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Sister of Providence receives honors for formation ministry

Sister Alice St. Hilaire, SP, of Yakima, was honored for her lifelong commitment to the ministry of formation by the national Religious Formation Conference at its meeting April 3 at Seattle University.

RFC is celebrating its 50th Jubilee in the Northwest region.

"Many of the events that have happened in the region came from a seed that Alice planted," said presenter Carmel Little, CSJP. "Alice has been a wisdom woman, not only for the Sisters of Providence but also for all the religious communities in the region and for the church of the Pacific Northwest. Many of our communities have called on her gifts of facilitation, spiritual direction and retreat direction. She has been part of our communities and definitely part of the formation of sisters in the Pacific Northwest.

The Sisters of Providence sent Sister Alice to St. Louis in the fall of 1956 to begin studies for a Ph.D. in philosophy. She taught for about 10 years at Seattle University and at the College of Sister Formation at Providence Heights in Issaquah. She was named to the first formation team in 1968, finishing that term in 1975. In the interim, she also spent a year at the Institute of Religious Formation at St. Louis University.

While serving on the Provincial Council, she had oversight responsibilities for formation, and she has served off and on through the years as an "off-the-team" mentor or director as needed. In 1996 Sister Alice began a six-year stint on the team again as candidate director.

"One of the key realities of the time at Providence Heights was the inter-religious dimension of the program," she explains. "I taught all the students of all the communities involved - Sisters of Providence, the Dominicans of Tacoma, the Dominicans of Edmonds, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, Bellevue, and the Ugandan Daughters of Mary. The recognition that is being given really honors all those who served in formation in all the communities.

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