60 Years: Anita Butler, SP

(Sister Francesca)

“My whole life has been an adventure,” Sister Anita Butler declared. For the last five years it has been “a special privilege” to be a sponsor of Providence Ministries, entrusted with ensuring that the ministries of Providence Health & Services (PH&S) remain Catholic and true to the sisters’ mission.

“We have an extremely serious responsibility, but when you’re working with a strong spiritual community, the burden is not so hard.”

Sister Anita was born in Los Angeles and raised in Burbank, where she met the Sisters of Providence as a fourth-grader at St. Finbar School. She entered the religious community in Seattle in 1954. Her education includes a B.S. degree in education from the University of Great Falls, an M.Ed. degree in high school administration from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and graduate courses in finance at the University of Notre Dame.

She served in teaching and administration for 23 years in grade schools and high schools in Vancouver, Tacoma, Moxee City and Seattle, Wash., and in Burbank.

Love for the mission permeates her role as PH&S sponsor

She served as provincial treasurer in Sacred Heart Province (1980-89) and in Mother Joseph Province (2005-10). In that role, she was responsible for oversight of construction and development for the first low-income housing projects of Sacred Heart Province. In the 1990s she ministered in long-term care in the Oregon region. Because of her experience, Sister Anita was called to be superior/administrator at St. Joseph Residence in Seattle and to oversee its remodel. She also has chaired and been a trustee of retirement committees for the religious community and for PH&S employees for 35 years.

Her love for the mission permeates her role as a sponsor for PH&S, a new call and a new challenge. The sponsors mission the administrators and give presentations and reflections to groups including employees in the Leadership Formation Program. This provides an opportunity to meet many employees who are imbued with the mission and values of the Sisters of Providence and to observe the mission in action. The sponsors also have the privilege of traveling to Rome to report to the Vatican.

Values are rooted in stable family life

Values that have shaped Sister Anita’s life are rooted in a stable family background. “I was blessed to grow up with supportive parents and brothers,” she said. “Family is important to me. My brother cared for me through my cancer surgery and chemo and radiation treatment. This time was a gift as well as a learning experience. Since I now am cured, I decided God still had work for me to do.”

Sister Anita’s term as a sponsor continues until the end of 2016. “I have no plans,” she said. “I am just waiting for my next call.”