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Come, take my hand …

Providence Associate Jean Brown

Becoming a Providence Associate has opened my heart, guided my steps and shaped my life. I would like to share my spiritual journey with you.

A Providence journey begins

I came to work for the Sisters of Providence in 2014 as an executive assistant. I knew right away that Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (a.k.a The Woods) is sacred ground … and the closer I became to the sisters in my daily work life, the more I was drawn to their message of love, mercy and justice. I couldn’t help but notice how every day they went to the One Source of Life, our Almighty God. They did this in many and varied ways … as individual as they each are. They filled their wells through prayer, music, community, time in nature, quiet contemplation, solitude or gatherings filled with talk and laughter.

They were on to something and I wanted in on the secret!

Pursuing Providence

I became familiar with the life story of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, the foundress of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and I fell deeper. When the time was right, I asked about becoming a Providence Associate and was paired with Sister Mary Rita Griffin as my companion. She helped me take my first steps on the path to a closer union with God, and I am forever grateful to her. The grace-filled journey had many twists and turns. And I just had to know what was around the next bend. 

I found myself more vulnerable, which can be unsettling for sure. But, you see, I never felt alone, which makes all the difference! I felt upheld by all the Sisters of Providence, past and present, who have been down this path. I am still in wonder and filled with gratitude by the fact that they beckon us to follow. They could have closed the gate behind them. But instead, they widened it so we could all step in. By doing this, they are sharing and offering that endless flow of love … that life-giving, soul-nourishing God-given mercy and grace. I guess they learned the lesson of an abundant heart and how it only stays full by giving love away. This is the lesson I’m still learning from them.    

Continuing the journey

Statue of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, right, at Jean Brown’s home

I retired a little over a year ago. On my last day at work, I was given a statue of Saint Mother Theodore. Every morning, she and I begin the day in prayer. We have a little chat. Her outstretched hand beckons me to take it and follow. She has things to show me, to teach me, to share. She has never stopped sharing. Her heart is full of love. And she knows that with every new Providence Associate, it is refreshed, renewed and eternal.

If your spirit is searching … yearning … wondering, maybe it is being called to the Woods. Step on the path with a sister companion and with Saint Mother Theodore who beckons us to “put yourself gently into the hands of Providence.”   

Learn more about becoming a Providence Associate!

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Jean Brown

Providence Associate Jean Brown is retired after serving as administrative assistant to Sisters of Providence leadership team members. Jean lives in Columbus, Indiana, with her husband, Gary and two very spoiled cats.

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  1. PAULA DAMIANO, SP on March 7, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Thank you, Jean. Miss you here.

  2. Marsha Speth on March 7, 2020 at 8:47 am

    Thank you, Jean, for such a beautiful reflection on your experience. And here it is published so soon after our S. Mary Rita moved to heaven! She and Mother Theodore are smiling, I suspect.

  3. Rita Edwards on March 7, 2020 at 9:02 am

    Thank you, Jean. This reflection has helped ease our loss of Sr. Mary Rita, to know that in a special way she is still near to us thru you and the ministry of Providence.

  4. Jane Fischer on March 20, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    Thank you for telling your story of Providence in your life. We were all blessed to know S Mary Rita….and especially you!

  5. Susan Paweski, SP on March 21, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Jean, thank you for sharing your story on a personal level. Being vulnerable allows the Spirit to fill us with Providential grace. How wonderful that you are a part of our Providence Community.

  6. Eileen Horan, PA on April 1, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    Jean, I have just now finished reading your beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. Your relationship with the Sisters and Associates seems providential indeed! I’m looking forward to the next time we Associates can be together to grow in relationship. Stay well and safe!

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