Thank you for a joy-filled week
Thanks to all you — friends, former students, relatives, ministry partners — we celebrated National Catholic Sisters Week (March 8-14) at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods with special style this year. In our e-newsletter and on Facebook, we invited all of you to send a greeting to an individual sister or to any sister who might need her day brightened.
Your response of more than 175 messages certainly went far beyond our expectations and indeed brightened many a day!
This was one greeting to an individual sister that stood out for me. The email was addressed to Sister Ann Sullivan and read: “While I was recently exploring the White Violet Center (WVC) through the SP (Sisters of Providence) website, I learned that you were the founder of the center. Therefore, in honor of National Catholic Sisters Week, I send you my heartfelt gratitude for the foresight and stewardship that you have exemplified in bringing this wonderful resource into being. (from Kristina Lindborg, Volunteer for Citizens’ Climate Lobby, “Creating the Political Will for a Livable World”). Talk about brightening one’s day! Sister Ann founded the center nearly 25 years ago!
I asked Sister Claire Hanson, a minister of care in our health care facilities who delivered many of the greetings, what the sisters’ response was when they received a greeting. She shared: “The first thing several did was to look at who sent it and tell me where and how they met the particular person writing the email. I then heard their memories and ministry stories. They loved recalling convents, cities, students and their families.”
Words of love
Below is a selection of some of the general greetings sent to sisters. Such a wonderful testament to the impact our sisters have had on individual lives!
“You all are very inspiring and help us to want to serve others and lean into Providence…”
“God has blessed me in my life as a staff member at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC). I know Saint Mother Theodore Guerin would be very proud of all of you and your ministry. You have done great works in this world.”
“I was a student of the Sisters in the 1960s and had an exemplary education in elementary school at St. Angela School in Chicago. My educators were extraordinary women. I eventually became a Catholic school teacher and principal (now retired).”
“Today, I wish to thank you as my benefactor. I am now in my late seventies, but I remember the exact blessed moment in the first grade when a light suddenly appeared. Sitting on a tiny chair, I recognized what Sister was talking about. Letters flew together into complete words, complete sentences. It was such a moment of sheer delight that I almost stood up and shouted, “So that’s it.” I went straight on to the wondrous world of chapter books and then to 25 years as a librarian.”
Another memory shared: “Our family visited y’all during a Jubilee celebration. I’ve never met such a fantastic group of loving, caring, vibrant Christians! I’ll never forget the terrific service of celebration that was part of the Jubilee … just so heartwarming. I hope you feel valued and appreciated for all of the Lord’s work you do, because you are!”
“Thank you for the gift of instilling the love of learning in so many children during your career. Your dedication to education is very much like a ripple in a pond — extending far beyond that one little bright-eyed child sitting quietly soaking up your enthusiasm.” And this might be a current example of that ripple … “My name is Gwen. My daughter graduated from SMWC in 2020 and my 3 sons are all current students. I love visiting the campus and seeing the beautiful chapel and visiting the Linden Leaf gifts and White Violet Center. Mother Theodore Guerin has created such a beautiful place.”
“Thank you for your life of service to our Lord. I loved my years as a student at the Woods. I credit my success as a teacher to the sisters that were my role models. I hope you are doing well during this difficult time. One of my goals is to get back to the Woods and experience the peace and holiness of this special place.”
“I would like to thank you for everything that you have done over the years. Your work is amazing. I have many fond memories of the sisters who taught me at St. Patrick’s School in Stoneham, Massachusetts. Along with my parents, I credit a great deal of my success to the solid education and religious formation in my early years all the way through to my days at Villanova University.”
“Thank you for the love that you bring to our world.”
And thank you, responders, for the love you have brought to us this National Catholic Sisters Week!