Special to the Tribune-Star
ST. MARY-OF-THE-WOODS —
Four women have made a lifelong commitment to living as Sisters of Providence by professing perpetual vows with the Congregation on June 30 at the SP motherhouse at St. Mary-of-the-Woods.
Each of the four women has over the past seven to 10 years undergone spiritual formation, study and ministry as temporary professed sisters in preparation for the lifelong commitment.
Sister Patty Wallace was born in Indianapolis. She entered the Sisters of Providence from Shreveport, La., in 2003. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in library science. She currently ministers as an outreach children’s librarian at the Indianapolis Public Library.
She said she thinks women religious have an important role in today’s society.
“The role of women religious is to bring to light injustices where people are excluded, oppressed and treated unfairly. It’s to be a voice for the poor and for those who cannot confront others who oppress them due to lack of resources, fear or hopelessness,” Wallace said.
Sister Laura Parker also entered the Congregation in 2003. She was born in Chicago and was a parish nurse in River Grove, Ill., at the time of her entrance. She has associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing and a master’s degree in pastoral studies from Catholic Theological Institute. She currently ministers as a hospice chaplain in DesPlaines, Ill.
“I was a nurse in the middle of my career. I owned a home. I had a [grown] son. I was certainly settled in my life. There was nothing really that I needed or wanted. But there was something that was calling me; something that was missing in life,” Parker of her entrance 10 years ago.
Parker said she sees her role as a Sister of Providence today as being a spiritual presence in the world: “I wanted to focus on God in my life. So this commitment really grounds me in that. It solidifies my journey.”
Sister Deborah Campbell, a Chicago native, has a bachelor’s degree in business education and a master’s degree in business administration. She is also a certified public accountant. She currently ministers as an auditor for Catholic Relief Services, where she leads auditing teams to impoverished countries to ensure donor funds are being used properly.
“Working closely with people of many different cultures has expanded my horizons and given me a deeper appreciation for all that I have been given,” Campbell said.
To women of today wondering if religious life might be for them, Campbell advised that they “pray, pray and pray some more. And most of all, listen to your heart.”
Sister Beth Wright was not Catholic when she first felt the call to become a “nun.” But she took seriously the idea, which came to her during prayer time and didn’t go away. She entered the Catholic Church, and then she started looking at being a sister.
She is a native of Beech Gove and has an associate’s degree in business and a bachelor’s degree in human services. She currently ministers as assistant administrator, helping to run Wabash Valley Health Center (also known as St. Ann Medical and Dental Services), a free health center for residents of Terre Haute and surrounding communities who would otherwise not have access to health care.
“The questions for me are where is Providence calling me/us in this time and place? What are the urgent needs of this time? How am I/are we being called by Providence to respond to the needs in this time?” she said.
For Wright, one of the needs of the time that ignites her passion is supporting women.
“Women today have so many more opportunities than they used to have. But women today, in general, in most cultures, are not considered equal,” she said.
For more information about the Sisters of Providence, visit www.sistersofprovidence.org.