When the smell of fresh baked cookies or cakes fills the halls of St. Joseph Residence, the Sisters and staff know that Sr. Mary Fox is baking again. Chocolate cookies are her favorite.
“I have had a wonderful life and I would not have chosen anything different,” she says with a shy smile and a note of gratitude.
This year, Sister Mary celebrates 75 years a Sister of Providence but her life has been intertwined with the Congregation for longer than that. From sixth grade on she attended Providence Academy. She already knew the Sisters of Providence from CCD and she had an aunt and a cousin in the community.
When she entered the Congregation in 1946, she did not want to be a teacher or nurse but trusted that the community had many other opportunities. So, she was pleased that her first ministry was as assistant bookkeeper at the old St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, Ore. Years later she had the opportunity to serve as a novitiate officer in charge of the pantry, the sisters’ refectory and the sewing room.
She worked on the switchboard at Providence Heights in Issaquah, Wash., and then began her favorite ministry, 18 years as school secretary at St. Joseph Elementary School in Vancouver.
“Many of my nieces and nephews went to St. Joseph and they loved to visit me in the office and call me ‘Aunt Mary’ instead of ‘Sr. Mary’ like all the other kids did. It made my nieces and nephews feel special,” she remembers.
In 2012 she became the last sister to leave Vancouver, breaking the continuous stream of SP presence dating back to the arrival of Mother Joseph in 1856.
“Every day is joyful being with the Sisters here,” she said. “The past is past and I’m looking forward to the future.”
Sr. Mary is thankful for Providence as a loving Father who has supported her throughout her life. She is happy at St. Joseph Residence and enjoys the activities and her fellowship with the Sisters.
Read more about her career from her 70th Jubilee biography: Nine Sisters of Providence mark 25, 50, 60, 70, and 80 years of religious life – Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province