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.
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:
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:
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:
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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.
Sisters of Providence Associate Co-Directors
Jim Clifford and Aida Gaouette are Co-Directors of the Sisters of Providence Associates. The Associate Director/Co-Directors position is a volunteer office wherein the Director/Co-Directors assume 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 them in their role. Patricia St. Amand current serves as Office Coordinator for the Associates.
James “Jim” Clifford, Associate Class 2009, has worked in health care for more than 30 years, most of those years within the Sisters of Providence Health System, and more recently within Trinity Health Of New England. He served for 17 years as administrator at Farren Care Center, Turners Falls, and then as program director at Mercy Adult Day Health, Westfield.
Jim earned a BA in sociology from West Virginia Wesleyan College, and a Master degree in management from Cambridge College, Springfield campus.
Aida Gaouette, Associate Class 2006, has served in various roles within the Sisters of Providence sponsored ministries. She volunteered in the former Spiritual Development Program at Brightside for Families and Children, West Springfield and on the Board of Directors for Providence Ministries for the Needy, Holyoke. Recently, she was on Mount Saint Vincent Care Center’s Pastoral Care Team, Holyoke.
Aida is a parishioner at St. Rose de Lima Parish, Chicopee, serves on the Parish Council, and the Parish’s St. Joan of Arc School Board. She has made an over 15-year commitment as Co-Chair of the Parish’s Summer Picnic which usually attracts between 450-700 people.
A 2018 graduate of Elms College, Chicopee, Aida earned her Bachelor’s degree in Health Care Management there while working full time. Employed by Lizotte Glass, Inc., Holyoke, since 2008, she serves as Company Controller.
Associate Core Committee
The Associate Core Committee assists the Director/Co-Directors in planning Associate gatherings and programs. Core Committee members respond to the Co-Directors’ requests for input, advice, and/or assistance with special project and collaborate with the Co-Directors’ in recommending persons to Candidate, Associate, or to Associate Emerita or Emeritus levels of Association.
The current eight-member Associate Core Committee is comprised both Associates and Sisters: Sisters of Providence Julie Crane and Geraldine Noonan; and Associates Louise Cooper, Jim Clifford, Aida Gaouette, Patty McGovern, Dan Therrien and Betty Wilda. Jim and Aida co-chair the Associate Core Committee.
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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