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A view from behind the camera

This article is reprinted from winter 2007 issue of HOPE.

Interview by Sister Jeanne Knoerle

For most of us Sisters of Providence, the canonization of Mother Theodore was an all consuming moment, filled with a myriad of feelings: joy, disbelief, wonder, a sense of humility — as well as a sense of pride. For those of us who went to Rome, it was a time of sharing a unique experience with friends as well as with some sisters we hadn’t been in close touch with for some time — and a time for watching the media representatives as they talked with, interviewed, photographed, and brought out of this experience a unique “view from the outside.”

Among the media representatives who traveled with us were Jon Swaner, from WTWO in Terre Haute, and his wife, Kim. Having watched Jon interview many, many Sisters of Providence about their emotions and experiences and attitudes about the canonization, I thought it might be interesting to interview him about his emotions and experiences and attitudes about this special moment.

The following are among some of his responses:

What most impressed you about the experience?

Well, everyone saw the canonization as an event, but it was much more than that for me. It was an experience, a deeply felt experience. I was covering it as a reporter, but sometimes its impact on me was so great that I momentarily forgot why I had come. I loved having so many people, especially the sisters, there to help me — and hopefully others through me — see things in the canonization I never would have seen without their insights.

Was there a defining moment?

The farewell dinner. It was absolute joy!

There was almost a feeling of ecstasy in that room. The very well-deserved recognition of Sister Marie Kevin [Tighe, former vice postulator of Mother Theodore’s Cause], the words of gratitude of Sister Denise [Wilkinson, general superior], the comments of the Postulator that were so full of feeling. The dancing and singing and the “joyful noise” that abounded. It all seemed to sum up the great joy with which Mother Theodore approached life — mirroring the “natural gaiety” that she identified as characteristic of herself in her journals.

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Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

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