Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Sisters of Providence mark 50, 60 and 70 years of Religious life

the Inland Register

(From the June 20, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

Sisters of Providence with connections to the Spokane Diocese will celebrate 50, 60 and 70 years of Religious life at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, 7000 35th Avenue S.W., Seattle.

Concelebrants for the liturgy, which will be followed by a reception in Guadalupe Hall, will be Father John R. Walmesley and Msgr. Michael G. Ryan.

The jubilarians and their current residences are:

70 years: Sisters Rita Bergamini and Dorothy Zimmer, Seattle;

60 years: Sister Shirley Smith, Seattle;

50 years: Sister Felina (Lina) Afinidad, Seattle; Sister Annette Seubert, Spokane; and Sister Teresa White, Burbank, Calif.

70 years

Sister Rita (Marie Carmen) Bergamini created the first permanent archives for the former Sacred Heart Province and was keeper of the memory of the Sisters of Providence in the West for 25 years. She retired from active ministry in 1991.

She was born in Martinez, Calif., and the seeds of her vocation were planted at Providence College of Nursing in Oakland, Calif. She entered the Sisters of Providence, made first vows in 1945 and served as a nurse at St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, Ore., and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Yakima, Wash. She also served as director of St. Mary Hospital School of Nursing in Walla Walla, Wash.; director of Seattle Universityís Providence Hospital Clinical Unit; and as a provincial councilor and provincial secretary.

Sister Dorothy (Elizabeth of Providence) Zimmer was born on a family farm in Glentana, Mont. Sister Dorothy graduated from Opheim High School in Opheim, Mont., and enrolled in nursesí training at Columbus Hospital School of Nursing, where she met the Sisters of Providence. She graduated in 1939 and then worked for a year at the county hospital in Glasgow, Mont., and for three years at hospitals in Merced and Oakland, Calif. She entered the Sisters of Providence novitiate at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle, in 1945 and was sent to the old Sacred Heart Hospital (now Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center) in Spokane, Wash., as her first mission.

After a year of night duty on the medical, surgical and obstetrical floors, she spent the next 30-plus years providing care as a supervisor or pastoral associate in hospitals including Holy Family, in St. Ignatius, Mont.; St. Patrick, in Missoula, Mont.; and Providence, in Wallace, Idaho. For nearly a decade she was a pastoral visitor in St. Raphael Parish in Glasgow, where she spent time with Catholic residents of Valley View Nursing Home. In 1996 she retired from Glasgow to Mount St. Joseph, Spokane, and later moved to Seattle.

60 years

Sister Shirley (Bibiana) Smith made weekly visits for nearly a decade to the Veteransí Administration Hospital in Seattle, visiting Catholic patients and bringing them Communion. She also visited sick and elderly residents of Providence Mount St. Vincent, which she continues to do.

She was born in Steamboat Springs, Colo., and was 12 when the family moved to Oakland, Calif., where she attended public schools. She received a nursing scholarship and chose Catholic College of Nursing, where she first met the Sisters of Providence at Providence Hospital-Oakland. When she graduated from nursing school in 1952 at age 21, she entered the Sisters of Providence as a postulant. She made first profession in 1954 and was sent to Walla Walla, Wash., to work at St. Maryís Hospital, managed by the Sisters of Providence. Sister Shirley received a bachelorís degree in nursing from Seattle University in 1960. She also took pastoral care training and became a certified pastoral care chaplain. Her years in health care ministry took her from Walla Walla, Seattle, Oakland, Fairbanks, Alaska; and Port Townsend. She also served on the Provincial Council.

Over the years she has served on the board of directors of Providence Marianwood in Issaquah, Wash., St. Patrickís Hospital in Missoula, Mont., and Sojourner Place, Seattle.

50 years

Sister Felina (Lina) Afinidad was one of five Sisters of Providence chosen in 1989 to be foundresses of the Providence Philippine Foundation. She remained there for 19 years, until she retired at the age of 82.

She was born in the Philippines, the sixth of eight children in a farm family. She was in fourth grade when World War II broke out in 1941, closing all schools. When education resumed after the war, she returned to school to finish her grade school and high school studies. She graduated from Central Philippine University in Jaro, Iloilo, Philippines, in 1954 with a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy. She decided to become a Sister after working as a pharmacist for a few years. She became a postulant in the Sisters of Providence in 1962 along with six other Filipino women, and was sent to the Sister Formation Program at Providence Heights in Issaquah, Wash. She made first profession in 1965 and final vows in 1973.

She was sent to St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Wash., to take a licensed practical nursing (LPN) course. In 1967 she graduated and was sent to St. Clare Hospital in Fort Benton, Mont. Subsequent ministries were at Columbus Hospital, Great Falls, Mont.; St. Patrick Hospital, Missoula, Mont., where she finished her RN course; and St. Joseph Care Center, Spokane, Wash. As part of her Jubilee celebration this year, she renewed her vows at a Thanksgiving Mass with family and friends in the Philippines.

Sister Annette (Rose Annette) Seubert is chaplain/mission leader at Providence Holy Family Hospital in Spokane.

The oldest of four children, she was born in Tallahassee, Fla., moving with her family to Chewelah, Wash., after her fatherís discharge from the U.S. Army. She finished eighth grade at St. Mary School there, and then the family moved to Sprague, Wash. She graduated from St. Joseph Academy, where she met the Sisters of Providence. She entered the novitiate in 1962 at Providence Heights in Issaquah, Wash. After completing a bachelorís degree in 1967 at Seattle University, she was sent to Great Falls, Mont., for her first ministry, working in the finance office at the College (now University) of Great Falls. Later she became business manager for St. Thomas Child and Family Center. After studying nursing, she discovered that her real niche in ministry was hospital chaplain. Her education continued with clinical pastoral education studies at St. Mary Medical Center in San Francisco, and a masterís degree in creation spirituality in Oakland, Calif.

As a chaplain, she served at Columbus Hospital in Great Falls, where she chaired the development and implementation of the hospice program; Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, and St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, Wash., where she was director of spiritual care for 11 years and developed and chaired the Ethics Committee. Sister Annette also has served in Religious community leadership for St. Ignatius and Mother Joseph provinces and on the formation team for Western Canada and the United States.

Sister Teresa (Mary Jeanine) White is chaplain at Providence Holy Cross Hospital in Burbank, Calif., part of an interdisciplinary team that cares for patients and family as well as the staff and volunteers.

She was born in Santa Barbara, Calif., and grew up in the Los Angeles area. She graduated from Providence High School in Burbank, Calif., and joined the Sisters of Providence in 1962. She graduated as an RN at Seattle University in 1968 and then nursed for three years at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. Next, she nursed the elderly Sisters in the infirmary at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, and then was transferred to Providence St. Elizabeth Hospital in Yakima, Wash. In 1985 she completed graduate training at the University of California in San Francisco, and then nursed at Providence Hospital-Oakland, including work in the Adult Day Health Care. She transferred to Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank to work on the cancer/AIDS unit and in Home Health/Hospice.

After formation ministry training at St. Louis University, Mo., she spent six years welcoming, educating and mentoring new members of the Sisters of Providence in Spokane. She also was a member of an advisory board for the Sisters of the Holy Names infirm and retired Sisters and became a spiritual director in the Ignatian Retreat in Everyday Life program at St. Aloysius Parish, Spokane. Sister Shirley later took pastoral studies graduate training at Seattle University and a year of chaplaincy preparation in clinical pastoral education (CPE) at St. Joseph Hospital, Tacoma, Wash. The ministerial portion of CPE was on the mental health unit and six months at the Franciscan Hospice in Tacoma.


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