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1956: a year of commemoration

The year 1956 was one of remembrance and celebration for the Sisters of Providence. This year marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Mother Theodore Guerin, who died May 14, 1856. The year also commemorated the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé, France, in 1806.

In conjunction with Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, the Congregation presented various exhibits of sisters’ original works in the areas of plays, poetry, music, art, sculpture and craftwork in the College Library and Foley Art Studios. Additionally, July 26-28 were days of celebration at the Woods. Participating in the July celebrations were two Sisters of Providence of Ruillé, Sisters Gabriel Marie and Maria Joseph.

On July 26 the play, “Way of Heaven,” by Sister Mary Roger Madden was presented. This three-act play portrayed the life of the Congregation’s foundress. The next evening, the choral work of Sister Cecilia Clare Bocard, “In the Providence of God: A Cycle of Psalms,” was presented by the Sisters’ Chorus under the direction of Sister Francis Angela Kolb. On the final day, a pontifical high Mass was celebrated by The Most Rev. Paul C. Schulte, archbishop of Indianapolis. The speaker was The Right Rev. Abbot Columban Thuis, OSB, St. Joseph Abbey, St. Benedict, La.

The following are programs, news articles and other artifacts from the 1956 celebrations:

  • “Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Holds a Three Day Celebration” news release: This news release was furnished by the Congregation for various media. [CLICK HERE]
  • “Way of Heaven” program: This play was presented on July 26 as well as May 11 and 12, 1956, as this program illustrates. [CLICK HERE]
  • “We exalt, O Lord, Thy Providence” program of events: This is a listing of events for July 26-28, 1956, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. [CLICK HERE]
  • “In the Providence of God” program: This is the program for Sister Cecilia Clare Bocard’s “A Cycle of Psalms.” This particular program was for the April 28, 1956, presentation in Cecilian Auditorium at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. [CLICK HERE]
  • “The Sisters of Providence in France and America: Historical Summary” booklet: This booklet marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of Providence in Ruillé, France. [CLICK HERE]
  • “Departure of the Sisters for Formosa (Taiwan)”: This is a summary of the return to Formosa of Mother Marie Gratia Luking and Sister Ann Colette Wolf. This account shares the tale of a lost airline ticket, Typhoon Emma and the trials of getting a passport. [CLICK HERE]
  • “Tri-color Ribbons” newspaper photo and caption from The New World: St. Columbkille Day nursery, Chicago, welcomes two Sisters of Providence from Ruillé, France. [CLICK HERE]
  • “French Nuns Coming for Visit of Order’s Branch at St. Mary’s” news article from the Terre Haute Tribune (June 26, 1956): Article announces the arrival of Sisters Gabriel Marie and Maria Joseph. It also notes the arrival of Sister Marie Gratia Luking, who hadn’t been back to the United States since she left for the mission in Asia in 1920. [CLICK HERE]
  • “French Nuns Enjoy Visit at Ladywood” news article from the Indianapolis Times (June 28, 1956): Sisters Gabriel Marie and Maria Joseph visit Ladywood School, Indianapolis. This is the first visit of the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé to the United States since 1906. [CLICK HERE]
  • “Nuns Call Children of France ‘Nervous’” news article from The Indianapolis Star (June 29, 1956): An interview with French Sisters Gabriel Marie and Maria Joseph during their visit to Ladywood School. They discuss the impact of the rise of Communism on young people in Europe. [CLICK HERE]
  • “Providence Sisters to Mark 150th Founding Anniversary” news article from The New World (July 6, 1956): This news article announces the activities of the celebrations July 26-28. [CLICK HERE]
  • “Twin Celebrations to End Tomorrow at St. Mary of Woods Motherhouse” news article from The New World (July 27, 1956): This newspaper article notes the events on the last day of the celebration, July 28. It also notes that Mother Theodore’s Cause had advanced to the Apostolic Process. Pope Pius XII approved and signed the petition to continue the Cause on Feb. 19, 1956. [CLICK HERE]

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Connie McCammon

Connie McCammon worked in the communications office for the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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