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Sisters recognize benefactors at dinner

Approximately 230 benefactors and others joined the Sisters of Providence for a meal and award presentation during the 20th Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Dinner at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on Saturday, June 4.

The dinner takes place to honor benefactors for their gifts of time, talent and resources, while also presenting the Queen Amelia, Sarah and Joseph Thralls, and the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Companion awards.

“Our theme for this year’s dinner was ‘Bright Futures,’” Sisters of Providence General Superior Sister Dawn Tomaszewski said. “Isn’t that a beautiful reality for which we should pray – a bright future for our world, our families, our very selves. Mother Theodore called our benefactors ‘a sweet Providence.’ We believe all of our benefactors are ‘a sweet Providence.’ They are a major reason why we believe in a continued bright future for our Providence Community.”

The Queen Amelia Award honors those who have significantly contributed financially to the Congregation and who have been influential in informing others of its life and mission. The award is named for Queen Amelia of France, wife of King Louise Philippe, who was a major benefactor for the Congregation in the mid-1800s. She also encouraged her husband and family to contribute to the Congregation, which at the time, was struggling financially.

(From left) Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp and Sister Dawn Tomaszewski present the Queen Amelia Award to Anita McMahon and her son, Michael.

This year, the Congregation recognized Anita McMahon of Oak Brook, Ill., for the award. McMahon was unable to attend the presentation, but Sister Dawn and General Councilor Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp brought the award to her and videotaped the recognition.

“Anita’s friendship, love and considerable support explain why she is this year’s recipient,” Sister Dawn said. “Anita has contributed significantly and consistently to the Congregation with financial support since she made her first gift to us in 2010. She and her late husband, William F. ‘Bill’ McMahon, established a Memorial Trust in 2011. She has been particularly supportive of our Retirement Fund and the Capital Campaigns for Providence Hall and the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Shrine.”

The Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award honors individuals, a family or a group that has made significant contributions of time, talent and expertise. It is named in honor of the family that offered hospitality by way of a cabin in a dense forest to Mother Theodore and her five companion sisters after they arrived at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840 and continued to assist them as they adjusted to pioneer life in Indiana.

Edward “Ned” Costello receives the Sarah and Joseph Thralls Award from Sister Dawn Tomaszewski.

This year, the sisters recognized Edward “Ned” Costello of Chesterton, Ind., who has assisted the Congregation for almost two decades with his financial expertise.

“What a wonderful financial background,” Sister Dawn said of Costello. “Ned was tapped in March 2003 to join our Investment Advisory Council. He is currently the chairperson for the group and has been for most of his tenure on the committee.

“Ned was also asked to join our Mission Advisory Board when it was established in 2005 to create an important collaboration with our General Council. During his nearly 20 years of service with us, he has definitely helped us turn things around financially through his soft-spoken yet persistent counsel.

The Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Companions Award was established in honor of Sisters St. Vincent Ferrer, Basilide Seneschal, Olympiade Boyer, Mary Xavier Leree and Mary Liguori Tiercin, the five sister companions who supported Mother Theodore and remained by her side assisting her as needed while offering their own wisdom and perseverance to advance the mission of the Sisters of Providence.

Bob Desautels receives the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Companion Award from Sister Dawn Tomaszewski.

This year, the Congregation recognized for the award Bob Desautels of Indianapolis, Randy Adams of Indianapolis, Sister Barbara Battista, SP, and Beth Collins of Terre Haute, and Judith Schubert and Marianne Breen from the Chicago area, for the award.

Randy Adams and his wife Maria receive the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Companion Award from Sister Dawn Tomaszewski and Sister Anne Therese Falkenstein.

In addition, the Congregation also recognized the Geoff and Josie Fox Family Foundation, Mary Jo Gallagher, Guerin, Inc., Mark E. and Marilyn S. Haag, Patricia S. Robak, the William O’Neil Foundation and William J. Witchger for financial gifts of more than $100,000, by having their names placed on the Rooted in Providence award plaque in Providence Hall. More than 50 individuals, families, foundations and groups are named on the Rooted in Providence plaque.

Recipients of this award are given a handmade stoneware tile with the word Providence stamped into the stoneware.

“We believe we have a bright future because of the women who have joined us and dedicated themselves to being God’s Providence in our world,” Sister Dawn said. “We believe we have a bright future because of the nearly 300 Providence Associates who have made a commitment to share in the mission of Providence. We believe we have a bright future by virtue of this sacred place – Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. And we believe we have a bright future because of these benefactors who monetarily support our mission.”

Judith Schubert and Marianne Breen receiving their Saint Mother Theodore Companion Awards from Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp and Sister Dawn Tomaszewski.
Beth Collins receives the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Companion Award from Sister Dawn Tomaszewski.
Sister Barbara Battista displaying her Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Companion Award.

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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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For inquiries or information, contact Jason Moon at jmoon@spsmw.org or 812-535-2810.

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