By Mark Ambrogi
Kathleen Hamilton recently made the decision to strengthen her relationship with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, by becoming a Providence Associate.
The Fishers resident made a one-year commitment as a Providence Associate Nov. 12, joining 31 other 2016 associates with the Sisters of Providence. When the commitment comes up, Hamilton said an association can commit to one, three or five years.
The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of nearly 300 women with more than 200 Providence Associates, collaborates with others to create a more hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy.
The associates are men and women of all faiths, not just Catholics. Hamilton, a non-Catholic, grew up in Terre Haute, so she is familiar with nearby Saint Mary of-the-Woods.
“My (life) partner (Joan Townsend) became an associate two or three years ago,” Hamilton said. “It was going to meetings with her and seeing the things that changed about her. I thought this seemed like a good thing.”
Sister Diane Mason, director of Providence Associates, said in order to become a Providence Associate, a candidate is paired with a Sister of Providence or Providence Associate companion and goes through a year of study, prayer and reflection. Hamilton met with her companion, Sister Barbara McClelland, Indianapolis, once a month for one year. Hamilton said she followed the program the sisters have put together.
“There are questions you ask yourself to figure out if you want to do this,” Hamilton said. “You don’t just jump in and say, ‘I’ll do it.’”
Hamilton has gotten involved with Miracle Place, a ministry of the Sisters of Providence which provides an after-school program for children in Indianapolis.
“It’s a place where they can be safe, get tutoring and have a good time,” Hamilton said.
Four important areas in the lives of the sisters and the associates are mission, spirituality, community and justice.
“The big thing this year is for the environment, and I’m all for that,” Hamilton said. “I’m worried about all kinds of things with the environment.”