Sister Emily TeKolste

Hometown: Indianapolis

Entrance date and age at time: Sept. 7, 2016; Age 28

Education and work prior to entering: bachelor’s degree in sociology from Xavier University; worked in farm-based education, nonprofit management, nannying, entrepreneurship and publishing (web content development)

Education/ministries since joining:
Living in formation community, volunteer ministry in Sisters of Providence Mission Advancement office and as an activities volunteer at Providence Health Care

Interests and hobbies: social justice, reading, soccer, running, yoga, writing, TV

What attracted you to religious life with the Sisters of Providence? Relationship. I got to know the Sisters of Providence while living with Sister Tracey Horan before she joined the community, and through her met many other Sisters of Providence. I saw the life and joy sisters exuded and how much fun they had. I saw many sisters engaged deeply with issues that I also care deeply about. And I experienced them calling me to live more deeply within myself – whether it was with them or not.

Sister Anna Fan

Anna-headshotHometown: Hsinchu, Taiwan

Entrance date: Nov. 10, 2014

Education and work prior to entering: International Trade; Baccalaureate in Religious Sciences; Administrative Assistant at Miracle Home

Education/ministries since joining:
-Postulant year: Living in formation house, postulant studies and visitation experiences to be immersed into the mission, charism and life of the Sisters of Providence; English as a Second Language (ESL) student at Indiana State University; intercommunity pre-novitiate program; volunteer ministries at Helping Hands Thrift Store, Providence Food Pantry, Providence Health Care
-Canonical year: intensive immersion into studies supporting discernment for becoming a sister including multiple volunteer ministries; intercommunity novitiate program; volunteer ministries 15 hours per week
-Mission Year: continued studies in ESL; continued volunteer ministries; living in a local community with professed sisters.

Interests and hobbies: reading, nature, table games like jigszaw puzzles, chess, etc.

What attracted you to religious life? Once during Mass, I heard a calling from God. The same day the Gospel was about Jesus saying that heaven is like a pearl and a treasure … another voice asked me if the vocation is like a pearl and a treasure, what do I need to do? If God is offering me a vocation to religious life, why don’t I try it. The vocation is a huge Treasure. I sold EVERYTHING of mine, still I cannot buy this treasure. I only open my heart and my hands to receive God’s gifts.

Why did you choose the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods?
It is God who chose me to be a Sister of Providence through the persistence and invitation of a sister. The sisters are role models in following Jesus and service. They are very kind. Coming from a different culture, I am helped and encouraged to look deeper into myself and share who I am, my feelings and ideas/reflections. In their ministries, they give hope to people by using their talents and gifts to serve.

Sister Tracey Horan

Tracey-mug-webHometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Entrance date and age at time: Sept. 8, 2014; Age 27

Education and work prior to entering: B.S. In Education, Majors in Middle Childhood Education & Spanish; Work experience as a middle school math teacher, organic garden intern, systemic food security VISTA

Education/ministries since joining: Volunteer ministries in Providence Health Care Activities, Sisters of Providence Mission Advancement office, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Campus Ministry, and ministering with the Spanish-speaking community at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Interests and hobbies: Anything outdoors — biking, hiking, camping, running; reading about my social justice heroes; dreaming with prophetic sisters and friends about the future of our church and world.

What attracted you to religious life? I saw women who went where others would choose not to go; who spent their energies at the margins of our society with joy and gusto; who supported one another in a common mission while doing the daily work of community life. I looked at these women and said, “That’s how I want to be when I grow up.”

Why did you choose the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods? I experienced probably the most joyful Valentine’s Day of my life cutting a rug with sisters who came out to a SMWC event to raise awareness about violence against women … and wow could they dance! I sat in a room of SP staff members who were briefed about Aldo Leopold’s land ethic and what it means to encounter all creatures as members of our biotic community. I listened to sisters share how they continue to live their vows — what it means to practice prophetic obedience, live single-heartedly, and be in right relationship with all. The sisters draw from a Sacred Presence that is deep and wide, and in my year at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice as an intern, I was blessed to experience that Presence in so many of them.

Sister Arrianne Whittaker

Hometown: Germantown Wis.

Entrance date and age at time:  January 4, 2012; 25 years old

Education/work prior to entering: B.S. Biomedical Sciences Major, Psychology Minor from Marquette University; Retreat Director at TYME OUT Youth Center, Nashotah, Wis.; Medical Assistant in a Private Neurology Clinic, Waukesha, Wis.; Full time volunteer at St. Ann Medical Clinic (now Wabash Valley Heath Center), Terre Haute, Ind.

Education/ministries since joining: Garden/alpaca assistant, White Violet Center for Eco-Justice, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind.; Assistant toddler teacher, Day Early Learning Centers, Indianapolis Ind.; Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine, Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Indianapolis, Ind., anticipated to graduate in May 2019


  • Reading anything other than a medical textbook
  • Swimming
  • Watercolor Painting
  • Listening to Carrie Newcomer
  • Journaling
  • Dreaming
  • Spending time in God’s Creation — hiking, camping, biking and more
  • Making and Sharing time with friends
  • Watching the Packers win and teasing the Bears fans in the SP community!!! Go Pack, Go!!!

What attracted you to religious life? Since I can remember I have always been intrigued by the idea of religious life. I suppose I was first attracted to the life when I met a good family friend, and my 8th grade teacher Sister Delores, who is a Sister of St. Francis of Assisi of the Lake from Wisconsin. I was so inspired by her dedication to living simply, and I always admired the deep sense of trust in God that she shared continually with her students. Even though I had the sense that this was a call I may be asked to discover, I didn’t truly begin to explore the idea until I came to the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and worked as a full time volunteer at a free clinic run by the sisters.

Why did you choose the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods? I tend to think I didn’t choose them, in actuality they chose me, or more accurately Providence chose me. When I was finishing my undergraduate degree I wasn’t ready to follow my life-long dream to go on to medical school, so as a back-up plan and to gain a year to organize myself, I decided to apply for a year of volunteer service. I was only accepted by one program, Providence Volunteer Ministry, which was a program sponsored by the Sisters of Providence. When I arrived at the Woods, the attraction I felt to this community and their mission was undeniable. I felt at home and sensed that I belonged with this community, we shared a common story, a common bond, a common love for each other.

Sister Dina Bato

Bato_Dina-webHometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Entrance date and age at time: Sept. 22, 2008; Age: 31

Education/work prior to entering: B.S. in Accounting from Virginia Tech; Financial Analyst at Hampton Roads Transit

Education/ministries since joining:
• Business Office Assistant at Providence Cristo Rey High School, Indianapolis
• Staff Accountant at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis
• M.A. in Pastoral Theology at Saint Meinrad School of Theology, anticipated to graduate in May 2017

• Cooking
• Baking
• Music and other art forms
• Reading
• Writing
• Social justice, particularly intercultural living and dialogue
• Service
• Learning
• Meeting new people

What attracted you to religious life? The need to grow in my faith in the context of community, particularly women who share similar passions and desires.

Why did you choose the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods? From the first day of meeting one Sister of Providence up until now, I daily choose the Sisters of Providence because I feel at home here.