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Christmas Letter from Sister Dawn, General Superior

Radiant Light Divine, shine throughout this night.
Jesus, Holy One, praise to you our Light.
… dwell among us, Holy Fire
.”

Composer Rufino Zaragoza, OFM

For the past year, our monthly Taizé prayer services have centered on the theme “Be Light.” During each of these beautiful prayer times, as we sing “Radiant Light Divine,” a Sister of Providence carries our very large Paschal Candle down the center aisle of our church. She places it near the front in the midst of the assembly.

As our prayer time ends, each participant moves to the Paschal Candle, takes a taper and lights his or her candle from that one candle. Soon the church is illuminated with light from a hundred candles or more.

We know that Christ’s love is that one fire that never goes out. Christ lights the way for the many and ignites our own desire to be light for others. Oh, how our world needs each of us to be light.

We are so grateful for YOUR light. You are receiving this letter because you are one of the many people whose gifts of support enable us to keep our own lights burning and to be the light of love, mercy and justice for others.

So, let me tell you how you have helped be light for others (and us) this past year.

Our Providence Food Pantry is commemorating 25 years of service to the people of Vigo County. This past year alone they served more than 4,000 families. They couldn’t do it without the many financial and food gifts they receive through individual donors and businesses as well as through the various churches in the West Terre Haute area.

The Providence High School, Chicago, Alumnae Association just celebrated its final homecoming luncheon. Even though the school has been closed since 1969, that group has held an annual benefit luncheon to say thanks for the wonderful education they received from the Sisters of Providence. Nearly 500 women attended this year’s event! They presented us with a check for $90,000 for our Retirement Fund. They now have contributed more than $1.6 million to the care of their former teachers.

In December Providence University in Taiwan blessed its new Our Lady of Providence Chapel, a beautiful way to anticipate the 100th anniversary of the presence of Providence in mainland China and Taiwan. Perhaps you or one of your family members were one of the many students who collected money for that mission! We moved that mission to Taiwan in 1949. Now more than 12,000 students enjoy the benefits of a Catholic co-educational university.

We dedicated the Havlik Center this past July, the centerpiece of our efforts at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods to address the well-being of all our sisters, especially those experiencing brain changes. The center is named for one of our sisters whose family’s gift was transformational in igniting the efforts of the HOME team (Helping Ourselves Meaningfully Engage).

Among many activities, that team helped arrange for Teepa Snow to present a workshop at the Woods focused on her nationally acclaimed Positive Approach® to Care for those with dementia. It is our dream to create a small house model for those with cognitive challenges right on our campus!

And then there are a whole host of Sisters of Providence, well into their “retirement” years, whose presence is light. In Florida Sister Carolyn Glynn delivers backpacks filled with food to students in need. In Boston there is Sister Shawn Marie McDermott, whose own journey with cancer makes her a compassionate hospice volunteer.

There is so much more I could share. I do hope you see how YOUR support brings the light of Christ’s compassionate care to those in need. Thank you! Together may we continue to be light for the sake of our world.

And…may you and your loved ones enjoy a de-light-ful Christmas!

Gratefully in Providence,

Sister Dawn Tomaszewski, SP
General Superior

P.S. Always, always, YOU are in our prayers, but especially during this holy season. You and your loved ones will be remembered in a special novena of Masses during the Christmas season.

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Sister Dawn Tomaszewski

Sister Dawn Tomaszewski was elected General Superior of the Sisters of Providence in 2016. She has been a Sister of Providence since 1975. Previously she ministered as a teacher, as communication and development director for the sisters and their ministries and as a member of elected leadership on the general council of the Sisters of Providence.

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