We, the Women of Providence in Collaboration, are an association of religious congregations bearing the name and charism of Providence.
We come together to share and promote the evolving theology and spirituality of Providence, witnessing a preferential option for the poor as we respond to the needs of our global society.
- To deepen awareness of the theology and spirituality of Providence in our membership and in other persons interested in Providence.
- To probe our theological understanding of Providence as it relates to major issues and questions of our time.
- To share our insights on the themes of Providence with others in the faith community through publications and programs.
- To provide a forum for communication and sharing among congregational leaders.
- To identify and share our Congregational resources in the pursuit of our purpose
WPC Board of Directors
Esther Guerreor, MCDP – Former Board Member
Sandra Shannon, SP – President
Barbara McMullen, CDP – Executive Director
Judith Desmarais, SP – Secretary
Dawn Tomaszewski, SP – Vice-President
Anne Hemstock, SP
Pearl Ceasar, CDP
Claire Houde, SP
Karin Dufault, SP
Alice Marie Lyon, CDP – Treasurer
Kathleen Popko, SP
Alice Gerdeman, CDP
Maria Fest, CDP
WPC Board Responsibilities
The full board meets annually and the Executive Committee of the board also meets in the fall each year. The business of the meeting days includes a review of past minutes, previous board tasks, many reports from the Executive Director on the status of all WPC projects, sub-group meetings, publications, and financial reports by the Treasurer, as well as a performance review of the Executive Director.
Where we’ve been, where we’re going
A history of Women of Providence in Collaboration
In the name of all that is, the Women of Providence in Collaboration gather to celebrate that the God of all that is, the God we name Providence, lured us into relationship with one another and we have called this relationship Women of Providence in Collaboration!
The two founding members began their dreaming in the late 1970s. Sisters of Providence Michelle Holland, from Spokane, WA, and Ruth McGoldrick, from Holyoke, MA, met at a National Sisters Vocation Conference. The dream was born. In 1978 Michelle Holland, SP contacted other religious communities with Providence in their titles to determine interest in exploring together the theology and spirituality of Providence. There was tremendous interest, and in 1980 the first Providence Event was held in Great Falls, Montana. That July, about 60 Providence Sisters gathered and 16 different congregations or provinces were represented. They agreed to meet again in two years.
In 1982 the group gathered at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN for their second Providence Event. A steering committee was established and the members were: Michelle Holland, SP of Spokane, Barbara Doherty, SP of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Kathleen Popko, SP from Holyoke, Mary Joan Coultas, CDP of Pittsburgh, and Anita Green, CDP of St. Louis.
A National Office
In 1992 the presidents of the now 13-member organization established the national office of the Women of Providence in Collaboration and hired Mary Catherine Hunt, CDP from Melbourne, KY as its first executive Director. She served until September of 2000 when they hired Barbara McMullen, CDP from St. Louis as its second Executive Director.
In 2007 Ann Margaret O’Hara, SP became the third Executive Director and served until 2012. In September of 2012, Sr. Barbara McMullen, CDP, once again became the Executive Director and serves as the fourth WPC leader.
Today the Women of Providence continue to be inspired by the founding mothers and that first steering committee. Time, commitment of resources, and the sharing of talents by the leadership of the various congregations continue to create this network of Providence communities. Today the WPC welcomes Associates from the various congregations as well.
What We Offer
In its history, the Women of Providence in Collaboration have held programs, brought formation leaders together, offered retreats and summer opportunities across congregations, and produced a number of books from certain gatherings.
Women of Providence in Collaboration continues to explore Providence theology and spirituality in our time. The story is not finished, but lives on as we continue to dream and work together. The magic and the mystery of this collaboration continues to feed, nurture, and energize our spirits. We gather in the name of all that is and we celebrate all that will be!
Below, view the history of WPC Member Congregations from the founding of the initial organizations through the present day and a Timeline of WPC’s Major Events.
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Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, Kingston, Ontario, Canada