The Daughters of St. Mary of Providence
"In Your Providence is Our Hope"
Origins of the Congregation
The Congregation of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence was founded in a small town in Northern Italy, in 1881 by Blessed Aloysius Guanella. Impelled by the love of Christ he spent his entire life and energies for the needy. Father Guanella also founded the Servants of Charity, a congregation for men. Cofounder with Fr. Guanella of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, was Sister Marcellina Bosatta.
The congregation's statutes obligate the sisters to "dedicate themselves in a particular manner to the care of those whom the Gospel calls Little, that is the weak, the needy, the lonely, the abandoned, the aged, the handicapped and youth, whom they find in particular need, and announce the "good news" to them through the exercise of the Works of Mercy and faith in the Providence of the Father." (Constitutions of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence)
Father Guanella had great confidence in the Sisters and encouraged them with these words: "Blessed are you, Daughters of St. Mary, whose only aim is the glory of God and the Salvation of your souls and the souls of your neighbors'...if you make it your greatest aim to become imitators of Jesus Christ, good example will spontaneously gush forth from all your being, and from you will emanate a life-giving force for all those who depend on you, or share with you your life and vocation."
Ministry and Charism
The Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, sometimes referred to as Guanellians, live their special vocation, binding themselves to God with the three vows of Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience. Faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, the Sisters spread the "culture of charity" ministering to:
- Physically and mentally handicapped, children and adults
- Youth groups
- Senior citizens in Health Care Facilities in Assisted living
- arrangements in Low Income Housing
- Persons needing Hospital/Clinic/Home Health Services/Food Programs
- Parish groups in Religion Education Classes
Life in the Congregation
As a sign of their total consecration to Christ, the Sisters wear a simple, uniform habit with veil and a crucifix. Prayer has a central role in the lives of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. Each day begins with the community praying the Liturgy of the Hours Morning Prayer, followed by personal meditation, and the Eucharistic Liturgy. Other parts of the Divine Office, rosary, spiritual reading, personal prayer, are interspersed throughout the day. A time for recreation and relaxation is shared by all. Interesting and challenging opportunities are found in the various works of their apostolate which comprise the reminder of their day. Monthly days of recollection, annual retreat days, vacation and home visits, and community outings maintain the Sisters renewed and refreshed in their religious life.
The Crossroads of Life
Long ago, the Founder of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, Fr. Guanella, stood at the crossroads, and looked upon the past, the present and the future. In so doing, he was faced with a choice: whether to commit himself fully to an unknown future by pronouncing life-long vows of association and service to the needy for the building of the kingdom, or of abandoning this work in favor of security and predictability. Convinced in his regard, he placed his trust in Providence and committed himself to the life to which God called him. Today, the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence follow Christ in the footsteps of their Founder and invite other women to accompany them in their journey. If you feel called to commit yourself to a life lived for others, please contact the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence.
The program of life that Jesus Christ offers leads to an authentic joy, a deep and lasting joy, happiness that is rooted in the depths of the heart and lasts forever.
Answering Jesus' call to follow him involves a continuous struggling against temptation, a life-long process of conversion and choice. Every decision you make, whether great or small always remains an opportunity either to draw closer to God or to distance yourselves from him and from the truth which alone can set you free.
The church needs you. She needs each of you individually. She needs you to bear witness to the holiness, the justice, the loving service of the poor and needy. The church needs you to be imbued with the spirit of Christ, strong in your commitment to building His kingdom.
(Pope John Paul II to the Youth)
(Credit: The Daughters of St. Mary of Providence: In Your Providence is Our Hope. Chicago, Illinois.)