The call of Providence
What draws people to a deeper relationship with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods as a Providence Associate?
On Saturday, Nov. 13, 28 new Providence Associate candidates began their journey toward becoming a part of the Providence Community. Throughout the coming year each will meet with their Sister of Providence or Providence Associate companion for discussion and prayer about Providence spirituality.
What brings you here?
At the orientation, each candidate shared what brought them to the Providence Community. Here is some of what they shared.
One candidate’s friend, a younger Sister of Providence, had assured her that this is a place where it is safe to be vulnerable. She saw how her friend had grown and blossomed as a sister. She sees in the Providence Community a reason to hope.
More than one said she was coming full circle, having entered the Sisters of Providence for a time in her youth and now coming back in an official way to the community. One said the charism of love, mercy and justice and its inclusivity and care for creation was important to her.
Another said she was introduced to the Providence Community seven years ago when she came to the area to visit a loved one on death row. She is excited to join the sisters in their work against the death penalty.
A place to belong
Still another said she has followed the sisters for more than 10 years. She feels drawn to the work they are doing.
One candidate has been a neighbor to the Congregation much of her life. She is a retired youth minister. This time when a sister invited her, the timing was right.
Several were graduates of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC). One recent graduate said she loves Mother Theodore and the charism of love, mercy and justice. She wants to stay connected and live those qualities for others during the crazy years of medical school.
Another graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College said Saint Mother Theodore Guerin has always been “a whisper in her soul.” But the past few years the whisper has become a clanging. Now is the time to follow that calling.
Several candidates came by invitation. Providence Associates with whom they attend church had invited them to explore the relationship.
More than one said they came to the Providence Community feeling frustrated with the hierarchical church and looking for a place to belong.
Following a call
One said she didn’t really know why she was here, but she was searching for what was next in her life. And, listening to the others tell about themselves at the orientation, she thought she was with like-minded people.
More than one who came was either currently discerning life as a sister or had discerned and had decided being a Providence Associate was a better fit.
Another said she was looking for deeper relationships and feels she can relate to the charism of love, mercy and justice.
Yet another said she was drawn by how progressive the Sisters of Providence are.
One candidate said she found out about the Sisters of Providence in a fiber magazine. When she went to the Sisters of Providence website, what she learned resonated with her. She found the Providence Community offering her something she was no longer finding in her local parish.
Still another said she had built a wall around herself regarding religion. But she felt a huge pull to something, so she was opening a window to her heart.
One candidate said she is at a point in her life where she wants to learn more about faith and was invited to the associate relationship at the right time.
Another said this is her next step. She told God she would say yes to what opportunity presented itself. She trusts that God will make clear to her why she is called here.
Yet another had heard about the Providence Associates from a friend who was one. Then at a teacher’s workshop she ran into a sister of a Sister of Providence and heard wonderful things about the beautiful and peaceful place at the Woods that was full of the presence of God. Within a few weeks she had connected and applied to become an associate.
Another candidate first became connected when a Sister of Providence at her parish called for volunteer knitters and crocheters to work with alpaca yarn. She then connected with the sisters through HOPE magazine. Now she comes to the community wanting to increase her knowledge and spirituality with people who are open and inclusive.
Another said she had seemed to lose her faith and herself during her years raising children. Now with her children grown she is coming back to the Sisters of Providence who taught her to help increase her faith and find her spiritual path.
Another said she was looking for something bigger than herself. She is happy to find here a community of women interested in going deeper on an authentic level.
What about you?
Is God nudging you toward something more as a Providence Associate? Explore the relationship at ProvidenceAssociates.org We would love to have you as a member of the Providence Family!
Thanks Amy for taking the time to share such inspiring calls to be on the PA journey this year.
The Providence Community is truly a welcoming home for any and all. It is a blessing for those feeling spiritually homeless. Welcome, Candidates! You’re in our prayers.
Great article, Amy. It shows the many ways our Associates discern the call to be an Associate. Every story has great meaning. I know the sisters appreciate hearing about these experiences. It is good that we have a wealth of commitment among our Associates.
Welcome, all you new candidates! I hope you all have a wonderful journey this year, and feel the love of our Providence Family! I look forward to meeting you one day.
Amy, thanks, as always, for your great reporting skills!
I have given it thought from time to time. I just cannot always pick up and drive to the Woods.
Hi Madonna. There are starting to be more and more ways to join in activities virtually as a Providence Associate. You may want to learn more!
Thanks Amy for an inspiring article.