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Rising to the Occasion

Throughout the Bible and throughout human history, there have always been persons who in a time of crisis or critical need rise to the occasion. Some are famous people and some are people whose names will not be known in the public arena.

Sisters Janice Smith and Kay Manley (from left) volunteer serving lunch in the Providence Hall Dining Room. The sisters and staff members who volunteer to serve help curtail the spread of disease possible from buffet-style serving.

Closer to home, I think of our Sisters of Providence history beginning with Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. She did not volunteer to come to America, but in a spirit of obedience, accepted the request from Mother Mary to lead the mission. Without her willingness to accept a difficult assignment, despite her poor health, we would not be here today.

I think of Sister Olympiade Boyer a lot these days. She was a woman of practical skills; a pharmacist, excellent seamstress, baker, cook, and a nurse to the sick. In early 1841, Mother Theodore was so sick, she was left to die by the doctor who gave up all hope for her recovery. It was Sister Olympiade who did not give up; she stayed by her bedside day and night and nursed her back to health. In 1842, when the bank failed with all our money in it, the community was forced to lay off farmworkers. It was Sister Olympiade who took over supervising the farm.

Against All Odds, the history of our mission in China and Taiwan cites how Mother Marie Gratia Luking and our sister missionaries endured wartime crisis after crisis. In each case, they rose to the occasion. They did not give up. They did what they could at that time. They worked together with others, especially in the concentration camp, in order for the mission to survive. When they were forced to move to Taiwan, they faced many more disappointments and setbacks. However, in time the mission in Taiwan not only survived but thrived and is a source of inspiration and influence today. The native Sister Catechists in China, founded by Mother Marie Gratia, still exist today and some minister in Taiwan.

At left, Sister Betty Koressel volunteers serving drinks in Providence Hall Dining Room. Sisters eating lunch are taking extra precautions by staying six feet apart and eating in five separate rooms.

In the midst of the coronavirus, we too are just doing what we can for each other and for the good of humanity. The many restrictions and cooperation really do make a difference, not just for us, but for our country and for the world.

Here at the Woods, our sisters who are able and our lay staff have stepped up to help in many ways with our food service. Some are serving and hosting meals while others help keep the kitchen clean. Our General Officers, our HOME Team, food service staff, and health care personnel are outstanding in their efforts to keep us well. There are countless other hidden ways that sisters and staff are helping out.

I think we will be different when this crisis is over. I believe the kinds of cooperation, interaction, selfless generosity and gratitude shown is creating deeper bonds among us, bringing us closer to our goal of moving from I to we to one.

Let us pray for all in our world who in families and in the public arena perform the many essential services, who at great sacrifice to themselves, are rising to the occasion.

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Sister Donna Butler

Sister Donna Butler has been a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for more than 60 years. Sister Donna has served in elementary education, parish ministry, diocesan social justice, as well as the Congregation’s liturgy office, archives department and social justice outreach. She also administered as the director of the Providence Volunteer Ministry. Sister Donna currently volunteers in outreach with Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College students.

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  1. Ann Clem on April 8, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks to all who are protecting our Sisters! You go Betty Korressel (one of my former Band Members). You make me proud!

  2. Mrs.Vincenza Birmingham on April 8, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Hope the Sisters are doing well. I just got over the virus, it was a mild case but I put in Gods Hands
    Happy Easter to all of the Sisters.

  3. vincenza birmingham on April 8, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Hope the Sisters are doing well. I just got over the virus. It was a mild case, but I put it in Gods Hands
    Happy Easter to all of the Sisters.

  4. Steven M. Butler Sr. on April 10, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    To the dear Sisters of Providence ,
    I have been so blessed to be able to have had the sisters for my school teachers and later on in my life have the awesome experience to even stay with them at the Woodland Inn and to be present at her funeral when one of my favorite teachers passed away. As I have said before, driving through the gates to St. Mary of the Woods always takes my breath away because of everything I experience when I come there. It amazes me when I see how much can be done with so little because of the most dedicated group of sisters and associates I have ever been around,
    Sister Donna, I am proud to be your brother and for all you have done for me in my life and to all the other sisters and associates who when I come there make me feel so welcomed like I have lived their all my life. Last but surely not least, thank you all for your most generous prayers you have bestowed upon me. God Bless You All.

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