Sister Sandra Shannon, General Superior, addressing the Sisters of Providence and Providence Associates.
BY ANN BONIFERRO, DIRECTOR OF PASTORAL LITURGY & MUSIC
With grateful hearts, the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul and the Providence Associates were gathered to renew their vows and commitments. This celebration occurs annually on September 15, the Memorial of Our Mother of Sorrows; however, because Providence Motherhouse is considered by public health to be a long-term care facility, in recent years Associates and Sisters living outside Providence Motherhouse were only able view the liturgy on livestream.
This year, the Motherhouse residents were joined in the Chapel of Mary, Mother of Compassion by eleven Sisters of Providence living in the community and seven Providence Associates. All were willing to follow necessary protocols, including masking and rapid testing, in order to be part of the celebration.
Sister Frances O’Brien was the presider for Liturgy of the Hours – Evening Prayer. Following the Proclamation of the Light and the Evening Thanksgiving, all joined in singing the hymn Mary, Mother of Compassion, with text by the late Sister Peggy Flanagan set to Finlandia by Sibelius.
Within the context of the liturgy, Sister Sandra Shannon, General Superior, addressed the Sisters and Associates, asking if they wished to continue living out their baptismal call as vowed religious and lay associates, living in communion, strengthened by prayer and bonded in unity and love through the corporate mission of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul. Sisters then rededicated themselves to the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience and to continued witness to the Providence of God through the congregation. Next, Barbara Baker, Director of the Providence Associates, came forward to invite the Associates to renew their commitment for one year, promising to live out the charism of serving with compassion, trusting in Providence, and walking in hope, and to further the Mission of the Congregation.
Following the liturgy, all were invited to the Sisters’ dining room to continue the celebration with a special meal. Although non-residents were not able to mingle with residents, it was wonderful to be in the same room together.
We look forward to future celebrations and the possibility of being more fully present to one another.