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


Sisters of Providence with Eastern Washington ties mark jubilees of Religious life

the Inland Register

(From the July 3, 2008 edition of the Inland Register)

Seventeen Sisters of Providence from Mother Joseph Province will celebrate significant anniversaries of their years in Religious life at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 19, at St. James Cathedral, 804 9th Avenue, in Seattle. Msgr. Michael G. Ryan, rector of the cathedral, will preside at the liturgy. A luncheon honoring the Jubilarians will follow at St. James Parish Hall and at OíDea High School gymnasium.

85 years

Sister Jane Dufault (given name Aurora Dufault) celebrated her 103rd birthday on March 16. She was born in Gaspe in the Province of Quebec in 1905. She made first profession in 1924. Sister Jane was assigned to come West in 1925 and learned to speak English while working in hospital settings, in nursing and in the kitchen at institutions including St. Joseph Home for the Aged, Spokane. She served as receptionist at Mount St. Joseph, Spokane, and assistant in the chapel and the archives until her retirement.

75 years

Sister Pauline Higgins (Sister Louis of the Blessed Sacrament) was born in 1914 as half of the second set of twins born to a family in Sunnyside, Wash. Pauline became a Sister of Providence in 1932. After graduation from St. Joseph Academy, Yakima, Pauline entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Providence in Seattle. She taught a variety of subjects or served as assistant librarian or debate coach in high schools in the West, including Walla Walla. Sister Pauline wrote a book that included her experiences teaching in Alaskaís bush with Indian families or on the tundra with Eskimo families. Her other ministry assignments included formation team member, vocation director, candidate director and Eucharistic minister for parish shut-ins.

Sister Marguerite OíConnor (Sister Francis Jerome) was registrar at the then College of Great Falls (Mont.) for 24 years. She received the first Emilie Gamelin Award for service to the college. Born Nellie Marguerite OíConnor in Missoula, Mont., she graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in 1932, and then entered the novitiate in Seattle. Her 34 years in teaching and administration in elementary and secondary schools took her to Sprague, Wash., among other towns. She taught primary grades, then upper grades and later served as principal. She spent four years as a member of the Formation Team after leaving the classroom. Before retiring in March 2003, Sister Marguerite was librarian at Mount St. Joseph, Spokane.

70 years

Sister Loretta Marie Marceau (given name Ida Mae Marceau) was born in Missoula, Mont., to a family of six boys and five girls. She graduated from Sacred Heart Academy and entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Providence in Seattle in 1938. She also graduated from the University of Great Falls (MT) and Kinman Business University, Spokane. Her long career in finance and financial management took her to various institutions, including Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane; St. Mary Medical Center, Walla Walla; and the University of Great Falls. Her final ministry was serving as development director for the former St. Ignatius Province, raising just short of $2 million in a decade. She retired in 2003 to Mount St. Joseph, Spokane.

Sister Jeanne Parent (Sister Paul Joseph) was born in Rimouski, Quebec, in 1908 and moved with her family to a farm at Roxton Falls, near Montreal, at the age of 7. She entered the novitiate in 1937. While learning English she was assigned to Mount St. Vincent, Seattle, to help in the infirmary, and then to Providence Medical Center in Portland to learn bookkeeping. She would remain in ministry in Portland for 30 years, including 10 years in the purchasing department at St. Vincent Hospital, where her aunt Sister Crescence trained her to work in the business office. She was responsible for repairs and purchasing at St. Mary Hospital, Astoria, Ore., then helped with Sistersí budgets while working in the treasurerís office at Providence Heights, in Issaquah. Sister Jeanne then returned to St. Vincent Hospital, where she spent 20 years as receptionist. She retired in 1997.

60 years

Sister Mary Clare Boland (Sister Mary Wilfrid) retired last December after providing pastoral care for 17 years at the former Providence Seattle Medical Center, now Swedish. She was born in Seattle in 1930 and entered the Sisters of Providence in June 1947, professing first vows in 1949. Her teaching ministry began at St. Joseph Academy in Sprague, Wash. Sister Mary Clare arrived at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, in 1973 and began a ministry of caring for older Sisters that continued for more than 20 years. After a year of clinical pastoral education studies in Steilacoom, she worked in pastoral care at Providence Seattle Medical Center, then at St. Peterís Hospital, Olympia, later returning to St. Joseph Residence as assistant superior. She took over pastoral care at Providence Seattle in 1990.

Sister Dolores Ellwart (Sister Camilla) was born in 1929 in the tiny farm community of DeSmet, Idaho, where she still serves in ministry today. Dolores attended grade school at Mount St. Joseph Academy in Tekoa, Wash., and high school as a boarder at Holy Names Academy, Spokane. She entered the Religious community in Seattle after graduation in 1947. She has a bachelorís degree in education from the University of Great Falls and a masterís degree in library science from the University of Portland. She has taught in parish schools in Colfax and Walla Walla, Wash., among other places. In 1965 Sister Dolores returned to DeSmet, where she taught all of the grades at Mary Immaculate School and also was superior and principal. When the school closed in 1974, she moved across the road to Sacred Heart Mission as parish minister. She also was chairperson of the school board for a number of years at the tribal school started by the Coeur díAlene Indians.

Sister Jeannette Parent (Sister Blasius) entered the Sisters of Providence twice, the first time in July 1942 at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle. Four months later she left, plagued by eye trouble. She re-entered the community five years later. Jeannette was born in Baker, Mont., the child of French Canadian parents from Quebec. The family moved to Springdale, Wash., where she attended Mary Walker School, followed by Marycliff High School, Spokane, and her senior year at St. Joseph Academy, Sprague, Wash. Her education included LPN training at St. Peter Hospital, Olympia, and clinical pastoral education preparation at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane. Sister Jean-netteís early ministry assignments included the sistersí infirmary at Mount St. Joseph, Spokane. After nurseís training she was an LPN at Northwest hospitals. After caring for her elderly parents, she served in ministry at St. Clare Hospital, Fort Benton, Mont., then at Mount St. Joseph sistersí infirmary and St. Joseph Care Center, Spokane. She retired in 1995.

Sister Alice St. Hilaire (Sister Mary Georgetta) was born in the Yakima Valley, the oldest of eight children, and serves in ministry there today. She provides spiritual direction, is part of a team that offers Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (SEEL), and is a longtime co-chair of the diocesan vocation committee. She made first vows in 1949 and taught primary grades and music in Missoula, Mont., Walla Walla, Wash., Fairbanks, Alaska, and Seattle. She earned her bachelorís degree at the College of Great Falls (MT) through summer school sessions, then enrolled in a combined masterís and doctoral program at St. Louis University in Missouri and was awarded her doctorate in philosophy in 1961. She taught philosophy for 13 years, including years at St. Thomas Seminary in Kenmore, Wash. Sister Alice was chosen for the first Formation Team, served on the Provincial Council and at Providence Hospitality House, and also frequently has been an ďad hocĒ director for a Sister of temporary vows.

50 years

Sister Patricia Hauser (Sister Christiana) was born in Madison, Wisc., and grew up in Bellingham, Wash., to a family that offered that cityís first foster home. She entered the novitiate in 1957 after graduation. She taught for six years in Seattle and Vancouver, Wash., and in Sun Valley, Calif. Sister Patricia earned a masterís degree in social work at the University of Washington with a partial stipend from Catholic Charities in Yakima. As part of her internship she worked at the state welfare program in Spokane and she also volunteered at a drop-in center on Skid Road in Seattle. She served on the first Formation Team, did counseling and supervision of foster homes for Catholic Charities, and then was an addictions counselor and later a chaplain at Sundown M Ranch, an alcoholism treatment center. She also spent a year at Heronbrook House, an affiliate program in England, and has ministered to person with HIV/AIDS and the disabled at Providence House in Oakland, Calif. Today she lives in Forks, Wash., spending time in solitude and prayer and serving as a part-time patient visitor and on-call chaplain for the Hospice program.

Sister Therese Multz (Sister Victoria) was born to a third-generation Yugoslavian family in Sioux City, Iowa, that moved to Yakima, Wash., she was 5. She became serious about Religious life when she was a high school junior at St. Joseph Academy and entered the Sisters of Providence after putting herself through Yakima Valley Junior College. She made first vows in 1959 and her first mission was to substitute in a fourth-grade classroom in Tacoma for a teacher who was ill. She taught for one month, and then returned to the sister formation program in Everett, Wash., then to Issaquah. She taught for 20 years, primarily in the middle grades and in all subjects in Tacoma, Vancouver, Yakima and Seattle, Wash., Burbank and Sun Valley, Calif., and Fairbanks, Alaska. The needs of the children led her to seek a masterís degree in psychology at Leslie College in Cambridge, Mass. When a serious head injury ended her teaching career, she became a mental health therapist, specializing in using creative arts in healing. Sister Therese worked for a year as the only woman at a school for boys on the San Juan Island, and then became activities director for the sisters at Mount St. Vincent. She also was one of the founders in the late 1980s of Youth Associates of the Providence Sisters (YAPS), a 25-member ministry group for Kennedy High School students doing community service work. She later worked in a psychiatric hospital in Kirkland, Wash. She has been a volunteer at the Womenís Drop-In Center in Spokane since 2005.

25 years

Sister Gabrielle Nguyen entered the Congregation of Mary Queen in Springfield, Mo., in 1982 at the age of 20, and last September she completed her transfer of perpetual vows to the Sisters of Providence. Born in South Vietnam in 1982, she was the second oldest of 10 children. The family escaped to the United States in 1975, arriving first in a refugee camp in Fort Chaffee, Ark., and eventually settling in Dallas, Texas. She professed final vows in 1991. Certified as an LPN, she served in ministry in nursing homes and as a community health nurse in the Vietnamese Center in St. Louis. At a transfer workshop she met two Vietnamese Sisters beginning the transfer process, as well as several Sisters of Providence who invited her to contact the vocation team. She came to Spokane in February 2004 and began a three-year transfer process the following July. Sister Gabrielle has another year of part-time classes at Spokane Community College to become an RN. She hopes to work with Sisters in the fourth-floor infirmary at Mount St. Joseph, Spokane, and to volunteer for Hospice.


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