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Newsnotes from the Sisters of Providence winter 2022

Welcome Leslie!

New postulant Leslie Dao, center, on her entrance day with Sister Joni Luna at left and Sister My Huong Pham at right.

Leslie Dao entered the Sisters of Providence as a postulant on Sept. 21. We are so happy to welcome Leslie as she begins her formation process to becoming a Sister of Providence. Leslie was born in Viet Nam, grew up in California and most recently lived and ministered in Saint Louis, Missouri.

God is still calling women to become Sisters of Providence! Learn more about becoming a Sister of Providence at Become.SistersofProvidence.org

Thank you for your generous help

The restored St. Joseph Lake at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

Thanks to all of you and many others, St. Joseph’s Lake has been completely restored! Because of your generous donations and prayers, Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods had the opportunity to gather with Father Terry Johnson in mid-September for blessings of the restored lake and a statue of St. Joseph which has been placed by the lake. Following the blessings, many sisters enjoyed a cookout along with fun activities.

The lake formed on the grounds of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods approximately 100 years ago and was at one time a water supply for the Congregation. In February 2018, heavy rain caused a section of the berm to collapse, resulting in the lake drying up. We reached out to you and with your help, the beauty of St. Joseph’s Lake has been restored!

Providence Isabelle

There’s a new kid in town

On Sept. 3, 2021, alpacas Providence Ruth and Providence Pere Michele, welcomed their daughter, Providence Isabelle (Bella) to the White Violet Farm. Bella is lively and rambunctious. She looks a lot like her mother, Ruth, who was named after Sister Ruth Johnson, SP. In fact, Bella’s name was actually a suggestion made by Sister Ruth. Bella and her extended alpaca family can be “adopted” as a fun way of supporting the Sisters of Providence. To see more go to

Sisters take part in historical marker dedication

The memorial for George Ward by the Wabash River in Terre Haute.

In September the Sisters of Providence took part in the dedication of a historical marker for George Ward. Ward, an African-American, was lynched and his body burned by an angry mob in February 1901. It was the only lynching to take place in Vigo County, Indiana.

“By acknowledging this horrific, racist lynching of Mr. George Ward, a resident of Terre Haute, we have an opportunity to open ourselves, all of us, to the stark reality of historical and current expressions of systemic racism,” Sisters of Providence Justice Promoter Sister Barbara Battista said. “We, along with our entire nation, have work to do. Our nation is in the midst of a racial awakening.”

The ceremony took place on Sept. 26 at the north end of Fairbanks Park in Terre Haute where the incident took place.

Sisters attend celebration in North Carolina

Sister Betty Paul and Sister Kathy French with Bishop Luis Zarama, Bishop of Raleigh

The Sisters of Providence were invited by St. Patrick Catholic Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina — the oldest Catholic Church in the state — to attend the parish’s 200th anniversary.

Sisters Betty Paul, SP, and Kathy French, SP, both of whom minister in the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, represented the Congregation. The two sisters attended a celebratory Eucharistic Liturgy and receptions. Sisters Betty and Kathy also visited Saint Ann Parish, site of the first Black Catholic Church in Fayetteville where Sisters of Providence opened the first reverse segregated Catholic School in 1956 at the request of Bishop Vincent Waters.

Providence Cristo Rey honors Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp

Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp with John Lechleiter

In October, Providence Cristo Rey High School in Indianapolis honored Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp, SP, with the inaugural John C. Lechleiter Award during its Pride of Providence annual fundraiser.

A second newly established award was named for Sister Jeanne. In 2005, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis confirmed there was a need in the city for a Cristo Rey model school, which provides a quality Catholic education to low-income students. They reached out to the Sisters of Providence to help create and sponsor the school. Sister Jeanne ministered as the founding President of the school.

Providence Cristo Rey remains a sponsored institution of the Sisters of Providence.

“We honor Sister Jeanne not only for the work she has done and continues to do for Providence Cristo Rey but also for the legacy that is carried forth by many others as a result of their relationships with her,” said Ann Kellison, the school’s director of development. “When you ask former students, staff, faculty and community leaders about our school, Sister Jeanne’s name is always mentioned!”

Eco-justice director to retire

After nearly eight years of service, White Violet Center for Eco-Justice Director Lorrie Heber will officially retire on March 1. Lorrie joined the Sisters of Providence in the spring of If you have had the pleasure of taking a tour or class from Lorrie, you’ll immediately feel her passion for eco-justice and teaching people about living more sustainably. Congratulations to Lorrie on her retirement. We know she will enjoy many more exciting adventures with her husband Tom.

New Providence Associates

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. (Not pictured: Karen Chuan-Chaun Hung, Lou Carbonaro, Ashley Poff and Daniel Torrence.)

Oct. 9, 2021, we joyfully welcomed 18 new Providence Associates. Most were able to gather in person to profess their commitments to the mission of love, mercy and justice. God is calling such wonderful women and men to walk this journey with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods as part of our Providence Community. Learn more about the Providence Associate relationship at ProvidenceAssociates.org.

Originally published in the winter 2022 issue of HOPE magazine.

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Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

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