Transitions in health ministries and leadership
Over the past 20 years, Congregational leadership has been positioning the Sisters of Providence ministries for the future.
In the late 1970s, Chapter Delegates voted to bring our multiple hospitals, nursing homes, and social service ministries into a system. After much analysis and process, the Sisters of Providence Health System (SPHS) was launched in 1984 and a lay President/CEO was selected.
In the mid-90s, it became clear that SPHS needed to become part of a larger health system. The New Covenant process occurring among U.S. Catholic hospitals called upon Catholic facilities to join into larger regional or national systems.
From 1995 to 1997, SPHS leadership began exploring options throughout New England and beyond. As part of the New Covenant process, meetings were held on the east coast in 1996 and SPHS leadership joined in those deliberations. Three regional systems—SPHS, Eastern Mercy Health System and the Allegany Health System—after a lengthy process, agreed to become founding members of Catholic Health East (CHE) in January 1998. CHE spanned the east coast from Maine to Florida. The Sisters of Providence congregational president was a member of CHE’s Sponsors’ Council and Sister Kathleen Popko served on the CHE Senior Management Team.
Moving to historical sponsorship
Again around 2010, the impetus to become part on a larger national system grew in importance. Catholic Health East explored options including joining with Trinity Health System in Michigan. After significant effort, the two systems came together in 2013. Sister Kathleen Popko had been a member of the Steering Committee and then became a member of the founding new Trinity Health Board and Sister Mary Caritas Geary was invited to serve on the Trinity Health Of New England Board that included SPHS. With these changes, the Sisters of Providence moved into the role of historical sponsors of SPHS.
The Sisters of Providence sponsored several other local entities and decided in 2014 to develop a new holding company for these ministries called the Sisters of Providence Ministry Corporation (SPMC). These ministries include Providence Place, Mary’s Meadow, Genesis Spiritual Life and Conference Center, Providence Ministries and other properties. Sister Kathleen Popko became the President/CEO of SPMC. In 2015, John Wesolowski was appointed to the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Director of Operations for SPMC.
In July 2019, the Sisters of Providence announced further leadership changes including the promotion of John Wesolowski to the position of President/Chief Executive Officer of SPMC. He retains his CFO responsibilities and Sister Kathleen Popko, SP continues to serve in the roles of full-time Chair of the SPMC Board and President of the Sisters of Providence. At the same time, Lynn Ostrowski-Ireland, Ph.D. was selected to serve as Chief Operating Officer for Sisters of Providence Ministry Corporation.