Change is always a hard thing. It is often scary, but usually it is necessary. Generally for a business you want to keep it growing and expanding, but what if that isn’t happening and you have an endpoint in sight. How do you plan and where do you begin? This is one of the greatest challenges that any business will face and in recent years this issue has become a focus for the organization of religious Sisters I work for. As a vocation, becoming a religious Sister became less sought after by young women and the current aging population of Sisters dwindles to non-existence.
In the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul’s 155 years of history, these Sisters have been guides to many as teachers and leaders and have been instrumental in founding several institutions including hospitals, schools, orphanages and hostels across Canada. The Sisters also created an Associates program for lay people who are called to the work of the Sisters but are not called to become a professed Sister. Some of the work began by the Sisters will carry on through these Associates. In the meantime, what plans are needed to ensure care for the Sisters and eventually how to responsibly take care of the remaining assets once the last Sister has passed?
During one of the organizations Quadrennial Chapter meetings a vision for the legacy of the Sisters emerged. The vision is to build a village in keeping with the values and mission of the Sisters, a ‘Providence Village’ as it is now called. The plans will see much of the land the Sisters Motherhouse sits on converted for use by several partners in the plan. Providence Care, which was founded by the Sister, worked with the Sisters to shape the initial plans but will now take over to continue working on the project until its completion. The key elements of the plan have been decided with a rough timeline in place but many of the finer details still need time to be worked out.
For now most of us are carrying on our daily routines but change is coming. We are all preparing for it in our own ways. This course is one of the stepping stones to enhance my skills for my professional future. I can only hope to face the changes that will come as courageously and gracefully as the Sisters who I work for.