OPENING SONG: Now Thank We All Our God;
Text by Martin Rinkart, music by Johann Cruger
LEADER: For many years the Sisters of Providence would pray the Aspirations to Divine Providence on Sundays. As we begin let us pray this beautiful prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
LEFT: Divine Providence, in your infinite power, you have drawn all creatures out of nothingness, and you watch over their preservation. Be forever Adored, Loved and Thanked.RIGHT: Divine Providence, in your infinite wisdom, you govern the universe. You give to each being the means of accomplishing its mission and of attaining its end. Be forever Adored, Loved and Thanked.LEFT: Divine Providence, in your infinite goodness, you provide for the needs of all creatures. You give dew to the flowers, food to the birds, and clothing, shelter and nourishment to the poor. Be forever Adored, Loved and Thanked.RIGHT: Divine Providence, in your infinite wisdom, you at times allow the wicked to prosper, that they may again walk in your ways; and you challenge the good to face adversity, that they may trust in your care. Be forever Adored, Loved and Thanked.LEFT: Divine Providence, in your infinite goodness, you become a mother to the orphan, a shelter to those in need, and a refuge to those weighed down under the burden of human misery.
Be forever Adored, Loved and Thanked.
LEADER: The Chronicles of the Sisters of Providence are a treasure of memories for which we give thanks. Let us listen to two of the stories.
READER 1: Our sisters have always trusted in Divine Providence to provide for their needs. We read in the chronicles for Columbus Hospital, Great Falls, Montana, the following account.
On April 11, 1893 excavation for the new brick hospital began.The Depression of 1893 panicked the nation and halted construction of many new buildings. The sisters were short of money and they acknowledged that it was presumptuous to start an edifice during the depression but they put their trust in the Providence of God and began building Columbus Hospital. When the bill for the furniture was $800.00 and they had only $50.00, they went to the chapel and asked God for help. They were still praying when they received a letter containing $800.00. Another time the Superior received a letter demanding $400.00 to pay interest. The sisters asked St. Joseph to help them. The next day a lady gave $1,000.00 asking the sisters to accept it as a loan. When they had almost decided to stop the work on the building for lack of funds, they received a check on loan of $10,000.00 from the Mother House in Canada.
READER 2: Sister Dorothy Byrne shared her experience as one of the four foundresses of St. Raphael School in Glasgow, Montana in 1949.
Our convent was an old club house with no foundation and the floor was on the ground. When school opened we had nothing in the school but textbooks. The desks hadnít arrived and we used rickety chairs and long tables. I had 56 7th and 8th graders (11 girls and 45 boys). Three boys were 16 years old and had been assigned to the reform school but the judge said if they went to the Catholic School they need not go to the reform school in Miles City. On December 8th, a school holiday, we had bitter cold weather (56 below zero counting the wind chill.) Every student came to the 8:00 a.m. Sodality Mass and breakfast. Our water was so rusty that we had to send our garnitures and head bands to St. Thomas in Great Falls, kindness of Sister Mary Evelyn, Superior. She also sent us individual electric heaters but we could use only one at a time because they would blow the circuit. We trusted in Divine Providence for food and parishioners often came to our aid. I renewed my vows every morning.
LEADER: One of the more recent developments in our Providence Community, for which we give thanks, has been the formal coming to be of the Providence Associates. In addition, from the beginning there have been committed, caring people who became collaborators with the sisters, without whom many works of Providence would not have been. All these dedicated people have enhanced the Community of Providence in wonderful ways. They, too, recognize and depend on Providence as they live their daily lives.
READER 3: Phyllis Silva-Keith, PA, shares:
Providence is a "constant" in my life and I have become much more aware of Godís presence since becoming active in community. That in itself is a "Providential" gift for which I am deeply grateful. Providence surrounds me - lifts me and holds my heart. Providence blesses me with joy - and wipes my tears, encourages me to grow and guides me on my pilgrim path. Moments and events happen each day in which I recognize that Providence has paid me another visit; an answer to a spoken or silent prayer. Providence is the someone who comes into my life; we share, serve, shed light and bring comfort to each other. In times like these I am reminded that nothing in life is a coincidence. It is our Provident God spending time with me, reassuring me that I am not alone. The more I love, the more I am at peace and the more I feel Godís presence.
I always felt called to work with the elderly ... in ministry to them, said Chuck Hawley, PA, Providence Health Systems Vice President, recipient of the 2003 Mother Joseph Award. Chuck further shared: In no way do I compare myself to Mother Joseph. The best successes I have had have been at times when I was at a loss; and I have seen that in Mother Josephís letters - Providence and trust. When I was the least capable, I was enabled by Godís power. The mission of Providence is unique. A lot of groups deliver service to the elderly, but I am pleased to work for an organization that is doing it for the right reason.
READER 5: Another recipient of the Mother Joseph Award, Mary Anne Sladich-Lantz, shares her dependence on Providence.
From the first time I heard about Mother Joseph, she became an inspiration for me and a model of the person I would hope to become. I have been particularly moved by the depth of her passion and the strength of her character. At the same time, her gentle spirit and deep compassion for those in need are what seemed to drive her actions; gentleness and strength - toughness and tenderness - passion and compassion - guts and grace. "God has given me a flame." This quote from Mother Joseph speaks to me of the spirit of Providence within her. Providence is a flame - moving us to love and compelling us to serve. The spirit of Providence is within me - within all of us - serving as a flame - the source of our desire to love and to serve. Providence of God, truly, I thank you for all.
What inspired you in these stories?
How has Providence played a part in your life?
READER 6: We recall the courage of the founding sisters as they traveled the many miles from Montreal to Vancouver. We remember the pain, the loneliness and the hardships they endured as they observed the suffering of the poor, the children in need of education, the sick and elderly who needed someone to care for them. We pray, PROVIDENCE OF GOD WE THANK YOU FOR ALL.
We are grateful for Providence Associates and Collaborators who, in so many ways, express the Providence charism. We pray, PROVIDENCE OF GOD WE THANK YOU FOR ALL .
We admire the vision and sensitivity of all Providence People as they respond to the needs of the poor, trusting in Divine Providence. We pray, PROVIDENCE OF GOD WE THANK YOU FOR ALL.
We continue to carry on the mission of Providence in todayís society, asking for an ability to be open to the cry of the poor and we pray, PROVIDENCE OF GOD WE THANK YOU FOR ALL.
RITUALLEADER: During this month we remember those who have gone before us, those who have touched our lives and cause us to continue giving thanks. We remember especially the People of Providence who have been part of our lives. Let us pause and remember the good times, and maybe some of the difficult times, we have had with those we are remembering today. (Pause for silent reflection)
I invite you to light your candle, place it on the table and share with us some of your memories. (Allow sufficient time for this to happen)
TOGETHER: Provident God, we thank you for the joy, the sorrow, the fun and the pain that we have experienced with the people we have loved over our lifetime. We pray for healing in our own life, that the pain of their loss will be lessened, that any anger which we hold against them will be softened and that the grief we experience will be a sign of our love for them. We offer this prayer in Jesusí name. AMEN.
CLOSING SONG: I Thank My God by F. Andersen, MSC
PREPARATION PAGE FOR LEADER
1) Have copies available for participants:
2)Have one small candle for each participant.
3)Ask individuals to be Readers.
4)At the time of sharing, the leader may want to have the group use the mutual invitation process. If this is being done in a group where the people do not know each other well, it is important to have name tags for everyone present. To begin the leader explains the process in words similar to this:
During our group sharing we will be using a mutual invitation process. As the leader I will begin the sharing. When I finish sharing, I will invite another person by name to be next. That person shares or passes, then invites another person by name to share. Each person has a right to share or to pass AND each person invites the next person to share until all in the group have been invited. Now I will begin.