Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

Happy feast of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin! Here at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods we will celebrate the feast with Mass at 11 a.m. (EDT) in the Church of the Immaculate Conception. All are invited!

Pope John Paul II described Mother Theodore as the perfect blend of “humanness and holiness.”

Today, we invite you to reflect on her niece, Marie-Thérèse’s, memories of Mother Theodore and those two qualities. After all, who knows us better than family?

Marie-Thérèse recalled, “She made her First Communion when she was 10 years old. She was very smart for her years. She vowed herself to be a religious — not exactly a vow, but a solemn promise made to God …. She always said she had a secret that nobody could guess. And nobody would have guessed that, for she was a little villain — not bad, but mischievous and leading in all the pranks of the children in the neighborhood. She would run away from school, not because she did not like to study but because the others were too slow, and the teacher, a prim old maid, was dry.

“Naughty as she was, she liked to pray alone, and sometimes when she ran away she would hide among the rocks on the seashore and meditate. She often said she learned to pray among the rocks where she could look out upon the vast expanse of water. She had heard her mother say the sea was the symbol of eternity. She never lost the impression; in later life she would say, ‘Eternity, oh, eternity!’ It would make us shudder to hear her sometimes, but to her it meant heaven, and she showed great longing to possess it.

“She loved birds; she loved all creatures except snakes and mosquitoes. She loved everybody with a big heart, even me. I was so rough …. My father was a brusque man, though he had a good heart. It was his rearing that spoiled us. My mother suffered from his manners, for she was gentle though light-hearted, like my aunt, Mother Theodore.”

Marie-Thérèse (born Feb. 9, 1827) entered the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé-sur-Loir, France, in 1846 and received the religious name of Sister Mary Theodore. She came to Indiana on Dec. 24, 1854, nearly two years before Saint Mother Theodore’s death on May 14, 1856. She remained in the Congregation for the rest of her life and died Nov. 19, 1901. She is buried at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.