Seventeen Sisters of Providence from Mother Joseph Province will celebrate significant anniversaries of their years in religious life at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 19, at St. James Cathedral, 804 9th Avenue, in Seattle. The Very Reverend Michael G. Ryan, pastor at the cathedral, will preside at the liturgy.
A luncheon honoring the Jubilarians will follow at St. James Parish Hall and at O?Dea High School gymnasium, 802 Terry Avenue. The Jubilarians and their current residences are:
- 85 years – Sister Jane Dufault, Spokane;
- 75 years – Sisters Pauline Higgins, Seattle; and Marguerite O?Connor, Spokane;
- 70 years – Sisters Loretta Marie Marceau, Spokane; and Jeanne Parent, Seattle;
- 60 years – Sisters Mary Clare Boland, Seattle; Dolores Ellwart, DeSmet, Idaho; Jeannette Parent, Spokane; Alice St. Hilaire, Yakima; and Julie Ziocchi, Portland;
- 50 years – Sisters Susanne Hartung, Bellevue; Patricia Hauser, Forks, Wash.; Charlene Hudon, Seattle; Pauline Lemaire, Angela Montano, El Salvador; Therese Multz, Spokane; and Dona Taylor, Hermiston, Ore.; and
- 25 years – Sister Gabrielle Nguyen, Spokane.
Sister Jane Dufault (given name Aurora Dufault) celebrated her 103rd birthday on March 16. Born in Gaspe in the Province of Quebec in 1905, her mother died when she was a toddler. With her older sister Marie Amadee, she was sent to live with her grandmother.
Both girls would become Sisters of Providence; Sister Jane at the age of 18. She made first profession in 1924. Sister Marie Amadee died in 1991 at the age of 91.
Sister Jane was assigned to come West in 1925 and learned to speak English while working in hospital settings, in nursing and in the kitchen at institutions including St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged, Spokane; Mary Immaculate School, DeSmet, Idaho; and Holy Family, Columbus and St. Patrick hospitals in Montana. She served as receptionist at Mount St. Joseph, Spokane, and assistant in the chapel and the archives until her retirement.
Sister Pauline Higgins (Sister Louis of the Blessed Sacrament) was born in 1914 as half of the second set of twins born to a family in Sunnyside, Wash. Pauline became a Sister of Providence in 1932, following in the footsteps of another of the Higgins family twins, her older sister Margaret.
After graduation from St. Joseph Academy, Yakima, Pauline entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Providence in Seattle. She taught a variety of subjects or served as assistant librarian or debate coach in high schools in Burbank, Calif.; Vancouver, Walla Walla and Seattle, Wash.; and in Fairbanks, Alaska, and surrounding villages.
Sister Pauline wrote a book that included her experiences teaching in Alaska’s bush with Indian families or on the tundra with Eskimo families. Her other ministry assignments included formation team member, vocation director, candidate director and Eucharistic minister for parish shut-ins.
Sister Marguerite O’Connor (Sister Francis Jerome) was registrar at the then College of Great Falls (Mont.) for 24 years. She received the first Emilie Gamelin Award for service to the college. Born Nellie Marguerite O?Connor in Missoula, Mont., she graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in 1932, and then entered the novitiate in Seattle.
Her 34 years in teaching and administration in elementary and secondary schools took her to Glasgow, Roundup, Great Falls and Missoula, Mont., as well as Sprague, Wash., and Wallace, Idaho. She taught primary grades, then upper grades and later served as principal.
She spent four years as a member of the Formation Team after leaving the classroom. Before retiring in March 2003, Sister Marguerite was librarian at Mount St. Joseph, Spokane.
Sister Loretta Marie Marceau (given name Ida Mae Marceau) was born in Missoula, Mont., to a family of six boys and five girls. She graduated from Sacred Heart Academy and entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Providence in Seattle in 1938.
She also graduated from the University of Great Falls (MT) and Kinman Business University, Spokane. In addition, she has taken religious studies at Gonzaga University, advanced studies at Indiana University, and has attended several other colleges and accounting institutes.
Her long career in finance and financial management took her to various institutions, including Columbus Hospital, Great Falls, Mont.; St. Patrick Hospital, Missoula; Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane; St. Mary Medical Center, Walla Walla; and the University of Great Falls.
Her final ministry was serving as development director for the former St. Ignatius Province, raising just short of $2 million in a decade. She is a life member and former national president of the National Hospital Management Association (HFMA). She retired in 2003 to Mount St. Joseph, Spokane. Sister Loretta Marie has a niece in the religious community, her namesake Sister Ida Mae Marceau.
Sister Jeanne Parent (Sister Paul Joseph) was born in Rimouski, Quebec, in 1908 and moved with her family to a farm at Roxton Falls, near Montreal, at the age of 7. Many of her family members became women religious, as did her older sister Isabelle. Jeanne followed in her footsteps, entering the novitiate in 1937.
While learning English she was assigned to Mount St. Vincent, Seattle, to help in the infirmary, and then to Providence Medical Center in Portland to learn bookkeeping. She would remain in ministry in Portland for 30 years, including 10 years in the purchasing department at St. Vincent Hospital, where her aunt Sister Crescence trained her to work in the business office.
She was responsible for repairs and purchasing at St. Mary Hospital, Astoria, Ore., then helped with sisters’ budgets while working in the treasurer?s office at Providence Heights, in Issaquah. Sister Jeanne then returned to St. Vincent Hospital, where she spent 20 years as receptionist. She retired in 1997.
She was born in Seattle in 1930 and entered the Sisters of Providence in June 1947, professing first vows in 1949. Her teaching ministry begun at St. Joseph Academy in Sprague, Wash., took her to Wallace, Idaho; Missoula and Great Falls, Mont.; Seattle and Sun Valley, Calif. She also served at Providence Heights in Issaquah, Wash., directing the education bloc and teaching practicum for junior sisters.
Recovering at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank, Calif., from surgeries for lifelong neck and back problems, she was introduced to spiritual care ministry. Sister Mary Clare arrived at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, in 1973 and began a ministry of caring for older sisters that continued for more than 20 years.
After a year of clinical pastoral education studies in Steilacoom, she worked in pastoral care at Providence Seattle Medical Center, then at St. Peter?s Hospital, Olympia, later returning to St. Joseph Residence as assistant superior. She took over pastoral care at Providence Seattle in 1990.
Sister Dolores Ellwart (Sister Camilla) was born in 1929 in the tiny farm community of DeSmet, Idaho, where she still serves in ministry today. Her father was foreman of a farm owned by the Sisters of Providence and her mother, a nurse, was an enrolled member of the Coeur d’lene Tribe and attended Holy Names Academy, Spokane.
She entered the religious community in Seattle after graduation in 1947.
She wanted to become a nurse, but was assigned to teach instead. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Great Falls and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Portland. She has taught at Providence Academy, Vancouver, Wash.; St. Michael School, Olympia, Wash.; St. Finbar’s School, Burbank, Calif; and in parish schools in Missoula and Great Falls, Mont.; and Colfax and Walla Walla, Wash.
In 1965 Sister Dolores returned to DeSmet, where she taught all of the grades at Mary Immaculate School and also was superior and principal. When the school closed in 1974, she moved across the road to Sacred Heart Mission as parish minister.
She also was chairperson of the school board for a number of years at the tribal school started by the Coeur d’Alenes.
Sister Jeannette Parent (Sister Blasius) entered the Sisters of Providence twice, the first time in July 1942 at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle, with her twin Annette. Four months later she left, plagued by eye trouble. She re-entered the community five years later.
Today the two Parent sisters remain close companions at Mount St. Joseph, Spokane.
Jeannette was born in Baker, Mont., the child of French Canadian parents from Quebec. The family moved to Springdale, Wash., where she attended Mary Walker School, followed by Marycliff High School, Spokane, and her senior year at St. Joseph Academy, Sprague, Wash. Her education included LPN training at St. Peter Hospital, Olympia, and clinical pastoral education preparation at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane. Sister Jeannette’s early ministry assignments included the sisters’ infirmary at Mount St. Joseph, Spokane; patient visitor at St. Vincent Hospital, Portland, St. Thomas Child Care, Great Falls, Mont.; and Providence Hospital, Seattle. After nurse’s training, she was an LPN at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle; St. Mary Hospital, Astoria, Ore.; and Providence Hospital, Everett, Wash. After caring for her elderly parents, she served in ministry at St. Clare Hospital, Fort Benton, Mont., then at Mount St. Joseph sisters’ infirmary and St. Joseph Care Center, Spokane. She retired in 1995.
Sister Alice St. Hilaire (Sister Mary Georgetta) was born in the Yakima Valley, the oldest of eight children, and serves in ministry there today. She provides spiritual direction, is part of a team that offers Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (SEEL), and is a longtime co-chair of the diocesan vocation committee.
She made first vows in 1949 and taught primary grades and music in Missoula, Mont., Walla Walla, Wash., Fairbanks, Alaska, and Seattle. She earned her bachelor?s degree at the College of Great Falls (MT) through summer school sessions, then enrolled in a combined master’s and doctoral program at St. Louis University in Missouri and was awarded her doctorate in philosophy in 1961.
She taught philosophy for 13 years, at the College of Sister Formation of Seattle University at Providence Heights and on the university?s downtown campus, and later at St. Thomas Seminary in Kenmore, Wash. Sister Alice was chosen for the first Formation Team, served on the Provincial Council and at Providence Hospitality House, and also frequently has been an ?ad hoc? director for a sister of temporary vows.
In 2004 she was honored for her lifelong commitment to formation ministry by the National Religious Formation Conference at its 50th jubilee.
Sister Julie Ziocchi (Sister Mary Hiltrude), born in Melrose Park, Ill., was entrusted to the care of the Sisters of Providence in Des Plaines, Ill., along with her siblings, after the death of their mother.
The bond she formed to the religious community was lifelong. She entered in 1947 at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle, professing first vows in 1949.
Her 20-year teaching ministry took her to St. Joseph School, Yakima, Wash.; and St. Finbar School, Burbank, Calif., serving as assistant principal and then principal. Sister Julie became the receptionist at Providence Child Center, Portland, later serving as executive secretary and vice principal at Providence Montessori and Emily schools.
In 1986 she became the first representative and chaplain at the newly acquired Providence Milwaukie Hospital. She remains active as sister representative at the hospital and as a member of the Providence Child Center Foundation board.
The youngest of six children, she grew up with a deep desire to work within the ministries of the church. Her mother worked for the Sisters of Providence at St. Vincent Hospital, Portland, and Susanne got to know the sisters for herself when she worked after school during her senior year, tending 3-year-olds at Providence Portland Child Center.
She entered the religious community in 1957, making first profession in 1959. For 25 years she taught in Catholic high schools in Vancouver, Seattle and Olympia, Wash., Anchorage, Alaska, and Burbank, Calif.
She was a full-time counselor and campus minister at Providence High School in Burbank, and then returned to the Northwest as academic director at Catholic Eastside High School in Bellevue, Wash.
Sister Susanne began her second career in health care mission and ethics in 1987. It took her to Providence Seattle Medical Center (now Swedish) for 18 years, to the former Providence Health System?s Ministry Leadership Formation program and to her current role with PH&S.
Sister Patricia Hauser (Sister Christiana) was born in Madison, Wisc., and grew up in Bellingham, Wash., to a family that offered that city?s first foster home, providing temporary care for some 115 foster children of all ages.
It was while attending Western Washington College, studying for a degree in sociology/anthropology with a minor in psychology, that she first met the Sisters of Providence.
She entered the novitiate in 1957 after graduation. She taught for six years in Seattle and Vancouver, Wash., and in Sun Valley, Calif. Sister Patricia earned a master’s degree in social work at the University of Washington with a partial stipend from Catholic Charities in Yakima.
As part of her internship she worked at the state welfare program in Spokane and she also volunteered at a drop-in center on Skid Road in Seattle. She served on the first Formation Team, did counseling and supervision of foster homes for Catholic Charities, and then was an addictions counselor and later a chaplain at Sundown M Ranch, an alcoholism treatment center.
Other ministries included alcoholism education and outreach for the Diocese of Juneau, Alaska, director of Sojourner Place shelter for homeless single women in Seattle, and psychotherapist and later assistant director for the House of Affirmation, an in-patient treatment center for clergy and women religious in Montara, Calif. She also spent a year at Heronbrook House, an affiliate program in England, and has ministered to person with HIV/AIDS and the disabled at Providence House in Oakland, Calif.
Today she lives in Forks, Wash., spending time in solitude and prayer and serving as a part-time patient visitor and on-call chaplain for the hospice program.
Sister Charlene Hudon (Sister Charlene Marie) was born in Ellensburg, Wash., and grew up in Tumwater and the Yakima Valley. She met the Sisters of Providence in the first and second grades at St. Michael?s School in Olympia and first met Hispanics working in the orchards with their children when her father got 60 acres in the fruit country of Wapato, Wash.
She entered the novitiate in Seattle after high school graduation, but left less than six months later to experience more of life and to grow up a bit. She returned in 1957, making first profession in 1960.
Sister Charlene taught second grade at St. Finbar in Burbank, Calif., and then taught for nine years in the former Sacred Heart Province, followed by five years teaching physical education at Providence High School in Burbank. For the next 11 years she was a physical therapist assistant working with the elderly at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle.
Her firsthand observation of the needs of immigrant farm workers led to her study Spanish for five months at the Maryknoll Language Institute in Bolivia, and then she taught English as a Second Language at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, Wash., for 16 years.
Always drawn to social justice issues, she is a member of the Providence Peace Community and has traveled to Nicaragua and Mexico on missions and has been a resident team member at Providence Hospitality House, a transitional shelter for women.
In recent years, combating the illegal trafficking of women and children has become a passion, as has reclaiming the earth.
Her first 12 years of school were with the Sisters of Providence at Holy Rosary School in Moxee. After graduation she visited relatives in Quebec, and then entered the novitiate in Seattle.
After making first vows in 1959, she was sent to teach second and then first grades at Holy Rosary School in Sun Valley, Calif., for six years. Many of her students were Mexican-Americans who spoke only Spanish in their homes.
Next she taught first grade at parochial schools in Tacoma and Seattle, and then taught first grade at Our Lady of the Lake school in Seattle. Sister Pauline fell in love with what Montessori education could do for children and taught for 14 years at Providence Montessori School in Portland, Ore., including a year as a substitute at a conventional kindergarten using the Montessori philosophy.
After a year’s sabbatical and study in Jerusalem, she moved to Yakima to teach English as a Second Language at the community college, and then became a parish volunteer in ESL teaching and also did home nursing care as an RN assistant.
In 2002 she was asked to go to El Salvador to teach English to two pre-postulants and returned determined to study Spanish at Eastern Washington University. She practiced the language with Sisters of Providence in Chile, followed by six months in Wapato, Wash., working with Mexican immigrants. Today she is back in El Salvador, helping pre-school children learn to read.
She became serious about religious life when she was a high school junior at St. Joseph Academy and entered the Sisters of Providence after putting herself through Yakima Valley Junior College.
She made first vows in 1959 and her first mission was to substitute in a fourth-grade classroom in Tacoma for a teacher who was ill. She taught for one month, and then returned to the sister formation program in Everett, Wash., then to Issaquah.
She taught for 20 years, primarily in the middle grades and in all subjects in Tacoma, Vancouver, Yakima and Seattle, Wash., Burbank and Sun Valley, Calif., and Fairbanks, Alaska. The needs of the children led her to seek a master’s degree in psychology at Leslie College in Cambridge, Mass.
When a serious head injury ended her teaching career, she became a mental health therapist, specializing in using creative arts in healing. Sister Therese worked for a year as the only woman at a school for boys on the San Juan Island, and then became activities director for the sisters at Mount St. Vincent.
She also was one of the founders in the late 1980s of Youth Associates of the Providence Sisters (YAPS), a 25-member ministry group for Kennedy High School students doing community service work. She later worked in a psychiatric hospital in Kirkland, Wash.
She has been a volunteer at the Women’s Drop-In Center in Spokane since 2005.
Sister Dona Taylor (Sister Donna Marie) grew up on the family farm in Wapato, Wash., and she and her brother and two sisters helped with the crops and the animals. The Sisters of Providence were a part of her growing up, among them relatives including her aunts Sisters Violet and Blanche Dufault.
During her initial studies at Seattle University and the College of Sister Formation she earned both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. She later returned to Seattle University and earned a master’s degree in business administration.
Her ministries have been in teaching, health care, women’s spirituality and now the greening of the universe. After profession in January 1958 in Seattle, she assisted with seventh grade in Olympia, Wash., until the end of the school year. She also taught summer vacation schools and assisted teachers during college breaks.
Later she was a nurse in critical and coronary care units in Medford and Portland, Ore., and taught educational classes for nurses. For six years she served on the Provincial Council, taking on the role of councilor for health and social services.
She served in hospital administrative positions in Oakland, Calif., and Anchorage, Alaska, and later as president of Providence Health System. An exciting time was the planning and development of WomanSpirit, a spirituality center for women in Seattle.
Currently, she resides in Hermiston, Ore., filling her time with prayer, community events and farming, to help the needy in Umatilla County. She raisea vegetables for the local food bank and provides eggs with a small flock of hens.
Sister Gabrielle Nguyen entered the Congregation of Mary Queen in Springfield, Mo., in 1982 at the age of 20, and last September she completed her transfer of perpetual vows to the Sisters of Providence.
Born in South Vietnam in 1962, she was the second oldest of 10 children. The family escaped to the United States in 1975, arriving first in a refugee camp in Fort Chaffee, Ark., and eventually settling in Dallas, Texas.
She professed final vows in 1991. Certified as an LPN, she served in ministry in nursing homes and as a community health nurse in the Vietnamese Center in St. Louis. At a transfer workshop she met two Vietnamese sisters beginning the transfer process, AnnMary Vu and Lang Tran, as well as several Sisters of Providence who invited her to contact the vocation team.
A year later she accepted an invitation to “Come and See” for three to six months. She came to Spokane in February 2004 and began a three-year transfer process the following July.
Sister Gabrielle has another year of part-time classes at Spokane Community College to become an RN. She hopes to work with sisters in the fourth-floor infirmary at Mount St. Joseph, Spokane, and to volunteer for hospice.