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
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.
Our Retreat Director, Anne Walsh, from St. John’s, Newfoundland, took us on a journey through the gospels to discover more about our connection with Jesus. Anne began by asking us, “What story or image of Jesus draws you especially?” From the answers we gave, Anne heard us say that it was the human dimension of Jesus that most reflects the charism of Providence that we are called to live. As we listened to Anne’s songs and stories and shared our reflections, we learned how deeply we are connected to each other and the one charism that is Jesus. We heard personal stories of conversion, we talked about the facets of vision, incarnation, mission and fruitfulness and how God’s miracles happen in the ordinary events of daily life. Anne shared with us her own stories and of how she understands the facet of the diamond she lives as a lay missioner of the Redemptorist Congregation. In the final circle, before our departure, Anne invited each person to share the most significant “gem” they had discovered on the retreat. The answers were varied and profound. It was obvious that the Associates and Sisters present, as Providence People, had learned much from Anne about our facet in the Diamond that is Jesus.
Associates and Sisters at the centre display representing the theme ‘A diamond with many facets’
As a participant at the retreat I experienced us, Sisters and Associates, as an Evangelical family, a Gospel family, a family rooted in the Good News of Jesus. We are living the mission together as we reach out to the sick, the lonely, the hungry, those who are in prison and those who are alienated from the rest of society. It is as we shared our reflection and stories that we became more aware that we are all, “Trusting in Providence, Serving with Compassion and Walking in Hope.” The diamond, and its many facets, reflects the way we are together responding to our common call to live the charism of Providence.