New Postulant enters Sisters of Providence
On Sunday, September 24, the life of Taiwan native Teresa Kang changed forever as she was welcomed by the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, as a postulant.
What was it that inspired Teresa to commit to begin this journey with the Sisters of Providence?
Teresa studied religious sciences at Robert Bellarmine Theologate of Fu Jen University, located in Taiwan. For nine years, she served as a manager of general affairs at St. Dominican Mission Center. She also ministered for two years to the terminally ill, and another two years at a youth ministry center.
She was carving out a life on her own, but the thought of becoming a religious sister still lingered inside her.
Teresa said her collegiate friend, Sister of Providence Anna Fan, who entered the Congregation in 2014, always wrote to her about the Sisters of Providence and the joy she felt after entering.
“Sister Anna used to tell me after she entered the Sisters of Providence how happy and peaceful she was,” Teresa said. “She sent me many pictures about her religious life, which she enjoys and appreciates so firmly and so positively.
“She made my heart fill with admiration and my eyes were filled with tears.”
Sister Anna attempted to convince Teresa to come to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, for a Come and See Weekend to learn more about the Congregation and to reflect on her life.
“She invited me, and I can still remember the little voice saying, ‘It could be you if you want,'” Teresa said. “But I somehow avoided to listen until I told Sister Anna how I went to the mountains to search for snow with friends during Chinese New Year. Online, Sister Anna said, ‘Come to the Woods, where you may play in the snow without searching for it.”
Ultimately, however, it was a simple conversation with her father that triggered the desire to become a woman religious.
“One day, during the Chinese New Year, my father asked me, ‘Do you still want to be a religious sister?’ Yes,” Teresa said. “I thought – is it your will, dear Jesus? This place and this Congregation? What are you afraid of? I began to think, to discern seriously and got back with Sister Anna to ask how shall I contact the Sisters of Providence?”
So, in April 2016, Teresa arrived at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods to take part in a Come and See Weekend. She said that three-day period was all she needed. She knew she had found her calling.
The very first night when I slept in the motherhouse of the Sisters of Providence, I felt so peaceful, so much at home that I felt so familiar, like I was here before,” Teresa said. “This feeling went through my whole body and soul, which I’d never felt before.”
Teresa also attended Sister Anna’s First Vows in 2017 and stayed additional time to learn more about the sisters and American culture.
Just a little more than one year after the Come and See Weekend and only months after visiting Sister Anna and the Sisters of Providence, Teresa’s life changed.
On Sunday, September 24, Teresa took part in the Sisters of Providence ritual of entrance, by knocking on the door at Providence Hall. As the door opened, she was greeted by General Superior Sister Dawn Tomaszewski.
From there, Teresa went to the parlor of Providence Hall for a prayer service, a blessing and an official welcome into the Congregation.
“The ritual of entrance touched my heart,” Teresa said. “I feel very comfortable here.”
Sister Marsha Speth, director of postulants, will now coordinate Teresa’s schedule and ministry.
“Teresa will learn everything about the Sisters of Providence, and that includes learning about community practices, traditions and ministries,” Sister Marsha said.
After a year as a postulant, Teresa will have the opportunity to enter into the first year of the novitiate. It is at that time when she will receive the title of sister.
Sister Marsha said the Sisters of Providence welcome new members into the Congregation annually.