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Twenty-five discoveries at The Woods

Providence Associates Suzie Ray and Jane Fischer share 25 things they discovered while volunteering at The Woods earlier this month.


Woodhaven Retreat Center and Guesthouse is quiet, peaceful, and a great place for Providence Associates and others to congregate and get together. The building is air conditioned and the private bedrooms with bath are comfortable. You can spend evenings on the back porch overlooking the fields and woods.


 A visit to the Archives unearths a treasure trove of history, books, photographs and artifacts. Make time to sit down there with a book (you can’t check anything out). But you’ll find yourself traveling back in time, being inspired by all you discover. The sisters and times of yesteryear are amazing — and you will recognize the traditions the Providence community carries out today as you read about the past.


When the weather gets hot, the alpacas gather inside their barn under the fan. 


There are lots of cars parked in the parking lot of the former Owens Hall as it has become the new Saint Mary’s Senior Living. Some Sisters of Providence are living in the building again, and you can see that there is new life where many of us Providence Associates used to stay. Providence Associates may remember taking the tunnel from Owens to Providence Hall. It’s now locked.


Father Dan Hopcus got a new garage door.


Volunteering at the front desk in the Administration Building is easy – bonus – you get to see your favorite sisters as they come through.


Lunch time at Providence Hall Dining Room is fun and so welcoming. And it is not crowded. It is also a great way to meet and talk with sisters you have never met or spent time with. The food and desserts are yummy!


If you enjoy photography, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods a great place to take beautiful pictures.


A quiet morning or evening stroll on hallowed grounds is divine. It’s a treat to retreat!


A smile will appear on your face when you see the sisters with their walkers strolling in the mornings.


Spending time here without required meetings allows one to better understand the needs of the Sisters of Providence and the Community.


 Sister Mary Beth Klingel is an excellent Scrabble player! Be ready to be humbled!


Donor walls and recognition plaques are works of art.


Hearing the church bells ring from the Church of the Immaculate Conception is a comfort.


Get lured into Linden Leaf Gifts by the fuzzy stuffed alpacas.


Visit the St. Anne Shell Chapel. The use of the iridescent river shells on the interior is stunning!


Visit the new Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) Residence Hall and campus bookstore.


Check out the new parking lot by the SMWC sports field.


The Sisters of Providence are repairing and painting the fountain.


Seeing Saint Mother Theodore Guerin’s statue lit in the moonlight is a beautiful sight!


It is fun to visit the alpacas, horses, chickens and all the other animals around the grounds!


The White Violet Farm Store is a great place to buy fresh eggs, homemade fudge and all sorts of goodies!


The loom room at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice is full of beautiful looms of various sizes and lovely “in-progress” projects!


Walking the premises, you can see all the organic gardens and orchards.


Every time you walk through the Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, you learn something new!

We hope you enjoyed Jane and Suzie’s updates. Perhaps they will inspire you to plan a visit to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, schedule a tour or come out and volunteer. You could even join the community by becoming a Sister of Providence or Providence Associate!

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Suzie Ray

Suzie Ray became a Providence Associate of the Sisters of Providence in 2014. She has a bachelor's degree in computer science/psychology from Indiana State University and a masters's degree in management from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. As a recently retired partner with Ernst & Young, LLP, Suzie is in transition spending time volunteering at hospice, quilting, hanging at the cabin and spending quality time with family and friends.

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  1. Marsha Speth on June 16, 2022 at 6:41 am

    Thank you, Susie! This was fun to read!
    It was also nice to meet you when you were here.

  2. Mary Montgomery on June 16, 2022 at 7:34 am

    Susie, this is delightful! Thanks!
    Thanks to you and Jane for volunteering for a week!

  3. Donna Butler on June 17, 2022 at 9:10 am

    A delightful advertisement! Thanks for your service.

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