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Three early Pioneers celebrate milestone jubilees

By Ray Day ’57, archivist

Three former Providence High School teaching Sisters are celebrating milestone jubilees in 2020. Two of them joined the Sisters of Providence in September 1960 and one in 1940.
Students in attendance between August 1965 and May 1968 may remember math teacher Sister Mary John (photo at right, from 1968 yearbook). Today, this Chicago native is known as Sister Mary (photo at left). She ministers as a volunteer at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice and as a spiritual director at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods. She is celebrating 60 years with the Congregation.

Sister Ann Carita (photo below left, from the 1978 Providence yearbook), native of Indianapolis, entered the Congregation in September 1960. She was a math teacher at Providence during the 1965-1966 school year. No sooner did we get to know her and she was gone – only to return five years later in the fall of 1971. Many changes were occurring in religious orders at that time in history. When she began the 1973-74 school year her face was the same but her name was different. She was now Sister Nancy Reynolds.

Sr. Ann Carita/Nancy brought other changes to Providence. Her love of all sports took flight when she became our first “Sister-coach.” Beginning during the 1972-73 school year, she coached the first-ever Girls Cross Country team for two years. From 1973 through 1978, she coached the Girls Tennis team – an outstanding group of girls who finished the next three seasons undefeated. Under her leadership, the girls won sectionals in 1975, 1976, and 1977. They also earned the regional title and were state finalists in 1976.

Also during her time at Providence, Sister Nancy (photo at right) considered helping Dottie (Galligan) Zipp ’69 with Girls Basketball, “but I went into officiating rather than coaching that sport,” she said. Sister also served as statistician for the Football team for a number of years, and Coach Gene Sartini dubbed her “The Sideline Nun.” Today she resides in Louisville, ministers as a canonical consultant and serves as prioress of the Carmelite Nuns in Louisville. Sister Nancy is celebrating 60 years in the Providence Congregation.

Sister Mary Roger Madden, pictured at left and a native of Decatur, Ill., joined the Sisters of Providence in September 1940, a full 80 years ago. She served Providence for just one year, 1964-65. Regretfully the very thin 1965 yearbook does not contain a photo of her, and I’ve not been able to determine what subject she taught while here.

My search of the Providence archives reveals 125 Providence Sisters have served at Our Lady of Providence High School. Additionally, many members of their Congregation also taught at several Deanery grade schools or ministered at Providence Retirement Home and Providence Self Sufficiency Ministries, Inc. at Guerin Woods in Georgetown, Ind. Former Holy Family School teacher Sister Marie McCarthy (1965-1967) is celebrating 60 years. Former Holy Family School teacher Sister Winifred Mary Sullivan (1958-1960) is celebrating 75 years. Also, Sister Annette Schiff ministered from 1991-1993 as a receptionist at the Providence Retirement Home, then located on Spring Street in New Albany.

We at Providence extend our sincere congratulations, as well as prayers of thanksgiving, for their service to southern Indiana.
Early Pioneers indeed!

1 – Recent photos courtesy of the Sisters of Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods website
2 – Congratulatory messages may be sent to: 1 Sisters of Providence, Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana 47876

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