In the summer of 1839, the first bishop of Vincennes, the Most Rev. Simon Gabriel BrutÃ© sent the Rev. Celestine de la HailandiÃ¨re to France to seek a religious congregation to teach, to introduce religious instruction and to assist the sick in the vast Diocese of Vincennes. With only a few priests and a great influx of Catholic immigrants of French, Irish and German descent, the diocese was in need of assistance.
While Father de la HailandiÃ¨re was in France, Bishop BrutÃ© died in Vincennes, and de la HailandiÃ¨re was consecrated bishop of Vincennes. The newly ordained bishop requested the Sisters of Providence of RuillÃ© for sisters for his young diocese.
Mother Mary Lecor, superior general, knew there was only one person who could undertake such a mission in a new country, and that was Sister St. Theodore. Although she was unsure of such a mission at first, after considerable discernment, Sister St. Theodore finally acquiesced, remembering a sentence from the Rule of the Congregation, “The Sisters will be disposed to go to any part of the world.”