85th Anniversary highlighted during Heritage Week
A major highlight of Heritage Week 2017 occurred July 19 when Providence Place surprised the Sisters of Providence with a 22” by 16” bronze plaque memorializing the 1932 opening of the Providence Mother House.
The engraved plaque depicts raised images of Sisters and novices and different views of the dome capped building. The inscription under its “In Gratitude” banner reads:
This plaque commemorates the 85th Anniversary of the opening of this building and is displayed here as an expression of appreciation to the Sisters of Providence. The Sisters initially opened the building in 1932 as Providence Mother House, their beloved home and seat of their administration, and in 1999 transitioned their home into Providence Place, a retirement community for their Sisters and the laity. Presented to the Sisters of Providence on July 19, 2017.
The plaque expresses the Providence Place Community’s appreciation for the Sisters’ decision to establish Providence Place and will be mounted in the building’s main entrance way.
In presenting the plaque to Sisters of Providence President Kathleen Popko, Providence Place’s Executive Director Richard Pelland noted, “Gratitude to the Sisters of Providence, and for this home for the Providence Place Community, is what today is all about. Looking back,” he continued, “I was trying to imagine what that move-in day of long ago was like and how the Sisters felt.”
Sister Kathleen then reflected on the Sisters’ nearly 60-year desire for a suitable home and the joy they experienced when its construction was complete. Describing the Sisters’ need for a Mother House as “extreme,” she added, “The Sisters tried to set aside funds for this purpose, but the needs of their ministry took priority. For example, Mother Mary of Providence found it necessary to use money set aside for a Mother House to build an orphanage for infants.”
“Time and again,” Sister Kathleen continued, “the Sisters tolerated the inconvenience of inadequate housing for other priorities, choosing instead to establish new ministries and maintain and expand their ministries already in place.”
Finally, in the spring of 1928, the Sisters learned the Mother House would become a reality. Ground-breaking ceremonies took place in the fall.
The Mother House was dedicated, along with its Our Mother of Sorrows Chapel, in February 1933. The Sisters’ history book, Seeds of Hope, captures the moment saying: “A watchful Providence had indeed brought victory by giving the ‘shelter of a true home’ to the Sisters of Providence.”
Sister Kathleen noted that, despite the significant renovations that transitioned the building into Providence Place, “the heart of the building remains the same—its extraordinary chapel, beautiful cloisters, gold dome visible for miles, and a sense of community that permeates and pervades the space…Perhaps that is a gift of all who lived here before us.”
Now Providence Place is a home, not only to the Sisters, but to many lay residents who enjoy the wonders of this building and the sense of community that permeates and pervades its space.