A Visionary Leader

Sister Irene Forrester is being remembered as a compassionate and visionary leader who inspired others to work for the dignity of all humanity. A Sister of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, Irene Mary Forrester died on February 16, 2001, after a difficult battle with cancer. She was in her 45th year of religious life. Sr. Irene spent a decade in congregational leadership, serving as general superior from 1989 to 1994. Her approach to...

A Call To Service

BY SISTER SHEILA LANGTON The following is an excerpt from an address Sister Sheila Langton made this February to members of Holy Family Parish during Vocation Week in the archdiocese of Kingston. A favourite question people have for a Sister is “Why did you become a nun?” For many years I would go blank when anyone asked me that. I didn’t know how to answer. It was a mystery to me. How did such an ordinary and very young person as I was, know...

Archives Preserve Past

Archives Preserve Past

The Sisters of Providence have long made a commitment to preparing for the future by preserving their past. Nowhere is that more evident than at Providence Motherhouse, the Kingston, Ont., home base of the congregation, where an archival program has been in place since the 1970s.For the past decade, the Motherhouse archives staff has been offering expertise and support to the congregation’s sponsored health care institutions as they began...

What Is Poverty?

BY SISTER PAULING LALLY It’s interesting, you know, that as a Roman Catholic Sister I take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Why would anyone want to take a vow of poverty? Poverty is an evil to be eradicated, or at least struggled against. I don’t particularly like that word for our vow. People can easily say, “It sure doesn’t look like you live in poverty to me.” And I don’t. I live the “the common life.” A lay person I know once said,...

Nourishing The Spirit

BY PEGGY FLANAGAN Walking down Kingston’s Brock Street, the wind penetrating her thin jacket and dead leaves swirling around her ankles, a young woman looks up to see the simple sign: Martha’s Table. Jessie has been here before. She remembers how difficult it was to pass through that door the first time. “The people who work here think they are good,” she reflects. “What do they give? Some time. Some donated food. I give more. I give up my...

Preserving A Taste Of The Past

BY JC KENNY The following article, which originally appeared in the September 1999 edition of AgriNews, is reproduced here with the permission of the author. Most drivers passing by the pristine Sisters of Providence buildings on Kingston's Princess Street here would never guess that important horticultural history is being made on the premises. In behind the buildings where the Sisters make their home, gardening wizards Carol and Robert Mouck...

A Journey Of Self Discovery

Preparing oneself for service to God involves a long journey of self-discovery, according to a vibrant young woman exploring life as a Sister of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul. In the summer of 1999, after an intensive period of self-growth, Charlene Thacker made her first vows as a professed Sister in the Kingston, Ont., congregation. Sr. Patricia Amyot notes that the Sisters of Providence perceive membership as a lifelong process, one of...

40 Years Of Selfless Service

BY RYLAND COYNESmith Falls, Ont./The Record News The following article originally appeared in the Smith Falls Record News. It is posted here with permission. For 40 years — 17 in the picturesque Ontario community of Smiths Falls — Sister Marlene Schuster has been tending to the needs of the less fortunate, in relative anonymity. But while the greater population may not have heard her name spoken often, those fortunate enough to be touched by...

An Incredible Journey

An Incredible Journey

Those who make the decision to become an Associate of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul often find that the profound changes which occur in their lives are invisible to the outside world. While an incredible inner journey is taking place, there are few outward manifestations to the casual observer. “It’s not a change of lifestyle,” notes Dianne Dutcher, a Providence Associate since 1997. “It’s a deeper exploration of how you live...

Helping The Healing Begin

Sister Marilyn Kearns was intensely moved by the letter from the woman who had escaped a life of domestic violence. “Thank you,” the woman wrote to Sister Marilyn and her co-workers at a Montreal shelter for battered women. “Thank you for listening, for caring, for understanding, for helping me take control of my life. “I’ve realized I’m not running away, but that I have made a positive and wise decision — I have indeed found myself again.”...

We Speak To The Poor By Our Lives

BY JAMIE SWIFT The following remembrance of Sister Mary Hamilton appeared in the Toronto Globe and Mail on October 23, 1998. It is reprinted here with permission of the author. In the 1930s, whenever Sister Mary Hamilton managed a few days off from her nursing duties as night supervisor at St. Vincent de Paul hospital in Brockville, Ont., she would visit the family farm in nearby Elgin. She was one of nine children, so family gatherings were...

A return to Peru

A return to Peru

Artisans like this weaver work at home. Photo: Sister Jeannette FilthautBY SISTER SHIRLEY MORRIS When Sister Shirley Morris SP returned to Peru after an absence of 25 years, she found many wonderful changes — and many things regrettably unchanged. One of the original Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul at the Carabayllo mission in 1967, she was delighted to see that some physical conditions had improved over the years. But her...

Sister Patricia Kelly: The ability to love

Sister Patricia Kelly: The ability to love

Sister Patricia Kelly arrives at Kingston Penitentiary early on a Friday morning. Photo by Sabrina DesranleauDuring her three-year ministry at Kingston Penitentiary, Sister Patricia Kelly has quietly made her presence felt among the administration as well as the men she counsels. “Sister Patricia Kelly S.P. has been an outstanding presence at the Regional Treatment Centre in the Kingston Penitentiary,” says Father David Hale, director of...