Born in Mississippi in 1882 into a family of Protestant immigrants from Europe, Sister Mary Angelique Ayres became the fourth Superior General of the Congregation. She converted to Catholicism in 1897 while attending an academy taught by Sisters of the Holy Cross in Austin, Texas; and four years later she entered the Congregation of Divine Providence. She would go on to lead 700 Sisters who served over 23,000 people, mostly as teachers, domestic workers, catechists, and health care workers.
The establishment of Our Lady of the Lake College with its increasingly extensive teacher-training programs gave further impetus to the expansion of the Congregation’s educational ministry. CDP teachers opened more missions in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Indian territories, Texas, and Arkansas. These ventures helped the Congregation to meet the needs of minority cultural groups.