Sponsorship Program Announced

From Provincial Superior/Leadership Team Coordinator Margaret Botch, SP

2010 sponsors
Beginning in January, Providence Health & Services health care, education and social service ministries will be sponsored by Providence Ministries, made up of (from left) Barbara Schamber, SP; Johnny Cox; Anita Butler, SP; Barbara Savage, PA: and Charles (Chuck) Hawley.

On January 1, 2010, two Sisters of Providence and three lay persons will become sponsors of Providence Health & Services. As we informed you last August, we petitioned the Vatican to allow the change to an alternative sponsorship model for these health care, education and social services ministries. Now, approval has been granted.

By doing this, we are ensuring the continuation of our Catholic ministries into the future in a manner consistent with our charism, mission and values. We have come full circle, taking ministries that began with our foundress Blessed Emilie Gamelin and other laity in Montreal, and then were entrusted into the hands of the religious community, and now are becoming a new partnership of sisters and the laity.

Sponsors will form Providence Ministries

Sponsorship is a formal relationship within the ministry of the Catholic Church. Currently the sponsors of Providence Health & Services are the Provincial Superior and the Provincial Council. The new sponsors will form Providence Ministries, a Church corporation entrusted with the responsibility for ministries of the Church.

I am pleased to announce the first sponsors:

Anita Butler, SP — provincial treasurer of Mother Joseph Province;
Johnny Cox — a pioneer in ethics in theology and health care;
Charles (Chuck) Hawley — vice president for public affairs for Providence Health & Services;
Barbara Savage, PA — vice president of mission leadership for Providence Health Care, and
Barbara Schamber, SP– the first provincial superior of Mother Joseph Province (2000 to 2004) and a Sisters of Providence historian.

The sponsors were selected by the Provincial Superior and Council. We considered the responsibilities of sponsorship and then looked for a balanced group of individuals who would share our values, complement each other and carry these ministries into the future. The sponsors will go through an extensive period of formation. We hope to mission these leaders during a liturgy to be held at Providence Mount St. Vincent in the fall.

Since Providence employees cannot be sponsors, both Charles Hawley and Barbara Savage will leave their employment with Providence before the change in sponsorship takes effect.

Does not alter mission

Creation of Providence Ministries will in no way change the mission of Providence Health & Services to serve the poor and vulnerable. In fact, it will assure the continuance of that mission.? We remain committed to and involved in these ministries. Sisters of Providence will continue to be influential in activities and decisions in Providence ministries. They may be employed by Providence ministries and serve on their boards, as they do now, although a Sister or layperson who is a sponsor will not be an employee of PH&S nor serve on a community board.

This change will have very little impact on the day to day operation of Providence Health & Services and its facilities. Employees and the people served by Providence will not notice any difference in operations. The new sponsors will focus on mission and values oversight for all of the current works of Providence Health & Services, including health care, education and social services. The board of directors of Providence Health & Services will continue to be charged with governance. The Little Company of Mary health care ministries in Southern California will join the Providence hospitals in Burbank and Mission Hills in becoming part of Providence Ministries. Their day to day operations and civil structure will not change.

The Sisters of Providence will continue to sponsor the Providence Pariseau Corporation ministries like Providence Hospitality House and Sojourner Place, which offer transitional housing for women in Seattle, and intercommunity ministries like Transitions in Spokane.

Action taken in light of current realities

The request to create a new sponsorship model was the result of a recommendation from a special committee charged by the sisters with finding a sustainable model of sponsorship that will give life to the spirit of our foundresses into the future. It is an action taken in light of our current realities, including our desire to ensure the continuance of Catholic health care, education and social service ministries, to support the call of lay persons to collaborate in ministry sponsorship, to adjust to the changing environment in health care, and to acknowledge the declining number of sisters available to serve in sponsorship roles.

In recent years, a number of religious institutes in many parts of the world have been faced with similar issues and have been looking at different forms of sponsorship, involving various types of collaboration. To date, some twenty religious institutes have availed themselves of this new possibility in order to provide for the continuation of works previously entrusted to religious congregations.

On behalf of the Sisters of Providence, I made personal visits last fall to each of the archbishops and bishops of the dioceses in which Providence Health & Services serves, requesting their support of this change to Providence Ministries. I have personally informed each of them that the Vatican has approved the change.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Providence of God, we thank You for all.