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

Aug. 5 Mass, celebration mark 150th anniversary of Providence Sisters’ arrival in the Northwest

the Inland Register

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

The five foundresses of the Sisters of Providence in the West arrived in Vancouver, Wash., on Dec. 8, 1856. Seated, from left, are Sisters Praxedes of Providence, Joseph of the Sacred Heart, and Mary of the Precious Blood; standing are Vincent de Paul, and Blandine of the Holy Angels. (IR photo courtesy of the Sisters of Providence)

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, 1115 W. Riverside Ave. in Spokane, will be the site of the second of three major celebrations this year marking the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of Providence in the West.

The Mass will include recognition of the Religious community’s 2006 jubilarians.

Bishop Skylstad will preside at the Mass, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 5, at 11 a.m. A reception will follow at The Davenport Hotel, 10 S. Post Street.

The commemoration’s theme is “Celebrating God’s Favor.”

On Dec. 8, 1856, Mother Joseph and four Sister companions arrived in the Washington Territory, at what is now Vancouver, Wash. Mother Joseph was a woman of extraordinary compassion, creativity, skill, vision and deep faith who traveled from Montreal, Quebec, to the West with the aim of filling the unmet needs of God’s people on the frontier.

Under her leadership, more than 30 hospitals, schools and homes were opened for orphans, the elderly and the sick in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and southern British Columbia.

In 1980, she became Washington State’s second honoree with a statue placed in Statuary Hall in the nation’s capital. In addition, her birthdate, April 16, is a Washington State holiday.

“From these beginnings, the sisters and lay collaborators have built an extensive network of health, education and human services; and in celebrating God’s favor, we gratefully acknowledge the energy source for all the good that has been accomplished,” says Sister Margaret Botch, provincial and Leadership Team coordinator for Mother Joseph Province.

The yearlong celebration began Dec. 8, 2005, will conclude Dec. 8 of this year, the actual anniversary date.

“We are celebrating much more than the arrival of those first Sisters of Providence in the West,” says Sister Joan Gallagher, chair of the 150th Anniversary Committee. “During the 12 months we are recalling, celebrating and giving thanks for all of our Sisters’ ministries over the last 150 years in the Northwest and for their continuing commitment to serving God’s people.”

Details on all of the events plus an historic photo gallery and more are available on the Sisters of Providence website:

Extensive historical information and photographs are on the Providence Archives website at

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