Legacy gift honours Sisters in education

From left to right: Manal Guirguis-Younger (Dean Faculties of Human Sciences and Philosophy), Sister Fatima r.s.m., Sister Miriam K. Martin r.s.m. (Associate Professor, Director of the School of Transformative Leadership), Sister Sandra Shannon, SP (General Superior, Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul), Chantal Beauvais (Rector), The Honourable Catherine McKenna MP and Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Soeur Rachelle Watier, SCO (General Animator, Sisters of Charity of Ottawa).


In the words of Sister Sandra Shannon, the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul have strong connections to teaching.

“We have all been involved in education of one sort or another,” Sister Sandra explained at a congregational meeting and announcement earlier this year. She shared examples, such as leading wellness activities, working with Associates or on Mission initiatives, participating in liturgy, and teaching at the Spirituality Centre or in a classroom in schools, etc.

“As a Leadership Team, we have been reflecting on how to honour the many contributions Sisters of Providence have made over the years in the field of education,” Sister Sandra said. “You never know what you’re going to hear when the phone rings… and Providence provided again!”

Last summer, a call came to the Motherhouse from Brother Lenny Rego, who had worked with the Sisters of Providence in Peru. Brother Rego is now the Resident Oblate at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, and he was telephoning to ask if the Sisters would consider making a gift to the University’s capital (building) campaign.

 “Brother Lenny explained his experience of the Sisters of Providence was that we were living transformative spirituality in Peru, and that is why he reached out to us,” said Sister Gayle Desarmia. 
After careful consideration the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul responded favourably to the request, and endowed $2.5 million to St. Paul’s to support education.  

At a ceremony in Ottawa in April, the University took time to thank and honour the Sisters of Providence for this legacy gift.

“I wish to offer my sincerest thanks for your friendship, faith and hope for the world as we work together to prepare the next generation of leaders for our world,” said Chantal Beauvais, Rector of St. Paul’s University.

The money will be used to fund a new school within St. Paul’s, called the ‘Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality.’ The school will be the first of its kind in Canada.

“When we are at our best… we are attentive toward where we are being called, to what is emerging. We are community and we come from a shared wisdom… We are partners. We do what we’re meant to do for the life of the world,” said Dr. Miriam Martin, Director of the Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality. 

Transformative Leadership focuses on personal and social transformation, characterized by relationships that are ethical, inspirational, intellectually stimulating and personal. It respects individual and organizational goals, welcomes change for the good of people and communities, and encourages a continuous learning process.