Why the Providence Community?
What continues to draw people to the Providence Community today? At 182 years into faithfully living out the mission of love, mercy and justice, the Sisters of Providence are blessed to still be attracting wonderful individuals to join us.
Five women are in formation as Sisters of Providence and several more are discerning the possibility of becoming sisters. This past year, 21 people joined the Providence family as Providence Associates and 29 more began their candidate year toward becoming Providence Associates.
So, why are people continuing to join?
Novice Sister Leslie
Our newest Sister of Providence, Novice Leslie Dao, has found the loving community she was seeking.
Sister Leslie said she was already living out a mission of love, mercy and justice in her ministry with refugees and immigrants before she entered. So, the Sisters of Providence mission was a natural fit.
In her difficult first months of adjustment, “Sisters patiently helped me to adjust to the new environment. Sisters make me feel at peace and at home here. They give me room to grow and accept me for who I am. I love the fact that we are not only living out our charism for others, but for those with whom we live. Charity begins at home,” Sister Leslie said.
Saint Mother Theodore
Foundress Saint Mother Theodore was also a draw for Sister Leslie.
“I feel drawn to Mother Theodore’s zeal, courage, caring and loving, especially her complete trust in the Providence of God. I want to grow deeper in my love for God and in the zeal to serve others as a Sister of Providence following the legacy of Mother Theodore.”
Sister Joni Luna, SP, the vocation director for the Sisters of Providence, walks with women who are discerning whether life as a Sister of Providence might be for them. She said people come to the Congregation seeking an alternate lifestyle to the one prescribed for them by society.
“Today’s lifestyle often doesn’t fit or doesn’t fulfill their desire to serve, share their faith and change the world we live in.”
Faith-filled modern women
What about the Sisters of Providence attracts discerning women?
“Our mission and legacy of 182 years of service to the world and our dedication to social justice issues speak to the hearts of many women seeking to serve the world in a more intentional way,” Sister Joni said.
“The very fact that we have highly educated, faith-filled modern women of all ages rooted in the legacy of our foundress Saint Mother Theodore attracts women. The Sisters of Providence are inspired and encouraged to evolve, to change and respond to the needs of our world. Our way of life is strengthened by the common inheritance of our faith and love, mercy and justice.”
Drawn to the community as a Providence Associate
“Becoming a Providence Associate is intentionally living Providence in my life and letting the energy of Providence work through the advocacy I already practice,” Susan said.
Susan said they came to the Providence Associates looking for community. And they have found it.
“I have a community full of a wealth of people who accept me as I am, for what I am and for what I bring to the table. The Providence Associates are already my family and I love it!” Susan said.
Tara Ronda of Malaga, New Jersey, was also among the 21 who became Providence Associates this year. Never having met a Sister of Providence, Tara had been following the SPs online for more than 10 years.
“Last year, I turned 40 and decided I was going to start saying yes to things, because I’m a natural naysayer. I get really comfortable with life and don’t like change. But frankly, I had become somewhat boring. So, when the opportunity came around to apply to the Providence Associate program, I thought, ‘Why not?
“Becoming a Providence Associate was a way to join a faith community that stretches how I think about and apply Christianity. It’s also meant new friendships with people I might not have otherwise gotten to meet, since I live nowhere near the SPs. And, since I’m not Catholic, it has meant a fascinating and really fun learning experience.
“I’ve become more open-minded over the last year, though I’m still more conservative than my new friends. … At the end of the day, we definitely all believe in love, mercy and justice,” Tara said.
What brought our 29 new Providence Associate candidates to seek this relationship? Their reasons are as varied as they are: Years of co-ministry with the sisters. A personal invitation from another associate. The beckoning of the Spirit. Wanting to join the sisters in putting their faith into action. Looking for something useful in retirement. And simply wanting to be a part of a group of nice people doing good things in the world.