Vision of Mother Theodore
While searching for some information in the files of Mother Superior Gertrude Clare Owens, Archives volunteer Sister Marie Grace Molloy found this very interesting statement concerning a vision of Mother Theodore that Mrs. Michael Owens had in 1910. It was signed by a notary public on Dec. 10, 1957.
Mother Superior Sister Gertrude Clare was born March 26, 1887. She entered the Congregation Sept. 7, 1904, and served as general superior from 1954 to 1960. She died Nov. 18, 1963. Her sister, Sister Genevieve Therese, was born Jan. 16, 1889, entered the Congregation Dec. 7, 1906, and died Sept. 7, 1910. Sister Mary Clarissa Paquette, who made the statement, was born Jan. 22, 1884. She entered the Congregation May 2, 1901, and died May 12, 1958.
“In September, 1910, Mrs. Michael Owens, the mother of Sister Gertrude Clare and Sister Genevieve Therese, Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, stopped at St. Joseph school in Indianapolis, on her way home from Saint Mary’s where she had attended the funeral of the younger of her two daughters, Sister Genevieve Therese. Sister had just died of tuberculosis at the early age of 21, having been a professed Religious for only one year. Sister Gertrude Clare, two years older than her sister, and a professed religious for three years, also was in extremely poor health and according to general expectation would not survive her sister for any length of time.
“When Mrs. Owens stopped at St. Joseph’s that day in September, 1910, Sister Mary Theodata [O’Grady], the local Superior of the mission, and I visited with her. During the visits Mrs. Owens told us that she was in bed one evening not long before and she was wide awake when Mother Theodore stood at her bedside and said to her these words: ‘Sister Gertrude Clare will not die now; she is going to live and do great things for the Community.’ With that, Mother Theodore vanished. Mrs. Owens was a very sensible, well balanced woman, a staunch Catholic, and a person who was very zealous and active in doing good deeds for others in need. She was not a person given to imagining unusual occurrences.
“I, Sister Mary Clarissa, a very young Sister at the time, heard Mrs. Owens relate this experience, and I have lived to see how truly the words she said Mother Theodore spoke to her have come to be fulfilled. In spite of Sister Gertrude Clare’s extremely frail physique and her very poor health all her life which led Superiors and the Community in general to feel that she could not live long, she has lived to the present, 1957, and has left a record, during these years, of tireless and indefatigable service to others. Until 1920 she was employed as either teacher of local Superior in the parochial schools or academies staffed by the Sisters of Providence. In 1920 she was elected as a Councillor [sic] to the Superior General, an office she held uninterruptedly until her elected as Superior General in May, 1954. For more than thirty years as Councillor [sic] Sister Gertrude Clare had the supervision of the Community infirmary and the care of the sick. During the same period of years she also had charge of the Sisters in the Second Novitiate preparing intensively for six months for the taking of their perpetual vows. Twice a year to these Aspirants Sister gave the thirty day retreat, and once a year she conducted an eight day retreat. Many other minor responsibilities fell to her charge, and in fulfilling them all Sister became universally known in the community for her unfailing goodness, kindness, patience, selfless labor, and complete understanding of everybody’s problems. Only a supernatural strength could have enabled her to meet the duties that have been hers over the long span of years and to meet them as she has done, with unfailing calmness and understanding sympathy.
“The record of Mother Gertrude Clare’s life gives reason to believe that there was something very substantial in the words Mrs. Owens said Mother Theodore in vision had said to her in September, 1910: ‘Sister Gertrude Clare will not die now; she is going to live and do great things for the Community.’
Signed: Sister Mary Clarissa
Date: December 10, 1957”
Signed by notary public Elizabeth Doulon on Dec. 10, 1957