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 10, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

Thirteen Sisters of Providence will celebrate 25-75 years of Religious life Saturday, Aug. 7, at St. James Cathedral, Seattle. A luncheon honoring the Jubilarians will follow in the cathedralís parish hall and OíDea High School gymnasium.

Several of the jubilarians have direct ties to the Spokane Diocese.

75 years

Sister Paul Gabriel (Gilberte) Desilets was born and baptized as Marie Cecile Gilberte Desilets on October 20, 1914, at St. Wenceslas, Comte Nicolet, Quebec, Canada. Sister Paul Gabriel entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Providence in Montreal on February 26, 1935. After professing first vows in 1937, she was missioned to the west, where she began a ministry in food service at Providence Hospital, Seattle, that led to years as a dietitian in Great Falls, Mont., Colfax, Wash., Fort Benton, Mont., Sprague, Wash., and for a total of 34 years at Mount St. Joseph, Spokane, including 15 as a dietitian and also as an infirmary aide, a beautician and a help to the nurses caring for elderly and infirm Sisters. When Sister Paul Gabriel retired in 1996, she continued to volunteer at Mount St. Joseph and as a nursing home visitor.

60 years

Sister Barbara (Alexis) (Barbara Jeanne) Melancon was born in the old St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, Ore., on November 19, 1927, and grew up in Walla Walla, Wash. She graduated from St. Vincent Academy in 1945, attended the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn., and graduated in 1949 with a major in sociology and psychology. She entered the Sisters of Providence that year and made profession in 1951. Her 35-year teaching career included Providence Academy in Vancouver, Wash., and 19 years at Providence High School in Burbank, Calif. After a 1986 sabbatical to the Holy Land, she became manager of Emilie House, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) low-income housing for the elderly in Portland, Ore., where she remained for 16 years. She retired in 2001, moved to Seattle and became treasurer of St. Joseph Residence.

50 years

Sister Pamela (Andrew) White was born May 10, 1931, in London, England. After surviving childhood illnesses of diphtheria and spinal meningitis, plus Englandís declaration of war on Germany, she traveled to safety in Quebec, Canada, in 1940, aboard ship with her mother and sister. Through the Sisters of Loretto in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, she was introduced to Catholicism and educated. She met the Sisters of Providence in 1952, when she entered St. Paulís Hospital School of Nursing. After graduation in 1955, she nursed in three smaller Providence hospitals in northern Alberta and Manitoba and felt the call to enter the Religious community. Sister Pam entered the Western Canadian novitiate in Midna-pore, Alberta, in 1959 and made first profession in 1962.

She served at hospitals in British Columbia before visiting Sacred Heart Hospital (now Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center), Spokane, and requesting a transfer from Holy Angels Province to St. Ignatius Province. She lived in community at Providence Convent on the Sacred Heart Medical Center campus for 20 years.

Sister Pam also has a longtime ministry with Providence Associates, dedicated laywomen and men called to the charism and mission of Providence. Since 1991 she has lived in Spokane.

In September 2000 Sister Pam retired from Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center after 28 years as media services coordinator in the Department of Educational Services. In that role, she was involved in creation of the KSPS TV production of Providence Women on the Frontier. She currently is an archive volunteer in the Public Relations Department at Sacred Heart, initiating a database of historical photos and print materials.

25 years

Sister Sharon Anne Fitzpatrick was born at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane. She grew up on Spokaneís North Side and attended St. Patrick and St. Aloysius schools, as well as Holy Names Academy. She did not think about Religious life until she was in her mid-20s, and was a pre-candidate for the Spokane Dominicans for six months.

She joined the Catholic Life Singers at the age of 30. She met the Sisters of Providence as a member of a group for single Catholic adults, and entered the Religious community in 1984 at the age of 35. She made first profession in Spokane in 1987.

Her ministries have focused on serving the elderly, included working for the Area Agency on Aging in Great Falls, Mont., in the foster grandparent program and Meals on Wheels, and for six years in Spokane at St. Joseph Care Center. She spent five years as a geriatric social worker at Providence ElderPlace in Portland, Ore., which offers all-inclusive care to the elderly. She also volunteered at St. Anthonyís assisted living for seven months and for four years was a community life team member at Mount St. Joseph, Spokane. While in Great Falls, she had volunteered with adults with Alz-heimerís and dementia.


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