A new start in the Providence Community
Twenty-four women and men started their journeys with the Providence Community on Oct. 17 at the 2020 Providence Associate candidate orientation.
This virtual event was quite different than in years past. Usually sisters, associates and candidates meet in person. They get to know each other, share and pray and start the new candidates and their companions on their upcoming year of sharing and exploration.
Making do with the times, meeting remotely by Zoom did allow new candidates to share a bit about themselves and why they are embarking on this journey with the Sisters of Providence.
What brings us here?
So, what brought these diverse women and men to seek something more with the Sisters of Providence?
Some said that as alums of former Sisters of Providence schools they were reconnecting with their roots.
One told how he had come to the Woods for a retreat and was inspired by what he saw. He also has a Sister of Providence helping lead his deacon training which deepened his connection.
One candidate visited Saint Mary-of-the-Woods last year with his wife as she became a Providence Associate. He said he saw unconditional love at the Woods. And as he read about foundress Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, he was taken by her love for God and love for all she met.
Another, a retired teacher, is an active member of United Hebrew Congregation in Terre Haute. She met the sisters through the Wabash Valley Inter-faith Council. She thinks deepening her relationship with the Sisters of Providence can help her be a better seeker of God.
Community support, roots
Another candidate is studying to be a licensed addiction counselor and knows she will need community support in that work. She said she has found so much strength when at the Woods that she sought out the relationship. She first met the sisters through Sister Betty Hopf and her ministry at the Hux Cancer Center in Terre Haute. She got to know Sister Betty better when she volunteered to help her around the house while Sister Betty was supporting her housemate who was dying. Both women have already found support in each other.
Another shared how he lived near the sisters in Linton, Indiana, growing up. He spent time at their house and “got to know that nuns are OK.” Now one of the sisters he knew as a child will be his companion as he explores becoming a Providence Associate!
Across the world, the country or town
One candidate lives in Taiwan and graduated from the Sisters’ Providence University there. She wants to learn more about Providence.
One said that her years as a student at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College were some of the most impactful of her life. The love, compassion and care of the sisters planted a seed in her.
One candidate shared that her mother had been a member of the Sisters of Providence many, many years ago. Her mother died two years ago and now the daughter is herself connecting to the community.
Another said that the Woods is her place. Its where she goes to be amidst the storms of her life.
Yet another said growing up Catholic in West Terre Haute, the sisters had always been in his life. Now living in Oregon, he says as he experiences life’s challenging times he fears the wind could topple him if he doesn’t reach back to his roots with the sisters.
Relationship, friendship, more
One young woman said she wants to formalize her relationship with the sisters and try to understand her spirituality and live an intentional life.
Another candidate said she is looking to get closer to God. She has volunteered at the Providence Food Pantry in West Terre Haute and has gotten to know some of the sisters, who invited her to become a Providence Associate.
Whatever the path that brings these women and men to the Woods, we are excited to have them join us on the journey of love, mercy and justice with our God and one another. Please pray for them and for us over the next year that they, and we, may grow in whatever way needed with the loving support of a Providence community.
Might God be nudging you toward a deeper relationship with the Providence Community. Learn more about becoming a Providence Associate here.
Beautiful and inspiring! My prayers are with you all.