Providence Spiritual Outreach (PROSO) is a new ministry of the Sisters of Divine Providence from San Antonio, TX and in collaboration with the Sisters of Divine Providence, Allison Park, PA. In this article Sr. Joyce Detzel, Director of PROSO, gives further explanations. This coming Fall it will be housed in Kearns Spirituality Center in Allison Park.
Providence Spiritual Outreach (PROSO) has emerged as a response to the spiritual hunger that intensified during the pandemic shutdown and the resulting societal changes. The response grew out of collaboration between PROSO founder/director, Sr. Joyce Detzel, CDP, and other Sisters and Associates of the Congregation of Divine Providence of San Antonio, TX and the Sisters of Divine Providence, Allison Park, PA.
God planted the seeds of PROSO early in 2020. I had just moved from Texas to work at a retreat center in Ohio when the center closed due to Covid. I found myself part of the wave of millions who were struggling with pandemic unemployment, isolation, grief, fear, and loss. Telephone conversations and virtual programs at the retreat center attested to the depth of people’s suffering and their desperate need for new ways to express faith and maintain relationships.
What distressed me, however, created a new opportunity for Providence. A wise Sister once noted, “Chaos is the workshop of Providence.” Providence can refashion something new of of the broken bits and pieces of life. We pondered this idea during our Lenten Journey of 2022. In one of our reflections, I referred to the ancient art of kintsukuroi. The Japanese work kin means “golden” and tsugi means “joinery.” This technique fills the cracks in a broken pot with a liquid adhesive mixed with gold. After firing, the pot emerges with its original shape, but beautifully restored and stronger than ever.
My homesickness, social isolation, and grief over the death of some of our Sisters due to Covid commingled with the sorrow and brokenness of those around me. God’s love was the golden glue that held us together. I deeply desired to be a true vowed Sister of Divine Providence: a woman of courage, eager to respond with compassion, creativity, and courage.
The Congregation supported my vision of a virtual outreach ministry for adults tossed by the waves of pandemic and the resulting social and personal changes. The concept of this ministry spread by word of mouth, and a team of CDP Sisters and Associates in Texas began to design and offer spiritual outreach programs anchored in trust in God’s Providence. In January of 2021, the Sisters at Our Lady of the Lake Convent Center offered a blessing prayer as PROSO began to provide virtual and hybrid retreats, conversation groups, workshops, and indivdual spiritual direction. The Sisters and Associates of Divine Providence of the Marie de la Roche Province in Allison Park, PA came to help us in May.
Associate and Sisters of both of our Congregations are now using their gifts and skills to fuel this new ministry. During its infancy year, 35 CDP Sisters and Associates volunteered over 1,500 hours of service as program designers, presenters, small group leaders, spiritual directors, writers, photographers, website developers, and support personnel. Others have made financial donations, participated in events (an invaluable contribution!) and supported us with prayer and personal encouragement.
PROSO reaches another milestone this fall as it moves to the Kearns Spirituality Center in Allison Park to explore future collaborative opportunities. It is my hope that other Providence groups may also feel called to join this ministry. Providence encourages us to remain steadfast in building something new, healing hearts, and expanding minds. Dreams have taken flight, faith has grown, and those who mourn have been comforted. Praised and blessed be Divine Providence now and forevermore!
Photo: Sr. Joyce Detzel, CDP, Director of PROSO Ministry
We wish this new ministry blessings as it continues to be yet another face of Providence in our world.
Barbara McMullen, CDP