2016: A year of milestones

Sisters celebrate beatification, opening of SJR and 160 years in the West

Editor’s note:

Providence pilgrims in Rome.

Can it really be 15 years since hundreds of Providence pilgrims – Sisters of Providence, Providence Associates, family and friends – traveled to the Vatican for the beatification of foundress Blessed Emilie Gamelin? Indeed, it has been, and on Sunday, October 9, a special liturgy was held in the chapel at St. Joseph Residence to celebrate the anniversary. The celebrant was Father Ignatius Ohno, SJ. Providence of God, we thank you for all!

A special Mass was held at St. Joseph Residence (SJR) on December 8 to celebrate two Sisters of Providence milestones: the 50th anniversary of SJR, home to retired and infirm sisters in Seattle, and the 160th anniversary of the arrival in the West of Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart and four companions – Sisters Praxedes, Blandine, Vincent de Paul and Mary of the Precious Blood. Look for more on this special celebration in the spring issue of Caritas.

Provincial Superior Judith Desmarais introduced the October 9 liturgy as follows:

Father Ignatius Ohno, SJ, was the celebrant at SJR on October 9, 2016.

During the homily on Sunday, October 7, 2001, in St. Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II spoke these words:

 “Today we have the great joy of contemplating the great mystery of salvation (in Christ), actualized in the new Blesseds. They are the just who by their faith live close to God in eternity.” (Among these was our own Emilie Tavernier Gamelin.)

 “These illustrious brothers and sisters, now elevated to the glory of the altars, knew how to translate their invincible faith in Christ into an extraordinary experience of love for God and service to their neighbor. 

Sister Lucille Dean (left) and Provincial Superior Judith Desmarais participate in the celebration.
“In her life as a mother of a family and religious foundress of the Sisters of Providence, Emilie Tavernier Gamelin was the model of a courageous abandonment to divine Providence. Her care for persons and situations led her to create new forms of charity. She had a heart open to all the distressed, serving especially the poor and little ones, whom she wished to treat like kings. She remembered that she had received everything from the Lord and she wanted to give without counting the cost. This was the secret of her deep joy, even in adversity. In a spirit of total confidence in God and with an acute sense of obedience, she accomplished the duty which she considered a divine commandment, wishing above all to do the will of God in everything. May the new Blessed be a model of contemplation and action for the Sisters of her Institute and for the persons” with and for whom they work.”

 A number of you were present for the event in Rome, as was the young man, Yannick Frechette, who was cured of his cancer at age 8, through the intercession of Emilie.

One sister gave this testimony:

Foundress’ portrait and relic were displayed in liturgy celebrating the beatification anniversary.
When her picture was unveiled, I realized that she would be counted among the Blessed and would be granted a Mass and a special presence in the Church. The huge crowd from different countries also impressed me by their reverence and participation in all that was said and done before our eyes.

Marie-Marthe Brilliant, SP

It was exhilarating to hear our Holy Father proclaim to the whole world Mother Emilie Tavernier Gamelin beatified – and her special virtues of humility, simplicity, charity. I am so proud to be one of her daughters. To think that her words, the mission of the care of the poor who are Jesus to us, is still paramount with the Sisters of Providence today.  

Loretta Marie Marceau, SP

  Let us celebrate this liturgy with gratitude and praise to God for giving us Blessed Emilie.

Sister Judith concluded the liturgy with these words:
Mother Joseph

Sisters and collaborators today are healing and being healed in many different ways because those who follow in Emilie’s footsteps live the virtues and attitudes of humility, simplicity and charity. In the reach of Mother Joseph Province and beyond, we are providing healing and care in ministering to elderly persons – the first work of Blessed Emilie, and also by providing housing, health care, education, social services, spiritual accompaniment on many levels, parish ministry, advocacy for justice and peace issues, such as immigration, working to abolish the death penalty and human trafficking, promoting sustainable living, and more.

As we celebrate the honor bestowed on Blessed Emilie on October 7, 2001, the recognition that she is a faithful and exemplary Servant of God, let us give thanks for all the good that has been accomplished over the 165 years since the beginning of her life on earth, as it continues now and into the future through her daughters and collaborators. And we give praise and thanks to God for all the good that has occurred through Blessed Emilie’s intercession.