Mary Ann Deck began her life in Allen County, Indiana, moving to Pittsburgh, Pa., as a child. Raised in a religious atmosphere, she entered the Sisters of Divine Providence at age 18 from St. Catherine’s Church in Pittsburgh. One of her sisters, Sister Rosemonde, joined her two years later in the Community. Their only brother, Marion, became a Franciscan priest.
In Memory 2012
Agnes, second of nine children born to Aloysius and Gertrude [Mansmann], entered the community from St. Walburga Parish in Pittsburgh, where she had attended elementary school before beginning her high school years at Divine Providence Academy.
Sister Francine Barsh, baptized Rosella on May 20, 1917, in the Croatian Church of St. Nicholas, was the eighth of the 13 children of Mildred (Bukovac) and John Barsh, who were born in Croatia. She was preceded in death by siblings Anna, John, Barbara, Michael, Joseph, Marie, Mathilda, George, Thomas, James, and Irene, and is survived by Richard. The Barshes lived in the Sharpsburg-Etna area. The next generation of Barshes populated schools staffed by the Sisters of Divine Providence in Etna, Sharpsburg, and Glenshaw, as well as Divine Providence Academy.
From her earliest years in Community, even to her passing into eternal life, Sister Concepta was aware of a call, not just the initial call to religious life, but the ongoing call that guided her response to the mission of the Congregation and its ministries. Like Ruth, in the Hebrew Scriptures, she knew that wherever she went, she was preceded by her Provident God.
Louise was born in McKees Rocks, the daughter of Frank and Marie Kovalovsky. Louise and Fran (Hays) and Arlene (Buettner) were a trio of happy sisters. Louise was educated by the Sisters of Divine Providence at St. Mary's High School, where her ability to play the piano was put to good use, and where she was fortunate to have a wonderful art teacher.
It is fitting that as the Church prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council, Sister Camille completed her life’s journey. The Council, which explored a new way of being Church and urged religious communities to update and explore their founding charisms, shaped the last 50 years of Sister Camille’s religious life. Sister Camille was hospitalized in July with an infection. When she returned from the hospital, she told the Sisters and nurses who cared for her that she was ready to go to God.
During the week that followed the feast of Corpus Christi, the celebration of the Body of Christ, Sister Paul Gabriel Kersting began preparing for the completion of her life’s journey. In this final phase, she would return her body, which had been blessed and broken during her lifetime, to the God she served so faithfully. After struggling with a number of illnesses over recent years, she knew she was at the end, and this was confirmed by her doctor. She quietly spent her last days with her Community, family and friends, and in prayer. To the very end, she shared her life, her energy, with those around her.
Helen Beatrice Dimmerling was the second oldest of eight children. She was born in North Braddock, Pa., a town she dearly loved. Her parents hailed from Fulda, Ohio, but her family roots were in Fulda, Germany. Adrian was educated by our Community and, from an early age, loved learning and was determined to become a teacher. When asked many years later to share her experience of call to religious life, she related that her desire to become a Sister of Divine Providence was not from deep spiritual motives, but simply to become a teacher. She entered the Community, she said, because religious women had the best opportunity to become teachers, a vocation that was not easily accessible to women in general. It was Adrian’s deep love for learning that later drew her to an intense study of our charism and the history of the Community.
Mary, one of seven children born to Manuel and Mary [Dores], left her home in Kingston, Mass., to enter the Sisters of Divine Providence in Pittsburgh, Pa. Named in religious life Sister Joseph Mary, she first served for two years as a teacher in Pittsburgh before returning to teach at Sacred Heart High School in Kingston. Soon after taking first vows, the New England Province of Our Lady of Divine Providence was established in Kingston. She remained in Community for most of her life within the New England area, at first teaching in several parish schools, as well as at Sacred Heart.
During her lifetime, Sister Mary Alvin gave many people the opportunity to pray by providing them with music. Mary Hunter was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, and grew up in the neighborhood of her parish, St. Alphonsus. Daughter of John Hunter and Mary Bernhart Hunter, sister of Ralph Hunter and Alvin Hunter, cousin of Sister Theresa Bernhart, friend and colleague of Sister Genevieve Brandstetter. She was well prepared for a life in music, with a Bachelor of Science in Public School Music degree, and a Master of Science in Music Education degree, both from Duquesne University. Sister Mary Alvin was certificated from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to teach and supervise music in any public school. She influenced the lives of thousands of students all over Western Pennsylvania.
After entering the Sisters of Divine Providence, Rachael was given the name Sister Assumpta and from her earliest days of preparation as a Sister, she gave herself simply and generously in service to others, primarily to her Sisters in community. She loved all she learned about prayer, relishing the experience of community as she shared prayer in common with her Sisters. Encouraged by the name she was given, Sister Assumpta dedicated herself to Mary, making Mary’s fiat her own and the Hail Mary her favorite prayer.