The Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana elected a new leadership team at their 40th Chapter meetings.  

Sister Dawn Tomaszewski, SP, was re-elected as General Superior of the Congregation. Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp, SP, will continue serving in leadership as she was elected Vicar/General Treasurer. Elected as General Councilors were Sister Laura Parker, SP, Sister Anne Therese Falkenstein, SP and Sister Carole Kimes, SP.

The move to the Woods meant, for some new leaders, their first return to living at home in decades. One relocated from parish ministry in Indianapolis, another left her hospital chaplaincy position in the Chicagoland area and the third (winning the greatest-distance-traveled award) crossed the International Date Line coming from Providence University in Taiwan.

On January 23, 2022, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Chaplain Father Terry Johnson celebrated the liturgy installing the new leaders whose commitment runs through 2026. After a blessing for the leadership team, Sister Dawn said, “I will carry out this service in dialogue and in collaboration with the members of this Congregation. I promise to love all Sisters of Providence as true sisters, to strive with them to deepen our spirituality and to encourage them to live more deeply in the mystery of Providence according to the Constitutions of the Sisters of Providence.”

Sister Dawn then asked the remaining four General Councilors to offer a response, to which they said in unison, “I promise to serve with the general superior in the leadership of this Congregation of the Sisters of Providence in counsel and mutual support. (We) shall strive to be united with her and the other councilors by bonds of charity and confidence, having but one heart and one spirit as we participate in the same authority.”

Those in attendance also offered a blessing to the three outgoing members of the leadership team, Sister Lisa Stallings, SP, former vicar, and former General Councilors Sister Mary Beth Klingel, SP and Sister Jenny Howard, SP.

What’s ahead for the “retiring” leadership? Sister Lisa has been learning the ropes at The Connecting Link, a ministry of the Sisters of Providence in West Terre Haute. Under the mentorship of current director, Sister Dorothy Rasche, SP, Sister Lisa has been preparing for a director transition that will take place in the coming months. Sister Jenny plans on traveling a bit as she continues healing from a recent surgery. And Sister Mary Beth assumed a newly created role as Innkeeper of Woodhaven Retreat House at the Woods.

Woodhaven Retreat House, that initially housed ten sisters, has officially transitioned into its original vision of a space for small, overnight retreats. Beginning May 1, groups will have a one-stop-shop venue available for small self-led retreats in Woodhaven, which features nine single rooms with private bathrooms, a full kitchen, laundry facilities and a great room with a dining area and furnishings equipped for a flexible retreat environment. Sisters Paula Damiano, SP, and Jan Craven, SP, co-directors of Providence Spirituality & Conference Center, will begin offering in the fall SP-led overnight retreats at Woodhaven for groups up to nine retreatants.

The newly installed leadership team began their roles with a week-long retreat of strategic planning with a facilitator that began the day following the ceremony and has hit the ground running since then! The Providence Community plans on a broader celebration of the installation later this year during the Sisters of Providence/Providence Associates annual meeting the last weekend in June.

We wish them many blessings in their leadership ministry.  They have indeed hit the ground running, but are looking forward to the broader installation this summer.

Barbara McMullen, CDP

Photo cutline:

(from left) General Councilor Sister Anne Therese Falkenstein, General Councilor Sister Carole Kimes, General Superior Sister Dawn Tomaszewski, Vicar/General Treasurer Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp and General Councilor Sister Laura Parker.



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