Mary Frances Hawkins came into this wonderful world along with her twin brother, Larry on March 4, 1940. She also had two younger brothers, Stephen and Donald. All attended Sacred Heart School in Tacoma, Wash., where Mary became acquainted with the Sisters of Providence. An avid reader, Mary used any spare time for reading – a passion that continues to this day. She enjoys history, theology/spirituality, social sciences, poetry and some novels. She and Larry also played the violin when they were young.
Mary’s family lived on a farm until she was in second grade when they moved closer to Sacred Heart Parish and School. In 1958, she graduated from St. Leo’s High School, then worked at Boeing for a year as she reflected on what to do with her life. During this time a peace within her created a desire to be a Providence Sister. She saw it as a joyous, good life; a life of prayer, service and companionship. Mary’s parents were pleased with her decision to enter the Sisters of Providence in 1959. She made her final vows in 1967.
Sister Mary was part of the move from Mount St. Vincent to the new College of Sister Formation in Issaquah, Wash., in 1961. She found this time of studies and preparation for ministry enriching. Before she could complete her studies, however, Sister Mary was asked to move to Providence Academy in Vancouver, Wash., to teach at Our Lady of Lourdes. Thus began a life-long commitment to the educational ministries of teaching and administration which she has loved.
Sister Mary ultimately earned a bachelor’s in curriculum and instruction from Seattle University and a master’s in secondary education from the University of Oregon. After completing her degrees, Sister Mary’s rich ministry as an educator included teaching junior high school mathematics and science. At Providence High School, Burbank, Calif., she taught social studies, was department chair, and served as academic vice principal.
Later Sister Mary studied in Toronto to prepare for a new ministry with the Sisters of Providence Formation Team. Studies included theology/spirituality, ministry, spiritual direction, CPE certification and Hindu-Christian dialogue. She served on the Formation Team for five years, on the Provincial Council for six years, and on the Health System Board for six years.
In 1990, Sister Mary returned to Providence High School as the academic vice principal. In 2002, she joined the Community Ministry Board (CMB), on which she continues to serve. She is also a member of the Providence High School Board of Regents and the San Fernando, Calif., Regional Mission Committee.
“My journey has been rewarding and grace-filled, with wonderful friendships, ministries and moments of adventure along the way,” says Sister Mary. “When God calls, Providence will always be faithful in the journey.”