New Providence Associates share their journey, part 2
In today’s blog post, several of our newest Providence Associates share about their journey of the past year. Learn more about becoming a Providence Associate here.
Betty Anne Long
The Providence Associate experience over the past year has been a gift from our Provident God, the Sisters of Providence and the Providence Associates. Along with my companion, Sister Mary Beth Klingel, and many loving, caring, praying, kind souls, I have grown in many ways.
I learned much about Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. About all the love and strength she and the other sisters endured coming to America to start this beautiful, peaceful home that is graced with so much love and prayers and joy and peace. I was blessed to attend Catholic schools for 12 years. A gift from God I cherished from first grade at St. Patrick’s through Paul C. Schulte High School. Now, growing with more love for all people in many different ways, I choose to leave the past to the God of grace and my future to the God of Providence. I strive to complete God’s will daily with Love, Mercy and Justice towards all I meet.
I learned again that you cannot do everything, but you can do small things with great love. If you let the Holy Spirit guide you freely, the Holy Spirit will! Thy Will, Thy Time, Not Mine! Let us all go forward and be who God wants us to be daily.
I have wanted to become a Providence Associate for eight or nine years. This year I finally had my chance this year. I have always felt a close connection with the Sisters of Providence. I’ve read most of the books about Saint Mother Theodore and her life. I feel she is the reason I want to become a Providence Associate.
Through the years, I have visited Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for years. I saw my grade school teachers and my friend, Sister Helen Therese Conway. I’ve stayed in the guest house, attended Mass, had lunch with the sisters and walked the beautiful Woods.
I had a wonderful year with my companion, Sister Susie Dinnin. Sister and I were friends before, but now we’re closer friends. The experience I had this past year was one of gratefulness on this special journey. We had ten lessons to read, each written by a sister. The chapters were spiritual and each gave me a chance to forgive, feel joy, and be more aware each day of doing tasks with love and patience.
I have experienced many changes in the last three years: Selling our home, moving to Bloomington and becoming a care person for my husband. The experience of becoming an associate has helped me tremendously.
I plan to visit Saint Mary-of-the-Woods when it’s safe, and take a tour group there from our parish in Bloomington. My husband and I love visiting the sisters.
As a Providence Associate, I will begin each day with gratitude. I plan to do tasks with intent for the good of anyone I can help with a smile, phone call or written note, especially during the pandemic.
It is hard to believe it was almost a year ago when I began the process to become a Providence Associate. These past few months have been very challenging due to the Covid pandemic, the political environment, the social unrest and the lack of civility so predominate in our world every day.
Back in November 2019, we were provided a white three-ring binder notebook well stocked with information to study and to reflect upon. Each potential associate was given a companion to help us through the process.
I met or communicated each month for 10 months with my companion/mentor, Sister Rosemary Schmalz. We respectively would go through our chapters of study and reflection and then we would have these wonderful in-depth conversations. During this process, I not only had a companion, I gained a new friend, which I look up to with great respect.
I have grown so much from the teachings of Mother Theodore Guerin and other women of faith. They have courage and they take risks. The sisters remain steadfast in the Providence of God. They have faith, they remain hopeful and they have courage to love others red, yellow, black or white. It doesn’t matter. One looks at the heart of a person, not the color of their skin. One must seek truth over lies and we must be diligent in searching for truths.
I truly believe it was through Providence my heart called me with the desire to become an associate this particular year. This process not only gave me hope for the future, it renewed my spirit in being around an atmosphere where people love and have compassion for others. Hate is not a word the sisters live by and not one I live by. We are all equal in the eyes of God.
I have been very grateful for the opportunity and I feel very blessed to be a part of a community whereby love, mercy and justice for all is the mantra.
This process was an invitation from God to quiet my mind and intentionally accept the invitation to know God deeper.
I invested time to study the materials, travel to Terre Haute to meet — physically distancing outside — with my companion, Sister Joanne Golding. Most importantly, I’ve begun to let go of “my” expectations,” to accept that God loves me just as I am.
For me, being a Providence Associate means to live with commitment to God’s Providence as written in Proverbs 3:3-6:
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to God, and God will make your paths straight.”