In these days when many people think of religious life as fading away or of diminishment, it is good to share stories of new life in community. The Sisters of Divine Providence in Texas have five very good reasons to celebrate!
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic spiking in the San Antonio area, the Congregation of Divine Providence (CDP) celebrated life. Five women in formation professed vows as Sisters of Divine Providence. The celebrations were unique in the Congregation’s history since Sisters social distanced with masks and limited number of family members were in attendance. Yet, the joy and gratitude were obvious.
Sister Kate Clare Fitzgerald and Hermana María Cruz De La Cruz Botello celebrated their perpetual profession of vows on July 25, 2020 and August 2, 2020, respectively. Though miles apart, these Sisters have been bound to one another and with the Congregation of Divine Providence in their vocation and commitment to sharing the mission of Jesus in our world.
On July 25, 2020, Sisters of Divine Providence gathered in Sacred Heart Chapel at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) in San Antonio, Texas to celebrate Sister Kate’s perpetual profession of vows. Sister Kate’s decision to join the Congregation was solidified by her desire to do God’s will. Sister Kate said, “To be obedient to God’s will is why we are created, and I believe I can best hear and follow this call to love as a Sister in the Congregation of Divine Providence. God’s love has led me here, and through God’s grace I will continue to follow the call.” Sister Kate lives in community in Midland, Texas, and will continue teaching Kindergarten students at St. Ann’s Catholic School.
On August 2, 2020, Hermana Maricruz celebrated her perpetual profession of vows in Querétaro, Méxi and was joined by Hermanas De La Divina Providencia and a small family group. Sisters of Divine Providence in San Antonio at Our Lady of the Lake Convent Center (OLLCC) gathered to witness her profess her final vows via Facebook Live and to pray with her.
While preparing to profess her final vows, Hermana Maricruz stated, “I chose to enter the Congregation of Divine Providence because I saw the Sisters’ dedication to simplicity, abandonment to Divine Providence and ministering to those in need. By professing my final vows, I am returning the immense love that our Father has for us. It is also a way to extend the signs of God’s provident love in the world while also seeking the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness.” Hermana Maricruz, a member of the Congregation’s Región de México, lives with the CDP Sisters in Querétaro, Mexico, and serves as a resource teacher in the Instituto Queretano Marista.
In continuation of this celebratory weekend, Sister Megan Grewing and Sister Christina Cńe Chávez renewed their temporary vows in Annunciation Chapel at OLLCC on Sunday, July 26, 2020. It was a special day for Sister Megan and Sister Christina as they were supported by Sisters of Divine Providence to continue their commitment.
Sister Megan’s renewal of vows is important to her because it furthers her relationship with God. She said, “I want to continue to grow in my relationship with Jesus and my CDP Sisters. I believe my vows are allowing me to become my best self.” To Sister Christina, her renewal of vows means learning about Women Religious and their accomplishments throughout the centuries. “I choose to be a part of this life because I truly feel called to live out the ‘prophetic’ call as a Religious and to be a radical witness in the world of how to entrust one’s life to Divine Providence. I’ve found a place of belonging among the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence where I can live out that call,” she commented.
Sister Megan is now a counselor at Gratia Plena Counseling Agency in Houston, Texas, and Sister Christina works in University Ministry at OLLU. “In my ministry at OLLU, I’ve been able to share and teach about the CDP life, charism, mission, and vocation which is so energizing! I’m passionate about spreading the news about what Women Religious have been and are up to in their life and ministry,” said Sister Christina. She now focuses on the call to be “Provident in our world” in response to our society’s recent struggles. She said, “I’ve found myself holding on to the phrase that ‘God brings all things to good’ as my guiding principle in both personal prayer and as a minister. I’m grateful for community life which also provides a space of wisdom when navigating new challenges in both life and ministry. I feel honored to live out my life as a Sister of Divine Providence.”
On July 24, 2020, Sister Melissa Renee Cessac made her first profession of vows in Sacred Heart Chapel at OLLU. Prior to profession, Sister Melissa completed her two-year novitiate with a three-month mission in Querétaro with CDP Sisters. Along with learning Spanish, she was able to be a part of the Escuela Móvil ministry. The mobile school program ministers to streetworkers and children who lack an education. Sister Melissa stated, “I saw our charism of Providence living and breathing through this ministry. The poor have so much to teach us, and God speaks to us so clearly through them.”
When asked about her decision to become a Sister, she said, “The vows are a public witness to my relationship with Christ. By living the vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience, I am able to freely and intimately dedicate my whole self to God and to loving service to God’s people.”
Before entering the community, Sister Melissa worked in recruitment at Lamar University, her alma mater, and served as a youth minister for eight years in her home parish of St. Charles Borromeo in Nederland, Texas. After moving to OLLCC to further discern her call as a Sister, she worked first at Project QUEST as a career advisor and then with COPS/Metro before becoming a novice in the Congregation in 2018.
These Sisters are dedicating themselves to live the vowed life in community and ministry. They are committed to come closer to God as Sisters of Divine Providence.
As you can see from their own words they are committed new members who believe in religious life and are ready to profess vows as their sign of commitment to it. We wish you all many blessings!
Barbara McMullen, CDP