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Sisters of Providence honor Joan Pinkerton Tucker for Mother Joseph portrayals

Actress Joan Pinkerton Tucker holds the Mother Joseph statue she received from the Sisters of Providence in honor of her 384 performances of the living history monologue, “Beggar/Builder: The History of Mother Joseph.”
Actress Joan Pinkerton Tucker holds the Mother Joseph statue she received from the Sisters of Providence in honor of her 364 performances of the living history monologue, “Beggar/Builder: The History of Mother Joseph.”

Actress Joan Pinkerton Tucker, donning a habit, has performed a living history monologue of Mother Joseph, foundress of the Sisters of Providence in the West, a total of 364 times over the last 20-plus years. On April 16, appearing as herself, Mrs. Tucker was presented with a statue of Mother Joseph at a luncheon at St. Joseph Residence in West Seattle in honor of her retirement from the role.

The statue was presented to Mrs. Tucker by the sponsors of Providence Ministries and by the Provincial Superior and Council of Mother Joseph Province. The date was significant because it was Mother Joseph’s birthday.

Author, actress and scholar

When former Gov. Gary Locke signed a bill in 1999 making that date a Washington State holiday, Mrs. Tucker was there in the habit. She was accompanied by members of the sixth grade class from Evergreen School in Vancouver, Wash., that championed the effort to have the holiday established.

Mrs. Tucker, of Moses Lake, Wash., is an author, professional actress and an Inquiring Minds Scholar for the Washington Commission for the Humanities. She created the presentation, called “Beggar/Builder: The History of Mother Joseph,” after researching nearly 40 years of correspondence from the archives of the Sisters of Providence. She performs the work wearing an authentic habit from the archives. She has given the presentation in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, and her 100th performance was for the Washington State Legislature in Olympia, Wash.

Nominated by Srs. Lucille Dean and Rita Bergamini

“It is our shared belief that Joan Tucker has been personally inspired by her study and portrayal of the life of Mother Joseph,” wrote her nominators for the recognition, Sister Lucille Dean, chair of the board of directors of Providence Health & Services, and Sister Rita Bergamini, who formerly served as Providence archivist. “Equally important, it is through her use of her great talents that Joan has brought Mother Joseph, her spirit and her impact on society to life for countless numbers of persons who have seen her performance ... ”

Mother Joseph, who led begging tours to support the early ministries of the Sisters of Providence, had established 29 hospitals, schools, orphanages, homes for the aged and shelters for the mentally ill in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Canada before she died on January 19, 1902.

The Mother Joseph statues are presented “in honor of significant accomplishments and/or contributions to the Sisters of Providence.” Selection factors may include tenure of service, quality of service, furtherance of the mission of Providence, etc. The miniature statues were cast by Felix W. de Weldon, who created the statue of Mother Joseph that has been housed in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol since 1980.

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