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Associate Core Committee members reflect on their leadership experience

An Associate Core Committee guides the Sisters of Providence Associate Program in its functioning. Currently 11 Associates and Sisters serve on the Committee. They are Associate Director Patricia St. Amand, chair, and Associates Connie Canata, Jim Clifford, Aida Gaouette, Dan McCavick, Patty McGovern, Dan Therrien, and Betty Wilda; and Sisters Julie Crane, Mary Martin de Porres Grisé and Geraldine Noonan.


Connie ASPAssociate Connie Canata

Jim ASPAssociate Jim Clifford

Sister JulieSister Julie


Aida ASPAssociate Aida Gaouette

Marty SP
Sister Mary Martin de Porres
Associate Dan McCavick
Patty ASP
Associate Patty McGovern
Gerry SP
Sister Geraldine Noonan
Associate Pat St. Amand, Chair
Associate Dan Therrien
Betty ASP
Associate Betty Wilda

When Tracings asked former, longtime Core Committee member Associate Anne Oberlander about her service in that role, she echoed the sentiments of current member Sister Mary Martin de Porres. Both said they gained a deep appreciation “for the time and work” the Committee invests to assure the Associate Program runs smoothly. Newer member Aida Gaouette said her Committee work “these last few months has brought me closer to the Sisters’ mission.” She continued, “Service is very important to me, as it is to the Sisters. I look forward to becoming more involved with the planning of Associate activities that help us connect with one another and our mission.”

Bimonthly Core Committee meetings provide members with a forum to assist the Associate Director in program planning and in responding to the Director’s requests for advice on Associate-related issues. Members play a key role in recommending potential Associate Candidates to the SP’s Executive Council, as well as Candidates to full Associate status, and longtime, faithful Associates for the honor of Associate Emerita or Emeritus.

Shaping the future
Associate Patty McGovern asserted that the Core Committee has a pivotal role in “shaping the program’s future. Collectively, we are the faces impacting our [Associate] history. We respectively discern the information presented to us, always holding the mission of the Sisters of bringing hope and healing to the decisions we need to make, and knowing that we are ultimately being guided by Divine Providence.” She noted, “Everyone is heard and respected. We come from different backgrounds, professions and unique life experiences yet this group promotes that we are all equal.”

Sister Geraldine Noonan finds her participation “solidifies my longtime realization of how committed the Associates are to the mission, charism and ministry of the Sisters of Providence. Members have a grasp of the history of the Sisters of Providence, appreciate the reality of our diminishment, and are willing to take on the challenge of a future without the Sisters’ presence, which in time will come.”

Associate Dan Therrien feels his service on the Core Committee has helped him and the other members “grow in compassion” and “in our faith and spirituality.” The nephew of the late Sister Marie Daniel, he says being on the Committee has given him the opportunity to work more closely with Sisters and Associates.

Associate Jim Clifford appreciates “the strengths of the other members, who as they’ve grown have become stronger voices on the Committee. They have the skills, knowledge and abilities to make substantial contributions to our work…build(ing) consensus when their efforts are required to resolve complex decisions. They are open,” he added, “to expressing their personal perspectives, and that provides the program with the important input we need.”

Associate Connie Canata says service on the Core Committee “…not only expands our participation as Associates but broadens our knowledge of the continued work and charism of the Sisters. Our meetings are gatherings of Sisters and Associates that offer stimulating conversation and new learnings into the vast participation of the Sisters in the surrounding area, not only in the past, but continuing into the future.”

Sister Julie Crane commented she has come to know the Associates better. “I appreciate their active involvement in spreading our Providence spirituality. They accomplish this in their regular work day and their volunteer time in local ministries such as nursing homes, serving on boards and in communities, teaching and local church activities. It is a pleasure to know what good things are happening because of our Associates ‘out in the field’ so to speak.”

Associate Dan McCavick added, “Association with the Sisters, not only as an Associate but being on the Core Committee, is a daily reminder to me of God’s presence in my life and of his Divine Providence in all that is, and all that will be.”

Looking forward to learning
Associate Betty Wilda, fairly new to the Core Committee, is “looking forward to learning more as a Committee member. I am impressed with the members’ commitment, dedication, knowledge and attention to detail. Until serving on this Committee,” she observed, “I took a lot for granted being a member of the Associate Program and I am grateful to former, present and future Core Committee Members for keeping things running.”

Special projects requiring the Core Committee’s attention over the past year or so include the updating of three important program documents—the Associate Directional Statement, Associate Guide and the Associate Director’s job description. Additionally, the Committee published an Associate Mentor Manual, a 40-page resource document, prepared by a Core Committee subcommittee.

Core Committee chair Associate Patricia St. Amand offered the final comment on the Committee’s contributions, stating: “The Core Committee’s work is key to the current vitality of the Associate Program and for the critical role its members play in planning and laying the groundwork for the program’s future.”


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