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Novice to take first vows at Provincial Chapter in Spokane

Jessica Taylor, 31, will make first profession of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a Sister of Providence in a liturgy at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 12, in the chapel at Mount St. Joseph, 9 East Ninth Avenue, in Spokane.

The ceremony will be held during the religious community's Provincial Chapter, a gathering of Sisters and Providence Associates from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana and El Salvador.

Born in Seattle, she is the daughter of Glenn and JoAnn Taylor of Burien. She graduated from Highline High School in Burien in 1990, then received bachelor?s degrees in psychology and special education at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

She has worked as a special education teacher at Sylvester Middle School and at Highline High School, both in Burien. As a candidate to the Sisters of Providence, she served in ministry as a sign language teacher at La Salle High School in Yakima. As a novice, she has been a volunteer at the Women?s Drop-In Center in Spokane, a ministry she will return to after her profession.

Jessica will become one of 185 women who are vowed members of the Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, California and El Salvador. The province also includes two candidates in El Salvador, one novice in Spokane, and two Sisters awaiting transfer into the province in Spokane.

The first time she truly thought about religious life and had information about being a Sister, she was 18, Jessica says. "I went to a vocation meeting and the Sisters were talking about their daily life. It was not much different than my own, but the community did it together. They were not alone in what they were doing. That's what really captivated me. Spirituality, ministry, community - it is hard to find all three together without religious life.

Gone are the days of large classes of young women entering religious life together, Jessica acknowledges. Some blame a fear of long-term commitment, but Jessica does not see that as a barrier. "A lot of people say my generation won't commit, but that's not true. We don't want life to be stagnant. We don?t want to be in a place that won't change.

"Religious life is always moving, changing,' she adds. "We are making a commitment to continual change in this religious order. The (religious) community will encourage, support and challenge me to continue to grow."

Jessica also asserts that young women should not fear giving up something to follow God. "You do give something up, everybody in life gives something up," she says. "You give up things when you marry. Do you focus on that. The focus is on what's exciting, what's new, where you're going  and the way you live out your vocation and your call.

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