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News release

Coronavirus crisis update: March 23, 2020

From the Sisters of Providence General Officers:

During a noon press conference today, Monday, March 23, Governor Holcomb issued an Executive Order for all Indiana Residents to STAY AT HOME. Some states have called it a Shelter in Place Order. This extends through April 7. We believe the procedures we currently have in place at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods are in compliance with these new directives. We are counting on everyone to follow these directives.  This applies not only to those at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods but to all sisters in Indiana and sisters in other states with similar orders—Illinois and California and those which will follow. Sister Barbara Battista, a physician assistant, has written a letter to all SPs, stressing the importance of following this order. We are very thankful for her expertise and assistance.

Note: The following announcement was made on Sunday, March 22, by General Superior Sister Dawn Tomaszewski and the General Officers regarding additional updates for the Congregation amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Liturgy Plans

The Congregation will no longer celebrate Mass in the Church of the Immaculate Conception until it knows differently. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently directed all people to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.

The Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass for Sister Mary Rita Griffin will take place at 11 a.m., on Tuesday, March 24, while the Funeral Liturgy Outside Mass for Sister Christine Patrick will take place at 11 a.m., on March 27. The General Officers and essential ministers will conduct both services. There will not be a separate wake service for either sister. Neither will be open to the public.

COVID-19 Preparedness

The Congregation realizes that COVID-19 is now in the Wabash Valley and the number of positive cases will rise dramatically during the next few weeks because of increased testing. The sisters have a plan and are prepared, and are counting on cooperation with all containment and mitigation practices: Social distancing; staying home; absolutely only essential travel; frequent hand hygiene; cough and sneeze etiquette; self-monitoring; self-isolation when sick; and following dining protocols.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 illness include fever (65 and older, 99.6 degrees; others 100.4 degrees); cough; shortness of breath; and other less common symptoms.

Sister Dawn said that some of these protocols and practices may need to change as the days move forward.

She added: “Perhaps most important of all is the reminder that we need each other. We need social contact to remain healthy. … continue to find ways to reach out to each other … sisters and others in health care are already feeling this isolation … please call them! Find ways to let them know you love them.”

The Congregation closed by reciting the Prayer of Reunion. They will continue to recite this prayer daily at 3 p.m., out loud, in your specific time zone.

For more information, please read this COVID-19 Information Graphic.

About the Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of 214 women religious, with 300 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind., which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries can be found at SistersofProvidence.org.

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

Media contact

For inquiries or information, contact Jason Moon at jmoon@spsmw.org or 812-535-2810.

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