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Left to Right:
Co-Directors Sister Irene Wilson, S.P. and Barbara Baker,
Administrative Assistant Carol Groten

Providence Associates are lay women or men, single or married, who feel called to be associated with the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in their charism, spirituality and mission without membership in the congregation. The charism — a gift of the Spirit for the Church — of the Sisters of Providence is one of trusting in Providence and serving with compassion, especially the poor. This gift we share with our Associates.

Providence Associates live the charism:

  • in their relationships
  • in the marketplace and community
  • in their homes
  • in health care
  • in education
  • in social work
  • in their parishes
  • in diverse ministries

The Providence Associate process is administered by Co-Directors who collaborate with a Council Liaison and a Providence Associate Committee made up of sisters and associates. Together everyone works to keep relationships healthy, invigorating and responding to the changing times and in keeping with the Providence Associates’ mission statement and the direction of the congregation.

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Companions on the Journey

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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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My Providence path

Earlier this year, Providence Associate Jan Kehoe retired from the chaplaincy team at St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital, which had been founded by the Sisters of Providence. She used that opportunity to look back at her long association with the Congregation.

The Sisters of Providence held a role in my life and a place in my heart since first moving to Camrose, Alberta from Manitoba in 1981. In 2000, Sister Bernadine Bokenfohr invited me to learn about the charism, spirituality and mission of the Sisters of Providence and to become an Associate. View full article »

by Sister Irene Wilson

As Associates and Sisters began the second stage of the renewal and celebration of the historical roots of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, we felt a certain excitement moving from 16c France to 19c Montreal, Canada. Associate Marie McCartney, and Sister Shirley Morris brought to light the lives of Bishop Ignace Bourget and Sister Émilie Gamelin.

Shirley set the context for the inception of the first Canadian foundation of Sisters outside of Europe by describing in detail, through word and picture, not only the life and times of Bishop Bourget, the second bishop of Montreal, but also the social, political and ecclesial conditions that characterized his 36 years of leadership from 1840–1876. View full article »

Associate Christine DiZazzo and Sister Susan Pye led the teaching on St. Vincent, January 19.


Providence Associates began a two-year formation process in September with the theme of renewal and celebration. The process uses the method of Ignatian contemplation, praying to know Jesus better in order to love him more and follow him more closely. We are moving through four topics, exploring each as it is reflected in the lives of key people in the history of our congregation: St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, Emilie Gamelin and Catherine McKinley.

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Keeping contact


As part of the two-year formation process, Associate program co-directors Barbara Baker and Sister Irene Wilson have been traveling to the Associates across Canada. In late October they visited Camrose and led a process of Ignatian contemplation. An outcome of the visit was an agreement that, rather than starting from scratch, the Camrose group would use the same materials as were being used in Ontario for reflection, discussion and prayer. Pardon the bad pun, but there was lots of “associated” socializing and catching up as well.

In February, Toronto was the destination. Again, Ignatian contemplation and prayer were used with in the Toronto Associates gathering – and the group reflected on their prayer and the St. Vincent de Paul day. Kingston, Belleville and Brockville are next in line.

Associate Digest

Sisters of Providence and Providence Associates gathered for AGEM and the launching of their two year Formation Process: Renewal and Celebration
front row l to r: Sr. Anna Moran, Marietta Macial, Sandra Campeau, Joan Murray, Sr. Judy Lee
2nd row l to r: Sr. Irene Wilson, Sr. Jean Higgins, Sr. Catherine Cannon, Sr. Frances O’Brien, Betty Haymans, Doris Lomboy, Marie O’Neill, Yeshi Redda, Marta Hernandez
3rd row l to r: Gerry Vieveen, Sr. Alma Sutton, Regina Giebels, Debra Wade, Colleen Evans, Sr. Marie Dundon, Sr. Lucy Kearney, Carol Groten
4th row l to r: Shirley Kindellan, Gillian Fetter, Dianne Dutcher, Maureen MacDonald, Barbara Baker, Sr. Pauline Lally, Sr. Patricia Ann Ryan, Sr. Marilyn Kearns, Sr. Susan Pye
back row: June Bisset, Sr. Nancy Wilson, Marie McCartney, Sr. Mary Bernadette, Sr. Gayle Desarmia, Christine DiZazzo, Sr. Jeannette Filthaut, Sr. Theresa Moher, Cathy Bryan, Gail Shannon, Sheila LaRush

By Barbara Baker

Forty-nine Providence Associates and Sisters of Providence gathered together in Providence Spirituality Centre on the weekend of September 21 -22, 2012 for the Providence Associates’ Annual General Education Meeting. We began with a social on Friday afternoon that allowed time for people to catch up with each other and to hear about the work that Providence is doing through us.
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Associate Digest

Retreatants led by Deacon Joseph
McMorrow, far right

By Sister Bernadine Bokenfohr

Deacon Joseph Mcmorrow led the Camrose Associates on a “gentle day” of retreat opening with “Lectio Divino.” His informative day was structured with some “in-put”, then reflection followed by forming us into three groups. We followed the same sharing procedure as we did at the “Pre-Chapter” I attended in August 2011.
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Associate Digest

Facilitator Anne Walsh holds a vase of coloured salt created by Associates and Sisters to symbolize our unique giftedness as Providence People

By Barbara Baker
June Retreat 2012

On June 1-2, thirty-eight Providence Associates and Sisters of Providence gathered in the Providence Spirituality Centre for our annual retreat. The theme of our retreat was ‘A Diamond with Many Facets: Responding to Our Common Call’. We began our time together by asking the contact person to introduce the people in her Associate group and to share with those assembled the ministries of each person. It was enlightening to hear how much the Providence Associates are living out their Mission Statement.
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