Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
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Providence Sister Jessica Taylor professes perpetual vows in Seattle
the Inland Register
(From the July 19, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)
Sister Jessica Taylor SP (IR photo courtesy of the Sisters of Providence)
Sister Jessica Taylor made profession of perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a Sister of Providence in a liturgy Saturday, June 30, at St. Patrick Church, Seattle.
Sister Jessica, born in Seattle, is the daughter of Glenn and JoAnn Taylor of Burien, Wash. She graduated from Highline High School in Burien in 1990, and then received bachelor’s degrees in psychology and special education at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash. She has worked as a special education teacher at Sylvester Middle School and at Highline High School, both in Burien.
As a candidate to the Sisters of Providence, she served in ministry as a sign language teacher at La Salle High School in Yakima, Wash. As a novice, she has been a volunteer at the Women’s Drop-In Center (now the Women’s Hearth) in Spokane and spent a year in the Philippines in ministry. She returned to teaching at Sylvester Middle School for five years.
Sister Jessica is one of 145 women who are vowed members of the Sisters of Providence’s Mother Joseph Province, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, California and El Salvador. The province includes one candidate, four novices, and four Sisters in temporary vows, including two from Bernard Morin Province in Chile, who are continuing their formation and discernment in this province.
Sister Jessica, who first truly thought about Religious life at the age of 18, made first profession in August 2003 at the Provincial Chapter held in Spokane. She remembers packing her things, giving her car away and quitting her job. “It was a leap of faith,” she said. “It has been one step at a time, a gradual yes, but always a yes.”
She views this perpetual vow ceremony as coming full circle. Providence Sister Kathryn (Kitsy) Rutan, now General Superior of the order, was her vocation director. She traveled from the Providence International Centre in Montreal to accept Sister Jessica’s perpetual vows.
Father Thomas Belleque, who was her pastor at her entrance into the Religious community, presided at the liturgy.
“There is more to it than just me, so much meaning,” Sister Jessica said. “The Holy Spirit is guiding it. All the people who were part of my beginning are part of my final intentions.
“This is the last step to becoming a full-fledged Sister,” she said. “What changes is everything and nothing.”
Sister Jessica likened this step to getting married, “making a life commitment. There are no fears and no anxiety because it has been so long that I have worked through all the issues. I am where I am called to be and where I want to be,” she said. “Whatever Religious life holds for me, I am in it for the long haul.”
She sees two tracks for her chosen ministry.
The first is direct service to the poor as a licensed mental health practitioner. The day before professing perpetual vows she completed a two-week intensive pastoral counseling course at Seattle University. She has two more years left in a master’s degree program and then will complete an assistanceship to receive her license.
The second ministry track is leadership within the Sisters of Providence congregation. “I have those skills,” she said. “I am a good leader and a person to listen and get things done.”