April 10, 2017

OBITUARY:  Sister Mary of Providence Dion, SP



HOLYOKE – Sister Mary of Providence Dion, a Sister of Providence, died on April 9 in the 73rd year of her religious life.

Born Beatrice Lena Dion in Worcester, Mass., she was the daughter of the late Ferdinand and Cora Rose-Emma (Birtz) Dion. After attending the High School of Commerce in Worcester, she enrolled in the School of Nursing program at St. Vincent Hospital, Worcester, where she graduated in 1943 and became a registered nurse.

She entered the Sisters of Providence Congregation in 1944 and, after completing her formation program, was assigned to floor duty at Providence Hospital in Holyoke. She then served as nurse and head nurse at Mercy Hospital (now Mercy Medical Center) in Springfield. In 1953, she graduated from the Mercy Hospital School of Anesthesia and then worked over the next seven years as a nurse anesthetist at the Mercy and Providence hospitals, at the former Farren Memorial Hospital in Montague City, and at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester. 

Following studies at Boston College, where she received her bachelor of science degree in Nursing in 1961, she was assigned to St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, where she became supervisor of their School of Anesthesiology and also served as a part-time instructor at Quinsigamond Community College. In 1966, she also became director of the St. Vincent School of Inhalation Therapy.

In 1974, she began a new ministry as the Sisters of Providence retirement coordinator and developed a comprehensive program. In 1981, she had an internship in nursing home administration at Stella Maris Hospital in Towson, Md., and was later appointed administrator of the Beaven-Kelly Home in Holyoke and of St. Luke’s Home in Springfield, where she served until her resignation in 1989.

She then undertook a three-month residential program in pastoral studies and spiritual renewal at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem in 1989. Upon her return to the U.S., she served three years as co-chair of the Sisters of Providence Associate Program and then became a volunteer at the former Queen of Peace Centennial House in Greenfield. 

She was a board member of the American Registry of Inhalation Therapists and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists; was elected to a life membership in the America Association for Respiratory Therapists; and was president and vice president of the board of the Greater New England Society of Inhalation Therapy; a member of the Worcester Diocesan Council of Catholic Nurses, the Corporation Board of Mt. St. Vincent Nursing Home and the board of Mercyknoll, Inc., of West Hartford, Conn.

She was predeceased by her brother, Augustinian Father Louis Dion, and her sister, Sister of St. Anne Therese Dion. She is survived by her sisters in community, and by three sisters and a brother.

The wake will be held on Tuesday, April 11 from 3:30–6:30 p.m. at Providence Place, 5 Gamelin Street, Holyoke. The Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, April 12, at 10 a.m. in the Providence Place Chapel.

Memorial donations may be made to the Sisters of Providence, 5 Gamelin St., Holyoke, MA 01040.