Our family spent Saturday honoring many amazing women: Sisters of Providence. Annually, the sisters celebrate the jubilee years in the community – 25, 50, 60, 70, 75 - of the women and their remarkable accomplishments.
I listened to their stories of humble beginnings – when their superiors would simply announce their futures: “Pack your trunk, tomorrow morning you will be on a train to Missoula where you will teach classes for the summer.” And they did, with obedience and humility. Today, sisters discern their futures, with prayer and conversation.
These women have visited prisoners, cared for the sick, taught children (60 students to a classroom), built hospitals, managed million-dollar budgets, traveled to remote areas of the world to offer hope, education and healthcare. They are smart, holy and great fun!
Providence employees from yesteryear – and today – as well as the sisters’ families and friends filled the church. We sang songs from all their cultures, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Montreal, and Chile.
And the delightful irony of the day? The Mass was celebrated by the Seattle archbishop, who is charged with continuing the details of the Vatican’s “review” of Catholic sisters from the United States. As I looked at folks in the pew next to me, each wore a pin reading, “I STAND WITH THE SISTERS.”
We stood with them yesterday as they celebrated and we will continue to stand with them for the next 25, 50, 60, 70, 75 years, as long as it takes for the Vatican to understand: these women are the Body of Christ in a hurting world.
Don’t mess with them.
(S-R archvies photo. Sister Rosalie Locati, director of mission and values for Providence Sacred Heart and Providence Holy Family hospitals. Sister Rosalie celebrates 50 years as a Sister of Providence in 2012)