A Saint Among Us

Mother Theodore Guerin, the foundress of the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary of the Woods, will become a saint.

On Tuesday, Pope Benedict the 16th signed a decree, acknowledging a second miracle attributed to Mother Guerin and thus, accepting her cause for canonization.

While the Sisters at Saint Mary of the Woods believe in the miracles attributed to Mother Guerin, it is how she lived her life that inspires them.

Actions speak louder than words
On this spring afternoon, students of Saint Mary of the Woods, relax not far from the spot where Mother Theodore took her first steps to sainthood in Indiana.

A carriage dropped her and a few nuns and novices off to begin their ministry at the woods, but the environment in which they were left look much differently than what it does today.

Associate Postulator Sr. Marie Kevin Tighe explains, "She said suddenly, we found ourselves in the midst of a dense forest and the coach stopped and Father said 'come now sisters, we have arrived.' Then she said to our utter amazement, there was nothing in sight, not even a house."

Sisters at Saint Mary of the Woods believe in the miracles attributed to Mother Guerin, but it is how she lived her life that inspires themStill, the dense woods, a hard winter and failing health didn't dampen Mother Guerin's spirits. Within a year of her arrival she established the Saint Mary of the Woods Academy to help educate women and children in the area.

Before coming to Indiana, the French government recognized Mother Guerin for her dedication to education.

A medal and other items used by Mother Guerin during her life at the woods are found in the Heritage Room at Providence Center.

In Owens Hall, Archivist Sister Mary Ryan pulls down the boxes that house some of Mother Guerin's original journal writings, which she describes her struggles, and her faith in God that helped her pull through.

It's Mother Guerin's example in Providence that inspired sisters past and present to live their lives as she did, in service to others in Indiana.

"Our sisters are engaged still in works of education, in works of taking care of the sick. Our sisters are very much involved in works of justice where we see injustice in the world. We try to speak against that to try to reform aspects of our society, which are contrary to God's justice," says Tighe.

As far as when the pope will canonize Mother Guerin, the Sisters of Providence requested a date of October 22nd, which is the same date when Mother Guerin first stepped foot at the woods.


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