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 mark jubilees of Religious life

the Inland Register

(From the June 11, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

Fourteen Sisters of Providence will celebrate significant anniversaries of their years in Religious life at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 20, at Sacred Heart Parish, 219 East Rockwood Blvd., in Spokane. Father Stanley Malnar M.D. will preside at the liturgy. A luncheon honoring the Jubilarians will follow at Providence Auditorium, 20 West Ninth Ave.

The Jubilarians:

80 years: Sister Eva OíHare.

70 years: Sisters Louise (Ursula Emily) Beaulieu and Claire Gagnon.

60 years: Sisters Helen Brennan, Rose Byrne, Susan Marie Fitzmorris, Marleen Hull, Ruth (Virginia) Miller, Lucy St. Hilaire, and Silvia Troncoso.

50 years: Sisters Edeltrudis (Deling) Fernando, Judith George, Ida Mae Marceau, and Margaret Mary Wilson.

80 years

Sister Eva OíHare (Sister Laureen), born in Olympia, Wash., turned 100 years of age last December. For 40 years she taught in Vancouver, Walla Walla, Tacoma, Seattle and Moxee, Wash., and also was a teacher and principal in Yakima, Wash. Sister Eva also served in Burbank, Calif., where she taught at St. Finbar School and was treasurer at Providence High School. She later served in health care ministry in Tacoma, Olympia and Yakima, and she was the registrar and bookkeeper at the conference center at Providence Heights in Issaquah, Wash. For 18 years she was the receptionist at St. Vincent Hospital and Medical Center in Portland, Ore.

70 years

Sister Louise (Ursula Emily) Beaulieu, age 95, was born in Rimouski, Quebec, and was baptized Marie Louise Anne. She entered the Religious community in 1939 and was sent to Seattle, where she cared for the Sisters in the infirmary and worked in the kitchen while learning to speak English. She went on to serve as a nurse for more than 30 years, and to work in the pharmacy. In addition to Seattle, her health care ministry took her to Walla Walla, Moxee, Olympia, Vancouver and Port Townsend, Wash. She returned to Seattle as a parish worker and spent 14 years in pastoral care in Anchorage, Alaska.

Sister Claire Gagnon (Sister Marcelle Odile), born Marie Claire, entered the Religious community in 1938 in Montreal and was immediately sent to Seattle, where she cooked for the Sisters at a convent in Tacoma and learned to speak English. She graduated from the School of Nursing at Seattle University, and then served in hospitals in Seattle, Tacoma, Walla Walla and Yakima, Wash., and Medford and Portland, Ore. In 1961, she became the administrator at St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, where she remained for 13 years. After completing clinical pastoral education in San Francisco, she was assigned to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage to develop the Pastoral Care Department. She retired in 2003 after 28 years in Alaska.

60 years

Sister Helen Brennan (Sister Dympna) grew up in Camas, Wash. Helen entered the Religious community and made first profession in 1951. She holds a bachelorís degree in education from the College (now University) of Great Falls and a masterís degree in religious education from Seattle University. She taught grade school in Seattle, Yakima and Vancouver, Wash., and then in Fairbanks, Alaska. In 1968 she became director of religious education at St. Catherine Parish, Seattle. Religious education was her career for the next 23 years. She returned to ministry in Alaska in the 1970s. She retired in 1996.

Sister Rose Byrne (Sister Kevin) was born on a farm in County Offaly, Ireland, and entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Providence in 1948. From 1953 to 1972, Sister Rose taught in schools in Washington and California. She earned her bachelorís degree in summer studies at the College of Great Falls and her masterís degree in education at Seattle University. In 1978 she was drawn to health care, beginning in the medical records department at Providence St. Joseph before earning her certification in clinical pastoral education. She worked as pastoral care associate in Portland and in Oakland before returning to southern California. Since 1998 she has served in the Valley Service Area. She ministered to the elderly for 16 years at St. Patrick Parish, and also has worked in parish ministry at St. Finbar Parish.

Sister Susan Marie Fitzmorris (Sister Clare of Assisi) was born in Olympia, Wash.. She entered the novitiate at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle, in 1948. She taught for 23 years in a range of grades and subjects in Seattle, Walla Walla, Vancouver and Moxee, Wash., Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, and at St. Finbar and Providence High School in Burbank, Calif. Summers at the College of Great Falls led to a bachelor of science degree in education. When she left teaching in 1974, Sister Susan began working with elderly Sisters at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle. Over the next 20 years she moved from assistant superior to team member/assistant coordinator. She then served as housekeeper at nearby Mount St. Vincent and later as supervisor of housekeeping and laundry at The Mount, where she continues to volunteer at the Emilie Shop since her retirement in 1994.

Sister Marleen Hull (Sister Anthony), born in Havre, Mont., entered the Religious community at age 17 and was professed at 19. Her first ministry was in teaching, eight years in primary grades and kindergarten, and then she entered Sacred Heart School of Nursing, graduating in 1960. Her nursing ministry took her to Wallace, Idaho; Colfax, Wash., and Great Falls. She also served as supervisor of obstetrics and surgery and as director of nursing. Her education included a bachelor of arts degree from the College of Great Falls and a masterís degree in hospital administration from St. Louis University. For six years she was assistant administrator tor for patient services in ten departments at St. Vincent Medical Center, Portland. In 1979 she was elected to the Provincial Council of the former St. Ignatius Province, and then became administrator at St. Mary Hospital in Walla Walla, Wash. She also visited shut-ins in St. Aloysius Parish in Spokane.

Sister (Ruth) Virginia Miller (Sister Virginia) grew up in Longview, Wash. She entered the Religious community in 1948. Her teaching ministry took her to Walla Walla, Moxee City, Yakima and Vancouver, Wash. When Providence Academy closed in Vancouver, she was asked to remain in the city as a presence for girls who would be moving into the public school system. In 1967 Sister Virginia was joined by Sister Elizabeth Joyce and they began the Vancouver Apostolate, an outreach program to train volunteers in five rural parishes. They continued this ministry in Snohomish, Monroe and Poulsbo, Wash. In 1978 they became the first rural ministry team in the Archdiocese of Seattle. For eight years they served in 12 parishes and 10 mission churches. In 1995, Archbishop Raymond Hunt-hausen appointed Sister Virginia as pastoral life director in Holy Family, Frances and St. Joseph, and Pe Ell parishes.

Sister Lucy St. Hilaire (Sister Marisita) was first assigned to teach first grade at Holy Family School, Seattle, which began 27 years in education. She taught in Olympia and Vancouver, Wash., Des Plaines, Ill., and then spent 10 years as a teacher and dean of studies at Kennedy High School, Seattle. Five years on the team at St. Joseph Residence in Seattle was followed by clinical pastoral education (CPE) classes, and then 15 years as chaplain at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Portland. She retired 10 years ago but has continued as a volunteer in Portland at the hospital, the child center and in parish work, particularly RCIA.

Sister Silvia Troncoso (Sister Maria Silvia de Jesus) was born in Chile in the Province of Concepcion and works with Hispanics in Yakima, Wash. Sister Silvia entered the Sisters of Providence on Christmas Eve, 1948, thinking of it as a gift to her God. She was a teacher for more than 35 years in the Province of Bernarda Morin in Chile, including 15 years as director of educational ministry. For 17 years she was superior of her local community and she also served in parish ministry and pastoral care. She was asked to come to the United States to work with Hispanics, and has been involved in the evangelization and catechization of adults, teenagers and adolescents ever since. She also works with the Family Congress of Evangelization each year.

50 years

Sister Edeltrudis (Deling) Fernando (Sister Miguel) grew up in Laoag City, Philippines. After seeing an ad for the Sisters of Providence she contacted the vocation director and was helped to get a scholarship to study at the College of Great Falls. She entered the religious community at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle, in 1958 and made first vows in 1960, becoming the first Filipina woman to enter from her native land. Sister Deling taught for 20 years in primary grade schools in Great Falls, Missoula and Glasgow, Mont.; Wallace, Idaho, and Spokane and Walla Walla, Wash. She also was a pastoral associate in two parishes for 14 years, and at William Church in Shelby, Mont., and Holy Redeemer Church in Kissimmee, Fla. During the summers she worked in pastoral care at Columbus Hospital in Great Falls, Mont., and at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane. She also taught migrant children in New York and Florida. After 38 years in the United States, she was called in 1995 to return to the Philippines to serve her own people. She stayed there for more than 12 years, and then returned to Mother Joseph Province last spring.

Sister Judith George (Sister Mary Angela) was born in Missoula, Mont. Two months after high school graduation she entered the novitiate in Seattle. She made first vows in the chapel at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle, and then went to Everett, Wash., traveling daily by Greyhound bus to Seattle University for classes. The following year Sister Judy became one of the first students at Providence Heights, the College of Sister Formation in Issaquah, Wash., earning her bachelorís degree in 1963. Her ministry was in education, and she taught elementary at St. Gerardís in Great Falls, secondary at DeSales in Walla Walla, and college French at the College (now University) of Great Falls. For 10 months she studied French language and culture at the Sorbonne in Paris while chaperoning a former student. She earned a masterís degree in French from the University of Montana, in Missoula. Ministry Training Services in Denver prepared her for a change to formation ministry, as well as retreat ministry in Edmonton and serving on the leadership team of the former St. Ignatius Province. Currently, Sister Judy is vocation office manager and assistant librarian, and she offers retreat and spiritual direction ministry.

Sister Ida Mae Marceau (Sister Julia Marie) was born in Missoula, Mont., and entered the Sisters of Providence in 1958 in Seattle. She made first vows in 1960 and final vows in 1965. Sister Ida Mae went through the sister formation program through Seattle University, graduating with a liberal arts degree. Her first ministry was teaching first grade at St. Patrick School in Walla Walla, Wash., then at St. Raphael School in Glasgow, Mont. After being introduced to the Montessori teaching method, she earned her certification and then taught at St. Thomas Childrenís Home in Great Falls, Mont. She found her true calling in nursing, enrolled in the licensed practical nurse course in Great Fall and for many years cared for patients at Columbus Hospital. She later worked with elderly sisters at Mount St. Joseph in Spokane, where she became the superior. Today she is retired and volunteers at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane.

Sister Margaret Mary Wilson (Sister Jean Ellen), born in Chicago, graduated from a Catholic high school at the age of 16 on a Sunday and the next day began four years of evening classes in practical nursing while working weekends at a nearby hospital. She made profession in 1960. Because of her age and broader life and work experience, she did not enroll in the new Sister formation program. Instead, she worked at Providence Hospital as an LPN and took classes in pharmacology, then was sent to Seattle University, where she earned her BSN in 1967. For the next nine years she was a staff nurse at St. Vincent Medical Center, Portland. In 1977 she became executive receptionist at the religious communityís corporate headquarters, at 5th and Pike, where she became known for her gracious hospitality over the next 14 years. She also was the officeís sacristan, preparing for daily Mass. When she retired she became the sacristan at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, where she continues to be a staff member and councilor to the superior.


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