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Quest for God leads to fullness of life as a Sister of Providence

Sister Jessica exclaims upon meeting the oldest member of the Congregation, Sister Marceline Mattingly, at Sister Jessica’s entrance ceremony in 2018.

Tomorrow, I will profess for the first time one-year vows as a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. As I look back, I truly feel my quest for God has been luring and leading me to this opportunity, so that I can live the fullness of life that I am meant to live. I’ve found a fulfillment that we all desire in life. Here I can enhance existing talents and discover new gifts. Those gifts will be vessels and instruments in contributing to making the world a better place.

A joyful YES

I feel very peaceful and joyful about my YES to life as a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. These past three years since I entered the Congregation, I have been so loved, supported and accepted. I look forward to continuing to deepen these relationships.

Sister Jessica (left) and Sister Joni (center) with a visitor at the Sisters of Providence booth during the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in 2019

In the past three years, I have been gifted the opportunity to learn how to pause and live in a contemplative way. I have been able to do the unimaginable. I can deeply listen to God’s invitations and to be responsive in my mind, my heart, my body and my soul so that I can deeply connect with the living Divine. So that I can bring the reign of God anywhere and everywhere I go — to the grocery store, the gas station, the jail, community college or university, the airport or hiking trail, the beach, museum, etc. God speaks in mysterious ways!

A gift from God

Sister Jessica Vitente is greeted by Sister Laurine Haley after entering Sister Jessica entered the novitiate in 2019

These past years have been a total gift. It has taken many prayers, grace and a lot of inner work to find total freedom. My journey is convoluted! It is messy! And it is so rewarding! I thought I knew total freedom before, but I feel that I have had more freedom in these past years than I could have ever imagined. As Saint Mother Theodore Guerin says, “Have confidence in the Providence that so far has never failed us. … ”

I have so many hopes for the future: my future and future generations. I hope for gender equality and for racial equality. We pray for safety for migrants and justice for the imprisoned. With my community I work toward the abolition of the death penalty and for more educational opportunities for people in need. I pray for less physical, emotional and mental violence against ourselves and each other. I am striving to be the best version of myself by living a contemplative lifestyle. By taking a very long and loving gaze in the mirror. As Saint Mother Theodore Guerin said, “If you lean with all your weight on Providence, you will find yourself well supported.”

Sister Jessica praying in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

A treasure

I strive to create space for people I meet along the journey. People who are searching for companionship as they struggle. Perhaps they are stuck due to fear of the unknown or lack of opportunity. Perhaps they find themselves in deep need of faith, hope and love — of Christ’s light. As Sister Jean Hinderer, CSA, once shared with me, “I belong to everyone, and I belong to no one.”

I’ve found a treasure! I’ve found the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of-the-Woods, Indiana, and they have found me. I pray to Provident God that we will never let go of each other. I look forward to living out the evangelical counsels of obedience, poverty and chastity for one year for the first time in my life. More importantly, I hope for fidelity for many years to come.

Might God also be leading you toward a fulfilling life as a Sister of Providence? Come and See at our Oct. 1-3 weekend retreat!

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Sister Jessica Vitente

Sister Jessica Vitente, a native of Pomona, California, entered the Sisters of Providence in September of 2018. She currently ministers as the Catholic campus minister for the Newman Center serving students at the University of Evansville in Indiana.

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2 Comments

  1. Diana I. on August 15, 2021 at 10:26 am

    You are an inspiration! I cannot help but smile when I read about your journey and the life you live. To read that you feel peaceful and joyful as you make your vows is heartwarming. You have found the peace and joy that most people search for in life. The beautiful part is that you found it by giving—giving your time to help heal the world, giving your love and understanding to the people around you, and giving your trust to/in God. I can’t wait to see more of your work, and I hope that one day, I can join you in one of your missions as you help heal the world.

  2. Mary Montgomery on August 17, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    Thank you, Jessica, for your exuberant YES to Providence, Sisters of Providence and Mission! Thanks for sharing your gifts and talents! Thanks for this beautiful reflection.

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