Newsnotes from the Sisters of Providence fall 2021
Saving an iconic mosaic
Alumni of Mother Theodore Guerin High School/Holy Cross/Guerin Prep celebrated success in raising enough funds to remove and save the iconic “Our Lady of River Grove” mosaic from the side of the River Grove, Illinois, school that was closed in 2020. The mosaic was created by Sister Immaculee Krafthefer, SP. The efforts to save the mosaic were led by Mother Theodore Guerin alumna Carolyn Bull ’73. She led a committed and dedicated force to call upon other alumni through Facebook posts directing them to a GoFundMe campaign. They also held grassroots fundraisers and appealed through local media for community support. In addition to saving the mosaic from the wrecking ball, they raised funds to save several stained-glass windows from the chapel. More money will need to be raised for restoration and installation, but for now Our Lady is safe.
You can contribute to the restoration and installation efforts here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/guerin-prepremembered-fundraisersave-the-mosaic
Shell Chapel included in Smithsonian Tour
The exhibit, “Pearls of the Wabash,” will be on display at the new Vigo County School Corporation Administration Building, formerly West Vigo Elementary School, from Nov. 20, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022.
West Terre Haute is one of six communities in the state hosting the traveling tours. The traveling tour explains how
water is an essential component to life on Earth. The Smithsonian Institute teamed with Indiana Humanities to include the special tour of the Shell Chapel. There is no cost to attend the exhibit. For more information, visit https://indianahumanities.org/event/water-ways-indianatour-west-terre-haute/
Saint Anne Shell Chapel was erected in 1875. Nearly all the shells that don its walls were collected by Sisters of Providence from the Wabash River.
The painting “SouthWest Scape,” pictured above, is by Sisters of Providence Artist-in-Residence Sister Jody O’Neil. The piece was on exhibit in ArtsIlliana’s LANDSCAPES Exhibition, July 2 through Sept. 17, 2021, in Terre Haute. It was created with acrylic paint and heavy weight medium mixed with soil gathered by Sister Jody from the New Mexico countryside. artsilliana.com/Gallery
St. Mary’s Senior Living set for November opening
We all know Saint Mary-of-the- Woods is a special, spiritual place to visit. Now some lucky people will have an opportunity to live here!
Applications are now being accepted for St. Mary’s Senior Living. The former Owens Hall, refurbished as a new living facility, is scheduled to open for prospective residents Nov. 15.
The housing project is a partnership of the Sisters of Providence and Flaherty & Collins Properties of Indianapolis. In 2018 the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) granted nearly $2 million in tax credits to repurpose the facility.
The new senior living community will include 33 one-bedroom apartments and 31 two-bedroom apartments for people 55 and over with restricted income. There will also be four market-rate apartments available. Twenty percent of the units will provide housing opportunities for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, a need identified in the Terre Haute area.
Built in 1959, Owens Hall was initially used as housing for new members of the Congregation. Years later, it was repurposed as a residence hall for sisters and later also included administrative offices.
For more information or to apply to live at St. Mary’s Senior Living, visit LiveatStMarys.com
SMWC names new dining hall after Sister Barbara Doherty
The new dining hall at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has been named the Barbara Doherty Dining Center. It is named in honor of Sister Barbara Doherty, SP, (RIP) who ministered as the 13th president of the College from 1984-98. She also taught at the College in the Theology Department from 1965-75.
Current College President Dr. Dottie King, who has been in that role since in 2011, said she met Sister Barbara early in her presidency.
“She would visit the President’s Office as part of her walking route on campus,” King commented. “During those visits, she would recall some of what she remembered of being president. She led the College through some tough years, and she was always mindful of the mission and was very student-centered.”
While ministering at the College, Sister Barbara expanded the school’s athletics programs. She helped foster new academic programs at the school, including an exchange program with Providence University in Taiwan and the founding of the Mari Hulman George School of Equine Studies in 1990.
Sister Barbara died Aug. 17, 2020, at the age of 88.
They grow up so fast!
White Violet Center for Eco-Justice has been in existence for 25 years — a quarter of a century!
During the Sisters of Providence 1991 General Chapter, the Congregation committed to eco-justice and eco-spirituality. Sister Ann Sullivan, SP, offered a proposal which resulted in creating White Violet Center for Eco-Justice. The ministry opened in 1996. Happy anniversary White Violet Center! To learn more about our ecological justice ministry, visit WhiteViolet.org
Bonjour Bon Appétit!
This summer we welcomed Bon Appétit food management to the Sisters of Providence family. Bon Appétit is now handling all catered events and Sunday Brunch at the Woods. You can expect prepared-from-scratch meals using the freshest ingredients purchased from local sources whenever possible. Sunday Brunch at the Woods is served from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in O’Shaughnessy Dining Room. For menus and ticket information go to Brunch.SistersofProvidence.org
Congregation, others collaborate to create ‘Death Row Visitation
After the federal government executed many prisoners in 2020, the Sisters of Providence teamed up with others to create the “Death Row Visitation Project.” The project provides funding for family members and friends of people on death row, allowing them to be able to come to Terre Haute and visit their loved one.
“The families end up being victims also,” said Sisters of Providence Justice Promoter Sister Barbara Battista, SP. “The residents are essentially in isolation. They have little contact. This is a small attempt to respect and honor their basic need for human connection, to reach out in love to them and to their loved ones.”
A core committee of two Sisters of Providence, two capital defense lawyers and two members of the Terre Haute Death Penalty Resistance group will decide on funding distribution. Visit spsmw.org/donate/donate-for-justice/ to contribute. All donations are tax-deductible. You may pay online or by check.
Meet Father Terry Johnson, our new Chaplain
Chicago native Father Terry Johnson recently assumed chaplain duties for the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of- the-Woods. He replaces Father Dan Hopcus who officially retired from the ministry earlier this year.
Father Terry was born in Chicago Heights and attended Marian Catholic High School there. He graduated from St. Xavier University in Chicago and began a 10-year career as a religion teacher at Elizabeth Seton High School. After receiving his master’s degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame, he began working as the director of religious education at St. Benedict Parish in Chicago. There he began to feel inspiration to enter the priesthood.
“The call had been there all along. I had looked at the priesthood in high school and college,” Father Terry said. “It just never felt comfortable.”
Father Terry entered Mundelein Seminary in 1991 and was ordained a priest in 1994.
He ministered as an associate pastor at St. Christopher Midlothian (1994-99), served at St. Francis Xavier in La Grange (2002-04) and was also on the formation team at the Mundelein Seminary (1999-2007) before becoming pastor at St. Irenaeus Parish in Park Forest, Illinois, in 2009 where he served until this year.
“It feels like I’m in Camelot,” Father Terry said of his recent move to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. “What is really attractive about this position is it is pure ministry.”
Father Dan, a native of California, became the Congregation’s Chaplain in 2002 and plans to continue to reside at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in his retirement.
Sisters Joni, Jessica say YES to the Sisters of Providence
God continues to bless the Sisters of Providence with wonderful sisters. On Saturday, Aug. 14, Sister Joni Luna professed perpetual vows and Sister Jessica Vitente professed first vows at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. We are so grateful for their heartfelt commitments for a life of love, mercy and justice.