister Dawn with Janet Trzaskas (left) and Lorraine Niski Trzaskas (right). Janet went to Mother Theodore Guerin High School and Lorraine graduated from Providence High School in 1944. She traveled from California to attend the reunion.

Graduates attending the gala spanned 28 years, beginning with the class of 1941.

Sister Dawn continued by saying, “… Your spirit and generosity are not at all surprising to the many Sisters of Providence who walked the halls of the Twin Towers either as teachers or students themselves.”

While speaking to the alumnae in attendance, Sister Dawn pointed out that since the school closed in 1969, they have gathered in droves for the reunions. She also stated that the reunions have helped support the Congregation as alumnae have given more than $1.6 million in support of the sisters’ retirement fund. That total, Sister Dawn said, does not include “gifts of support” coming from individual alumnae throughout the years.

And on the final reunion for alumnae, their generosity shone again as they offered $90,000 to the Congregation!

And the Congregation returned the favor to the alumnae.

“We Sisters of Providence, who continue to benefit from the thoughtful Christian women you have become, promise we will not forget you,” Sister Dawn told the audience. “And to seal that promise, we are having a tree planted in your honor and in grateful appreciation.”

Sister Dawn said the tree will be planted in Providence Park at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, near the replica of the Log Cabin Chapel that welcomed Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her five companion sisters when they arrived at the Woods in 1840.

“Like Mother Theodore, whose spirit was revived upon visiting this humble dwelling of the ‘God of the Universe,’ we Sisters of Providence have been blessed by the generosity and love of our beloved ‘Daughters of Providence High,’” Sister Dawn said. “Your contributions in support of the Sisters of Providence – both as an alumnae association and as individual alumna – total more than $5 million! Thank you for helping to sustain our mission and to care for the needs of the many Sisters of Providence who have dedicated themselves to the education of young people.”

About Providence High School

In 1888, Our Lady of Providence Academy, the direct ancestor of Providence High School, was opened in one room of Our Lady of Sorrows School in Chicago. Nine students were enrolled. In 1891, the first two graduates received their diplomas.

In 1921, Cardinal Mundelein selected the school as one of the regional high schools and the name was changed to Providence High School. Enrollment increase led to a new building at Central Park Avenue and Monroe Street, which opened in March 1929.

Decreasing enrollment ultimately led to the merger in 1968 of Providence High School girls with St. Mel High School for Boys, housed at Providence High School. It operated by the Sisters of Providence as Providence-St. Mel from 1969-1974. From 1974-1978, it was leased to the Archdiocese of Chicago.

In 1979, it reopened as a private Catholic School purchased from the sisters and incorporated as a non-profit institution with Paul Adams as principal.

Today, Providence-St. Mel is an independent school for pre-kindergarten to grade 12. Each year, 100 percent of its graduates are accepted to four-year colleges and universities.

In her remarks at the luncheon, Sister Dawn noted: “I can’t help but think that all that positive energy and spirit you generated while you were students there remains in that building and continues to bless the students and faculty and staff who continue to carry on an important educational mission there.” 

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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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