SMWC and Sisters of Providence honor Sister Wendy Workman at dedication ceremony

August 7th, 2015 | SMWC

Sister Wendy Workman
Wendy Workman, SP '74

As you enter the Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center on Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) campus, take a look to your right and you’ll see a sign that reads “Wendy Workman, SP ’74 Entrance.” To celebrate the life of Sister Wendy Workman and dedicate the entryway to her legacy, members of the Sisters of Providence and SMWC community gathered in the atrium of the Knoerle Center on Tuesday, July 28, 2015.

“This dedication was made possible by the generosity of the Sisters of Providence,” SMWC President Dottie King, Ph.D., said to those who had gathered in Workman’s honor. “This gift was made to the campaign knowing that we were building a sports and recreation center and recognizing Sister Wendy as someone who loved athletics and physical education.”

The gift made in memory of Workman not only helped to build the Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center, but it is also helping to enhance the athletic programs at The Woods, allowing the College to offer wellness programs and intermural programming for students. All of which improves the life of the College and helps with recruitment and retention. “It’s just an ongoing gift,” said King.

The late Wendy Workman, SP, was a 1974 graduate of SMWC. She was a faculty member of the Physical Education Department from 1984-1987. After a tragic accident in 1987 and several years of rehabilitation therapy, she served both the College and Sisters of Providence. In 2001, she devoted herself totally to the ministry of prayer until her death on June 6, 2009.

Sister Denise Wilkinson and President Dottie King
General Superior of the Sisters of Providence Denise Wilkinson accepts a plaque to honor the gift from the Sisters of Providence in Sister Wendy Workman’s name from SMWC President Dottie King, Ph.D.

“Wendy’s life as a Sister of Providence, especially after the bicycle accident that so changed her life, has been an entryway to understanding more deeply the value of each person’s life and to remind us not to underestimate what can be accomplished if you have the faith, courage and determination that Wendy showed in accepting each day with all its limitations and challenges,” stated Dawn Tomaszewski, SP, in the dedication ceremony.

Mary Hums, Workman’s dear friend and former coworker at SMWC, traveled from Louisville, Ky., to attend the ceremony. Hums was out cycling with Workman on the tragic day in 1987 when Workman’s bicycle was struck by a truck and continued to support her through love and friendship for her years after the accident.

“I think Wendy would have been very humbled by it,” said Hums. “She was a very good person. She was not the person who would be out in front. It would mean the world to her. The Woods meant to the world to Wendy. After the accident and recovery, she often would say, ‘I want to go back to The Woods.’ You know the quote ‘Who’s woods these are I think I know’ … They were hers!”


Sister Mary Beth Klingel, Sister Jenny Howard, Sister Denise Wilkinson, Sister Barbara Doherty, Mary Hums, Sister Lisa Stallings and Sister Dawn Tomaszewski each place a hand on the sign to bless the Wendy Workman, SP ’74 Entrance of the Knoerle Center.

General Superior of the Sisters of Providence Denise Wilkinson concluded the ceremony with a prayer over the space, saying, “May her sense of humor, her exuberant and faithful self, continue to enliven the lives of those who will enter through this space into this building. We thank you for our sense of Wendy’s presence and her enduring love for the College, for the Sisters of Providence, for all whose lives she touched. In the Catholic liturgy of a funeral, the last prayer said over the assembly includes the words ‘Life is changed, not ended.’”