In their own words: Dan Thralls
This article is reprinted from winter 2007 issue of HOPE.
Many words have been written and spoken to describe the canonization of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. Sisters of Providence and pilgrims who traveled with the Congregation share their thoughts and feelings about this once-in-a-lifetime event. Here are thoughts from Dan Thralls of Lafayette, Ind. Dan is a descendant of Sarah and Joseph Thralls, the family whose generosity helped Mother Theodore in 1840. (Interview by Connie McCammon.)
What is your family heritage?
Joseph Thralls was my great-great-great-grandfather — five generations separated. He lived and settled in the area of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods prior to Mother Theodore’s and the sisters’ coming over. They had arranged to receive the sisters when they first came to the area, and Mother Theodore and her companion sisters stayed in their house until another residence was set up [for the Thralls family]. It’s our heritage that we had close ties to Mother Theodore and interacted on a daily basis with her.
What was it like to be at Mass with the Holy Father?
As far back as I can remember either the sisters or my grandfather were telling me the story about Mother Theodore staying at Sarah and Joseph’s house. But everything Mother Theodore accomplished always struck me as a local story, and I didn’t realize until yesterday [the Mass of Canonization Oct. 15] how globally she really impacted the community and the world. You see the Pope and I don’t know how many people were there — hundreds of thousands — in St. Peter’s Square. You also saw the impact — the sisters from Taiwan were there; the sisters from France were there. It’s something probably that I took for granted over the years.
Is there something about Mother Theodore that is special to you?
Her perseverance. There were so many times that she could have just stopped. I think that’s one thing that was unique about her. She just kept on going and going — whether she had a vision or just a sense of what she needed to be doing.