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Eighteen make commitment as Providence Associates

Eighteen people recently deepened their relationships with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

On Saturday, Oct. 9, Terre Haute residents Ashley Poff, Gloria Urrea and Jonnee Western were joined by Indianapolis residents Erin Gick, Tany Pongracz and Michael Rausch; Greenwood resident Mary Lou Kiesle; McCordsville resident Robb Farris; West Terre Haute resident Marcia Evrard; Lafayette resident Jennifer Christos; Crown Point resident Michael Booth; Brownsburg resident Marci Alvis-Slinski; Medford, Mass., resident Lou Carbonaro; Shalu District, Taichung, Taiwan, resident Karen Chuan-Chuan Hung; Chicago resident Adriana Gonzales; Springboro, Ohio, resident Kathleen Ly; Portland, Ore., resident Daniel Torrence; and Melrose, Mass., resident Mary Beth Tribble all made commitments as Providence Associates, choosing to walk more closely with the Sisters of Providence and live out their mission of love, mercy and justice.”

New Providence Associates 2021. From front left: Jennifer Christos, Michael Booth, Erin Gick, Kathleen Ly. Second row from left: Tanya Pongracz, Michael Rausch, Jonnee Western, Gloria Urrea, Mary Lou Kiesle. Back row from left: Providence Associate Co-Director Sister Susan Paweski, Robb Farris, Marci-Alvis-Slinski, Mary Beth Tribble, Marcia (Skitz) Everard and Providence Associate Co-Director Debbie Dillow.

“My hope is that becoming a Providence Associate will enhance and grow my spiritual life,” Michael Rausch said. “This has come through establishing a set time for prayer and contemplation. I enjoy being part of the Providence Community, and I am fortunate to be only one-and-a-half hours away from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

“My hope is to become more engaged in the activities of the community so that spirituality is not only personal but joined with that of the Providence Community. And since my spouse is also a Providence Associate, we can share together special time at the Woods.”

“This provides a wonderful future for me. I am spiritually at home,” Jonnee added. “I will be able to study the Bible and talk about religious issues. Here with the Sisters of Providence, I am able to discuss contemplative prayer, Jesus and social issues, including love, mercy and justice, to take action on issues in which I am interested.”

“I’m honored to have been accepted to complete this faith journey,” Ashley said. “As I move forward into my first commitment, I hope to find new ways to connect with the Sisters of Providence as well as continue to explore my faith.”

“This means I’m accepted and part of something bigger than myself,” Robb said. “I’m part of a mission and tradition that’s been at the Woods since 1840.”

“I am now united with the Sisters of Providence and Providence Associates worldwide to share in their mission expressed beautifully in the Congregation logo of ‘Breaking boundaries, creating hope,’” Mary Lou chimed in.

Providence Associate Co-Director Sister Susan Paweski, SP, said in order to become a Providence Associate, a candidate is paired with a Sister of Providence or Providence Associate companion and goes through a year of study, prayer and reflection. Ashley’s companion was Sister Janice Smith, SP.

“Having gone through this process during COVID, I’m sure my experiences are different from the norm,” Ashley said. “Sister Janice and I would select a unit to work from and then set a deadline. We would both do the unit and then I would email my reflections and questions to her.

“We then would schedule a phone call and spend the morning discussing what we both took from the unit. The units and following phone calls are something I will greatly miss as they really did fortify my faith and help guide me in everyday life.”

Michael said the process was familiar to him since his spouse has already gone through it and is also a Providence Associate.

“The nuts and bolts were easy,” Michael said. “My companion, Providence Associate Joe Horan, was well versed in the Spiritual Integration Units. I enjoyed each session, studying from the units, praying and discussing the material.”

For Robb, reconnecting with Sister Mary Morley, SP, formerly Sister David Mary, was wonderful.

“We knew each other from her days in Linton,” Robb said. “She was good friends with my mother and father and spent quite a bit of time at our house. She was such a breath of fresh air and it was fun and enlightening to learn about the Sisters of Providence and their mission of love, mercy and justice.”

Jonnee added studying and discussing the Bible is very important to her spirituality and she looks forward to doing that with the Sisters of Providence.

“Being in a small study group in which we study and pray has been a dream of mine ever since I have lived in Terre Haute,” Jonnee said, adding she has lived in Terre Haute for 36 years. “This is one of my ideas of being in heaven.”

Sister Susan said the 2020 commitments brought the total of Providence Associates to more than 300 in the United States and Taiwan.

If you feel called to explore the Providence Associate relationship, learn more here or contact Sister Susan at 312-909-7492 or spaweski@spsmw.org.

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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