Get to know Providence Associate Cathy Allen
Tell us about yourself
I grew up in Jasonville and then Terre Haute, Indiana, the third of four children. Since I was a little girl, I knew I was going to be a nurse. I became a Licensed Practical Nurse and later in life went back to college to get my Associate Degree in Nursing. During my career, I worked at hospitals, nursing homes and a company that reviewed charts for Medicare.
I began working at the Sisters of Providence Health Care in August 1987, shortly after I passed state boards and became a Registered Nurse. I was the 11 p.m.-7 a.m. shift supervisor, but after a year or so I needed to be on day shift due to family responsibilities. There were no openings, so I left in January of 1989 for a full-time day job. In September 1989 I began working part-time at Providence Health Care (PHC) and in February 1992 was given a full-time day position as quality assurance nurse. I later became assistant director of nursing. I stopped working full-time in September of 2002 but continued working as needed until 2013.
What are you passionate about and why?
I guess it would be first my family. I have two daughters, a stepson and stepdaughter, three grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. My husband and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary in September. I have been an avid reader since childhood. (My mom was too and she taught us to love reading.) I make quilts and do hand work like cross stitch and embroidery. I have been a Christian since I was 10, and joined the Catholic Church a few years ago. I’d felt drawn to Catholicism for many years but didn’t follow through on it. But after a long time of praying and learning about Catholicism, I knew that is where God was calling me. So, I started RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) and was received into the Church in April 2014.
What are your favorite ways to spend your time?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I also enjoy reading and crafts. And since my husband and I are both retired we do a lot of traveling (less so since COVID, but still managed to do some trips). I used to enjoy gardening but due to back issues just can’t do that much anymore. I belong to a quilt guild that meets monthly and we do various service projects. Also, I love word games and puzzles.
What drew you to the Providence Associate relationship?
The Sisters of Providence have been part of my life since 1989 when I first began working there. I learned a lot about them and their ministry and faith. After I retired from working there, I wanted to continue my relationship with the sisters. I learned more about Providence Associates and decided that was a great way to continue that relationship.
Talk about your experience as a Providence Associate.
As a Providence Associate I have volunteered visiting residents in Providence Health Care and have helped with activities. I have volunteered at the Linden Leaf Gifts book sales every year. I pray for the Sisters of Providence daily and enjoyed the Providence Associate retreats and attending some of the other activities before COVID. Right now I cannot participate in Zoom and other virtual activities because we live out in the country in Dennison, Illinois, and the internet is not as good as in town. Hopefully we rural residents will get broadband internet in the next year or so and I will be able to do that easier — although I hope we are back to being able to meet in person before that! [Editor’s note: Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is reopening May 24!]
Being a Providence Associate has helped me to improve on my prayer life (which is still a work in progress). I find praying various prayers like the Litany of Nonviolence very satisfying. Also, my faith has become stronger through being an associate and knowing the Sisters of Providence all these years.
Who was your companion in becoming a Providence Associate? Tell us about that process.
Sister Rita Clare Gerardot was my companion in becoming a Providence Associate. We had worked together for a while at Providence Health Care, and she was a special person to me since then. It was great to meet with her regularly to talk about all that is involved in the process. I received some great advice and knowledge from her as well. She is such a special person and she is a blessing in my life. I really look forward to being able to go visit and go to lunch with her, as well as visiting/volunteering in Providence Health Care, once the COVID restrictions are gone.
What are your hopes for the Providence Community into the future?
I hope the Providence Community will continue to grow with new Providence Associates as well as new women becoming Sisters of Providence. Coming to work at PHC all those years ago was one of the best things I’ve done, and I am so thankful I was blessed to spend most of my career working in Providence Health Care. The Sisters of Providence community does so much to help those in need and to make our world fairer and more just.