News From Terre Haute, Indiana


October 5, 2013

Sisters to host discernment weekend

TERRE HAUTE — A woman considering the counter-cultural lifestyle of a Catholic sister can find herself facing many emotions and just as many questions. The Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods hope to offer some support. Single Catholic women ages 18-42 are invited to a discernment weekend Oct. 18-20 at St. Mary-of-the-Woods.

Those attending will have opportunity to talk with other women considering religious life and with those who have recently joined. They can participate in prayer, personal sharing, fun and faith in action.

The weekend’s theme is “How do I know what God wants me to do?” There is no charge for the event, and housing and meals are provided.

Sister Arrianne Whittaker, 26, will be participating in the weekend. She recalls her feelings leading up to entering the congregation in 2011.

“Some days I was excited and thought this was the best thing I could do. At other times I was overwhelmed. Another day I would think this is the most ridiculous thing — ‘What am I even thinking?’ The mood swings could be quick. I had to sort out a lot of information, and I was not sure how to sort it all out. Most days I just had to sit with it,” she said.

“Along the way I learned about myself, and I learned to ask, ‘Where am I finding peace?’ because if I found peace then I needed to go with it,” she said.

Many things attracted Whittaker to the Sisters of Providence. “Definitely their evolving sense of Providence revealed through a dedication to works of social and eco-justice. And their understanding of God as connected to all creation,” she said. She also felt called to the mission of love, mercy and justice, to the congregation’s foundress, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, and to their strong sense of home.

“I wanted to do this in community, to be with like-minded individuals who challenge me,” she said. Along the way she came to feel like she fit.

Whittaker encourages other women to consider this life dedicated to serving others.

“Don’t be afraid to take the risk if you think it’s what you’re called to,” she said. “You would not be alone in the process. I can guarantee that you would be surrounded by people who support you and genuinely care about you,” she said.

For more information about the discernment weekend or life as a Sister, contact Sister Nancy Nolan at or 812-535-2895, or Sister Editha Ben at or call 1-800-860-1840, ext. 2895. Visit the congregation’s website at

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