Home » Blog » Teen finds happiness in volunteering with the Sisters of Providence

Teen finds happiness in volunteering with the Sisters of Providence

Madeleine and her brother volunteer at the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Earth Day Festival bringing Sister Kathleen Dede out to enjoy the festivities.

My name is Madeleine Barroso-Gutierrez and I am a seventh-grader at Saint Patrick School in Terre Haute, Indiana. This past year that I have been volunteering with the Sisters of Providence has been the happiest year of my life. 

In the 2023 awards ceremony for the teen volunteer ministry, I earned a plaque with a very meaningful quote by Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. “You will be happy yourself in making others happy.” This is a great quote to remember when you’re volunteering or doing anything in life. It really helped me through my first few days of volunteering. During those first few days, I was definitely out of my comfort zone. 

Meeting the sisters

The very first opportunity I had to make conversation with Sisters of Providence was about three years ago. Sister Joni Luna invited Sophia and me to perform at a talent show. As we danced, I could see the smiles on the sisters’ faces. After the talent show finished we got to sit with a sister and make conversation while playing board games. I knew I was out of my comfort zone but I knew that I wanted to volunteer.

When I first walked into the healthcare section, I felt nervous, but I knew that I wasn’t the only person feeling that way. The only people that I knew were a few of the other volunteers. They taught me how to get out of my comfort zone. At first, I definitely was uncomfortable while talking to people that I didn’t know. But by the end of that first day I knew that volunteering was something I wanted to do a lot more. 


I know that volunteering at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods has made me and the Sisters I interact with very happy. “You will be happy yourself in making others happy.” I realize how true this quote is. As I became more comfortable while volunteering, I realized how happy it made me. I felt true happiness while helping the sisters. I started to notice that just our presence made them happy. 

Blog post author Madeleine volunteers doing a craft with Sister Mary Catherine Keene.

I am definitely not a dancer, but on the first volunteer day this June, the teens all danced to music, some of which was played by Pia and Evangeline and other volunteers. Many sisters came out of their rooms to see the dancing and hear the piano. This is one of the reasons why I volunteer. I know that during COVID the sisters were not allowed visitors, but after COVID passed we were able to volunteer again. It had been two long years since the sister could have visitors. They all had the biggest smiles on their faces when we were able to volunteer again. 

Joy and peace

Not only does volunteering bring me lots of joy, it has also helped me become more peaceful. Before we begin and go to healthcare, the teens do prayer together. We pray in the lectio divina style. This style of prayer has helped me find peace with myself. It has also helped me learn that God has sent us to serve him and each other. We are taught that serving God is very important, but serving others is just as important. Volunteering with the Sisters of Providence is one of the most fun ways to serve others. That is why I volunteer.

I believe that others should volunteer with the Providence Teen volunteers because it is a very fun, safe and spiritual environment. It also feels amazing to be able to help and spend time with sisters. Volunteering makes me very happy and I’m sure it can make others happy as well. 

Madeleine, center, is one of three teens who offered the most volunteer hours with the Sisters of Providence this past year.

Do you know a teen who would find meaning in volunteering?

Please share about the Providence Teen Volunteer Opportunities with somebody you think would benefit!

Share this:

Madeleine Barroso-Gutierrez

Madeleine Barroso-Gutierrez

Madeleine Barroso-Gutierrez is a 7th grader at Saint Patrick School in Terre Haute, Indiana and a teen volunteer with the Sisters of Providence.

Plan for your future!

Leave the things you value to the people and purposes you value most.

Updated Estate Planning Info. here

Farm Internships!

Are you interested in interning at White Violet Center?

Learn more here


  1. Avatar S. Marsha Speth on July 11, 2023 at 6:52 am

    Thank you, Madeleine, for a great blog! And we are so happy to have you visit us!

    • Avatar Sister Connie SP on July 11, 2023 at 11:39 am

      Thanks for this beautiful blog Madeleine! I am so happy you have found the joy tucked inside of volunteering even when it takes you out if your comfort zone. So know how much we love to have you come to The Woods and be with us.

  2. Avatar Joni Luna on July 11, 2023 at 8:46 am

    I am so proud of Madeleine. She is kind compassionate and has a heart of gold. She is exactly the type of student we want volunteering with our sisters. Thank you Madeleine for your hard work. Love you sister Joni

  3. Avatar Sr. Anne Therese on July 11, 2023 at 8:58 am

    Dear Madeleine (Maddie),

    You are an amazing person. Your kindness has made a big difference at the Woods. Thank you for being such a bright and shining light for so many.

  4. Avatar S. Carole Kimes on July 11, 2023 at 9:00 am

    Madeleine, as I read your blog, I was so touched by your transparency and the energy you articulated serving the Sisters. We are blessed to have you among us and to spread the joy in your heart. Thank you for your service and the gift of your heart. I hope to meet you in person.
    S. Carole

  5. Avatar Norene Wu, SP on July 11, 2023 at 9:08 am

    Thank you, Madeleine for your loving service! Your smiling face brings sunshine to us, especially our Sisters in Providence Health Care!
    Thank you, beautiful angel!

    • Avatar S. Ann Matilda on July 11, 2023 at 10:22 am

      Thank you, Maddie, for sharing your experiences of volunteering with us.
      It is also brings joy to many of us to share lunch in our dining room. I have met your brother several times . Keep up being your wonderful self.

  6. Avatar S. Jessica Vitente on July 11, 2023 at 9:11 am

    Madeleine, thank you for sharing your heartfelt experiences of happiness while volunteering with the Sisters of Providence. I know the Sisters enjoy your presence.
    S. Jessica Vitente

  7. Avatar joan schaefer on July 11, 2023 at 9:14 am

    Thank you Madeleine for your generosity to us.
    S. Joan Mary Schaefer

  8. Avatar Sister Paula Damiano on July 11, 2023 at 9:17 am

    Thank you, Maddie! You are a blessing!

  9. Avatar Sr. Mary Montgomery on July 11, 2023 at 9:20 am

    Thank you, Madeleine, for this description of your experience of volunteering with the Sisters of Providence! We love for you to come! Thank you so much for your generosity, kindness, service and your smile that lights up a room!

  10. Avatar Ann Sullivan on July 11, 2023 at 9:22 am

    Maddie, this is a wonderful reflection of your time with us. I have witnessed your caring presence which means so much to so many. Carry on!!!
    Sister AnnSullivan

  11. Avatar Sister Anji Fan on July 11, 2023 at 9:46 am

    Maddie, your reflection is beautiful and joyful! Thank you for bringing happiness and peace to others! Keep the Spirit going!
    Sister Anji

  12. Avatar Mary Lou Ruck SP on July 11, 2023 at 9:57 am

    Great job, Madeleine. Thank you so much. Mary Lou, SP

  13. Avatar Debbie Griffey on July 11, 2023 at 9:59 am

    What a wonderful experience you’ve had, Maddie! And what a blessing it is for the Sisters as well as for you. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Avatar Susan Paweski, SP on July 11, 2023 at 11:26 am

    Beautiful! Maddie, you and the volunteers are bringing joy and love to those you visit. Thank you!

  15. Avatar Sister Connie SP on July 11, 2023 at 11:43 am

    I loved your honesty Madeleine in saying you had to move out of your comfort zone when you began to volunteer at The Woods. And, I am so glad you have found the joy that volunteering can give you. May our Provident God continue to bless the work if your heart and your hands.

  16. Avatar Sister Janice Smith, SP on July 11, 2023 at 2:03 pm

    What beautiful words of love and appreciation that you shared, Madeleine! I was very touched and encouraged by your reflection. You truly are a gift of God. We are so blessed to have you as part of our Providence Community.

    May you continue your wonderful and sacred journey! With love and peace, Sister Janice, SP

  17. Avatar Editha Ben, SP on July 11, 2023 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Madeleine, thanks for sharing your beautiful experience with the sisters and your courage to move out of your comfort zone. I heard your brief loving speech when you, volunteers, were acknowledged and awarded. May you be an inspiration to others. Your parents and teachers must be very proud of you as I am.

  18. Avatar Paula Modaff SP on July 11, 2023 at 6:08 pm

    Maddie, when I remember how I knew you when you were a few weeks old, I am so grateful for how you have allowed Providence to guide you to be such a beautiful presence to our sisters. As so many have said in their comments: keep on keeping on. You are a treasure.

  19. Avatar Sister Mary Beth Klingel on July 12, 2023 at 5:23 am

    Thanks for the wonderful blog, Maddie. You have a great gift for writing and I really enjoyed the times we had together at meals. Thanks most especially for your ministry at the Woods!

  20. Avatar S. Emily TeKolste on July 12, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    What a beautiful reflection on the joy of making others happy and the joy we find in community. We are so grateful for your presence on campus, Madeleine!

  21. Avatar Patty Wallace on July 13, 2023 at 9:28 am

    Thank you Maddie for the joyful spirit you bring to our sisters in your ministry, they love you!

  22. Sister Ann Casper, SP Sister Ann Casper, SP on July 14, 2023 at 8:17 am

    Maddie, we are truly blessed by your presence and service to our residents in health care. Thank you!

  23. Avatar S. Judy Birgen on July 14, 2023 at 10:16 am


    Thanks for your help with our sisters. So many sisters have worked with young people most of their lives and they enjoy seeing young folks at the Woods.
    You’re doing a good thing. 😊

  24. Avatar Donna Watzke on July 14, 2023 at 2:48 pm

    Maddie, I hope i get to meet you some day. I loved your blog. And what you do for the Sisters is so life-giving for them and for you. As they say: “You go, Girl!”

  25. Avatar Sister Barbara Sheehan on July 17, 2023 at 9:34 am

    Wonderful, Maddie! And, thanks for all you do for and with the Sisters of Providence. blessing and keeping on being a grand person.

  26. Avatar Beth Wright SP on July 17, 2023 at 10:20 am

    Thank YOU, Maddie, for choosing to be in relationship with the Providence Community…and being a part of this community to which you bring sunshine, a smile and a loving spirit.

  27. Avatar S. Carol Meyers on July 17, 2023 at 11:42 am

    You reminded me of when I was an eighth-grade girl helping the Sisters in their classrooms or convent. The joyful feelings I had then still linger with me today.

  28. Avatar Joanna Dailey, PA on July 17, 2023 at 3:17 pm

    Thank you, Maddie, for your heartwarming blog. It is wonderful to know that you and others are going out of their way and out of their comfort zones to make others happy–which you obviously do! And as you do, I hope you find more and more happiness along the way!

  29. Avatar Jeanie Reime Heller on July 17, 2023 at 3:56 pm

    Madeleine – I am not a Sister of Providence. I am a 1970 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. I read the Sisters blog often and I am so impressed with what you are doing in your volunteering and how you have written about it. How wonderful that you have had this experience at an early age. It will help to shape what you do in life. I am glad that you have experienced some amazing people – the Sisters of Providence. Keep up the good work…it will help you so much as you develop and make decisions about your life..

  30. Avatar Linda McMahon, PA on July 17, 2023 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you, Maddie, for sharing the gift that you are with the Sisters and with all whom you meet. And, thank you for sharing your story with us, the Blog Readers, Your joy, compassion enthusiasm and beautiful smile bless us, too!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.