Sisters of Providence 2020-24 Leadership Team of six

Mother Joseph Province Leadership Team 2020-24 (from left): Elinor Alexander, provincial secretary; Sister Barbara Schamber, provincial leader; Sister Margarita Hernandez, provincial councilor; Sister Jacqueline Fernandes, provincial councilor; Sister Karen Hawkins, provincial councilor; and David Neisius, provincial treasurer.

We are the Sisters of Providence… today.

True to our founding principles, we put our faith in God’s Providence and our energies into works that include education, parish ministry, health care, community service and support, housing, prison ministry, spiritual direction and retreats, pastoral care and foreign missions.

sisters visit statue of Sr. Emilie Gamelin in Montreal

We are international, intercultural and intergenerational.

In everything that we do, the love of Christ urges us to respond to the cry of the poor and the vulnerable with concrete actions.

Smaller in number, but no less active

Sisters of Providence are smaller in number today, true, but we are no less active in pursuing a more just and compassionate society. We strive to be a model for unity in a fractured world.

Joined on our journey by Providence Associates and other lay people committed to the mission of Providence, we are moving into the future with renewed commitment to the call of the Gospel.

Our History

We take our inspiration from Mother Emilie Gamelin, who founded the Sisters of Providence in 1843.

Mother Emilie Gamelin

Emilie Gamelin, a young widow of Montreal, founded the Sisters of Providence in 1843. Emilie was moved by the love of Christ to serve the many poor, hungry and sick people who lived around her. The people, who looked upon Emilie as “providence” for the needy, named her work “Providence.”

In 1856, Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart and four other sisters traveled to the Pacific Northwest, establishing schools, hospitals and other homes of care for those in need. Many of these institutions and services continue to contribute to the well-being of our communities today. 

Mother Joseph

Mother Joseph 

Providence Archives

For information about Sisters of Providence and their ministries, click here. For specific inquiries about records, click here. To learn more about the history of Sisters of Providence in the West, click here


Where We Serve

globeSisters of Providence International serves those who are poor and vulnerable in the U.S., Canada, Chile, Haiti, El Salvador, the Philippines and Egypt.

Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province encompasses Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, California, El Salvador and the Philippines.

In the tradition of our foundress, we serve society’s most vulnerable members.


You will find us engaged in:


  • Education
  • Parish Ministry
  • Health Care
  • Community Service and Support
  • Housing
  • Prison Ministry
  • Pastoral Care
  • Spiritual Direction and Retreats
  • Foreign Missions