For an apostolic congregation, the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary- of- the- Woods, sharing “love, mercy and justice among God’s people” can be challenging during this time of social distancing. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin once advised her sisters to rely on “Providence, that so far has never failed us.” The SPs are heeding this advice as they become more creative, to stay in touch with each other, with donors and friends, and ministry partners who also need spiritual encouragement.
After announcing various safety protocols that needed to be put in place, General Superior Sister Dawn Tomaszewski also encouraged the Congregation to pray. “The work of the Congregation right now is to lift up in prayer all people who need God’s healing and help at this time – especially those with the virus and those health-care professionals tending to those with the virus,” she said. The sisters also committed themselves to praying the traditional SP Reunion Prayer every afternoon at 3 p.m. as a way of being united with one another and all who share in the charism of Providence.
The General Officers most recently are devoting time each week to pray for our benefactors’ needs and the needs of the world. They gather at 3 p.m. each Friday in the Church of the Immaculate Conception and each officer lights a candle and prays for the well-being of donors and their families, a vaccine/cure for COVID-19, those suffering with the COVID-19 virus and their families, the safety and well-being of all health-care professionals, the safety and well-being of all first responders and other front-line workers and the healing of Earth. The Council has asked donors and friends to join them in prayer wherever they maybe. And, they have asked donors for specific prayer requests that will be included in this prayer time.
A few weeks into the stay-at-home order, the sisters began calling donors to check in with individuals and support and encourage them, during this pandemic. They collected prayer requests instead of donations and made that personal connection to help friends feel more connected to the sisters who are praying for them, and the outside world.
Sisters who would otherwise be busy at daytime ministries now have time to share their gifts differently – by writing prayers, articles and other reflections that are shared through the SP blog, website and social media. Again, the hope is to help those persons with access to the internet stay connected and encouraged in their spiritual journey, even during these difficult times.
One of the creative ways was Sr. Patty Wallace sharing her love of books and her talent for engaging youngsters by featuring “Story Time with Sister Patty” on Facebook Live. She sings, plays the guitar and reads engaging stories!
It’s so amazing how Patty and others have found ways to connect via Facebook or other avenues to reach out and touch others. I bet the kids love their time with Sr. Patty!
Barbara McMullen, CDP