In the summer of 1839, the first bishop of , the Most Rev. Simon Gabriel Bruté sent the Rev. Celestine de la Hailandière to France to seek a religious congregation to teach, to introduce religious instruction and to assist the sick in the vast . 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 Hailandière was in France, Bishop Bruté died in Vincennes, and de la Hailandière was consecrated bishop of Vincennes. The newly ordained bishop requested the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé 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 , Sister St. Theodore finally acquiesced, remembering a sentence from of the Congregation, “The Sisters will be disposed to go to any part of the world.”