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Mother Theodore dioramas

A story takes on a whole new meaning when you can see it! In Providence Center at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, you can take a look at history in the form of twelve dioramas telling the story of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

A diorama is a 3-D representation of a scene, usually with objects and figures in front of a painted background. The word itself means “see through.” Dioramas can be large scale, like the life-size dioramas you see in museums, or in miniature, with little figures and buildings all done to scale. First popular in the early 1930s, dioramas are different from miniature models in that they are usually in a case, are lit from the inside, and are meant to be viewed only from one side.

The dioramas at the Woods are miniatures, with the people and places based on sketches and photographs of the different time periods. Henri Marchand, an artist from France who made dioramas for places like the New York State Museum, made the first diorama for the Sisters of Providence. He then assigned the project to one of his workers, Gregory Kamka. The dioramas were all completed by 1940, the 100th anniversary of the Sisters of Providence in Indiana.

Starting with a scene in the countryside of Ruillé-sur-Loir, France, in 1806, the dioramas follow the timeline of the Sisters of Providence. In every diorama, the buildings, trees and people have been carefully constructed to represent the scene accurately. There are three dioramas depicting France, one of the ship that brought the sisters to America, and eight that show Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

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Christina Blust

Christina worked as the digital media and website manager for Sisters of Providence for 9 years and now serves as the website's designer and consultant through her company, Blustery Day Design. She's a musician, reader, writer and generally curious person.

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