SP CARITAS gals 2/19 - Sisters of Providence



SP CARITAS gals 2/19 - Sisters of Providence
A publication for the Sisters of Providence and Friends ● Spring 2003
Editor’s note:
This is the story
of a medical mission to Guatemala
and El Salvador to provide medical
primary care outreach and some
measure of acute care to a population that ordinarily would be
unlikely to receive such help. The
care is simply not available and/or
there is no money to pay for it.
As in so many stories about the
works of the Sisters of Providence
and the Providence Associates,
minor miracles happen when
individuals driven by faith and
compassion see a way to make a
difference in the lives of others.
Sisters and Associates reach out around the world
health care and hope
by Roberta Rorke, SP
he last time I visited our Providence Associate, Chris Halter, in Guatemala,
I was struck by the need for health care in the Mayan villages. So, for the last
two years I hoped to find a doctor willing to give time there. This dream was
fulfilled in October when two emergency room specialists — Dr. Anthony Dunlop,
of British Columbia, and Dave Engebo, RN, of Longview, Wash., — set out with
me for a tour in El Salvador and Guatemala. ➺ ➺
SOA arrest/trial
General Council visits
Haiti celebration
health care and hope...
We embarked on our three-week journey with
the aim of providing material and moral support to resident field
workers, including our sisters and associates. We also planned
to gather information about acute and chronic needs in the
communities served to assist our long-term planning for medical
outreach in the two countries.
We were met in San Salvador by Sister Maria Antoineta
Trimpay and Javier, a young man who works for the sisters. We
went to the
village of La
Papalota for
the night and
began seeing
patients in
San Marcos
Lempa early
the next
morning. This
is an area
where there
was intense
during the
civil war and
the outer
church wall
carries the
Mission team members (from left) Tony Dunlop, MD;
bullet holes
Chris Halter, PA; Roberta Rorke, SP; and Dave Engebo, RN.
Our plan for the
as evidence. One of Dave’s first patients was a young woman
who has a bullet wound scar.
In many ways, this was the best possible beginning since it
introduced us to the experience of many of the people we
served. Whenever we learned the history of someone, it included
stories of struggle and tragedy. For example, one woman had
lost four sons. Others had lost parents or siblings. Yet, the
spirit of the people is incredible.
Another day, we took a boat up river to Linares. This is a
village Sisters Isabel Cid and Marilyn Charette used to visit,
spending the night in a family’s hammock and returning to La
Papalota the next day. That family’s house was destroyed in the
earthquakes, so its members have moved in with another family
in what is no longer a house but where some walls remain.
During the war, people of Linares fled to Honduras, where
they lived in such difficult conditions that they moved on to
Panama. When they returned after the war, they were given land
far from any cities and where the roads were dangerous because
of bandits.
The people frequently travel by boat and agriculture is the
only work. The river water, which some drink and others wash
clothes in, is brown in color. The people are extremely poor
and have many physical ailments, including dysentery, scabies
and malnutrition.
I think all of us were impressed by the three sisters
serving in ministry in El Salvador. Sisters Fran Stacey and Maria
Antoineta live alone in the “campo” (countryside). Sister
Monica Campillay lives in San Salvador at the formation house
with Sisters of Providence candidates Vilma Franco and
future is to continue to encourage physicians to visit El Salvador and
Guatemala to provide a greater continuity of care.
by Roberta Rorke, SP
he global economy and the
spread of U.S. culture are issues
being addressed in many forums.
The ability to communicate and
influence persons worldwide is a
characteristic of our age. We both
learn from others and teach others
our values. The Sisters of Providence
have a history of adventurous
undertakings in distant areas calling
for our presence, e.g., the Northwest
in the 1850s, Alaska in the early
1900s, and the Philippines and
El Salvador in the 1980s and 1990s.
With the religious community’s
outreach to distant areas, there
always have been lay collaborators
as an integral part of a new mission.
In the 21st century, our reduced
number of vowed members makes it
even more important to work with
laity to serve global needs which call
out to us.
Editor’s note:
Judy Johnson, CSJP, a member of the board of
Providence Hospitality House, was misidentified in
the Winter 2002 issue of Caritas.
One way to meet global needs is
to collaborate with other groups.
The following are a few examples
of this outreach:
•Providence Health System,
headquartered in Seattle, budgets
funds each year for aid to developing
countries. (See chart for a sample of this
year’s donations.) This year, with the
help of funds added by the religious
community, Providence Health System
now has a full-time director of outreach,
Mark Koenig. Mark’s assistant Peter Barry
manages a warehouse in Tumwater,
Wash., where donated medical supplies
are stored and then shipped to areas
where the equipment is needed. The
health system teams with Catholic Relief
Services, the Medical Mission Board and
others to ship containers of supplies to
countries including Guatemala, Lithuania,
the Philippines and Tanzania.
St. Vincent Hospital, in Portland, also
part of Providence Health System, has a
program to send medical residents to Nairobi,
Kenya. Nurses from St. Vincent’s have
participated with a medical group in
Moscow, Russia.
•In Spokane, where Providence
Services is headquartered, Sacred Heart
Medical Center has rented space to store
and distribute medical supplies to the poor,
under the direction of Sister Rosalie Locati.
Usually, the donations are to a foreign
country, but local charities also have
received supplies. Sacred Heart staff
members Chris Peterson, RN, from Heartsin-Motion, and Maureen O’Keefe, from Heal
the Children, are members of medical teams
which go to Guatemala each year.
•Volunteers from both health systems
have gone to El Salvador to help build
houses after the last earthquake. Many
others who could not go contributed
financially to the rebuilding effort.
An open sewer
runs by the
house of this
squatter family
in Cocales.
Margarita Hernandez. Dave and Tony were inspired by what these
women do. And despite working 12-hour days in high heat and
humidity, they fell in love with El Salvador.
Dave said his parish in Longview has a sister parish in
El Salvador but he didn’t know where. When I spoke with Sister
Eleanor Gilmore, CSJP, who lives in San Salvador, she said, “Why,
that’s Fran’s parish!” When Sister Fran found out that Dave was
from her sister parish, she gave him the grand tour of Sector
Rutilio Grande.
From El Salvador, we went to Guatemala. We had a lot
of medicine and the bus driver refused to take it, saying we
wouldn’t be able to get it through customs. Enter the Chileans –
Sisters Monica and Maria Antoineta! They drove home, got their
passports and drove to Guatemala with the medicine. They were
stopped at the border but were permitted to type a letter saying
Emaciated bodies
are signs of the
malnutrition that
endangers the lives
of children.
the medicine was their gift to Guatemala. Then they were permitted through. We were all impressed with their ingenuity and their
willingness to help.
Chris Halter met us in Guatemala City and brought us to
Panajachel, which is near his home in Santa Catarina. We had
clinic in Santa Catarina each day and then moved on to Cocales,
where we served the medical needs of the squatters along the
railroad tracks. Then on to the “finca” (coffee plantation) where
we planned to meet Dr. Carlos Gonzales, who had received a pro
bono heart surgery from Providence Hospital in Seattle. Unfortunately, Dr. Gonzales died five days before our arrival. His wife,
Senora Flor Gonzales, had us come anyway.
The team saw more than 100 patients a day during the week we
were there. My part was organization and some translation. While
the experience was fruitful, we had too short a time in each area.
And while we had medicines for many things, what the people need
most is long-term care. Some people we saw never had been to a
doctor. In Guatemala, even if a Mayan Indian gets to a hospital,
the racial prejudice there is so strong that some doctors will not
treat them.
Our plan for the future is to continue to encourage physicians
to visit El Salvador and Guatemala to provide a greater continuity
of care. Dave is active in public speaking about his experiences
and Tony would like to go back some day.
For myself, I have contacted an eye clinic in Guatemala as a
place to send patients with cataracts. Some people we encountered are blind but could see if they had cataract surgery. The
sister running the clinic said she would accept those we send
when another team comes from the United States. ●
Catholic Partnership for
International Missions
•The religious community itself
has sent aid to St. Xenia’s Hospital in
St. Petersburg, Russia, and helped build a
church in Magadon, Russia. The community partnered with religious in Lithuania
and helped build a home for the aged and
a soup kitchen. The community also is
paying for a program in Lithuania to
update sisters theologically since their
years under communist Russia prevented
their knowledge of Vatican II and its
Sisters from both Lithuania and
Uganda have been welcomed at Mount St.
Vincent in Seattle for training in geriatric
nursing. While our outreach in Africa is
limited, we have funded projects in
Kenya, Uganda and Cameroon.
•Providence Associates also play a
part in this global outreach. Some
groups of associates contribute financially
to the missions. Others take a more
hands-on role, like Chris and Laura Halter
who live and work in Guatemala. Chris
has established two health clinics and
organized the women in Antigua who
do weaving to earn a living, thereby
compelling the city to provide water and
garbage disposal for them. Chris also
has been involved in a re-forestation
project and has built and furnished a
small technical school.
In El Salvador, Anibal and Transito
Castro are very active in social justice
causes. For example, Transito works with
at-risk youth. She is known internationally for this ministry and has been
invited to Germany and other countries
to share her expertise.
hese endeavors show what all
of us as a team can do. Each one
plays their small part, but the result
is a major contribution to building
a better, possibly more just global
society. In theological terms, we
are God’s caring providence to a
world in need. ●
Summary of 2002 Mission Contributions
(medical supplies)
El Salvador
Democratic Republic
of the Congo
West Indies
American Samoa
$ 23,008
$ 1,861
$ 79,668
$ 1,710
$ 1,160
$ 109,951
$ 2,973
$ 1,242
$ 1,490
$ 89,890
$ 1,432
$ 1,799
$ 2,564
$ 102,637
$ 3,834
$ 2,475
$ 84,915
Sister risks her freedom to
Maureen Newman, SP, (second from right) joins in
protest with other members of Peace Community and
friends (from left) Sue Boyle; Karin Dufault, SP;
Chauncey Boyle, SP; Miriam Spencer, CSJP; Kathleen
Jess; Mary Grondin, SP; Jeri Johnson, PA; Corky Muzzy,
CSJP; Teresa White, SP; and Kay Van Stralen. The
photograph was taken by Charlene Hudon, SP.
ister Maureen Newman decided to
lay her freedom on the line on November 17 at Fort Benning, Ga., in hopes
that the act of a 57-year-old Sister of
Providence from Seattle risking arrest
and a possible six-month jail sentence
would open some eyes.
After two nights in jail awaiting
arraignment and the spectre of
returning to Georgia for trial in
February, she still is convinced that
her decision was the right one.
She was compelled to risk her own
security to focus attention on the
attacks, rapes and murders of innocent
Editor’s note:
Maureen Newman, SP, was
sentenced on February 10 to serve
three months in a federal prison at a
location that was still to be determined at press time. In a note to
other Sisters of Providence after her
trial, she wrote: “I could not have
made it through this last two
months, and especially this week,
without your prayers. Because of
them, I have been at peace.”
people in Latin America by soldiers
trained in the School of the Americas.
“I believe every person in the
United States cares about human
rights,” Sister Maureen said in an
interview after her return to Seattle.
“If they knew how many human rights
violations were done with their tax
dollars, they would be appalled.”
Sister Maureen wants Americans to
understand that U.S. tax dollars fund
the training of military personnel who
commit violent terrorist acts in the
name of freedom. Though today the
Department of Defense’s school for
soldiers bears a new name, the
Western Hemisphere Institute for
Security Cooperation, its agenda and
practice are the same, she asserts.
Her decision to cross the line onto
the military base was not made
lightly, Sister Maureen explained. For
the past three years, she has been one
of thousands who traveled to Georgia
in the annual protest of the school to
remember the 1989 massacre of six
Jesuit priests and their housekeeper
and her daughter at the University of
Central America in San Salvador. This
year, even while preparing to participate she did not know for sure if she
would cross that line, so she did not
tell her family. Her sister and two
aunts back in Walla Walla, Wash.,
already were nervous about her
participation because of the way the
right of dissent is being challenged in
America today.
“Today in the U.S., it is very
difficult to have dissent,” Sister
Maureen explained. Another factor was
talking with religious sisters and
brothers from other countries about
their views of the United States and its
military stance. “People in the United
States don’t understand how some view
these actions.”
Sister Maureen said she had always
asked herself what if – what if she
crossed the line and risked arrest and
the possibility of a six-month prison
sentence for the misdemeanor offense
of trespassing. But in prior years, her
responsibility to return to the children,
as vice principal of St. Therese School
in Seattle, kept her from taking that
step. She felt an obligation to them
that she no longer has since she
is transitioning to a new education
“Probably what pushed me over the
edge was an experience two weeks
ago,” Sister Maureen related. At a
forum at Seattle University that was
sponsored by Catholic Relief Services,
two Colombians were speaking on
human rights violations supported by
U.S. government funds. “The same
human rights violations in Nicaragua
and El Salvador are escalating in
Colombia, where one archbishop, eight
priests, one woman religious and
thousands of indigenous people and
African Colombians have been killed,”
she said. The speakers described rapes,
kidnappings and executions.
“The eyes of the women who were
raped, who had seen their husbands
and children killed, were in my mind,”
Sister Maureen said, her voice welling
with emotion. The images and descriptions stayed with her, and on the
Thursday before leaving for Georgia,
Sister Maureen told
her provincial,
Sister Barbara
Schamber of Mother
Joseph Province,
that she might cross
the line.
By Saturday
night, on the eve of
the protest, she had
Sister Maureen Newman
made up her mind.
But first, she
wanted to make sure that the protest
was nonviolent and that there was no
destruction of property. Then,
satisfied with the integrity of the
statement the protest group was
making, she stepped through the hole
in the fence and onto the base
She and the other 90 protesters,
including nine women religious, were
arrested by young soldiers. Their arms
were bound behind their backs with
plastic handcuffs and they were told
to strip down to their lowest full layer
of clothing. Sister Maureen complied
and watched as the soldiers threw
away her SP Peace Community T-shirt
(probably because it said “Close the
School of the Americas” on the back),
and also her origami peace crane made
from a demonstration song sheet.
The protesters were fingerprinted
and photographed, and subjected
to a ‘pat-down’ search. Then,
wearing leg chains, they
were led to the county jail, where
Sister Maureen would spend the
next two nights awaiting her turn
to be arraigned.
The first night was the worst for
most because of the cold and only
having one thin blanket. Thirty to
forty protesters were housed in a
holding tank that was 10 cinder
blocks by 71/2 and had a bench that
would only seat 10.
“My 12 years working with women
inmates at the King County Jail had
prepared me somewhat for the
experience,” Sister Maureen said.
“Without that, I would have been
more frightened, but I had a better
idea of what to expect with incarceration.” That was not true of some of
the more fragile young people, who
were unsure of what to expect, had no
money to post a cash bail and worried
about getting to see a lawyer.
In court on Tuesday, the lawyer
talked to 20 protesters at the same
time for about 20 minutes before the
arraignment. Calling bail “necessary
in these times,” the judge set the
amount at $5,000, requiring the
payment of $500 cash for each
protester to be released until trial
January 27. This was the first time
protesters had not been released on
their own recognizance, without
having to pay bail.
Clearly, the stakes are being raised
by the authorities, making it harder
for the protesters to grab the world’s
attention. For 13 years, protesters
have gathered in Georgia, but the
media tends to view the annual
protests as business as usual, and
worthy of little if any news coverage.
That is despite the fact that these
have been some of the largest
demonstrations in the United States
since the civil rights movement until
the recent anti-war protests.
Today, it has to be something
sensational to get in the news,
Sister Maureen claimed. Perhaps
that something sensational at the
School of the Americas protest can
be the arrest of a Sister of Providence
from Seattle. ●
Seattle –
Ann Buchanan (sister
of Margaret Botch, SP),
New Providence
The new year began with a bumper crop
of Providence Associates, lay individuals
who share the mission and charism of the
Sisters of Providence. Today, there are
more than 1,000 Providence Associates
worldwide – about equal to the number
of Sisters of Providence.
Burbank – Debbie Learned, Judy
Umeck and Irene Mullen
Spokane – (Front row)
Betty Weber, Mary Butler,
Marilee Hedemark, Kate
Smith and Susan Keyes;
(back row), Crystal
Johnson, Karen Wormell,
Buck Rogers, Bob
Wormell, Blanche Hill
and Marty Bishop
Great Falls –
Dixie Hromcik,
Barbara Mechels
and Jeanette Day
Not pictured:
Portland –
Ramona Raffael,
Darlene Moore and
Suzanne Davis
General Council Visits
Regional Conference
Held in Spokane
n January, the provincial superiors
and councils of Holy Angels and Mother
Joseph provinces joined the Superior
General and the General Council for a
Western Regional Conference in Spokane.
In addition to visiting the Spokane
provincial administration office and
Mount St. Joseph/Emilie Court, some
General Council members stopped in
Seattle to tour that provincial office,
the archives and St. Joseph Residence.
The informal visits were a wonderful
opportunity to make face-to-face contact
with people heretofore known only by
mail, telephone and e-mail. ●
A group photo from the conference includes (standing from left)
Sr. Germaine Chalifoux, Holy Angels; Albert Beaudry, translator from
Montreal; Sr. Carla Montante, provincial, Holy Angels; Sr. Donna Burkhart,
Mother Joseph; Sr. Barbara Schamber, team leader/provincial, Mother Joseph
Province; Sr. Claudette Chenier, Secretary General/Councillor; Sr. Kathryn
Rutan, Superior General; Sr. Jacqueline Fernandes, Mother Joseph;
Sr. Margaret McGovern, Holy Angels; Sr. Mary Lei Gordon, Holy Angels;
and Rollande Malo, General Treasurer/Councillor. Also pictured are (seated
from left) Sr. Lynn Chappell, Mother Joseph; Sr. Yolande Gagnon, General
Councillor; Sr. Judith Desmarais, General Councillor; Sr. Maria-Inelia Munoz,
General Councillor; Sr. Roberta Rorke, Mother Joseph; Sr. Margaret Botch,
Mother Joseph; and Sr. Patricia Vartanian, Holy Angels.
Seattle entertainer
Beau Dobbs (right)
Sr. Maria-Inelia
Munoz, Sr. Donna
Burkhart and
Sr. Paula Cosko.
Superior General Kathryn
Rutan, SP, (second from
left) clarifies information
about Emilie Court to
Sr. Judith Desmarais,
Kathleen Schlicht, director
of Emilie Court, and
Sr. Maria-Inelia Munoz.
Mary Cosner (right), a longtime administrative
assistant in the Spokane office, greets Sr. Claudette
Chenier; Sr. Yolande Gagnon; Sr. Maria-Inelia
Munoz; and Sr. Judith Desmarais.
Loretta Greene (second from left), archivist for
Mother Joseph Province, shows photographs to
Sr. Yolande Gagnon, Sr. Judith Desmarais, and
Sr. Maria-Inelia Munoz.
Joan Silling (right), System Office operations director
at Providence Health System, makes a presentation to
Sr. Maria-Inelia Munoz, Sr. Claudette Chenier, Sr. Yolande
Gagnon and Sr. Judith Desmarais.
Sisters of Providence
thank our donors and benefactors
e deeply appreciate your kind and generous donations to the Sisters of Providence and the ministries
in El Salvador and the Philippines. We acknowledge the contributions that were received through the
Office of Development from January 1, 2002, through December 31, 2002. If you note any error in
these records, we apologize and ask you to please contact us at (509) 474-2311.
Mr. & Mrs. Jim Becker
Bouten Construction
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Bouten
Mr. William Bouten, PA
Dr. & Mrs. William Dittman, Sr.
Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Ficco
Mr. & Mrs. James Flaherty
Dr. E. K. George
Mr. Alfred Herrera
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Kudrna
Mrs. Betty Leadon, PA
Mrs. Rose Mary Lonczak
Ms. Henrietta Manipis, PA
Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Martin
Mr. & Mrs. Richard O’Neill
Ms. Lily D. Pasaporte
Pathology Assoc. Med. Lab.
Sacred Heart Medical Center
Ms. Alice Sandstrom
St. Cecilia Catholic Church
St. Luke the Evangelist Church
Mr. & Mrs. Donald Barford
Ms. Marjorie Batey
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Bennett
Mrs. Mary Butler, PA
Ms. Marie Cansino-Lim
Ms. Irene Castro
Rev. William Cawley
Ms. Marie M. Chapman
Mrs. Edward Chvatal
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Collins
Colvico, Inc.
Mr. John Corey
Ms. Virginia Cory, PA
Drs. Arthur & Joan Craig
Dr. & Mrs. Michael Cunningham
Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Day
Dr. & Mrs Armand DeFelice
Mr. & Mrs. Herman Desautels
Mr. Norbert Donahue
Rev. John Doogan
Ms. Patricia Dunne
Emilie House
Mr. & Mrs. William Evans
Mr. & Mrs. Patrick Farris
Dr. David Fellin
Ms. Virginia M. Flatter
Mrs. Leo Flesch
Dr. Jodi W. Funk
Mr. & Mrs. Stacy Gales
Mr. & Mrs. Tom George
Mr. & Mrs. Don Giovanazzi
Mr. & Mrs. G. W. Glueckert
Ms. Kathleen Guloy
Ms. Lois Hagen, PA
Ms. Aurore Hamel
Ms. Betty Harrington, PA
Mrs. Cheryl Zeigler Helmbrecht
Ms. Mary Lou Hennessey, PA
Mr. Charles Hofer
Dr. & Mrs. Won Hong
Maj. Gen. & Mrs. H. E. Humfeld
Mr. & Mrs. John Isely
Mrs. Stella Janosov, PA
Ms. Loraine Jensen
Dr. & Mrs. Kennard Kapstafer
Mr. & Mrs. Harry Keith
Mrs. Catherine Kelly
Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Korslund
Mr. & Mrs. Randy Larson
Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Layne
Latah Creek Wine Cellars
Mrs. Cecelia E. Lentz
Mr. & Mrs. Ken Lind
Mr. & Mrs. James Linehan
Mr. William Longpre
Mr. & Mrs. Harry Magnuson
Fr. Stanley Malnar, PA
Mr. Scott Manning, PA
$500 - $999
Mr. & Mrs. Dennis Anderson
Dr. & Mrs. Johnny Cox
Mr. Gerardo Duran
Dr. Maria Flores
Ms. Avelita Formeloza, PA
Mrs. Eunice Glass, PA
Gordon Construction
Mr. & Mrs. Walter Groce
Ms. Lois Hagen, PA
Ms. Audrey McGary
Moloney, O’Neill, Corkery & Jones
Ms. Gerri O’Brien
Mr. & Mrs. James Peplinski
Providence Services
Ms. Roberta Sample, PA
Ms. JoEllen Shannon
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Sletten
Sletten Construction Company
St. Mary Medical Center
St. Rose Catholic Church
Mr. Eric Stacey
Ms. Rose A. Voth
Washington Trust Bank –
Private Banking Group
Rev. J. Severyn Westbrook
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Wildenhaus
Mr. Paul Zimmer
Mr. R. E. Zuelke
Mr. & Mrs. Martin Marler
Mr. & Mrs. Emmett Marx
Ms. Mary B. Maxwell
Ms. Maryanne Veith McCartin
Dr. Rosemarie McCartin
Mrs. Marion E. McCarty
Ms. Eleanor McElwee, PA
Dr. Dee McGonigle
Ms. Maria McKiernan
Mrs. Rose Meersman
Dr. & Mrs. Jacob Meighan
Mr. & Mrs. Chris Melone
Mr. & Mrs. Joe Mertens
Ms. Elizabeth Monti
Mr. Gerald B. Moran
Mr. & Mrs. Gene Moriarty
Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Munson
Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Murphy
Mr. & Mrs. Smithmoore Myers
Mr. David Nocchi
Ms. Eileen Norris, PA
Mr. & Mrs. Craig Nowak
Mrs. Florence O’Donnell
Mr. & Mrs Jorge Olguin
Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Panesko
Mrs. Elizabeth Pariseault
Peterson Investment Mgmt.
Ms. Patricia Radle
Mrs. Marie Raschko
Mr. Frank Rotondo
Mr. & Mrs. Lowell Ruen
Dr. & Mrs. Robert Ruggeri
Mr. & Mrs. Robert E. Sayko
Ms. Colleen Seed, PA
Ms. Cherie Shisler
Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
Mr. & Mrs. Roger Smith
Mr. & Mrs. John Spartz
St. Joseph’s Hospital - Chewelah
Mr. Alfred Stein
Mr. & Mrs. Olaf Stimac, Sr.
Mr. Robert Sullivan
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Szymanski
Mr. & Mrs. George Telfer
Mr. Thomas B. Tilford
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Umbdenstock
Mr. & Mrs. Vernon Waldenberg
Washington Trust Bank –
Corporate Giving Program
Ms. Pat Weinheimer, PA
Frederic Wessinger, Jr. Trust
Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence White
Ms. Mary Ann Wilharm, PA
Ms. Dorothy Williams
Mrs. Donna Wilson
Yakima Diocesan Council of
Catholic Women
Sisters of Providence thank our donors and benefactors ●
$1 - $99
Ms. Lola Abraham
Mr. & Mrs. Jessee Abrajano
Ms. Myra Adlington
Mrs. Carol Allen
Ms. Mae Ann Asimus
Mrs. Barbara Baca
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Baffney
Ms. Genevieve Bailey
Ms. Mary Barrett
Ms. P. Leighann Barrie
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Before
Ms. Marietta Bishop
Ms. Mary Anne Boyle
Ms. Vera Brauer
Ms. Shirley Brown
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Brunelle
Ms. Laurine Campbell
Ms. Karen Carl
Mr. & Mrs. Dale Carlsen
Mr. & Mrs. Norm Carpenter
Mrs. Phyllis Carpenter
Dr. & Mrs. Charles Cavanaugh
Ms. Helen Champoux
Mr. & Mrs. Roger Champoux
Ms. Evelyn Cochran
Mr. & Mrs. Donald Conley
Mr. William Conley
Mr. & Mrs. George Cooper
C.O.P.S. Northeast
Mrs. Mary Cosner
Mr. & Mrs. Edmund Cummings
Ms. Patricia Cureg
Mrs. Lucille Curran
Ms. Beverly Deckelmann
Mrs. Theresa DeFranco
Mr. Ian DelaRosa
Ms. Val DelaRosa
Ms. Jeanne Desmarais
Ms. Donna Dieckman
Ms. Phyllis Dunton
Ms. Antoinette G. Everett
Mr. & Mrs. Ray Everett
Ms. Grace Fellows
Mr. & Mrs. Monte Ferguson
Mr. & Mrs. Norman Flerchinger
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Foley
Mr. Dan Fortensky
Mr. Dave Gales
Mrs. Susan Garnsey
Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Garr
Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Gasperino
Ms. Georgette Gence
Ms. Dulice Gerow
Ms. Louise Gibson
Dr. & Mrs. Michael Gillespie
Mr. & Mrs. Bill Ginder
Ms. Loretta Ginder
Mr. & Mrs. David Goicoechea
January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2002
Ms. Louise Graffenberger
Ms. Marie Green
Ms. Alexis Greshom, PA
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Gretch
Ms. Delma Grubich
Ms. Kay Chapman Hall
Mr. & Mrs. Donald Hart
Mr. & Mrs. John Hayes
Mrs. Jane Veres Herr
Mr. & Mrs. Paul Jaremko
Ms. Evelyn Jenda, PA
Mr. Michael Johnson
Mr. & Mrs. Ken Kannegaard
Ms. Barbara Kenney
Ms. Carol Kilduff
Ms. Agnes E. King-Babe
Mr. Robert Korslund
Ms. Mary Doherty Kowalsky, PA
Mrs. Dolores LaCoursiere
Ms. Mary Larpenteur
Ms. Theresa Laurent
Mr. & Mrs. Dale Lavigne
Ms. Eunice Lindekugel
Ms. Lily M. Lockwood
Ms. Judith Lynn-perez
Mr. Jack Marceau
Ms. Nita Marceau
Mr. & Mrs. John Maricelli
Mr. & Mrs. John McCarthy
Mr. Charles McCormick
Ms. Jacqui McCue
Ms. Jan Merklin
Mrs. Peggy Miller
Mrs. Catherine Mitchell
Ms. Mary Moore
Mount St. Joseph
Mrs. Virginia L. Murphy, PA
Ms. Catherine Nemmert
Mr. & Mrs. Michael Nestor
Ms. Bonita Nistler
Ms. Anita-Narcisa Norcross
Ms. Eileen M. Norris, PA
Rev. Msgr. Francis M. Osborne
Dr. & Mrs. Robert Parker
Mrs. Patricia Parrish
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Parshall
Mr. & Mrs. David Petty
Ms. Dorothy Pillow
Mr. & Mrs. Donald W. Prentice
Ms. Ramona Raffaell, PA
Mrs. Wendy Ramsey
Mrs. M. Bernice Reilly
Ms. Mary Jane Resch
Ms. Connie Roberg
Ms. Olive Rodgers
Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Rogers, PA
Mr. & Mrs. Frank Rose
Mr. & Mrs. Larry Roseman
Ms. Susan A. Ross
Mr. & Mrs. Anthony Rossi
Ms. M. Helen Rydell
Dr. Robert P. Sagerson
Ms. Marilee A. Schiff
Mrs. Margaret Schmitt
Ms. Dani R. Schroader
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Schroeder
Ms. Bonita Scott
Mr. & Mrs. William Shreeve
Mrs. Jean Simard
Mr. & Mrs. Michael Skinner
Ms. Dorothy Spangelo
Mrs. Pam Spino, PA
Mr. & Mrs. Patrick Sprute
St. Thomas Child & Family Center
Mr. Delbert Steele
Mr. & Mrs. Hubert Stein
Mr. Robert J. Strupp
Mr. & Mrs. F. L. Swenson
Ms. Julia Taylor
Mr. Anthony Teske
Ms. Vi A. Toering
Mr. & Mrs. John Traynor
Mr. & Mrs. J. R. Trotter
Ms. Joyce D. Vornbrock
Mrs. Betty Walters
Mr. Victor Weible
Mrs. Marcella Wenala
Mr. & Mrs. Patrick West
Mr. & Mrs. James Wittrell
Mrs. Phyllis Weber Wright
Ms. Esther Prieto-Ybarra, PA
Ms. Lucille Zanetti
Sister Mary Clare Boland
Sister Claire Bouffard
Sister Dorothy Byrne
Sister Mary K. Cummings
Sister Judith Desmarais
Sister Louisa Hageman
Sister Chloe Keitges
Sister Clare Lentz
Sister Rose Lulay
Sister Loretta Marie Marceau
Sister Alexis Melancon
Sister Mary Kaye Nealen
Sister Susan Orlowski
Sister Therese Plourde
Sister Carmen Proulx
Sister Alice St. Hilaire
Sisters of Providence –
227 E. 9th, Spokane
Sisters of Providence - Walla Walla
We are grateful for thoughtful
donations received through the
Development Office in memory of
deceased friends or loved ones.
In memory of Sr. Mary Berghoff
Mrs. Dolores Lacoursiere
In memory of Sr. Bernadette
Botch & Mrs. Botch
Ms. Betty Harrington
In memory of Sr. Mildred
Marie Brenner
Mr. David Gales
In memory of the Brenner
Mr. & Mrs. Norman Flerchinger
In memory of Mary Charette
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Foley
Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Panesko
In memory of Edward Chvatal
Mrs. Edward Chvatal
In memory of Sr. Honora Collins
Mr. & Mrs. Roger Smith
In memory of Jim Collins
Ms. Karen Carl
In memory of Harriet Demarais
Ms. Genevieve Bailey
Ms. Helen Champoux
Mr. & Mrs. Roger Champoux
Ms. Jeanne Desmarais
Sr. Judith Desmarais
Ms. Marie Green
Mr. Michael Johnson
Ms. Theresa Laurent
Mrs. Patricia Parrish
Mrs. Margaret Schmitt
Mrs. Jean Simard
In memory of his daughter
Mr. Norbert Donahue
In memory of Sr. Vincenza
Ms. Patricia Dunne
In memory of Emily Ehlinger
Mr. & Mrs. Smithmoore Myers
In memory of Sr. Eileen
Mary Flood
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Before
Mr. & Mrs. Donald Conley
Ms. Virginia Flatter
Ms. Olive Rodgers
In memory of Sr. Francine,
Bea Orchard & Bonnie Silhany
Mrs. Lucille Curran
In memory of Sr. Louis Gaetan
& Sr. Rosalie Dionne
Georgette Gence
In memory of Sr. Bernadine
Mr. & Mrs. Bill Ginder
Ms. Loretta Ginder
Mrs. Catherine Mitchell
In memory of Vi, John,
Jeannene Jones & Elsie Marx
Mr. & Mrs. Emmett Marx
In memory of Ann Korkowski
Ms. Mary Barrett
In memory of June Kroupa
Ms. Lucille Zanetti
In memory of Mrs. Agnes
Ms. Marie M. Chapman
In memory of Sr. Anne
Marcelle LeMay
Ms. Agnes King-Babe
C.O.P.S. Northeast
Ms. Mary Ann Wilharm
In memory of Sr. Ignatia
Marie Lindekugel
Rev. John Doogan
Ms. Mary Larpenteur
Ms. Eunice Lindekugel
Dr. Rosemarie McCartin
Ms. Maryanne Veith McCartin
Frederic Wessinger, Jr. Trust
In memory of Walter Lonczak
& deceased Sisters who knew
Rose Mary
Mrs. Rose Lonczak
In memory of Sr. Francis
Ignatius MacDowell
Mr. William Conley
Ms. Louise Gibson
In memory of Maryville Sisters
Mr. & Mrs. Edmund Cummings
Mr. & Mrs. Chris Melone
Mr. & Mrs. John Spartz
In memory of Jack McCarty
Mrs. Marion E. McCarty
In memory of Dr. James
Dr. Michael & Susan Gillespie
In memory of Jack Meersman
Mrs. Rose Meersman
In memory of Jean & Kenneth
Mr. & Mrs. George Cooper
In memory of Sr. Julian Moran
Mrs. Mary Cosner
Mrs. Theresa DeFranco
Mr. Gerald B. Moran
Mr. David Nocchi
In memory of her mother
Ms. Mary Moore
In memory of Dr. Frank Morton
Dr. & Mrs. Robert Parker
In memory of Sr. Rita Mudd
Mr. & Mrs. James Linehan
Mr. & Mrs. Dan Mitchel
Mr. & Mrs. William Shreeve
Mr. & Mrs. Paul Wilson
In memory of Sr. Flavia Nadon
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Collins
In memory of Ralph
& Gary Nistler
Mrs. Bonita Nistler
In memory of Sr. Alberic Marie
Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Layne
In memory of Martin Pariseault
& Mother Joseph
Mrs. Elizabeth Pariseault
In memory of Agnes Parker
Ms. Cherie Shisler
In memory of Helen Peplinski
Mr. & Mrs. James Peplinski
In memory of Laurel
Phetteplace & David Anderson
Mr. & Mrs. Paul Jaremko
In memory of Sr. Rose
Dolores Reisenauer
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Parshall
In memory of Helen Rutan
& Joe Rutan
Mr. & Mrs. Michael Skinner
In memory of Roy Rydell
Ms. Grace Fellows
In memory of Hildegarde
Ms. Elizabeth J. Monti
In memory of deceased
Sisters of Providence
Ms. Lola D. Abraham
Ms. Evelyn Cochran
In memory of Albert Steele
Mr. Delbert Steele
In memory of Kathleen Stein
Mr. Alfred Stein
In memory of Mary K. Stone
Ms. Joyce D. Vornbrock
In memory of Stan Toering
Ms. Vi Toering
In memory of Marie Weible
Mr. Victor Weible
In memory of Ann Wiltse
Ms. Jacqui McCue
University of Great Falls
10 ●
hen most people think of the Sisters of Providence,
they think of health care. And, in fact, the religious congregation did found what has become one of the largest health
systems in the nation. But it also founded a private, Catholic
liberal arts university in Great Falls, Mont., that is celebrating
its 70th year in higher education.
“The benefit of the College is obvious,” an entry in The
Little Journal of Providence said in 1933. “It is from the
beginning God’s work. The Community did not seek it. The
Lord by ways and means most unexpected made possible its
The institution began its life in 1932 as a college for
women – a collaboration between the Sisters of Providence,
the Ursuline Sisters, the Catholic Bishop of Great Falls and the
civic community. Originally called Great Falls Junior College
for Women, it was located in the Ursuline Academy on Central
Avenue in Great Falls. A year later, Great Falls Normal School
was established and combined with the junior college to
provide teacher training. Fourteen women enrolled in its first
year, and three years later registration for both the junior
college and the normal school was 105 women. In 1937, the
first male student enrolled and a year later there were 19 men
in attendance.
The two schools were really separate, each operating under
a different Catholic religious community, but in 1942 Great
Falls Junior College for Women was discontinued. Meanwhile,
Great Falls
College had
become Great
Falls College
of Education.
By the
early 1950s it
became simply
the College of
Great Falls,
under the
direction of
the Sisters of
Classes were
This photo shows three of the nine large, 7-foot-high
held in the
stained glass windows in the chapel’s choir loft that
depict Christ and the 12 apostles.
old Columbus
bringing the Junior College, the Normal College and Columbus
School of Nursing together as the College of Great Falls.
In 1944, land was purchased south of the city which
became the site of the 11-building campus in 1960. That
same year, Sister Rita Mudd became the campus president.
The site included living quarters for priests and a convent
for the sisters.
In 1995, the College of Great Falls became the University
of Great Falls.
Today, the University of Great Falls has an enrollment of
821 full- and part-time students and offers associate,
This mosaic by
Sr. Mary Trinitas
graces a spot to
the right of the
altar at Trinitas
Chapel on the
campus of the
University of
Great Falls.
bachelor’s and master’s
degrees. It also has a new
president, Dr. Eugene
McAllister, a former Jacksonville University vice president
who held business and economics posts in the administrations
of both former Presidents George Bush Sr. and Ronald Reagan.
McAllister replaces former UGF President Fred Gilliard, who
retired in May 2001, and interim president Michael Easton.
McAllister, a native of the Bronx, N.Y., holds economics
degrees including a bachelor’s from Loyola University in Los
Angeles, a master’s from the University of California at Davis,
and a doctorate from Catholic University of America in
Washington, D.C.
The University of Great Falls offers courses onsite and
through distance learning. In fact, the university has been
involved in outreach education since its beginning. The
Telecom distance learning program, utilizing video and webbased communications, reaches across the United States and
Canada. Transfer agreements have been established with
numerous tribal and community colleges around Montana and
its neighboring states and provinces.
The University of Great Falls has not strayed from its
original focus: “providing students an education for living and
making a living with character, competence and commitment.”
And the sisters remain involved. Mary Kaye Nealen, SP,
currently serves as provost and vice president for academic
affairs. Margaret Beaulieu, SP, a graduate of the college, holds
the status of professor emeritus.
The UGF campus continues to be a community landmark.
Its spiritual centerpiece is the Trinitas Chapel, an exquisite
sanctuary that features the inspired religious artworks of
Sister Mary Trinitas Morin, SP, campus art professor for 32
years. Although she died in 1965, she lives on in the stained
glass windows, carvings, mosaics and murals that adorn the
chapel and its Galerie Trinitas. Preservation of the art of
Sister Trinitas and the promotion of appreciation for religious
art are the missions of the community arts center and
museum, which opened in 1994.
A stroll down the corridor leading to the Galerie must be
made slowly. The detail of the stained glass and metal panels
depicting Mary, Mother of Sorrows, on one side, is moving.
On the other side, the wood and metal mural portraying the
history of the Sisters of Providence in the Northwest is
inspiring. The works of Sister Mary Trinitas can be seen
elsewhere on campus, including in the student center and
the library.
A host of annual campus events offer great opportunities
to visit the University of Great Falls. Those events include
Founder’s Day (Sept. 8); Mass of the Holy Spirit (September);
Homecoming (this year, in January); Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Celebration (January); Holy Week & Easter Observance; the
pow-wow in Celebration of Sobriety & Diversity (March); and
the Baccalaureate & Commencement (December and May).
For more information, check out the university’s website at
www.ugf.edu, or call the university’s public information office
at (406) 791-5290. ●
Attendees at the dedication ceremony for the Sucrerie Henri clinic
gather in the yard of the dispensary in this view looking towards the
old church and school.
Father Daniel Lucien, pastor of St.
Anne’s, is joined for the ribbon-cutting
ceremony by Sr. Marie-Claire Soucy;
Sr. Claire Houde, provincial of Emilie
Province; and Sr. Barbara Schamber,
team leader/provincial of Mother
Joseph Province.
Sisters of Providence
● 11
celebrate 25 years in Haiti
Bless renovated clinic where Sr. Marie-Claire Soucy ministers to the poor
ast October, a weeklong celebration in Port au Prince commemorated the 25th anniversary of
the ministry of the Sisters of Providence in Haiti. Emilie Province sponsors the Haitian ministry,
where Sister Marie-Claire Soucy of Mother Joseph Province has been serving for most of the last 24
years. Sister Claire Houde, provincial superior of Emilie Province, invited sisters from Mother Joseph
Province to join in the anniversary celebration. Sister Barbara Schamber, team leader/provincial,
and Sister JoAnn Showalter, candidate director, were very pleased to represent Mother Joseph
Province at the celebration.
Sr. Marie-Claire Soucy (left)
and Sr. Claire Houde cut the
ribbon to open the newly
dedicated dispensary.
The week was an eventful one.
Father Daniel Lucien blessed the clinic
addition at Sucrerie Henri, which now
includes an apartment for a doctor on
the top level. People from local villages
turned out for the blessing ceremony
and the rest of the week’s events, which
included the entrance of Icelda Feliz to
the pre-novitiate, and the acceptance of
eight new Providence Associates.
Haiti is a country that is flavored by
Amerindian, Spanish, African, French
and Anglo-Saxon influences. The official
language is Creole, but some of its
people speak French, English and/or
Spanish, which is the language of the
neighboring Dominican Republic. There
is a marked contrast between the haves
and have-nots in Haiti, with 10 percent
of the population said to control all of
the country’s wealth. While the
Haitian people lack in material goods,
they are rich in spiritual things, the
sisters serving in ministry there have
observed over the years. ➺ ➺
While the Haitian people
and their
teacher sing
in praise.
lack in material goods,
they are rich in spiritual
things, the sisters serving
in ministry there have
observed over the years.
Sisters of Providence
celebrate 25 years
in Haiti...
12 ●
ive Sisters of Providence from three
provinces are in ministry in Haiti today.
The sisters from Emilie Province are Diane
Sarrasin, superior; Ghislaine Landry,
postulant director; and Jeanne Longpre.
Sister Herna Astorga, at the Come and
See House, is from Bernarda Morin
province in Chile. Mother Joseph
Province’s Sister Marie-Claire Soucy acts
as “nurse/doctor” in the clinic at Sucrerie
Henri. “I belong to two provinces –
Mother Joseph and Emilie,” Sister MarieClaire says.
She seems born to be a missionary in
foreign countries, serving others while
adapting to their cultures and languages.
It is a call you either have or you do not,
she acknowledges.
Her years in ministry have taken her
to Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon
and now Haiti, where she has been for
most of the last 24 years. “I wanted to
work with the sick; I was a fish out of
water in the education department,”
she says.
“The Sisters of Providence should go
to places where nobody wants to go,”
Sister Marie-Claire says. On a typical day,
she is up at 5 to pray in the little chapel,
listen to the news on radio, have breakfast and go to the clinic at 7:30 for its
opening at 8 a.m. On a heavy day, she is
back after 3 or 4 p.m. for lunch, a nap
and a beverage, then it’s back to the
clinic for consultations, planning,
pharmacy chores, and accounting. Once a
month she makes home visits, and she is
on call in emergencies. Sister MarieClaire can perform minor surgery, but for
bigger things patients must be driven a
half-hour away to the hospital. When
night falls, it’s time for a light meal, to
answer the needs of people who come to
the house, and then get to bed early to
rest for the next day.
Life alone can bring isolation, so
Sister Marie-Claire welcomes the opportunity three times a week to use the ham
radio to communicate with the sisters in
Port au Prince. She spends her free time
reading, listening to music and, on the
weekends, “putting on a video and
imagining I’m at the movies.”
The life is by no means easy. Solar
energy and a small generator power the
house and clinic, but she can be without
running water for months when the small
spring that supplies the water system has
to be renewed. Then, water has to be
brought in from 10 minutes away by car,
and purified against typhoid and malaria.
On any trip away from Les Cayes, even to
Port au Prince, the first order of business
is to get a shower, she explains.
till, she loves this ministry and
these people. “Haiti is really special,”
she asserts. But it is, she allows,
extremely challenging with its intense
poverty, unemployment, illiteracy,
malnourishment and disease. “If you
don’t have faith, you wonder …” ●
Please Remember in Prayer
Lee Deslauriers, brother of
Sister Lillian Deslauriers, SP, died
November 15 in Lauderdale, Fla.
Bob McGuire, brother of Sister Mary
Catherine McGuire, SP, died January 13
in Everett.
Mary Jane Reilly, sister of
Sister Anna Marie Koval, SP, died
November 16 in Redondo Beach,
Guillermo Pagulayan, brotherin-law of Sister Blanca Sagles, SP,
died December 2, in Toronto,
Audrey (Betty) Allen, sister of
Sister Mary Audrey McCoy, SP, died
January 15 in Seattle.
Cyprien Begin, brother of
Sister Simmone Begin, SP, died
December 11 in Montreal.
Alice Wiseman, sister of Sisters
Annette and Jeannette Parent, SP,
died December 15 in Baker, Mont.
Lea Landrey, sister of Sister
Georgette Jean, SP, died January 2
in Montreal.
Gail Sorensen, sister-in-law of
Jim and Dorene Plampin, PA, died
January 2 in Longview.
Lorette Masse, sister of Sister Lillian
Deslauriers, SP, died January 23 in
South Hero, Vt.
Germaine Glassy-Rawlings, sister of
Marilyn Wittenmyer, PA, died January 23
in Puyallup.
Willard A. Smith, brother of Sister
Shirley Smith, SP, died January 27 in
Oahu, Hawaii.
Eileen Hodgson, mother of Carol
Neupert, PA, died January 30 in Federal
Zelma Lulay, sister-in-law of Sister
Rose Lulay, SP, died February 10 in
Vancouver, Wash.
Andre Maynard, brother of Helene
Maynard, SP, died February 17 in
g g g
Rest in
Mary Stephen
O’Brien died December 19 at
St. Joseph Residence in Seattle.
At the age of 91, she had been
a Sister of Providence for
66 years.
From childhood, Sister Mary
Stephen knew that she wanted to
become a nurse. “My childhood
games were those of playing
nurse,” she recalled. “My dolls –
and often the neighborhood
children – were my patients.
Whenever I visited hospitals,
I thought the sight of people
serving others was lovely.”
One of six children of William
O’Brien and Ida Miller, she was
born Florence Margaret O’Brien
on March 18, 1911, in Rugby,
N.D. She had two sisters who
died in infancy and three
brothers. She had no surviving
siblings at the time of her death.
Florence remembered the
pleasures of her childhood,
particularly visits to her
grandparents’ farm. “We took
long walks in the beautiful
woods and along country roads. I
remember picking strawberries,
choke cherries, blackberries, wild
currants and hazelnuts; then we
would prepare these into jellies,
jam and preserves. There were
hours spent swimming in a
nearby river and taking fishing
trips in boats.” Alongside the
pleasures of country life, there
was the hard work that came
with each season on the farm.
The habits of caring and cheerful
hard work she learned as a child
remained with her throughout
her years of nursing and
pastoral care.
When Florence graduated
from high school in 1930, she
eagerly anticipated the opportunity to realize her dream of
becoming a nurse. She made the
decision to go west because she
had an aunt in Portland who
lived near St. Vincent Hospital,
which had a school of nursing.
The nursing school regimen
included long hours at the
hospital, assisting nurses in the
days of 12-hour shifts and oneon-one patient care. “We almost
had to sneak out the back door if
we wanted some rest,” she
recalled, laughing at the memory
of the time she and others did
just that.
“After my graduation I did
special duty nursing. In those
years there were no coronary care
units, intensive care units or
recovery rooms. During my
training years and during this
time of nursing, I was deeply
impressed with the sisters and
with their thoughtfulness to the
medical personnel and to the
aged and poor patients.”
Florence entered the Sisters
of Providence in Seattle in 1936.
She professed first vows in 1938
and final vows in 1941. She took
as her religious name Mary
Stephen because of her first
nursing experience after
graduation. On the feast of St.
Stephen, King of Hungary, she
was called to begin a difficult
case of special duty nursing. “I
told St. Stephen, ‘If you help me
with this case, I’ll do something
for you someday,” she said. Years
later she remembered, and kept,
her promise.
Her first assignment was to
St. Vincent Hospital. In 1943 she
spent a year at St. Peter Hospital
in Olympia before beginning
eleven years of nursing in
Anchorage and Fairbanks. “The
years in Alaska are among the
most memorable,” she recalled.
Confronted with a shortage of
doctors and nurses due to the
war, Sister Mary Stephen and
other hospital personnel learned
to adapt to difficult situations
with the frontier spirit of makedo and can-do.
After she left Alaska, she
worked at St. Joseph Hospital
in Vancouver, at St. Vincent
Hospital again, and Sacred Heart
Hospital in Medford, usually in a
supervisory role in the surgical
and maternity departments.
Throughout her years of
nursing she frequently was
assigned to night shifts. “I never
did become accustomed to
sleeping in the day. It was a
cross to bear. Yet the hours on
night shift gave me time to grow
spiritually. At night there were
not so many distractions and
interruptions to prayer life. Also,
if a patient were suffering, night
shift gave me the opportunity to
get close to him or her. Often,
when I thought I had done the
least is when I had done the
most. God worked through me.”
In the mid 1960s, Sister Mary
Stephen began a second career
in pastoral care after completing
Clinical Pastoral Education at
Providence Hospital in Portland.
She served in the pastoral care
departments of Providence
hospitals in Seattle and Everett
and at Mount St. Vincent in
Sister Mary Stephen retired
to St. Joseph Residence in 1986.
Her hobbies included knitting,
crocheting, playing cards,
reading and listening to classical
music. “In my retirement years I
can still live out my commitment
to God by using the more
available time for praying with
and for others. During my
religious life I have tried to be a
true daughter of Mother Gamelin
and of the Church,” she said.
Her favorite Scripture was
Romans 8:28: “We know that in
everything God works for good
with those who love Him,
who are called according to
His purpose.”
Sister Mary Stephen felt
blessed by God to have been
called to the Sisters of Providence. She was always involved
in the life and ministry of
the community. ●
Doyon, 93,
December 11 at Mount St.
Joseph in Spokane. She had
been a Sister of Providence for
72 years. With a spirit of
strength and pioneering
determination, Sister Sedonia
was an excellent nurse, nursing
instructor and administrator.
The sixth of 13 children,
Sedonia was born July 28, 1909,
in St. Camille, Quebec, to Louis
Cerenus and Rose-Aimee
Turcotte. As a small child, she
moved with her family to Scobey,
Mont. Her father saw within
Sedonia great academic potential
and sent her to St. Thomas
School in Great Falls, where she
was taught by the Sisters of
Providence. She then attended
high school in Missoula at Sacred
Heart Academy, graduating in
1928. Sedonia liked and excelled
in school, but her educational
pursuits meant a childhood spent
away from her parents and
twelve brothers and sisters.
“I became independent at a very
young age,” she later said.
Sister Sedonia became a
postulant in the Sisters of
Providence in 1929 and entered
the novitiate at Mount St.
Vincent in Seattle in 1930. She
made first vows in 1931 and
received Sister Providence as her
name in religion. She professed
final vows in 1934.
Sister Sedonia wanted to
become a teacher and attended
Seattle University to major in
education. But after her second
year of religious profession, she
was asked to go into the nursing
field. She was sent to St. Paul’s
Hospital, Vancouver, B.C., where
she completed the RN requirements at the School of Nursing in
1936. She earned a BSN from
Seattle University in 1940 and a
MSN in nursing education from
Catholic University of America,
Washington, D.C., in 1955.
Although Sister Sedonia
ministered in the health care
field her entire religious life,
she was able to fulfill her
original dream of teaching. Her
first assignment was instructor
and director at St. Paul School
of Nursing, Vancouver, B.C.,
from 1940 until 1942. “I didn’t
know beans about teaching
nurses when I first started,” she
said, “but I grew to enjoy it
very, very much.” A deep
commitment to excellence, with
high expectations of herself,
her students and her employees,
took root early in her life. “I am
from a large family,” she said.
“We all worked hard. That’s just
the way it was.”
After the United States
entered World War II, Sister
Sedonia was transferred to
Columbus Hospital School of
Nursing in Great Falls, where she
served from 1942 to 1953. She
later returned there for a year in
1959. Her other nursing
ministries included: St. Patrick
Hospital, Missoula, 1955-56,
1965-66; Providence Hospital,
Oakland, 1957-59; Holy Family
Hospital, St. Ignatius, Mont.,
1960-64; Sacred Heart Medical
Center, Spokane, 1964-65; and
St. Clare Hospital, Ft. Benton,
Mont., 1965. Sister Sedonia next
served as director of the Student
Health Clinic at Gonzaga
University from 1966 through
1977. She lived with her
mother in a house very close
to Gonzaga. ➺ ➺
● 13
Rest in
Sister Sedonia’s next ministry
was being in charge of the
Infirmary at Mount St. Joseph in
Spokane from 1978 to 1981. At
the end of her career, she said
her nursing ministry was a
treasured part of her religious
life. She retired at Mount St.
Joseph in 1981. She was a quiet
presence there during her
retirement years. She enjoyed
many hobbies and crafts, music,
playing cards, sewing, reading
and making toys to give away.
Sister Sedonia was also very
close to her family and was
important to her sisters, nieces
and nephews. Surviving
immediate family members
include a sister, Jeannette Suchy
of Cherry Valley, Calif., and a
brother, Maurice Doyon of
Reedsport, Ore. ●
14 ●
Reda Perrault
died February
1 at St. Joseph Residence,
Seattle, at the age of 86. She
had been a Sister of Providence
for 68 years.
The seventh of fifteen
children, Ethelreda (Reda) was
born into a large French
Canadian farmer family on April
21, 1916, in Moxee City, Wash.,
child of Alberic Perrault and
Salome Regimbal. Two of the
first six children died in infancy.
Reda said, “We were fortunate to
be raised on a farm where we
had plenty to keep us busy as
well as nourish us during the
difficult Depression years.”
Reda began first grade at
Holy Rosary School in Moxee,
spending the next 12 years
gleaning a Catholic education
from the Sisters of Providence.
Side by side with the education
received in school was the more
influential Christian training
given by thrifty and loving
parents in a well-organized
Catholic home.
Sunday mornings found the
family car packed for the short
trip to early Mass. This day was
really set aside as “Sabbath” –
a day of rest from work on the
farm. During Lent the entire
family usually gathered in the
evening to pray with the rosary.
During Lent, May and October
the family attended daily Mass.
Since both parents enjoyed
outings in the mountains,
Sundays after Mass often found
the Perrault family picnicking,
camping and hiking in the
American River and Bumping
Lake areas in the Cascade
Mountains. Because the family
was so large, some younger and
older children were left home on
each trip, knowing it would be
their turn the next time. Thus,
little lessons in self-denial were
instilled early into the members
of so large a family. All her life,
Reda continued to enjoy the
outdoors. With a twinkle in her
eye, she declared, “I know that I
am one-sixteenth Indian – way
back several generations – and I
secretly harbor the thought that
this heritage is part of my great
love for nature.”
Each summer from eighth
grade through high school, Reda
replaced the sisters as sacristan
at church while the sisters were
away attending summer school.
She attributed this closeness to
Christ as a big influence in her
religious vocation. Reda
graduated from Holy Rosary High
School in June of 1934.
Reda entered the Sisters of
Providence postulancy in Seattle
in July 1934 and the novitiate in
1935. She professed first vows in
1936 and perpetual vows in
1939. An older sister, Florence,
had entered the Providence
community three years earlier,
becoming Sister Bernice Marie.
A younger sister, Yvonne, entered
a year later, becoming Sister
Bernard Maria. These sisters had
an aunt, Sister Joanna, and
several cousins in the Providence
Sister Reda received a
teaching certificate from the
College of Great Falls in 1939.
She received a bachelor’s degree
in education, 1943; a master’s
degree in education, 1957; and a
bachelor’s degree in accounting,
1968, from Seattle University.
Sister Reda served as a
teacher and/or principal at Holy
Family School, Seattle (1938-40,
65-66); St. Joseph School,
Yakima (1940-44); Sacred Heart
School, Tacoma (1944-47);
Providence Academy, Vancouver
(1947-51, 52-53); St. Catherine
School, Seattle (1951-52); St.
Patrick School, Walla Walla
(1953-54); St. Joseph School,
Vancouver (1954-59); and
Immaculate Conception School,
Fairbanks (1959-65). She served
as accountant at Providence
Heights, Issaquah (1969-74) and
Kennedy High School, Seattle
(1974-78). She served as
insurance auditor at Providence
St. Vincent Medical Center,
Portland (1979-87).
Highlights for Sister Reda
during her many years of
teaching included summer
schools for religious education in
Anchorage, Kotzebue and Tanana,
Alaska. Living with the Eskimo
and Indian peoples in the remote
villages was especially enriching
to her. “I learned to greatly
appreciate other races and
cultures,” she reflected. This
concern for people of many races
intensified during the three
summers she worked at the
Interracial Center in Seattle’s
central city.
“We ran a day care center
there for ten weeks each summer
to help out parents who were
working. We usually had about
sixty or seventy children,” she
said. “Those were hard but
rewarding summers, and they
gave me great empathy for
minority people and their
In 1978 Sister Reda had the
privilege to spend a sabbatical
year at the CREDO (Continuing
Religious Education Development
Opportunities) program at
Gonzaga University, in Spokane.
It was truly a year of renewal for
her, a time that she saw as a real
highlight of her life. “This was a
year during which I studied the
Bible and theology, increased my
prayer life, and just relaxed. It
culminated in a 26-day tour to
the Holy Land, Athens and Rome.
Those days are a cherished
memory for me.”
In 1987, Sister Reda retired
to St. Joseph Residence in
Seattle, where she served for
nine years as executive housekeeper. She continued to oversee
the housekeeping staff until a
stroke forced her to stop active
ministry. Sister Reda greatly
loved her religious community
and enjoyed living and praying
with her religious sisters.
Immediate survivors include
a brother, Frank Perrault of
Kennewick; and a sister, Veronica
Dettling of Yakima. ●
B r ie fs
Sister graduates
from University of
Great Falls
aren S. Hawkins, SP,
graduated from the University
of Great Falls on December 14,
receiving a bachelor of science
degree in human services with a
minor in addiction counseling.
Sister Karen, a Sister of
Providence in temporary vows, is
a member of St. Luke Parish in
Great Falls.
She is
involved with
the Beyond
the Circle
group that
works with
children and is employed at
the Gateway Treatment Center.
At Gateway, she works with
women and children at the
recovery home and as a case
manager doing advocacy work
for patients who are getting
their lives back on track.
Sister Karen formerly worked
for 20 years as a financial
analyst in New York, then as
a client advocate and financial
manager at Sojourner Place in
Seattle, and as a certified nurses’
aide at Providence Elder Place
in Portland. ●
Novice wins essay
ister Brenda Velasco won
third-place in The Pacific
Northwest Inlander’s fiction
writing contest in December.
Her story, “Garlic Milk Cures
the Soul,” can be found on the
weekly newspaper’s website at
www.inlander.com. Search the
story archives for ‘Velasco”.
Sister Brenda,
who is entering
her second year
in the novitiate,
also recently
wrote a story
about her
year that was
published in Vision magazine,
a national religious vocation
discernment guide. ●
Providence Chapel
to close At a commemorative Mass in their honor in November, the Sisters of Providence bid farewell to the
92-year-old chapel at the former Providence Hospital in Seattle. The sisters, pictured here gathered
around the altar, were joined by the leadership of Providence Health System, Swedish Hospital, and
David Sabey Corp., which purchased the building to develop a biotech and medical research facility.
The chapel will close in April and a new chapel will be part of the redevelopment project. The chapel’s
six large stained-glass windows were put into storage for some future use. ●
for Your Hea
“Come Find
Sisters invite w eat
to a summer re
, who
an, age 18 to 40
f you are a wom
call to
may be
Sisters of Prov
as a sister, the
mer wee nd re
e theme of the
in Spokane. Th , “Come Find God’s
t is
a time
weekend retrea
eart.” This is
ces, to
prayer experien
to pa
ories and expe
ity and
ligious commun
of en
en who are seek
to m
similar informat begin at 7 p.m.
The retreat ill
at Mount St. Jo
Friday, June 6,
Avenue, an
12 West Ninth
, June 8.
ease contact Jo
information, pl
cation di
Gallagher, SP, vo
, or by eat 206-932-6272 hoo.com; or
at jgallaghersp
Vocation Office
Judy George, SP
474-2323 or by
at [email protected]
Providence Event 2003 to be held
in Spokane
he Women of Providence in
Collaboration will hold one of
three Providence Events for 2003
at Providence Auditorium, in
Spokane, June 27-29. The theme
of the events is “Come & Dance a
New Song at Cana: Providence
and Discipleship through Mary.”
The other two Providence Events
will be held August 1-3 in
Allison Park, Penn., and Oct. 1012 in Kingston, Ontario.
“The purpose of these events
is to continue to explore our
evolving theology of providence
through the lens of Mary and
discipleship,” organizers said.
“We will explore new insights
into some of the images of our
Mother of Divine Providence.”
Three theologians will serve
as presenters: Michelle Bisbey,
CDP, director of mission effectiveness for her community in
Pittsburgh; Anita DeLuna, MCDP,
an associate pastor at Our Lady
of the Lake University in San
Antonio; and Mary Kaye Nealen,
SP, acting provost and vice
president for academic affairs at
the University of Great Falls. The
facilitators are Jane Ann Slater,
CDP, and Ann Petrus, CDP, both
from San Antonio.
The Spokane event begins
Friday, June 27, at 7 p.m. and
concludes Sunday, June 29, at
12:30 p.m. The cost of the
conference is $225, which
includes tuition plus room and
board, or $185, which covers
tuition plus meals. Registration
deadline is March 26.
Associates are encouraged to
join the sisters attending the
event, which is being coordinated in Spokane by Sue
Orlowski, SP. For information,
contact her at 509-474-2300. ●
● 15
Sisters of Providence
Provincial Administration, Mother Joseph Province
9 East Ninth Avenue
Spokane, WA 99202-1295
Non Profit Org.
U.S. Postage
Spokane, WA
Permit #4
CARITAS is published
by The Office of
Sisters of Providence,
Mother Joseph
Jennifer E. Roseman,
Director of
A publication for the Sisters of Providence and Friends ● SPRING 2003
Providence Child Center honors Sisters with
2003 Heart
of Gold Award
16 ●
ortland’s Providence Child
Center Foundation presented the
Sisters of Providence with the
2003 Heart of Gold Award at a
dinner at the Oregon Convention
Center Ballroom in February. The
award is presented annually to
citizens who have improved the
lives of children with special
needs through advocacy and
action. Archbishop John G.
Vlazny of Portland was the
dinner’s honorary chair.
“For more than 159 years,
these intrepid women of the
Sisters of Providence have cared
for society’s most vulnerable
with pioneering spirits and
enduring commitment,” the
foundation’s board of directors
noted in its award presentation.
The sisters have had a special
mission of care for children in
need, including establishment of
Our Lady of Providence Nursery
in Portland in 1945. Beginning
as an orphanage for children,
the facility has transitioned over
the years under the name of
Providence Child Center.
Proceeds from the Heart of
Gold Dinner benefit the medically fragile children at Providence Child Center, the only 24hour pediatric skilled nursing
facility in the Northwest
dedicated to children with severe
disabilities and complex medical
needs. The center’s 58 beds are
designated for children who need
long-term chronic care, shortterm respite, physical maintenance and end-of-life services.
Assistance is provided
without financial burden
to the families. The
Providence Child Center
pays for the daily care of
the children with support
from community donors
and fund-raising events
such as the Heart of Gold
The Sisters of ProviSister Barbara Schamber, team leader/provincial (center), accepts the Heart of
dence continue in ministry
Gold Award from Pat Budo, Providence Child Center administrator. Sisters sharing
today throughout Mother
in the moment are (from left) Scholastica Lee, Margaret Pastro, Carolyn Koreski
Joseph Province, which
and Rose Marie Dillman.
includes Alaska, Idaho,
Oregon, Montana, Washingstrong commitment to helping
ton, California, and El Salvador.
society’s most vulnerable children
Their ministries help children
and their tireless efforts on behalf
and families contend with child
of those less fortunate show they
abuse and neglect, emotional
are truly women with “hearts of
disturbance, addiction, homelessgold,” the foundation noted. ●
ness and education. The sisters’
Full House in Yakima S
everal young women
recently spent the weekend at
the Come and See House in
Yakima. Pictured are (back row,
from left) Sr. Irene Charron,
Sr. Dianne Crawford, Sr. Pauline
Lemaire, Sarah Cieplinski,
Sr. Clare Lentz and Sr. Alice
St. Hilaire; (second row) Phong
Chu, Tina Vo and Mai Phuong
Do; and (front row) Sr. Fe
Sumalde, Sr. Georgette Bayless,
Janet Ramirez, Kimthu Nguyen,
Chi Phan, Micky Nguyen
and Amy Le. Sisters JoAnn
Showalter and Lang Tran helped
the sisters in Yakima arrange
this vocation event. ●

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