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Missioning Day saw Louise Cooper welcomed to full Associate status

Missioning Day blessing


 

Sisters of Providence and Associates gathered at Providence Place on September 23 for Missioning Day ceremonies. The annual event celebrates the life of Saint Vincent de Paul, SP patron, and offers Sisters and Associates the opportunity to re-dedicate themselves to the Congregation’s charism and mission.

In the day’s introduction, SP President Kathleen Popko welcomed those gathered and spoke of the context in which Sisters and Associates are renewing their commitments this year. She cited some of the harsh realities of living in these extraordinary times where “the very foundations upon which we have built our lives seem to be crumbling” and also noted the signs of hope she sees emerging in the chaos.

Whether the challenges are the result of nature—hurricanes, floods, fires—and the human misery that follows in their wake, or in issues like the divisive political climate or the sexual abuse crisis, hopeful signs are occurring as people are responding. Coming together as one, they are helping each other time and time again during weather disasters. They are running for elective office—especially women—or pursuing voter registration and speaking up and speaking out in the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements.

The growing recognition of our interdependence and interconnectedness as one human community, noted Sister Kathleen, is another sign of hope.

During the rituals that followed, the Sisters renewed their vows, affirmed their commitments to the Congregation’s Chapter calls, and listened as Sister Kathleen missioned them to their current ministries. In turn, Associates reaffirmed their pledges to continue their relationship with the Sisters of Providence by living out the Congregation’s charism of revealing God’s Providence through who they are, their prayer, and their vocation.

New Associate

Welcoming a new Associate
Another highlight included the Congregation’s welcoming of Louise Cooper (above, left) to full Associate status. Sister Ruth McGoldrick (above, right) had mentored and guided Louise during the program’s two-year orientation/integration process. Commenting on their experience, Sister Ruth shared, “It has been a great joy for me to accompany Louise on her journey. She has a great love for the Sisters and our charism and has given evidence of that by her kindness to the Sisters, and by her participation in the liturgical and other events here at Providence Place. Her great generosity is a sign of her commitment to service.”

Louise, too, spoke of her gratitude to Sister Ruth whom she described as “…an inspiration, role model and guiding light.” She added, “Sister Ruth showed me how to be Providence to others and for this I am grateful.”

Asked why she sought to become an Associate, she responded: “Through prayerful reflection I felt drawn to uniting more closely to the Sisters’ way of life and to sharing their values in accordance with the charism of their foundress and in the spirit of their Community. I expect nothing, but would benefit greatly from their prayerful support, their continued friendship and companionship.”

Detailing the Candidate process
As a Candidate, Louise immersed herself in the SPs’ history, charism, spirituality, mission and ministry, attended congregational events, Associate meetings and retreats and New England Region Associates Gatherings. She served meals at Kate’s Kitchen, helped at a St. Luke’s tag sale, visited Sisters living at Mary’s Meadow, and served in the Sisters’ chapel as lector and Eucharistic Minister. Widowed, she has lived at Providence Place since 2016. Prior to retirement, she lived in Easthampton and taught for several years at the parochial school on the junior high school level. She then worked for 20 years at Smith College in the Registrar’s Office.

She was on the planning committee that helped merge Easthampton’s three former ethnic parishes—Notre Dame du Bon Conseil, French, Sacred Heart, Polish, and Immaculate Conception, Irish—into Our Lady of the Valley Parish, where she is a member.

 

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