60 Years: Lucille Dean, SP

Sister Assunta Marie

Sister Lucille Dean is a woman of vision, anticipating what lies ahead and approaching it with courage and determination in ministries as a classroom teacher, a school administrator and in leadership roles. “I have been blessed to have enjoyed them all,” she said. “There have been bumps along the way, and always challenges.”

A decade ago, she left active ministry at Providence High School in Burbank, Calif., “after 18 years of exciting progress and development, seeing the youth of our nation moving forward as we prepared them for the future.” This year, she ended a total of 13 years as a member of the Providence Health & Services board of directors.

Has great hope for the future

Today, Sister Lucille is hardly idle, but has continued her ministry involvement at a pace more of her choosing. Back in Seattle, she has become more actively involved in religious community activities, including planning for last year’s Provincial Chapter and for this year’s chapter elections. She has much to be grateful for, including good health. “I have the loving support of family, and great women of Providence as mentors and friends,” she explained. “And I have had the opportunity to collaborate with wonderful people in the mission of Providence. I am grateful for the past, and I have great hope for the future.”

Born in 1935, she met the Sisters of Providence as a second-grader at St. Catherine School in Seattle, where she later was principal. She entered the novitiate at Mount St. Vincent in 1953 and received on-the-job training from sisters who were master teachers. She earned a bachelor’s degree through summer classes at the College of Great Falls (MT), and a master’s degree from the University of Oregon.

Enjoyed a secure path

She taught in Yakima, Moxee and Seattle, Wash., Anchorage, Alaska; and Burbank Calif. At Providence High School in Burbank, she was a teacher, vice principal and principal. She also was on the provincial council of the former Sacred Heart Province, as director of education, and was provincial superior.

“The path was always laid out for me, and was pretty secure,” she recalled. But today, as women enter religious life in smaller numbers, they are much more self-directed, she explained. “They have to be brave as they rediscover and ground themselves in being women in the church.”

Sister Lucille said she is “a supporter of those who must move to the future,” ready to “pass on traditions and values to enrich the future, not to restrict it.” And she relishes opportunities to talk about the mission of Providence with lay collaborators. “Providence has always guided us and will continue to do so.”

This Jubilee is “a time to step back, refresh, renew, celebrate and, hopefully, party,” Sister Lucille said. She hopes to make a prolonged retreat, travel and celebrate with family.