Vol. 3 No. 19 - Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul


Vol. 3 No. 19 FALL 2011

Published regularly by the Communications Office of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul

Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul

The September Silent Vigil marked two anniversaries — 150th anniversary of the congregation and the 16th year of the vigil. The two

anniversaries underlined a longstanding commitment to addressing both the symptoms and the causes of poverty.


The gap between rich and

poor in Canada is widening

at a faster pace than in the

United States.

A Conference Board of Canada

report released in September also

indicates that our nation has the

fourth largest increase in income

inequality among its peers.

For 150 years, the Sisters of

Providence have worked tirelessly to

dig out the roots of poverty. Sixteen

years ago, this mission intensified in

reaction to deep social cuts by the

provincial government.

“I was at the first vigil 16 years ago,”

remarked Sister of Providence Una

Byrne. “We were shocked at the

deep social cuts affecting our most

vulnerable. We felt compelled to act.

Sadly, little has changed. The

government continues to fight the

deficit on the backs of the poor and

the gap between the rich and poor is


is politics’ is an overstatement,” the

Senator told a late summer Sister of

Providence gathering, adding that

poverty should be an issue for every

candidate seeking election. “Until

you engage at the level that gets

candidates attention…candidates

won’t respond.”

The Sisters took part in the recent

Faith To End Poverty campaign during

the October provincial election.

With close to 200 supporters among

them, the Sisters launched this sign

blitz campaign during a special

Silent Vigil, marking two anniversaries:

16th anniversary of the vigil

and 150th anniversary of the


Jamie Swift helped organize the

province wide campaign. His story

on page 3.

Digging out the roots of


2 Digging out the roots of Poverty

Christine Ross

3 Poverty Reduction

Jamie Swift

4 150th Events West & East

West: Sister Rita Gleason

East: Christine Ross

5 Legacy Recognition Project

Covenant Health

6 Fall Gathering West & East

West: Sister Dianne Brennen

East: Sister Sandra Shannon

7 Tapestry Timeline

Kristina Jellema

8 Healing Tree

Christine Ross

9 Say No to Tar Sands

Bridget Doherty

FALL 2011

Providence Pages

10 Liturgy Schedule

11 Changes to Catholic Mass

Albert Dunn

12 Mystery Unfolding

Sister Gayle Desarmia

Sister Frances O’Brien

13- 15 Providence Associates

16 Vocation/Formation News

17 PSC Director retires

Sister Lucy Bethel

18 In Memoriam

Sister Rose Mary Ryan

19 In Memoriam

Sister Joan Wing

20 Contacts/Mission Statement

Poverty is political. Just ask Senator

Hugh Segal. “I don’t think ‘poverty


Commitment to Poverty Reduction

150 people gathered with Sisters of Providence at the weekly silent vigil at Kingston City Hall on

September 16 to raise awareness about social justice. It marked the 16th anniversary of the vigil and the

launch of an election sign blitz campaign to end poverty.


“Together in this vigil we bring

before us injustices affecting

our world…”

The Rt. Rev. Michael Oulton had to

raise his voice above the hum of

traffic in front of City Hall. But

most of the 150 supporters gathered

to mark the sixteenth anniversary

of our Silent Vigil could hear

Kingston’s new Anglican Bishop as

he led us in prayer.

The September 16 gathering was

also part of the ongoing celebration

of 150 years of Sisters of

Providence service in Kingston.

The two anniversaries underlined a

longstanding commitment to

addressing both the symptoms and

causes of poverty in a land of

plenty. As Kingston Senator Hugh

Segal noted in a letter of recognition:

“Your vigil on September 16

reflects in its consistency and the determination

of your Order and its

many supporters to bear witness to

the scourge of poverty and homelessness

that still weakens our city,

our neighborhoods, our province

and country.”

The anniversary vigil was remarkable

for its ecumenical nature. Not

only did Bishop Oulton lead the

prayer. The other faith communities

represented included people from

the United Church, the Kingston

Unitarian Fellowship, the Society of

Friends and of course the Roman

Catholic Archdiocese of Kingston.

Local Lutheran and Presbyterian

congregations participated in the

Faith To End Poverty campaign by

displaying signs reading Let’s Vote for

a Poverty Free Ontario.


Tara Kainer of the JPIC office distributes

signs with the message Let’s Vote for a

Poverty Free Ontario.

We made a special effort to invite

candidates from the four main political

parties, all of whom stood holding

the lawn signs that became

familiar around town during the recent


In 2009 all political parties in the

Ontario Legislature supported a new

Poverty Reduction Act. By passing

this historic legislation unanimously,

the three parties at Queen’s Park

recognized that “a sustained commitment

to work together to develop

strong and healthy children,

youth, adults, families and communities

is required to effectively reduce


Sisters Frances O’Brien and

Sandra Shannon attended the

special Silent Vigil.

Of course, such an Act needs to be

backed up by the political will to put

words into action.

“Thus, we stand in hope,”

concluded Bishop Oulton, reading

the verse recited by the vigil keepers

every Friday.


In addition to the Silent Vigil in

Kingston, outreach to the poor

became an integral part of our

congergational 150th anniversary

celebration in the West as well.

Sisters in Edmonton chose to

volunteer at Marian Centre

(Madonna House Apostolate) on

August 23rd. We joined other

volunteers to prepare a meal that

would be served to the homeless

and needy who came to the door

that day. We were expecting a large

number as it was also the day that

clothing was being offered to those

in need. The clothes were neatly

folded and hung on racks to make it

easier to choose items.

We stopped our work mid morning

for a snack and a hot or cold beverage,

at which time the community

members and volunteers gathered in

a circle for prayer, spiritual reading

and shared reflection. We, the Sisters,

were then given a tour of

Marian Centre and we watched a

video presentation of the spirit and

history of Madonna House in

Combermere. Then it was time to

share a meal together before serving

over 270 guests who came to the

dining room that day.

While the other Sisters and volunteers

helped in the dining room

which was appropriately decorated

with a mural depicting Jesus in the

bread line, I helped in the clothing

room, where I witnessed such wonderful

hospitality and gentleness

from the staff who treated each person

with love and compassion. The

guests all left with grateful hearts

and smiles on their faces.

One of the young women I had the

privilege of helping was still outside

150th Events West & East

Four of the Edmonton Sisters (Pat Amyot, Jeannette Filthaut, Rita

Gleason and Avita Kilar) volunteered at the Marian Centre throughout

the day. They were joined later by the other Sisters (Diane

Brennen and Ellen Murray) for Mass and supper with the members

of the Madonna House Apostolate who service the Marian Centre.


when we left. As we were getting

into the car she jokingly asked if she

could come and live with us. She

really was joking as she already has a

place to live, but she’s one of the

“working poor” who can’t afford to

buy all the necessities of life.

Wishing to join us in our 150th

Anniversary celebration, the community

at Marian Centre invited us

to join with them in the Eucharistic

celebration followed by the evening

meal. Following the meal,

Sr. Jeannette

presented the

president, Gerard

LeSage, a

cheque in the

amount of


Gerard was so

surprised at our

generosity that

he could hardly

speak. In addition

to the

cheque, we gave

them three turkeys purchased by

Sr. Jeannette, and fresh vegetables

from Sister Avita’s garden.

As we were leaving, we shared

among ourselves our experience

from the day and agreed that it was

a positive community experience of

mutual love, joy and gratitude.

In Kingston, a similar meal was

prepared thanks to a financial

donation from the Sisters of

Providence to the St. Vincent de

Paul Society as an outreach to mark

the 150th anniversary. In a letter of

thanks, Society administration Deb

Greer says a wonderful meal was

enjoyed on September 15th and the

remainder of the funds were

forwarded to the Food Pantry.

She continued, “One of our

participants has stated that feeling

poor is worse than being poor.

Thank you to those who support

our work as we help many feel less

poor. Now it’s time to look less

poor! Thank you, Sisters, for your

kindness and there is no doubt you

are making a positive difference in

the community, especially during

these difficult times.”



Several Sisters of Providence

including two members of

Leadership, Sisters Una Byrne

and Sandra Shannons, attended the

Catholic Sisters’ Legacy Recognition

Project held in September to

recognize Catholic Sisters for

their historical contribution to

public life in Alberta over

the past 150 years.

A new addition to the

Alberta Legislature recognizes

the courageous and intrepid

religious women who helped to

found the province, providing

health care, education and social

services to pioneer communities.

A bronze monument unveiled

September 28th honours all the

congregations of Sisters who

served across the province and

celebrates their legacy of care

and compassion carried on by

others today.

“This monument serves as a powerful

tribute to the impact the Catholic

Sisters have had on so many lives in

our province, including my own. As

a young child, I experienced the care

and compassion of the Catholic Sisters

firsthand, and this is a fitting

way to honour their service, dedication,

and care to countless Albertans,”

said Premier Ed Stelmach.

The Catholic Sisters’ Legacy

Recognition Project is being led by

Covenant Health in collaboration

with the Catholic community. The

Legacy Recognition Project

Ten Sisters of Providence were among the 180 Sisters

who attended the Catholic Sisters’ Legacy Recognition

Project in Albera. SP’s from Kingston and Alberta stand

beneath the 10 foot statue called Service Through Christ

monument was funded by donations

from various organizations and


“They taught school, fed the hungry,

visited the distraught, housed

orphans and tended the sick. These


were no small tasks when you

consider how little they had and

how primitive conditions were,”

says Gordon Self, Executive Sponsor

of the Catholic Sisters’ Legacy

Recognition Project.

Over 70 orders of Sisters have

served in Alberta in the past

150 years, including the Sisters

of Providence, Kingston, who

first arrived in Alberta in 1908,

to open Providence Hospital in

Daysland. The first were three

Sisters of Charity of Montreal

(Grey Nuns) who arrived in

Lac St. Anne, September 24,


Local artist Herman Poulin

from St. Paul, Alberta was

commissioned to create the

Catholic Sisters’ Legacy

Recognition monument, Service

Through Christ. For Poulin, the

project brought him back to his

childhood and stirred feelings of


“To work on the Sisters’ project is

an honour. It is full circle for me.”

says Herman. “In my primary

school years, it was the Sisters who

helped me discover my talent as a

young artist. They called it a gift.

Today, it is my turn to honour and

respect my mentors.”

The 10 ft bronze statue of a Sister

holding a piece of stained glass

stands on a pedestal engraved with

the names of the religious orders of

Sisters who served in Alberta. The

bronze figure moves through a

foundation pillar

and incorporates




her neck,



defines as the

source of her inner

strength and purpose.

“Her movement exudes service”

says Poulin. The figure in traditional

dress strides forward, one heel up.

“The flow of her long dress and her

apron symbolize many tasks to do.”



From the opening words of

General Superior Sister

Sandra Shannon to the final

group hug, the Western Fall Gathering

was a time for all of the Sisters

to unpack the new directional

statements of the Chapter held last

April. Reminiscing of the prechapter,

the chapter itself and now

the movement forward with our two

statements showed us how much we

have grown as a group. This brought

hope for the future.

Sisters gather at the Western Fall Gathering

in late September.

During the September 29th to

October 1st gathering, we were also

brought up to date on other key

events including plans for renovations

at Providence Motherhouse in

Kingston, an update on negotiations

with regard to Rosary Hall and

Covenant Health, and an update on

any Sisters in the east who had been


Unfortunately the Associates who

planned to attend the Fall Gathering

were unable to show up for supper

and the opening on Thursday


Realizing that the number of Sisters

in the West are now down to a little

more than a handful, it was decided

by the group that this would be the

last Western Fall Gathering. It just

makes more sense for the Sisters

here to go East.


Sr. Sandra Shannon, General Superior,

offered the opening address at

the Eastern Fall Gathering.

An excerpt appears here.

Fall Gathering

“Traditionally there is some reflection

given at the opening of the Fall

Gathering. I struggled with “What

will I share.” Well the word LOVE

kept popping up here and there.

Last Sunday the readings – You shall


love the Lord your God with all

your heart, etc.; You shall love your

neighbor, etc. Monday’s Prayer after

Communion – “May the new life

you give us increase our love and

keep us in the joy of your kingdom.”

Tuesday – Father Gazeley’s

homily about doing little things for

one another in love. Directional

Statement I says “being educated in

love by prayer (St. Vincent).”

So I thought I would go with the

theme of LOVE. St. John, apparently,

every time he was asked to

address the early church, would

stand up and say “Love one another”

and sit down. Now if I were

St. John, I’d stop now but since I’m

not, I’ll say a little more.

Like St. John, I say “Love one another.”

About a month ago while attending

the unveiling of the statue

of a sister and while at the Mass

celebrating the Legacy of the Sisters

in Alberta, I reflected not only about

our present Sisters and Associates

and what you are doing to bring

about the reign of God in our time

but also about those who have gone

before us, our ancestors. Those

Sisters who have left us the beautiful

legacy we have – our congregation,

the Associate Program and most

importantly our Mission – the

reason we exist and the reason for

which we continue to strive to exist.

Walking into the light we continue

to love the Gospel and bring its

message into our reality. Thus the

importance of our Directional

Statements. They are the road maps

which tell us with whom and in

what direction we are to place our

love and how we are to live out our


Participants at Eastern Fall Gathering.

Sr. Sandra Shannon, General Superior, gives

the opening address.



In celebration of the 150th

anniversary of Providence

Care, two volunteers have taken

the initiative to create five commemorative


One will be gifted to the Sisters of

Providence of St. Vincent de Paul

during a special Mass at Providence

Manor in late November. The

others will be given to PC’s Mental

Health Services, Providence Manor

and St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital.

Each of these four quilts visually

capture and chronicle the buildings’

progression over time.

The fifth and final quilt created the

opportunity for Providence Care

staff to actively participate in marking

this anniversary year. Staff,

patients, clients and residents were

encouraged to collaborate with

others to complete a square

representing their department or

area. This team effort resulted in 96

eclectic and creative squares

highlighting their dedication to

Providence Care’s mission, vision

and values.

Fran Cooney, Housekeeping Service

Manager for Providence Care,

Mental Health Services, and her

long-time friend, Linda Miller,

Tapestry Timeline


offered their quilting skills and time

to this project. At a Providence Care

staff forum in late 2010, staff were

encouraged to suggest ideas on how

they would like to celebrate

Photo: Jenn Goodwin

A Providence Care staff member and her long-time friend have created five quilts to

celebrate Providence Care’s 150th Anniversary. One of these quilts will be gifted to

the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul later at a special event November 23.

Providence Care’s 150th anniversary.

Fran immediately expressed interest

in creating a commemorative quilt.

After developing the idea, and

speaking with Linda, the quilter for

the project, the pair agreed to

create five commemorative quilts.

Just nine months later, the set of

expressive quilts was completed.

“We are very excited to present the

quilt to the Sisters of Providence

and see their reaction,” said Fran.

“The hundreds of hours of time

put into completing these quilts will

be worth it.”

The quilt for the Sisters of

Providence of St. Vincent de Paul

will be unveiled on Wednesday,

November 23, at 2 p.m. at

Providence Care’s special

anniversary service to be held at

Our Mother of Sorrows Chapel at

Providence Manor.

The remaining four quilts will be

presented at staff forums during

Founder’s Week in December.

Healing Tree


Nancy Stevens is trained

in fine arts and

photography — gifts she

repeatedly shares with Sisters in her

care on the infirmary wing of

Providence Motherhouse. Her latest

project now hangs on display by the

nursing station on Marian II.

Called the Healing Tree, the large

painted tree features 18 leaves; one

for each Sister on Marian II. At the

base of the trunk, a string holds the

prayer petitions and special intentions

written on leaves by both

Sisters and staff.

Every Sister on Marian II created

the large art piece including leaf

cutting and painting.

Some of the intentions ask for

prayers for specific events or people.

Others simply hold one name.

Nancy wrote her own intention,

revealing her trademark sense of

humour. It reads, “Special intention

for Nancy to find love someday.”

She stressed the need for laughter

among this close knit group of

Sisters and staff on the second

Sister Irene MacDonell and Nancy Stevens at the Healing Tree shortly after it was displayed

in August. A plaque hangs beside the tree that reads in part, Trees have been

looked upon as a source of wisdom and healing. We hope that our Healing Tree here

at the Motherhouse enhances the mission of Providence and helps to make visible the

compassionate presence of God.


“We’ve experienced the loss of

some of our dear Sisters this year

and others are gravely ill,” says


Accompanying a Sister to a hospital

appointment, Nancy was impressed

by a similar healing tree blooming in

the lobby. Within weeks, Nancy

organized her crafty group and


adapted the tree to become more


“The activities on this floor have

become more non-active with our

aging Sisters,” says Nancy. “This tree

doesn’t just hang on the wall, it

invites Sisters to visit and reflect.”

“I think the healing tree is a grand

idea,” says Sister Peggy Flanagan

who knows all too well the power of

Sister Loretto Boland, a gifted artist, paints one of

the 18 leaves.

prayers and special intentions. Sr.

Peggy is currently receiving

chemotherapy for recurrent cancer.

“I plan to add a teal coloured leaf to

the healing tree – teal is the colour

for ovarian cancer survivors. I am

just so very edified by the dedication

of our staff. You help to keep us

true to our motto, Trust in

Providence and walk in hope.

NDP candidate Mary Rita Holland

answers questions from Sister Anna


The other three candidates wait their

turn to speak l to r: Liberal John

Gerretsen, Green Robert Kiley and

Conservative Rodger James.

Election candidates from the

four major provincial political

parties spoke to a group of

Sisters of Providence before the

October 6th election. They

fielded questions about healthcare

and disease prevention,

poverty and home care for

seniors. The candidates also

addressed affordable housing,

green energy and education.


ACanadian company plans to

build a pipeline from

Alberta’s Tar Sands to

Texas. If approved by both the

Canadian and American governments,

the pipeline would transport

diluted bitumen, a mixture of oil and


Environmentalists, farmers, and

affected communities are all

concerned that this mixture, which

includes cancer causing benzene and

toxic heavy metals may end up

spilling into ground water thereby

polluting precious drinking water and

aquifers. The company argues that

there is no such risk even though a

pipeline leaked more than one million

gallons of diluted bitumen into

Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in July


Other concerns include an increase

in the Tar Sands production adding

to the already destructive environmental

and social consequences

experienced in Alberta. This increase

will accelerate climate change causing

more carbon dioxide gases to be

Say No to Tar Sands

released into the earth’s atmosphere.

Instead of reducing our emissions

and protecting God’s creation our

country will be implicit in risking the

future of many generations to come.

Canadians and Americans who care

for the integrity of creation have responded

by arranging protest “sit

ins” where supporters are asked to sit

in acts of peaceful civil disobedience.

A “sit-in” organized by Ottawa

Action took place on Parliament Hill

September 26th.

The JPIC office of the Sisters of

Providence, the Kingston & District

Labour Council and the Ontario Secondary

School Teacher’s Federation

(OSSTF) sponsored a bus to give

Kingstonians an opportunity to

support this day of action. Sisters of

Providence Shirley Morris and Susan

Pye, along with JPIC staff Tara

Kainer and Bridget Doherty

attended. They were joined by Sr.

Maureen Killoran, CND, Ottawa,

Monica Lampton, CND, JPIC Staff

Montreal and Kingston MP Ted Hsu.

Many Sisters supported the day with



Photos: Tara Kainer

Sisters of Providence Shirley Morris and

Susan Pye attend the Ottawa sit-in.

Two giant syringes with the words “TAR


represent our addiction to oil. It carries the

dire warning that if we don’t act now to

reduce our dependancy on oil, we will


Liturgy Schedule

Incarnational Cycle


Building a New World in God’s Steadfast Love

Saturday, November 26 6:30 p.m. Evening Prayer

Sunday, November 27 10:00 a.m. 1st Sunday of Advent

Sunday, December 4 10:00 a.m. 2nd Sunday of Advent

Sunday, December 11 10:00 a.m. 3rd Sunday of Advent

Sunday, December 18 10:00 a.m. 4th Sunday of Advent

Tuesday, December 20 6:30 p.m. Sacrament of Reconciliation

Saturday, December 24 7:00 p.m. Vigil of Christmas

Followed by refreshments

Sunday, December 25 10:00 a.m. Nativity of the Lord

Sunday, January 1 10:00 a.m. Mary, Mother of God

Friday, January 6

Day of Eucharistic Devotion

Sunday, January 8 10:00 a.m. Epiphany of the Lord



Liturgy - Revisions to Missal

More than 80 Sisters,

Associates, Motherhouse

liturgical ministers and

staff gathered on Tuesday, October

4 for an information session regarding

the coming revision of the

Roman Missal (the book of rites

used for Mass and other liturgies

such as Good Friday) and its

accompanying General Instruction,

the document explaining the

Missal’s practical implementation.

The presentation was given by

Fr. John Hibbard and sponsored by

the Congregational Liturgy Committee.

Fr. Hibbard is chair of both the

Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission

and the National Council for

Liturgy, a committee of the

Canadian Conference of Catholic

Bishops. He is also a past director of

the National Liturgy Office.

A revised edition of the Roman

Missal was issued by the Holy See

(Rome) in 2002. The English

translation of Roman Missal has

been completed. This revised

Roman Missal will introduce a new

Fr. John Hibbard reviews the upcoming

revisions to the Roman Missal.

translation of the Mass for all

English-speaking Catholics throughout

the world and revised directions

for celebration. This will affect the

spoken prayers and sung parts of

the Mass.

Fr. Hibbard first reviewed the

history of the revision process,

moving on to such matters such as

translation principles, scriptural

references and ritual language, all of

which have had considerable

influence on the final texts.

Sr. Frances O’Brien expressed

appreciation on behalf of all

present, noting that times of

transition can challenge us.

She said that hopefully

Fr. Hibbard’s thoughtful

presentation will help us

all through this challenging


The Third Edition of the

Roman Missal will be implemented

on the First Sunday of Advent,

November 27, 2011. Further

information and resources

are available on the website

of the Archidiocese of Kingston.

Season’s Greetings


The 2011 Christmas greeting card.

Cover art by Sr. Margaret Mary Lines.

January 1973.




Gayle Desarmia and

Frances O’Brien had the

privilege of participating

in the annual assembly of the

Leadership Conference of Women

Religious being held in Garden

Grove, California from August 9-12.

The theme of the assembly was

“Mystery Unfolding: Religious Life

for the World”.

The morning that the conference

opened we had opportunity to visit

the exhibit, “Women & Spirit:

Catholic Sisters in America” which

illustrates how sisters played a vital

role in shaping American life from

the earliest days right up to the

present. This exhibit has been

travelling across the United States

for a couple of years.

One of the keynote speakers,

Barbara E. Reid, OP, presented a

biblical reflection entitled

“Embodying Holy Mystery” in

which she addressed the mystery of

God revealed in Creation, the

mystery of God beyond gender and

the mystery of death as birth pangs

of hope. While it appears that

religious life as we know it is dying,

she challenged us to be hopeful and

joy-filled for what

is in the process of

being birthed by

Holy Mystery.


Bracamontes, OSB

after reviewing the

signs of the times,

challenged women

religious to live

with a profound

faith that will bring

forth new life.

Over the course of

the three days we

engaged in a contemplative process

and conversation. We sat

together in silence discovering what

God is calling forth for religious life

today. The work is God’s and we are

available for it.

In the presidential address Mary

Hughes, OP, addressed the hurt that

women religious in the United States

Mystery Unfolding

experienced because of the

Doctrinal Assessment by the

Congregation for the Doctrine of

the Faith and the Apostolic

Visitation by the Congregation for

Institutes of

Consecrated Life

and Societies of

Apostolic Life


said that from

these experiences

we have learned

to forgive those

who brought

about the suffering.


requires us to

abandon our right

to resentment,

being agents of reconciliation, letting

go of negative attachment to


One highlight of our time in

Garden Grove was joining with 38

other Women of Providence in

Collaboration for a meal together.

There was a special session of

sharing by sisters whose

congregations have engaged in

re-founding/revitalizing and

obtained some new ideas for

application to our own reality,

re-casting ourselves from being

workers to being catalysts.

We were personally revitalized by

the positive energy, the hope, the

creativity, the enthusiasm, the

commitment to birthing the new

thing of the 650 congregational

leaders who participated in this


The DVDs of the assembly are

available in the Electa Resource


Donations always accepted




Our Providence Associates

Annual General Meeting

was held at Providence

Spirituality Centre on September 30,


Prior to the 6:30 p.m. Call to Order

and Welcome, our Associates and

Sisters posed for a group

photo taken on the PSC


Mercy, who gave a presentation on

Communal Discernment. We should

be listening, understanding (seeking),

remembering (dreaming) and

then acting (make a choice). This

was a wonderful presentation and

many of us will be seeking out the

DVD “Of Gods and Men” to

further our knowledge of communal



was unanimously accepted by everyone

present. Sister Brenda gave us

instructions on the “World Café”

and we shared ideas on how we

could bring this challenging Mission

Statement to life when we return to

our groups.

family, friends, Associates and Sisters.

Sheila said she felt accepted, inspired

and united by the charism of

the Sisters of Providence. She can

now live out this charism of compassionate

service, trusting in Providence

and walking in Hope.

Our evening began with a

beautiful prayer, “A Time

of Happy Transition”

(adapted from a Joyce Rupp

poem) and prepared by the

Catalpa Group. What a

wonderful way to invite the

Inquirers to Candidacy!

Sister Gayle Desarmia, council

Liaison, welcomed Doris Lomboy

and gave her a small token to mark

this important occasion. Barbara

Baker accepted the token on behalf

of Jane Hayes, who was unable to


Barbara Baker introduced our facilitator

Brenda Peddigrew, Sister of

On Saturday morning the AGEM

began with the inspirational Mantra,

“Open to You” by Joyce Rupp and a

prayer prepared by the Rainbow

Group. Sister Brenda Peddigrew

worked with all present and helped

us to understand that we would

“grow into” our Mission Statement.

The Associate Mission Statement

The Chapel of Mary Mother of

Compassion was a beautiful setting

for the Commitment Ceremony of

Sheila LaRush as she made her commitment

as a Providence Associate

of the Sisters of Providence of St.

Vincent de Paul. The ceremony was

celebrated within the Liturgy of the

Hours. Sheila was surrounded by

Photo: Joe Demedeiros

Sheila LaRush makes her Commitment

as a Providence Associate.

Photo: Joe Demedeiros

Participants at the AGEM.

l to r: Elizabeth Cowperthwaite,

Barbara Baker, Dianne Dutcher and

Sr. Judith Lee



NACAR Workshop on the Ins and Outs of

Associate Formation

Sister Catherine Cannon, Associates

Barbara Baker and Cathy Bryan

attended the NACAR Professional

Development Workshop for Associate

Directors held June 10-12, 2011,

in the Providence Spirituality Centre,

Kingston, Ontario. Facilitators

were Carol Gariano and Mary Jo


News from Camrose

Feb. 14, 2011 — A mid-winter bake

sale for Peruvian Missions was

organized by Providence Associates

with assistance of the C.W.L. and

St. Mary’s Hospital Auxiliary and

staff. Sr. Bernadine Bokenfohr and

Debbie Muise spoke to these

groups about mission and its needs.

The amount raised was $5480.00.

Funds were used to build the emergency

evacuation stairs

needed at the school.


Back row l - r: Audrey Heck, Miriam Hanoski , Connie Prost, Sr. Bernadine

Bokenfohr Front Row l - r: Kathy Liebel, Sr. Rose Marie Bokenfohr, Debbie

Muise, Bernice Schlunt-Macfarlane

NACAR workshop participants.

Topics included: Inquiry and Application

Process, Interviewing, Ritual

of Welcome and Commitment,

Formation and Initial Integration,

Discernment, and Withdrawal and

Termination. This excellent

workshop was well worth the time.

April 1, 2011 — Sister

Rose Marie Bokenfohr

missionary Sister from

Peru, spoke to the Associates

about the Mission

and thanked them

for their donation. Part

of the bake sale funds

were given to Sr. Rose

Marie who operates a health clinic

for the sick and those needing

assistance with medications.


June 6, 2011— Sister Patricia Amyot

facilitated a Retreat for the

Associates with a focus on Joyce

Rupp’s book “Cup of Life”. The

various forms of prayer used by Sr.

Pat during the prayer periods were

much appreciated.

Associate Pat Niehaus provided

hospitality in her beautiful Camrose

home. A delicious lunch was

enjoyed by all.

The day left everyone spiritually

renewed and uplifted by the spirit

of the group.

Mission Statement


the Providence


are inspired and united by the

Charism, Spirituality, and Mission of

the Sisters of Providence

of St. Vincent de Paul.

Trusting in God’s

Providence, we are

committed to strengthening

our common call to

compassionate service.

In responding to God’s call,

we are present to our family,

neighours and all of

creation through

relationships which

are authentic, trusting,

meaningful, respectful

and creative.


In Memoriam


Lorne Willard Hankinson,

dearly beloved husband of

Elsie Hankinson, was called

home to God in Brantford on May

22, 2011 in his 86th year.

Lorne together with his wife Elsie

made their commitment as

Associates of the Sisters

of Providence of St.

Vincent de Paul on

September 10, 1992.

Lorne’s fellow associates

describe him as a

fine Christian gentleman,

conscientious in

all undertakings, generous

and possessing exceptional

leadership skills.

He was a faithful member

of St. Pius X Parish in

Brantford serving for many years as

coordinator of Ministers of the

Word. He organized the St. Vincent

de Paul Society and served as President

of Brant County Particular

Lorne Willard Hankinson

Council of St. Vincent de Paul.

He worked in close contact with the

Sisters of Providence assisting them

in their work with refugee families.

He was awarded the Bishop’s medal

for dedicated service to Parish and


Lorne expressed well his deep faith

in corresponding to the Director

of Providence Associates.

He wrote, “I

will continue in my efforts

to assist those

less fortunate than

myself. I will assist

and support the

refugee families. I will

live and regulate my life

to the best of my ability

in caring for my fellow

human beings.”

May he rest in peace.


Vocation / Formation News

There is surely a future hope for

you, and your hope will not be cut off.

— Proverbs 23:18

continuing her discernment with the

help of a spiritual director. Let us

pray for this gifted and highly

educated woman who is attracted to

ministering to the marginalized of

our society.

And the one who was seated on the

throne said, “See, I am making all things

new.” — Rev. 21:5

We can be awake and watchful

for resurrections, for the creative ways that

new life streams even in the midst of

death. — Judy Cannato



During the last several

months we have been in

contact with a mature

young woman from Kitchener,

Ontario who, after doing a search

on the internet, has expressed an

interest in our Congregation. At her

request, she spent two days, June 11

and 12, at the Motherhouse meeting

with Sisters Nancy Wilson, Lucy

Kearney and Barbara Thiffault

because she felt attracted to our

charism and ministries. Because she

is discerning a possible call to

religious life, she wanted to meet

our Sisters to gain more insight into

our lived experience. Since her visit

in June, she has continued to remain

in contact with us on a regular basis.

At the present time she is seriously

Holy Cross Students Visit


Ten grade 9 to 12 students and two

staff members from the Social

Action Club at Holy Cross Catholic

Secondary School, Kingston visited

the Motherhouse on October 3rd.

Following a short presentation on

our Congregation and an explanation

of the Volunteer Program, the

students visited Marian II in

anticipation of becoming volunteers.

The interaction between the

students and the Sisters has inspired

some of the senior students to

become volunteers at the


Inter-Congregational Vocation


The regular meetings of the Inter-

Congregational Committee have

continued with planning for various

activities. Representatives from the

Committee attended the Algonquin

and Lakeshore Catholic District

School Board system wide Community

Faith Day on October 24th in

Belleville. We provided a display

consistent with and supportive of

Catholic education.

On October 16th three members of

the Committee in response to an

invitation from St. John’s Parish,

Gananoque participated in the

parish retreat. Their presentation on

the “Call to Discipleship” in keeping

with their theme, “Come Follow

Me”, was well received.

Diocesan Joint Vocation


The insights gained from the collaboration

of the laity, clergy and religious

are invaluable in our efforts to

build a culture of vocation. Among

other activities the Committee is

exploring the possibility of holding

a Vocation Fair in one of the




It is in a spirit of gratitude that

we say our farewell to Beverley

McDonald as she retires from

her ministry as Director of

Providence Spirituality Centre for

the past eight years.

We are grateful for Beverley’s:

• Wholehearted commitment to this

ministry of the Sisters of Providence

of Saint Vincent de Paul.

• Faithfulness to the Church and the

people of God.

• Respect for all people and for all

of God’s Creation.

We have seen this in her tireless efforts

and determination to seek out

‘top-notch’ retreat directors and

presenters, committed to issues of

justice and peace and up-to-date on

ecological and environmental issues

of the day.

Beverley has been respectful of and

faithful to the charism and mission

of the Sisters of Providence of

Saint Vincent de Paul and we thank


Beverley’s delightful sense of

humour, her contagious laughter

and her joyful spirit have been gift

for those of us who had the privilege

to work closely with her and a

blessing for all who visited our


We wish Beverley well and a “Happy

Retirement! ” We are grateful for her

dedication and leadership during

these past eight years. Beverley will

be greatly missed by all of us.

Beverley McDonald

PSC Director retires


Some gifted poets at

Providence Motherhouse are

being recognized for their

creative prose. Poems written by

Anna Moran, a Sister of Providence

and Tara Kainer of the Justice,

Peace and Integrity of Creation

Office, were published in the

Kingston Whig Standard as part of

a poetry writing contest called

In Your Own Words.

Motherhouse Poets

Mystery so mystifies this mind of mine,

Proposing problems of such perplexing kind

That rest within the womb of a war torn world

Awaiting wisdom

— Sr. Anna Moran

Kingston residents were asked to

send short poems (haiku, couplet,

free verse.) Sr. Anna and Tara made

an impression on Poet Laureate

Eric Folsom who selected the

poems for publication.

Sr. Anna began writing poetry only

a decade ago. Tara Kainer pubished

her first book of poetry ealier this


Why are they denied these gestures

beyond the self, symbols

like beacons in the night

— Tara Kainer



Sister Rose Mary Ryan

(Theresa Doris Ryan) was

born on December 17, 1929

in Picton, Ontario, one of nine children

of Jane Gannon and William

Ryan. She was blessed with a twin

sister, Dorothy Sarah, Sister Rose

Anne. She grew up in a very happy

family home which was located outside

the town of Picton. She attended

St. Gregory’s Catholic

Elementary School and Picton High

School for grade nine. She then attended

Notre Dame High School in

Kingston for one year. During the

summers of 1944 and 1945 she

worked at St. Vincent de Paul Hospital

in Brockville where she enjoyed

her experience of working with the

Sisters. She had already met the Sisters

of Providence of St. Vincent de

Paul in Picton when she was in

grade eight at the time of the

Sisters’ arrival there to teach. Sister

Mary Berna (Mary LeSage) had been

her teacher. The Sisters’ spirit of joy

helped her to make her decision to

enter religious life.

She and her twin sister, Dorothy

Sara, Sister Rose Anne, entered the

novitiate of the Sisters of Providence

of St. Vincent de Paul in

Kingston, Ontario, on August 15,

1946. Sister spent many years as

housekeeper and cook in

Maryvale Abbey,

Glen Nevis, St.

Michael’s Convent,


St. Mark’s Convent,


and St. John’s


Perth. She

spent two years

at St. Joseph’s

Vocational School

in Winnipeg as Assistant

Supervisor of

the boys, a ministry she

enjoyed. In 1969 she graduated with

honours from St. Mary’s School of

Nursing, Montreal as a Registered

Nurse. After four years of general

duty nursing at St. Mary’s Hospital

which were very happy years for her,

she was assigned to Providence

Manor in Kingston as supervisor

In Memoriam


and general duty nurse. In 1974 she

went to St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital,

Kingston to begin and develop

the first Medical Day Hospital Program

in Ontario. She remained there

until August 1986 and then had a

sabbatical year at Galilee in

Arnprior. On her return

from her sabbatical in

1987 she began a

new career with the

Nursing Registry

in Kingston. This

involved doing

private duty nursing

for dying people

in their homes.

This was night work

within the city of

Kingston as well as in

the surrounding area. She

enjoyed this work and felt

privileged to be with the dying and

their families. In 1988 she was asked

to go to Gabriel Home to work with

the young unwed expectant mothers.

Following this ministry she was

asked to work at the Loretta Hospitality

Centre to oversee and help

prepare a hot noon meal for those

in need. Sister Rose Mary remained

in this ministry until ill health necessitated

her withdrawal. She was

called home to her loving God at

Providence Motherhouse, Kingston,

Ontario, on August 18, 2011. Sister

Rose Mary is predeceased by her

parents, her sisters, Loretta Gunn,

Mary and Jean and her brothers,

Thomas, Vincent, Daniel, Leo and

James. Sister is survived by her twin

sister, Sister Rose Anne Ryan of the

Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent

de Paul of Kingston. She will be

fondly remembered by her sister,

relatives, and friends and by the

members of her religious community.

The Mass of Christian Burial,

held in the Chapel of Mary Mother

of Compassion, Providence

Motherhouse on August 22, was

presided over by Friar Edward

Debono, OFM Conv. Msgr. Don

Clement was the homilist.

Sister Rose Mary Ryan

December 17, 1929 —

August 18, 2011


Joan Wing was born on April 30,

1922 in Gananoque, Ontario,

the youngest of five children of

Elizabeth Corboy and

William J. Wing. She received her

education at St. John’s Separate

School and Gananoque High

School. In 1943 she graduated as a

registered nurse from St. Joseph’s

School of Nursing at Hotel Dieu

Hospital in Kingston. The following

year on August 15th she entered the

novitiate of the Sisters of Providence

of St. Vincent de Paul in

Kingston. At her First Profession

she received the name Sister Mary


Following her First Profession in

1946, Sister went to St. Francis Hospital

in Smiths Falls as the Operating

Room Supervisor. In 1953 she did

post graduate studies in Operating

Room Nursing at Jersey City Medical

Centre in Jersey City and took a

course in Operating Room Technique

at the Regina General Hospital

in 1961. From 1959 until 1963

she was at Providence Hospital in

Moose Jaw as the Operating Room

Supervisor. From 1963 to 1982 Sister

Joan was at St. Vincent de Paul

Hospital in Brockville in the same

capacity. The following year she enjoyed

a sabbatical. During her

sabbatical year she lived

at St. Mary’s of the

Lake and took a

course in

Church History

at Queen’s

University. At

the same time

she attended

St. Lawrence

College and

took a course in

interior design

and decorating.

Then in 1984 she became

the Director of

Nursing Service at Providence

Manor and remained in this position

until 1991 when she retired from

nursing. St. Mary’s of the Lake was

her last mission until the Sisters vacated

the residence in April 1998.

During these years she experienced

much tearing down and building,

In Memoriam


moving and renovating. For her it

was a wonderful experience to see

the new and modern facilities replace

old and outdated buildings.

During all this time of restructuring

she met many dedicated hospital

staff, medical, clergy and lay

people willing and anxious

to help the Sisters

achieve the goal –

Providence at work

in our lives.

In 1998 Sister Joan

became the care

giver and companion

for her sister,

Mary, who lived in

the country west of

Gananoque. Sister

lived with Mary until

Mary’s death on July 20,

2003. It was at this time that Sister

Joan took up residence at Providence


Sister Joan went home to her loving

God very unexpectedly on Tuesday,

August 23, 2011.

Sister Joan is predeceased by her

parents, her brothers, Oliver David

and John William and by her sisters,

Mary Wing and Elizabeth Deir. She

will be fondly remembered by her

nieces, nephews, and friends and by

the members of her religious congregation.

The Mass of Christian

Burial, held in the Chapel of Mary

Mother of Compassion, Providence

Motherhouse on August 26, was

presided over by Friar Ed Debono,

OFM Conv. The homilist was Rev.

Michael Reed.

Sister Joan Wing

April 30, 1922 — August 23, 2011

Providence Pages

Mission Statement

A regular publication of the Sisters of Providence of

St. Vincent de Paul

Editor & Director of Communications: Christine Ross

Editorial Assistant: Mike Hammond

Communications Advisory Committee:

Sr. Sandra Shannon (liaison)

Sr. Barbara Thiffault

Christine Ross

Mike Hammond

Doreen Hoekstra

Special thanks to Proof Readers:

Sisters Anne Hudec

Mary Joan LaFleur

Gayle Desarmia

For questions, comments or

address changes, contact:

Office of Communications

Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul

Providence Motherhouse

Box 427, 1200 Princess Street

Kingston, ON, Canada

K7L 4W4



Web site:

We, the Sisters of

Providence of St.

Vincent de Paul, are an

apostolic congregation of vowed

women religious called to be

channels of God’s Providence in the

world through compassionate

service in response to the needs of

the times. Sharing our individual

giftedness, we carry out diverse

ministries in a spirit of humility,

simplicity and charity in collaboration

with others to bring about the

reign of God.

Our heritage is rooted in the

creativity and spirituality of Vincent

de Paul and Louise de Marillac, in the

willingness of Emilie Gamelin to risk

and trust in Providence, in the

responsiveness of the Montreal

Sisters of Providence to the call of

Bishop E.J. Horan, as well as in the

courage and pioneer spirit of Mother

Mary Edward McKinley and the

original members of the Kingston


Impelled by the compassionate love

of Jesus and Mary, we seek to

empower others, especially the poor

and oppressed, to achieve a quality of

life in keeping with their human

dignity. We strive to be prophetic

leaders in our church and in society

through the promotion of structures

and relationships of equality and

mutuality and through attitudes and

actions for justice and peace.

Strengthened by prayer, we are

bonded in unity and love through

our corporate mission. Serving with

compassion, trusting in Providence,

we walk in hope.

1861 - 2011


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