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November 12, 2017: Dancing with Nuns
The Oblate Sisters of Providence, based in Baltimore, is the first Roman Catholic order started by and for women of color. The order was founded in 1831 and its mission is education. They send 98% of their students to college, proving time and again that any child can be properly educated, regardless of race, family income, religion, or lack thereof.

by Julie Duriga

The Oblate Sisters of Providence, based in Baltimore, is the first Roman Catholic order started by and for women of color. The order was founded in 1831 and its mission is education. They send 98% of their students to college, proving time and again that any child can be properly educated, regardless of race, family income, religion, or lack thereof.

My husband, Dan Newton, and I first fell in love with the Sisters when we met them eight years ago at a volunteer Christmas party. We fell in love with their entrepreneurial spirit, their energy, their progressive mindset, and their big hugs. Since then, we have been able to be of service to the Sisters every December by raising money, delivering Christmas presents, and spending the day with them. They always tell us, "You could show up with no presents and we would love that just as much—just the fact that you want to be with us is all that matters." The convent Christmas party has become the best part of my holiday season. For it is in giving that we truly receive. Mother Superior says every year, "We have done nothing for you." And every year, I think, "But you do so much for us in allowing us to be of service to you." I certainly don't argue with Mother Superior, however, and keep my lips sealed.

In 2016, Dan and I renewed our marriage vows, and we invited the Sisters to attend our ceremony. Ten of the forty-six Oblate Sisters of Providence came to celebrate with us, showing up in their habits to share in our joy. Mother Superior gave the closing remarks at our ceremony, and then the dancing started! Dan showed the Sisters how to do the “YMCA” dance, throwing his arms in the air for the Y, and so on. The Sisters hurled their arms in the air too, habits and all.

The power of giving works in mysterious ways when you put it all out there. Sometimes your contributions, connections, and generosity come back to you as a nun dressed in a traditional habit doing the YMCA dance at a wedding reception… You just never know!   

Last Published: November 9, 2017 11:06 AM
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