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Sisters look to future plans

Sr. Sandra Shannon, being shown plans for the new St. Mary’s hospital. The current hospital is on land owned by the Sisters of Providence.

For the congregation that has ministered in health care, education and social work, and spent years advocating for society’s most vulnerable members, the coming years will carry new challenges.

The Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul have led lives of compassionate service for over 150 years, beginning their mission work in Kingston, Ontario in 1861. Since then, they have founded hospitals and schools across Canada, Central and South America, and supported numerous other social causes, including prison and justice ministries.

Today, there are 75 Sisters remaining and their average age is over 70.

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Serving the very poor

by Sister Gayle Desarmia

This year the Providence Associates in Peru have undertaken an important ministry to the very poor in their area. After evaluating their own ministries and the needs present in the area of Carabayllo, they have decided to focus their ministry this year in Fray Martin de Porres.

Fray Martin de Porres is a remote and very needy village further up in the mountains than El Progresso, where the Sisters of Providence live. Previously, monies from the Marillac Mission Fund were used to build a small chapel for the people. This chapel serves as a multi-purpose meeting place for the residents of this village. Fray Martin, located in Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, is in an agricultural area commonly referred to as ‘el campo.’ This area has been the main focus of ministry for Sister Sara Jimenez.

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Climate change in Ontario?

Bridget Doherty takes a little rest during the People’s Climate Change March in New York City in October.

by Bridget Doherty

As part of a regular update to the Sisters of Service, who co-fund the Integrity of Creation position of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation team, Bridget Doherty gives an update on the work of energy poverty:

I have some exciting news! You may remember from previous reports that I’m on the Low-Income Energy Network (LIEN) steering committee. In March of this year we organized a conference titled: Celebrating a Decade of Low-Income Energy Advocacy.

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Behind the peace pole: truth

by Sister Pauline Lally

In the midst of global tragedies and conflicts, we, Sisters of Providence, erected a simple white peace pole in front of the entrance to our Motherhouse this summer. It has black lettering. And there it stands in simple juxtaposition to the sufferings of the world.

The pole reads May Peace Prevail on Earth in four different languages. French is for our origins in France and Montreal. The Spanish is for our missions in Guatemala (now closed) and Peru. Cree represents our connections with First Nations in the West and in Northern Canada. Finally, English brings in all of us and our ministries in the rest of Canada.

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by Cate Henderson

Those of you who were in attendance at the spring equinox celebration may remember our meditation on the seed – that through kindness alone plants grow from one seed to produce many, many seeds. There is no selfish reason for this, and economists and financial planners would be appalled to see so much energy expended on seeds which are then freely given – many are eaten by humans, animals, insects, fungi etc, with no immediate benefit to the individual plant at all. In fact, most of our vegetables are annuals, meaning that the plant that grew from one seed to give many is now likely deceased!
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Richard Jack. The Second Battle of Ypres, 22 April to 25 May 1915. CWM 19710261-0161. Beaverbrook Collection of War Art. copyright Canadian War Museum

by Jamie Swift

Two oil paintings. Two artists who painted battlefield scenes. Two dramatically different ways of telling a story.

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Bishop E.J. Horan 1817 - 1875

Catherine McKinley 1837 - 1904











by Sister Irene Wilson

The Associates formation program continued in March with a day focused on the Kingston founders of the Congregation. These founders and the issues of the day were dramatized for the gathering. Kingston Bishop Horan was performed by Sr. Catherine Cannon, in cassock and mitre. Providence Associate Sheila Burchart, dressed in a habit and modified veil, presented the life of Catherine McKinley (known as Mother Mary Edward), the first postulant in the sole religious congregation founded in Kingston.

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On June 29, Sister Rita Gleason performed a benefit concert for Changing Together. The program began with compositions by Chopin, Schubert and Beethoven. After intermission, Sister Rita dressed in a 1920s costume and played some ragtime music.

The concert ended with the three movements of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A Major: Sr. Rita was accompanied by her teacher, Sarah Ho. With proceeds from the tickets, plus donations from friends and sponsors, $1000 was raised.

  • Photos from recent Providence Pages