Autumn 2000

Past Forward 

Autumn 2000  Volume 8, Issue 3

In this issue:
Mother Joseph in Hall of Fame
Did You Know: "$5 & Prayers"
Archives Update
School Collections Online


On September 19, 2000, Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart, founder of the Sisters of Providence ministries in the west, was inducted into the Puget Sound Business Hall of Fame in Seattle. She was one of four laureates to be honored by Junior Achievement of Greater Puget Sound and the Puget Sound Business Journal.

In a video prepared for the award ceremony, John Tiscornia, the sisters' long-time auditor with Arthur Andersen and Co., Seattle, aptly summarized Mother Joseph's business acumen: "She had vision, she knew what her product was, which was services to the people. She knew about motivating people and could plan things and execute them. If one were to compare the skills that she had as a leader, those are still skills that we see in business today; they're almost timeless, but she had them innately and used them in her life."  Full story on Hall of Fame award and ceremony

Did You Know That ...

the University of Great Falls began on a donation of "$5.00 and prayers" from the Provincial Administration of St. Ignatius Province?

In the midst of the Great Depression, the Sisters of Providence of St. Ignatius Province, in conjunction with the Ursuline Sisters, agreed to staff the newly established College of Great Falls in Great Falls, Montana, sponsored by Bishop Edwin O'Hara. The Provincial Administration was able to give only limited assistance; the first entry in the college’s Account Journal marks their donation of $5.00. According to Sister M. Michelle Holland, former president of the college, the "sisters’ prayers" accompanied the donation. Eighteen days later, the Provincial Administration contributed another $5.00.

Despite financial difficulties, the initial year of operation in 1932 was so successful that Bishop O’Hara asked the sisters to expand. The Science and Math departments moved to Our Lady of Providence Hall, the former nurses’ home at Columbus Hospital, and a Teacher Training Program was established. Bishop O’Hara promised financial assistance for the expansion and necessary remodeling, but because of the depression was not able to honor his obligation. By default, the Sisters of Providence assumed financial responsibility, with a great burden falling on Columbus Hospital.

When the Ursuline Sisters withdrew, the Sisters of Providence became the sole sponsors of the college. Many teaching sisters from both St. Ignatius and Sacred Heart Provinces were educated at Great Falls, especially during summer sessions. In 1960, the college--now the University of Great Falls--moved to its current location. Ever responding to the needs of the local community, this year the campus became the home for the "resumed" Great Falls Central Catholic High School, which had been closed for 27 years.

Like the loaves and fishes in parable, the sisters' limited funds and prayers have multiplied to support the University of Great Falls in its continuing mission to provide education to the community of Great Falls and beyond.

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Like many things undergoing transition since the formation of Mother Joseph Province, the Sisters of Providence Archives in Seattle and Spokane are also undergoing change. Sister Jo Anne Jelinski, Spokane Archives Assistant, left her position in the end of July and returned to her native Canada. For now, Kelly Rowse, Spokane Assistant to the Provincial Secretary, is graciously responding to requests, with the Seattle staff providing professional advice and on-site visits. Kelly is expecting a joyful addition to her family in December and will be on maternity leave in the early months of 2001. During that time, members of the Seattle staff will make regular visits and respond to requests for information from the Spokane archives.

Many have asked what is going to happen to the two repositories in the new province. Decisions have yet to be made regarding administrative structure and location. Some issues to take into consideration are: preservation of the integrity of the historical records of the two closed provinces; professional development and servicing of the records; size of the archival holdings; adequate staffing; use statistics; and storage and display of artifacts. These times ahead provide great opportunity for the preservation of the Sisters of Providence history.

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As part of an ongoing project, we have recently processed the collections of nine schools formerly operated by the Sisters of Providence in Sacred Heart Province. Complete collection inventories, including a brief history and description of the records in the archives, are now available online for the following schools:

Catholic Junior High School, Anchorage, AK
Holy Rosary School, Moxee, WA
Immaculate Conception School/Monroe High School, Fairbanks, AK
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Sun Valley, CA
Our Lady of Lourdes and St. James School, Vancouver, WA
Providence of Our Lady of Seven Dolors School, Tulalip, WA
St. Catherine School, Seattle, WA
St. Finbar School, Burbank, CA
St. Joseph School, Vancouver, WA

Watch for more collection inventories soon!

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