Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Spokane Sisters’ jubilees will be part of Cathedral celebration

the Inland Register

(From the Aug. 3, 2006 edition of the Inland Register)

In the past 150 years, hundreds of Sisters of Providence have continued the first Sisters’ legacy of compassion, courage and caring in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, California and El Salvador, which together comprise Mother Joseph Province today. Among them are several Spokane jubilarians who are celebrating 70, 60, and 50 years as a Sister of Providence in 2006.

The Spokane jubilarians are:

70 years: Sister Dorothy Zimny.

60 years: Sisters Lily May Emert, Clarella Fink, M. Michelle Holland and Marie Emmeline Ladd.

50 years: Sister Lillian Deslauriers.

Sister Dorothy Zimny (Sister Margaret Yvonne), born in Wells, Minn., met the Sisters of Providence as a sophomore in the Sisters’ boarding school at St. Joseph Academy in Sprague, Wash. She entered the novitiate in Seattle in 1935 and made first vows in 1937. Her first ministry was teaching fifth and sixth grades at St. Thomas Home in Great Falls, Mont. Her 17-year career in teaching also took her to Missoula, Mont.; Sprague and Colfax, Wash.; and Wallace, Idaho. Other ministries included bookkeeping, hospital patient accounts, secretarial duties and medical records administration.

Sister Lily May Emert (Sister Rose Theresa) was a pharmacist at St. Mary Hospital in Walla Walla for 20 years. Born in Seattle, she spent most of her youth in Spokane County and entered the Religious community in 1946, making first vows in 1948. As a young Sister, she was sent to help in the pharmacy at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula when the pharmacist there became ill and needed assistance. She later was sent to Creighton University in Omaha for pharmacy training. While a student, she returned to St. Patrick to work during the summers before going to St. Mary Hospital after graduation in 1958. She occasionally substituted at the Colfax hospital. She later was a volunteer chaplain at St. Mary, then completed clinical pastoral education training. Today she is a member of the Community Life Team at Mount St. Joseph, the residence for retired Sisters in Spokane.

Sister Clarella Fink (Lois May) was called to be a missionary to the Philippines when the former St. Ignatius Province sent Sisters there in 1989. She remained for 12 years, including three years as the Philippines’ first superior and more than nine years as treasurer. She returned to the United States in 2001. Born in Minneapolis in 1927, she grew up in Hyshum, Moore, Libby and Missoula, Mont. She entered the Sisters of Providence in Seattle in 1945 and made first vows in 1947. She taught at St. Francis Xavier and St. Anthony schools in Missoula, St. Thomas Home in Great Falls, and on the Indian reservation at DeSmet, Idaho.

Sister M. Michelle Holland (Sister Mary Michelle) is a foundress of Women of Providence, a collaborative group of 15 Providence congregations throughout the United States and Canada. She also provided the inspiration for the Providence Center for Faith and Healing and its garden on the Sacred Heart campus in Spokane. Born in Bovill, Idaho, she entered the novitiate in Seattle, making first profession in 1948. She taught science and math for nine years to girls who boarded at Sacred Heart Academy in Missoula, Mont. She also has been province director of education, a provincial councilor, provincial superior from 1974 to 1980, and director of mission and values at Sacred Heart Medical Center and a member of its administrative council.

Sister Marie Emmeline Ladd (Lois Francine), a nationally recognized pioneer nurse-midwife in Washington State, was born in 1927 in Kellogg, Idaho. For more than 30 years she practiced and taught in Santa Fe, New York City, Chicago and Spokane. She entered the novitiate in Seattle in 1946. She professed first vows in 1948 and completed nurse’s training at Columbus School of Nursing in Great Falls, Mont., in 1952. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Seattle University in 1954. She was director of the School of Nursing at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Mont., from 1956 to 1958, later returning as director of nursing service and as in-service director. She also supervised the maternity department at Sacred Heart Hospital, Spokane. She received her nurse-midwifery certificate in 1965 and her master’s in maternal and infant health in 1966. She estimates that she has delivered about a thousand babies. She retired in 1995.

Sister Lillian Deslauriers (Sister Jean Martin) was chaplain at Sacred Heart Medical Center. Spokane, for 18 years. Born in 1932 in Greensboro, Vt., she went to Montreal to enter the Sisters of Providence in 1955. She professed first vows in 1957, then became a nurse’s aide in Verdun, Montreal. She graduated from nurse’s training in Hull, Ontario, in 1961, then served in Timmins, Ontario, before being transferred to the former St. Ignatius Province in the west in 1966. As a registered nurse, she served in St. Ignatius and Fort Benton, Mont., and at Columbus Hospital in Great Falls. She also was a nurse and counselor at Linger Longer, a Jesuit summer camp in Idaho, and was a nurse for Spokane’s Expo ’74 World’s Fair. In 1975 she received a religious studies/psychology degree from Gonzaga University, then took graduate classes in counseling and psychology and later studied clinical pastoral education. While a chaplain at Sacred Heart, she also served for a few years in part-time jail ministry. Other missions included the Washington State Penitentiary, Raleigh Hills Rehabilitation Center for Drug and Alcohol, and as a volunteer with the homeless and at Transition Center.


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