This year the Sisters of Divine Providence have one Sister celebrating 25 years of service to religious life, six celebrating 50 years, four celebrating 60 years, seven celebrating 65 years, four celebrating 70 years, one celebrating 75 years, and one celebrating 80 years of service to religious life, for a combined total of 1,455 years to the service of all God's people. Congratulations, Jubilarians!
Sister Rosaria Bednar
Sister Rosaria Bednar, one of 12 children, entered religious life from St. Mary’s (now St. John of God) parish in McKees Rocks, Pa. The way in which her parents lived their lives had a great influence on her vocation. They were always interested and willing to help others. Sister Rosaria wanted to do the same, and felt that becoming a sister was the best way. The Sisters of Divine Providence, who were her teachers at St. Mary’s, solidified her desire to enter religious life.
Though teaching was not her first choice of ministry – she had wanted to be a nurse -- Sister Rosaria found it very rewarding. She believes that, over time, it became her destiny. She found contentment and happiness in the ministry and grew to enjoy it. She taught in the Pittsburgh Diocese for 53 years, 8 at the elementary level and 45 years teaching secondary math, science Spanish and religion. For 19 years (between 1939 and 1987), Sister Rosaria taught at St. Basil School in Carrick. She taught for ten years (1974-84) in Braddock, Pa. at St. Thomas High School. She taught courses at Duquesne University and Washington University in Washington, D.C., and was an adjunct professor in the math department at La Roche College. She also spent two years (1995-97) serving at the community’s Generalate when it was located in Rome. She is remembered by those who visited for her hospitality and the delicious meals she prepared for the guests.
Between 1949 and 1951, Sister Rosaria traveled to the mission in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. She did not speak Spanish when she arrived in Arecibo, but soon learned to communicate. She taught school during the day and after school and on weekends she went to the campo (villages) to teach religion. She views this time as a real example of God’s Providence in her life. The most important thing to her about the charism of her community is the trust in God’s Providence. “It cannot be taught – it must be lived through practice,” said Sister Rosaria. “Trust helped me to accept change in my life as God’s plan. I have tried to live my life trusting God, believing that every change could bring about some good. In time, it did.”
Sister Rosaria retired in 1999. Sister Rosaria describes herself as generous with her time and talents; fun-loving, and caring, always willing and able to help others. She enjoys reading, crocheting and traveling. Now that she has time to reminisce about the results of her lifelong ministry. “It was all worthwhile,” she said. Sister Rosaria finds it very gratifying to see the results of her dedication in the former pupils, now adults, who are living successful lives. “I feel that I had a wee part in their lives, and that in itself, is enough for me to know that my efforts were rewarded,” said Sister.
Sister Dorothy Roth
Sister Dorothy Roth, formerly Sister Mary Jean, entered religious life from St Martin, West End. She was a nurse and later director of nursing services at Divine Providence Hospital in Pittsburgh (between 1955-79) and director of the school of nursing at Braddock General Hospital (1967-74). She transitioned into home care nursing with the Visiting Nurses Association, which she enjoyed very much. At the age of 73, she left for Puerto Rico to work among the poor elderly as a case nurse. The people treated her like “God’s gift to humanity,” she said. After ten years, according to Sister Dorothy, “the happiest of her 75 years in religious life,” she returned to Pittsburgh where began her present ministry of general service and prayer. Of her community’s charism, she states, “Our charism is trust in God’s Providence – that is God’s care for me and us and all of creation – so I am not worried, anxious, or afraid. God didn’t just create the universe and then walk away, but takes care of everybody and everything.
Sister Dorothy began running I 1986 and although she can’t do it anymore, she has many fond memories of competitions she entered and trophies she won. The last race she participated in was the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2008; she finished first in the over-90 age group. She admits, with a smile, that she was the only entrant in that group! When asked what sustained her during 75 years of religious life, she responds that she appreciated and enjoyed the “whole ball of wax.”
Sister Charlotte Deveau
Sister Charlotte Deveau spent most of her childhood days in Quincy, Ma., where her earliest schooling was in a Catholic parish school. She entered the Community from East Bridgewater, Ma., from the parish of St. John. While in high school, she became acquainted with one of the younger members of the Sisters of Divine Providence and attended retreats offered by the Sisters in Kingston for young women. This experience fostered her vocation to religious life.
Since her first profession of vows, Sister Charlotte has ministered as an elementary school teacher, both in a parish and for more than 40 years at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Kingston. A gifted primary educator, her teaching has always been with the little children. Beloved by the children, their parents and her peers, Sister Charlotte’s educational ministry has truly been an example of God’s Providence made visible in our world. Her creativity, enthusiasm, and compassion are gifts to all who know her. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, crocheting, and keeping in touch with her family.
Sister Mary Francis Fletcher
Sister Mary Francis Fletcher entered the Community from St. Ann’s by the Sea in Ocean Bluff, Mass. Her decision to enter the Sisters of Divine Providence was influenced by prayer, discernment, and a deep inner sense of God’s call, as well as by a belief that with this group of women was the place where her call would be nurtured and flourish. Sister Mary Francis ministered at Sacred Heart Elementary in Kingston (1965-68 & 1971-75) and at Sacred Heart High School (1975-85). She has been Provincial Director for the Marie de la Roche Province five and one-half years, serving as a counselor for five years prior. Before the restructuring of the Community into one province, she served in provincial administration for the former Kingston province (1991-2001).
She feels a deep sense of being personally called, guided, and gifted by God, to live in trust and openness to God’s will and to celebrate God’s Providence, in service of others. She wants to share this deep belief and experience of God with others so that they also may be opened to God’s goodness, presence, and care and each may find life and joy in offering what they have received to others.
In her words: I have given my life to God through vows in the community of the Sisters of Divine Providence, 'for the sake of the Gospel.' More than fifty years ago, I was inspired by a sign over a gate. Taking it as my own, I asked that those words, 'Thy Will is my way!' would be inscribed in my profession ring. This is my intention every day and the goal of my life: to share the love and gifts that God has given me, guided by the Spirit of Jesus, strengthened by Divine grace, and impelled by the teachings of Jesus as found in the Scriptures, to be faithful in loving service of others."
Describing herself as dependable, an attentive listener, and service-minded, Sister Mary Francis loves nature and enjoys hiking and camping. She also likes crafts such as cross stitching, embroidery, knitting, crocheting. An avid reader, she enjoys both reading and listening to audio books.
Sister Louise Kovalovsky
Sister Louise Kovalovsky, formerly Sister DeMarillac, entered religious life from Saint Malachy parish in Kennedy Twp. She was inspired by the Sisters of Divine Providence at St. Mary Help of Christians, McKees Rocks, Pa., finding them to be excellent teachers. She began her ministry in elementary education (1966–78) in a number of diocesan schools, including St. Anne’s (Castle Shannon), St. Basil (Carrick), and St. Alphonsus (Springdale). Presently, she is college archivist at La Roche College, a position she has held since 2005. She previously served as director of campus ministry (1986–92) at the College.
A gifted artist herself, she experienced the power of art in a special way while ministering among the Chicano people in Colorado (1982-83), empowering them to use their artistic gifts to reclaim their heritage as a people. Artes del Valle (Arts of the Valley), where she ministered, provided a place to produce and sell weavings, embroidery, and pottery reflective of the culture to supplement their substandard income. “It was a memorable ministry, where I experienced a deep joy with people who exhibited a zest for life in spite of their struggles with discrimination, political oppression, and economic poverty,” she said. She feels she has been blessed and continues to experience gratefulness for her call to religious life.
Sister Rose Anne Krantz
Sister Rose Anne Krantz, formerly Sister Thaddine, credits her parents for nurturing her vocation, remembering that as a child, she was encouraged to think of others. Both parents lived their faith through the actions of their daily lives, so it was natural for her to think of a life that would enable her to share her faith. She entered the Community from St. Joseph parish in Dover, Ohio. She has been the pastoral associate at Immaculate Conception Parish in Ravenna, Ohio for two years. She also spent ten years in pastoral ministry at Christ the King Parish in Dunbar, West Virginia (1984-94). Sister served in internal ministry as co-director of the Pittsburgh motherhouse (2001-06).
There have been many blessings in her life and her 50 years in Community. She views the greatest blessing as the many people she has walked with throughout her journey of life, starting with her family and continuing with Community members and the many, many, many people she has had the privilege to know through her ministries of education and pastoral care.
The interrelationship of Community living is the most rewarding aspect of her religious life. According to Sister Rose Anne, she never feels alone in her ministry because of the prayer support of the Sisters, especially the retired Sisters. She is constantly amazed at how God works through her, giving her the energy to try new things, the ability to work with different people, the creativity to use gifts she never thought she possessed. “All this and more I believe is possible because of community members who constantly hold me in prayer,” said Sister Rose Anne.
Sister Rose Anne is an excellent quilter, and has made and donated a quilt for the yearly Community Oktoberfest fundraiser.
Sister Ruth Ann McDermott
Sister Ruth Ann McDermott, formerly Sister Valentine, entered religious life from St. Catherine’s parish in Beechview, Pa. She was inspired by the Sisters she met during her high school years while volunteering at Divine Providence Hospital, in particular, Sister Mary Alice Nebel. For the past year, Sister Ruth Ann has taught high school in the Detroit Christian School in inner city Detroit. She also spent a significant amount of time teaching at Saint Martin DePorres High School (1992-2005), also in Detroit. She enjoyed her ten years teaching at the Community’s Divine Providence Academy (1969-78/1980-81). To her, the most important aspect of the charism of her Community is its social justice mission. Founded by Bishop Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler, Germany’s “Worker Bishop,” the Community’s mission has always been to serve the needs of the times, often meaning service to the marginal and under-served population. She has considered her 20-year ministry to students of the inner city of Detroit as a blessing. The experience has deepened her commitment to justice and making Providence more visible in the world. Sister Ruth Ann describes herself as resourceful and dedicated, one who enjoys crafts in whatever spare time she can find.
Sister Claudia Ward
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston taught Sister Claudia Ward in high school and she views them as wonderful educators. Their spirit of joy and commitment greatly influenced her in her vocation. She entered the Community from Our Lady of Lourdes, Brockton, Massachusetts. One of her most rewarding ministries was her time as an educator at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Kingston. She spent 17 years at the school, from 1968 to 1985. Sister Claudia was elected to and served in Community leadership as Provincial Director of the former Our Lady Province (1991-2000). For the past ten years, Sister Claudia has been the area assistant with responsibility for a wide range of duties related to the operation at Providence House in Kingston and the support of the Sisters residing there.
The Sisters of Divine Providence mission statement states, “we commit ourselves to co-create a world of compassion, justice and peace.” In Sister Claudia’s view, the world today is surely in need of compassion, justice and peace, and it important to her that this be accomplished first within the Community and ministries of the Sisters. Sister loves to listen to music and to sing. She describes herself as friendly, compassionate, and committed. In whatever spare time she can find she enjoys reading -- all kinds of reading, especially poetry. She also enjoys the challenge of word puzzles.
Sister Maria Clara Kreis
Sister Maria Clara Kreis, a native of Germany, spent her childhood and young adulthood in Germany where she was inspired by the Sisters of Divine Providence to commit herself to religious life. As an early childhood educator, Sister Clara served children/youth in various German Catholic institutions. In response to an invitation to live in an international community with the U.S. Sisters, expressed by the leadership teams of the German and U.S. provinces, Sister Clara immigrated to Pittsburgh. There, Sister Clara’s commitment to the CDP’s charism and mission was strengthened. Passionate about religious life, her dissertation focus was on the design of the “Life Satisfaction Scale for Apostolic Women Religious” (LSSAWR), and included three studies which she conducted in 2008. The LSSAWR can be used for the assessment of satisfaction and the planning of a future direction among women religious. As a licensed psychologist, Sister Clara has opened her private practice in downtown Pittsburgh. Motivated by her interest in the academic field of psychology, she continues her research in the area of the Roman Catholic apostolic religious life. In May 2012, Sister Clara will be employed as an adjunct faculty member at Chatham University in Pittsburgh.
Sister Mary Kriley
Sister Mary Jerome Roberts
Sister Agnes Schmidt
Sister Mary Weatherly
Sister Louise Angelini
Sister Rosalie Deck
Sister Mary Gabriel Friedel
Sister Maureen Grabowski
Sister Adele Kasper
Sister Marjorie Nickel
Sister Dorothy Ransil
Sister Elizabeth Apel
Sister Jean Louise McIntyre
Sister Marian Senish
Sister Lois Ann Wuenstel