In April of 2016, Sister Senga Fulton, having “retired” from 36 years of ministering to the Springfield area’s homeless population, took up a new ministry focus.
As a new member of the Sisters of Providence Council, Sister Senga assumed responsibility for overseeing and supporting the care of Sisters of Providence living at Mary’s Meadow and Providence Place.
A licensed clinical social worker, Sister Senga now serves as the Executive Council’s liaison to Mary’s Meadow and works with the Sisters at Providence Place who are dealing with transitions in their lives. She is able to facilitate the flow of information among and between the SP Administration, the Congregation’s Health Care Office and the Sisters in general.
Regarding Mary’s Meadow, Sister Senga says, “I communicate the Sisters’ needs and make sure they have what they need. My role as liaison ensures the Sisters living there continue to be well connected to our entire SP Community.”
Anyone who knows Sister Senga knows she takes her responsibilities to heart. So, she makes sure she is a regular presence in Mary’s Meadow’s long-term care and short-term rehabilitative therapy houses, primarily to spend time with the Sisters, but with the lay residents, patients and staff, as well.
She generally works most weekdays at Mary’s Meadow, and makes herself available to work weekends, when needed.
When asked to reflect on what surprised her most about her new role she quickly responded, “Myself… and how well and quickly I adapted” to such a change in work environment. She added, “I didn’t really know much about taking care of the elderly or working in a nursing home. But being a social worker with the skills of caring for people, I found it a natural progression to use those skills in this different area.”
She went on to say, “Social work doesn’t define you to work with only one population because people are people—no matter who you are, what age you are, or what problems you have.”
Sister Senga said she is enriched by the time she now “gets to spend with the retired Sisters,” and knowing she is “helpful to them” is one of her new ministry’s biggest rewards. “We have staff who have worked with us for years, and newer staff, as well,” she noted. “They are just so good to the Sisters. They know the Sisters they are caring for inside and out. They tell me, ‘The Sisters were good to us,’ and that ‘The Sisters are our family,’ and you know they mean it.
As for Sister Senga herself—she says she hopes she is making a positive difference “just by being there.”