What brought you here?
Twenty-nine individuals recently began their year-long journey toward becoming Providence Associates of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. On Saturday, Nov. 12, many of these candidates attended an orientation at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. These candidates will spend the next year meeting with a Sister of Providence or Providence Associate companion and delving deeper into Providence spirituality and what it means to live out love, mercy and justice as part of the community of Providence.
You can see photos from the orientation day here.
We are so excited to have these seekers on the journey with us! But what is it that brought them here? At the orientation we asked them.
Here is what some of them said:
One said she had taught for many years at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) and she admires the Sisters of Providence and their mission.
Another said a Providence Associate from her parish had invited her to consider it.
Yet another said she had been taught by the Sisters of Providence and has stayed connected for many, many years.
One said she is a member of Central Christian Church in Terre Haute, and so many other members are Providence Associates that is just seems like the natural next step for her to become a Providence Associate.
Another said she had worked with the food service at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and met lots of Sisters of Providence and was impressed enough to want a closer relationship.
Yet another candidate said she attends Mass with the Sisters of Providence daily and the sisters encouraged her to become a Providence Associate.
One said she has a master’s degree in theology. She had searched Catholic Volunteer Network and found White Violet Center for Eco-Justice where she volunteered in the summer of 2019. From there she learned about the Providence Associates and here she is.
Yet another said the Spirit brought her here. She was longing for companionship and fellowship and went on a retreat. When she told two BVM order sisters that she wanted to share her faith with others, they recommended she look up the Sisters of Providence.
One candidate said she was a cradle Catholic who wanted to deepen her faith.
One was a recent Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College graduate who said he fell in love with the Sisters of Providence and the way they put their faith into action.
Another said he was new to knowing the Sisters of Providence. He visited the Woods in April and found great welcoming. He said he found the teaching of the sisters to be in line with his beliefs.
One said she had gotten a copy of HOPE magazine and doesn’t even remember why. But a prayer in there really helped her through a time of sickness. So she made a trip to the Woods and learned about the Providence Associates and felt nudged toward it.
One learned of Catholic sisters from where she had worked and said she was interested in learning more about them and joining in their idea of community.
One says she is a convert to Catholicism and feels that the Holy Spirit and Providence led her here.
Yet another is a local pastor looking to help broaden the spirituality of his congregants.
One said while working from home over COVID-19 lock down, she had become depressed. So her husband took her on a trip to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The Woods drew her in. She said she didn’t know how or why she was supposed to be here, but she felt a deep connection and calling.
Another candidate, a retired nurse, had asked God to give her something useful for the next part of her life. A friend from her parish approached her about becoming a Providence Associate.
One candidate said her family has been connected the Sisters of Providence for decades. It was 1890 when her first relative attended St. Mary’s Academy. Many have since, like herself, attended Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Two relatives, since deceased, even became Sisters of Providence. The candidate said she is no longer Catholic, but she found herself wanting to live her faith differently in her every day life. When she attended the SMWC reunion in May, two classmates told her they were associates and said they thought she should consider becoming one also. She said she is looking forward to recommitting to a relationship with the Providence Community.
And yet another said that last July she read about the Providence Associates in the Criterion, the newspaper of the Catholic archdiocese of Indianapolis. She said she wanted to be a part of a group of people doing nice things in the world and so she applied.