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Mother Theodore Guerin

I am simply repeating, for the most part, what I have posted in past years because I feel that Mother Theodore’s simplicity and humility speak volumes about her.

Mother Theodore, Anne-Therese Guerin, Saint Theodora Guerin died on May 14, 1856 – 161 years ago. The official website of the Sisters of Providence . has the following posted

The”Catholic Telegraph and Advocate” in Cincinnati, Ohio, published the following notice about Mother Theodore’s death:

“œDied – At Saint Mary’s-of-the-Woods (sic), in the 58th year of her age, Wednesday, 14th inst., Sister St. Theodore, Superior General of the Sisters of Providence in Indiana.

“œThis woman, distinguished by her eminent virtues, governed the community of which she was the superior from its commencement, to the time of her death, a period of nearly sixteen years. Being a perfect religious herself, and endowed with mental qualities of a high order, she was peculiarly fitted to fill the duties which Providence assigned her.

“œNot only her Sisters are bereaved by her death, but all those who knew her excellence and the amount of good she did, join in lamenting that she should have been removed from the sphere of her usefulness. To judge from the celestial expression of her countenance as she lay in death, there is every reason to believe that she has already taken her abode among the Saints in Heaven, enjoying the munificence of God, who rewards His servants “˜according to their works.'”

One of the overlooked heroes of the early Church in Indiana, Father John Corbe wrote, upon the death of Mother Theodore:

“Mother Theodore and Sister Saint Francis both loved God with all the strength of their ardent souls; they served Him with the most perfect devotedness, and both terminated their careers of virtue and good works in the most cruel suffering, but they loved and desired these sufferings, and their happiness as they said themselves, was to be on the cross with their Beloved … If God has sent them almost the same sufferings, He has also bestowed upon them the same favors. He has given them a foretaste of the joys of heaven by visions and extraordinary consolations.

Both have already given indubitable marks of their power with God … I hope that these proofs will multiply and that God will glorify before men those who have sacrificed everything for Him with so much generosity.” 1

Sister Mary Thedosia Mug, who wrote the first extensive history of the Sisters and Mother Theodore said, speaking of the reaction of those who knew Mother Theodore:

When Father Chasse visited Mother Theodore during her last illness she asked him to return to sing her Requiem Mass as Father Corbe she knew would feel her death too much to be able to sing It was as she expected Father Corbe was deeply affected but he was present beside the Bishop in the sanctuary The funeral oration was delivered by Rt Rev Bishop St Palais whose emotion was evident Rather than a highly wrought panegyric it was an effusion of tenderness and personal reverence for the one whose great and limpid soul he had known so intimately His own tears blended with the grief of the Community and he promised that now as they had lost their Mother more than ever would he be their Father All accompanied the remains to their last resting place near the Chapel of St Ann where four of their number had already been laid to rest Some years later seeing that the spot chosen would eventually be too small the remains of all buried there were transferred to the present cemetery in the centre of which is the grave of the venerated Foundress. 2

[Fr. John Chasse was a member of the Society of Eudists, brought to Vincennes by Bishop Brute. He had succeeded Fr. John Corbe as chaplain to the Sisters]

Pretty simple stuff for such a holy woman! But, perhaps that is the point. How blessed we are to have a Saint of the Universal Catholic Church here in Indiana!

  1. John Corbe to A Mme. Le Fer de la Motte, 11 June 1856-SMW Archives[]
  2. Life and Life-work of Mother Theodore Guerin: Foundress of the Sisters of Providence… By Mary Theodosia Mug, p.491[]

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