[3 MIN READ]
In this article:
The Providence Institute for Human Caring’s Hear Me Now storytelling recording features Karen Summers, Chief Mission Officer at Providence.
Summers discusses her Christmas celebrations with family, which are an outlet for sharing faith with family.
We provide a brief recap of the story and topics Summers discussed with Hear Me Now manager Scott Acord.
The holiday season is a time for family and, for caregivers within Providence, a chance for the Mission to shine through in Christmas traditions. Karen Summers, Chief Mission Officer for Providence Home and Community Care, felt the impact of the Mission immediately when she joined the Providence team more than 30 years ago – and it’s something that has woven itself into the holiday traditions she shares with her children and grandchildren every Christmas.
Scott Acord, manager of the Hear Me Now storytelling and listening program for Providence, spoke with Summers about her holiday plans and how her faith has helped bring out the joy of Christmas.
Faith, family and fulfillment
Growing up in a Catholic family in Pennsylvania, Summers’ faith was always an important part of her life, but that faith reached another level when she came to Providence.
“I can’t believe I’m going to get to live out my faith more deeply in my work,” she said of joining the team. “How many people get to do that?” Summers said that she was hooked when she heard about the Mission, values and story of the Sisters of Providence.
That faith takes another leap during this time of year, especially since it ties together Summers with her four children and two grandchildren, all of whom live within a 10-minute drive of Summers in the Seattle area.
“My faith has deepened since coming to Providence,” says Summers. “That’s shown itself in how I raise my family.”
When it comes time to celebrate the holiday, the traditions start with decorating the Christmas tree as a family, including with some ornaments that Summers’ grown children made when they were small.
The family also attends mass together for Christmas. They particularly enjoy the choir as it sings carols. “I hope someday the mass ritual will speak to them [my family] the way it does to me,” Summers says.
After the family opens gifts, they gather for Christmas dinner – an event that everyone participates in putting on, including chopping vegetables, setting the table and more. And of course, the family always says grace together during the holidays.
Back to the Mission
That grace, Summers says, is an acknowledgment of the gift of life and the gift of family. At Christmas, it’s a reminder about the birth of Christ.
It’s also a time to pause and reflect, she says: Are you feeling different? More importantly, are you being different?
Summers is anchored in living out her faith through her work. By understanding and finding joy in the message of the gospel, she says, her faith has deepened.
“I’m blessed in being with Providence because you have that reminder every day when we live out our Mission: about being better people and not taking this life we’ve been given for granted.”
To listen to more Hear Me Now stories or the Hear Me Now Podcast go to HearMeNowStories.org
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