The American Province
In August 1889, three Sisters of Divine Providence from St. Jean de Bassel set out to start new territory. They embarked on a journey to the United States to work in Kentucky. Barely able to speak English and having no fixed residence, they abandoned themselves to Providence as had the first women sent by John Martin Moye.
Under the patronage of Bishop Maes of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, the Sisters established the first residence and school at the Jones Mansion, located on a hilltop in Newport, KY. This was later named Mt. St. Martin. Expansion of the school and the growing number of young women to enter the convent pushed the sisters to build Our Lady of Providence Academy, Newport, KY in 1909 and St. Anne Convent, Melbourne, KY in 1919.
St. Anne Province Center (built in 2012) is the headquarters of the American Province of the Congregation. It is considered “home” to the Sisters of Divine Providence of the American Province no matter where they serve in ministry. It has come to be known as a place of peace.
Sr. Alice Gerdeman is the current Provincial Superior. To date, there are 106 sisters in the American Province.
The Province of Madagascar
Blessed John Martin Moye, founder of the Congregation of Divine Providence, had a great desire to go as a missionary to the Island of Madagascar but that dream was not fulfilled in his lifetime. At that time Providence had greater need of Father Moye elsewhere – in China but Providence did not forget Moye’s dream.
In 1950, one hundred seventy-eight years later, Father Moye’s dream was realized in the sending of three Sisters of Divine Providence of St. Jean de Bassel as missionaries to Madagascar. Today that tiny mustard seed community of 3 women of Providence has grown into a province of 97 Sisters of Divine Providence, 87 of whom are native Malagasy.
Following the example of their founder, Sisters of Divine Providence live and work among the poor of the island. In their ministry of health care, the sisters work in remote villages, small towns and cities; in dispensaries, hospitals and leper colonies.
John Martin Moye’s words to his sisters, “Nothing is more important that the education of youth” are an important lifeline in the heart of the Congregation of Divine Providence and especially so on the Island of Madagascar. In one room schools in the bush country or brick buildings in the cities, the sisters instruct, initiate, and promote learning in academic and vocational projects, in pastoral formation and life skills. They teach the children to help themselves, to learn trades and skills that will enable them to have a livelihood that will give them a sense of dignity in the midst of their poverty.
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. The island’s bulging population, diminishing resources, and economic policies contribute to the island’s poverty and steady economic decline. The role of the Sisters of Divine Providence is to be a sign of hope to the people of Madagascar that a Provident God does care for them and so do they.
The Province of Europe
The Province of Europe includes communities of Sisters in France, Romania, Poland and Belgium. Sr. Anny Deutsch is the Provincial Superior.
There are over 400 sisters in this province. Ministries of the sisters include education, pastoral work, nursing and social work.