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We are Sisters of Providence

We are women of Providence aware of our Provident God’s love for each of us and for all of creation.

You can find our ministries where the needs are the greatest—with those who are sick, poor, elderly, homeless, alienated, oppressed or lonely. We recognize that now more than ever people need to experience a Provident God who is with all of us in our struggles to shape a new creation based on justice and peace.

We root our lives in the Gospel values of faith, hope and charity following the spiritual traditions of our patrons Saint Vincent de Paul, Saint Louise de Marillac, Blessed Émilie Gamelin and our foundress, Mother Mary of Providence (Catherine Horan).

In giving witness to the Gospel values, we strive to live together simply, sharing ministry, prayer and leisure. Our shared spirituality and rule of life strengthen us as we undertake our mission to bring hope and healing to a hurting world.

We minister to each other as well, providing for the spiritual and health needs of all our Sisters, particularly our elder and ill Sisters living at Mary’s Meadow. Together, we  celebrate the joys and accomplishments of life and offer each other care and moral support during times of personal struggle, loss and difficulty.

We continually ask ourselves, “What needs healing in our part of the world?” Thus our story endures as we continue to reach out to those in need.

Our stories are as unique as we are

Meet a few of our members. As Sister Mary Martin de Porres Grisé says, “Everyone has a vocation whether it’s to religious life, married or single life.” These three women—Sister Mary Martin de Porres, Sister Margaret, and Sister Senga—chose religious life.

Meet Sister Senga Fulton, SP

Sister Senga was in the U.S. from Scotland attending college to earn a degree in social work when she had a realization. Read her story:

Sister Senga

Meet Sister Mary Martin de Porres Grisé, SP

Sister Marty grew up on a New England farm where she knew the love of devoted, hard-working, faith-centered parents and close-knit siblings. Read her story:

Sister Marty

Meet Sister Margaret McCleary, SP

Sister Margaret McCleary is the founder and former 10-year executive director of Providence Ministries Service Network in Holyoke. She is currently serving as coordinator for Sisters of Providence living at Providence Place, also in Holyoke. Read her story:

Sister Margaret

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Sisters of Providence Associates

Associates are non-vowed women and men who hold the Gospel values as the compelling force in their lives and are drawn to our Community by our charism (spirit). Associates share in our spirituality and mission without canonical membership or monetary or legal obligations. They collaborate in our mission through involvement in community activities.

Trusting in God’s Providence, Providence Associates use whatever gifts our Provident God has entrusted to them as seeds of hope for the future. On their journey, they honor the charism, history, and mission of our Community, making decisions attentive to the needs of the times, and in light of their impact on women, Earth, and those who are poor. They share our common call to be a compassionate presence communicating hope to all those in need.

Associates are as varied as their personalities. Some are single, some married; some are employed by the Sisters of Providence. Others hold jobs in the business sector, or volunteer in Sisters of Providence programs or ministries—or in the good works of their parishes or miscellaneous social service agencies. Some are homemakers, others retired. They are different in who they are and what they do, but not in the values they hold in common.

Associate Directional Statement

Associate leadership

Sisters of Providence Associate Director

Patricia St. Amand is Director of the Sisters of Providence Associates. The Associate Director’s position is a volunteer office wherein the Director assumes oversight for all aspects of the Sisters of Providence Associate Program and, in particular, the Associate Candidate Orientation and Integration Process.

An Associate Core Committee—comprised of both Associates and Sisters of Providence—supports her in her role.

Pat, a member of the 1995 Associate Class, has served as Associate Director since 2016 and beginning in 2003 as Associate Co-Director with Sister Mary Horgan. Pat worked in the Sisters of Providence Communications Office from 1985 to 2020, first as assistant editor of the Congregation’s newsletter Tracings, and from 1990 as Tracings Editor and Communication Director. Prior, she taught school in Enfield, Conn., served as a tutor and oral interpreter for a mainstreamed deaf student in the Longmeadow Public School System, and as a freelance writer for Friendly Ice Cream Corporation, and was social reporter for the Longmeadow News.

Associate Core Committee

The Associate Core Committee assists the Director in planning Associate gatherings and programs. Core Committee members respond to the Director’s/Co-Directors’ requests for input, advice, and/or assistance with special project and collaborate with the Director’s/Co-Directors’ in recommending persons to Candidate, Associate, or to Associate Emerita or Emeritus levels of Association.

The current nine-member Associate Core Committee is comprised both Associates and Sisters: Sisters of Providence Julie Crane, Mary Martin de Porres and Geraldine Noonan; and Associates Louise Cooper, Jim Clifford, Aida Gaouette, Patty McGovern, Pat St. Amand (chair), Dan Therrien and Betty Wilda.

Reflections from some of our Associates

“We are on a journey along the road all faith-filled people travel, and we are taking that journey with the Sisters of Providence wherever it takes us.” —Associate Gail Furman

“As an Associate, I am able to share my beliefs, ideals and values with others who, more or less, think and feel as I do.” —Associate Anne Marie Oberlander

“Association has continued my journey in faith and spirituality and further anchored my belief in a Provident God.” —Associate Jim Clifford

“I know I am on the right path leading me to the Divine through Providence.” —Associate Patty McGovern

“I wanted to find more purpose in my life and to belong to and work with people in a Community who feel the same way.” —Associate Pam Harnois

It is both an honor and a privilege to be counted among the Associates of the Sisters of Providence.” —Associate Aida Gaouette

A brief history of SP Association

Although the Church has a long tradition of lay association with religious communities, for example the Dominican Oblates and Third Order Franciscans, the Sisters of Providence first considered welcoming members of the laity to journey with us as Associates in the early 1970s.

After prayerful and thoughtful deliberations, we initiated the development of our Sisters of Providence Associate Program in 1978 by forming an Associate Committee chaired by Sister Joan Mullen. The committee decided our Associate Program’s format would include a series of monthly prayer and educational meetings on our history, charism, spirituality, mission and ministry.

In 1982 Sister Elizabeth Oleksak succeeded Sister Joan Mullen as chair of the Associate Committee and was named Associate Director. That same year we welcomed our Charter Class of Associates Anne-marie Ferraro and Ralph Ferraro, Mary Niedzielski and Joseph Niedzielski and Viola Mish.

Over the ensuing years, others to serve as Associate Leaders included Sisters Mary of Providence Dion, Caroline Smith and Mary Horgan, and Associates Gail Furman, Fran Popko, Ronald Gilpatrick and currently Patricia St. Amand.

We celebrated our Associates Program’s 35th Anniversary Year during our annual Missioning Day Ceremony in 2017.

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