In contemplating her 60th anniversary in the Sisters of Providence, Sr. Fidela Adriano points to the thoughts of Danish theologian and Christian ethicist Søren Kierkegaard: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Sr. Fidela joined the congregation after nearly a decade as a registered nurse in her native Philippines. She’s a convert to Catholicism but found that the religious orders in her native land did not want to accept her because of her parents’ civil marriage.
That led to a prolonged discernment. Fr. Leo Bourque, a Blessed Sacrament Father, who baptized her when she converted to Catholicism and became her spiritual director, referred her to the Sisters of Providence. A complete understanding of her life needs to consider some of the many challenges she has faced – her mother dying in World War II, her return to the Philippines only after her father died and her experiences helping form a new SP community during the violent coup against former-president Ferdinand Marcos.
Sr. Fidela says that for her Providence is the presence of God who is loving and nurturing.
“Everything I do, I feel the Holy Spirit guiding me. Whatever happened in my life, God looked after me and never left me. When things happen, it’s not what happened, but how you react that is important,” she says.
When she migrated to the United States to join the congregation, Sr. Fidela’s first assignments was at St. Joseph Nursing Home in Spokane. She also served in Missoula, Mont., and at St. Mary’s Hospital in Walla Walla, Wash., as a registered nurse.
Her path led her to clinical pastoral education (CPE) at St. Joseph Hospital in Albuquerque, N.M., and then the Pastoral Care Department at St. Mary’s. Eventually she did pastoral care work at Sacred Heart in Spokane.
“When you’re young, you want to do everything,” says Sister Fidela, whose religious name was her given name reversed – Sr. Rosario Fidelis. “But we can only live in the present and the future is not here yet. Wherever I went, no matter what happened, I figured that was my life and I must adapt, make friends and trust in Providence.”
The jubilee celebration for her is, in many ways, saying thank you to God. A way to witness to people the goodness of God.
“God’s gift to you is your life and it is good to pass on that gift to another person,” she says.
Read more about Sr. Fidela in this profile from her 50 year jubilee – 50 Years: Fidela Adriano, SP – Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province