Spring 2002

Past Forward 

Spring 2002  Vol. 10, No. 1

In this issue:
Report on Centennial Activities
A Patriotic Glimpse...
What's New in the Archives
Centennial Exhibit


In intimate gatherings and large groups throughout Mother Joseph Province, employees, sisters, associates, and friends joined to commemorate the Centennial of the Death of Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart. In Christian tradition, the celebration of a holy person's life is observe on the day of her death, the dies natalis when she was "born" to glory with God in heaven. The feast not only honors the person but inspires us through memory and action. It was fitting, then, that the Mother Joseph Centennial Year should be inaugurated by her feast on January 19.

Through the Centennial Committee, four prayer services and a new biographical sketch were distributed. Staff at facilities and offices of Providence Services and Providence Health System, sisters in local communities and in the infirmaries, and associates at monthly meetings gathered for a time of remembrance and faith sharing, in chapels and lobbies, around the Mother Joseph statue or tables decorated with antique tools and candles. Some of these services were followed by refreshments or lunch.

Employees at the Health Plans in Portland started their day with a delicious Canadian breakfast complete with maple syrup and Canadian ham. At Providence Centralia Hospital, employees held a "Change the World" drive, collecting the coins people had in their pockets; the department that collected the most money won the honor of choosing a charity to receive the funds. At Providence Medford Medical Center, a beautiful newspaper ad celebrated Mother Joseph's life and skills for Women's History Month. St. Patrick Hospital, Missoula, honored her through a newsletter article, an historical display, and as part of their annual "Spirit Week" celebration in March. And an enterprising reporter for Providence Health System-Oregon's regional newsletter, Providence Spirit, managed to get an interview with Mother Joseph herself! 

The love of Mother Joseph held by friends of the Sisters of Providence was also demonstrated. In Yakima, the community of St. Joseph Parish gathered after Sunday Mass to listen to Sister Alice St. Hilaire speak about Mother Joseph, receive the biographical sketch, and enjoy baked goods prepared by the sisters. Across the state in Vancouver, the St. James Historical Society sponsored an afternoon celebration on January 20. About 300 people gathered at St. James Church for scripture readings, traditional hymns, greetings from Sister Margaret Botch, member of the province leadership team, and a reflection on Mother Joseph's life and legacy by local historian Gus Norwood. A blessing of Mother Joseph's grave at St. James Acres Cemetery (right) and a tour of Providence Academy followed, with a reception at the Clark County Historical Museum where artifacts from Mother Joseph and the Academy were displayed. The people of Vancouver were thrilled to have many sisters present for the event, and the feeling was reciprocated!

Many people worked to make this first official event of the Mother Joseph Centennial Year memorable and inspirational. Let us know how you celebrated--or your plans for Mother Joseph Day in April--so we can share them with others.

Sister Anne Marcelle Lemay - March 22, 2002

Sister Anne Marcelle was the fourth archivist for St. Ignatius Province, serving in the Archives from 1989 to 1993. She will be missed for her knowledge of province history, her smile, and her baking skills. May she rest in peace.

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Oregon Statehood Day
February 14, 1964

On a cloudy day in Portland, employees of St. Vincent Hospital--the old hospital on Westover Road--celebrated Oregon's 105th birthday by raising a new flag atop the "penthouse." Jimmie Ganter (right) and Clifford Murphy present the flag to Sister Francis Ignatius MacDowell administrator, while Sister Bonosa looks on. 53.B7.4.1.6


Other sisters and staff watch the ceremony from a lower level of the roof. According to the chronicles, the flag was purchased by the Employee Communication Council with funds raised through an all-employee fair and bake sale, while the sisters contributed the flagpole. The patriotic ceremony was covered by all three local television stations and Portland's three daily newspapers, and documented in these images taken by long-time hospital photographer Fred Lemcke.


As part of the proposed renovation of Saint Joseph Residence, the Seattle archives home, we are immersed in architectural planning (Mother Joseph would be proud!). We have been working with Dyke Turner, Staff Architect, to complete the first round of design development. The proposal calls for a reference room with improved security, additional storage space, climate control, a consolidated work area, and exhibit cases.

Change is also happening in the "virtual archives," as our website has been rebuilt and moved to the new PHS Eprise servers. Many thanks to O.T. Millsap, System Manager, Internet Planning and Development, for his work on site design and transfer. You will notice some subtle difference in the architecture and menus, with more to come. Please let Terri know if you have any questions or suggestions for the site.

A number of items from the archives have been photographed for a book celebrating the 150th Anniversary of King County (Washington), to be published by the Association of King County Historical Organizations. The book will be a catalogue of material from various public and private museums and archives throughout the county, highlighting themes such as education, arts and culture, worship, and industry. It will be exciting to see the contributions of the Sisters of Providence reflected in this unique publication.

 Mother Joseph Centennial Exhibit
Opening April 16, 2002
Clark County Historical Museum
Vancouver, Washington

We are pleased to announce that an exhibit on the life and legacy of Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart will open on her birthday, Mother Joseph Day in Washington State, and run through July at the Clark County Historical Museum. The exhibit will feature a number of artifacts, photographs and documents on loan from the archives, as well as items from the museum's collection. An opening reception is being planned; please contact the archives for more information: archives@providence.org, or telephone 206.937.4600.

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Editing and site design: Terri Mitchell, Assistant Archivist