Women’s History Month: Thank goodness she said no!
Prior to her entrance into the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé, France, Anne-Thérèse Guerin (aka Saint Mother Theodore) did have a few suitors. “The Eighth American Saint” describes an encounter between Anne-Thérèse and one young man:
“‘I feel I must do something for God,’ she said falteringly, ‘and for souls. It is the only way I can help.’
“‘What can woman do to help?’ he asked with an amused smile. ‘Anyway, leave it to others — and marry me.’
“To this first question she had no answer ready; his offer of marriage she refused. But after he had gone, she began to wonder if perhaps she had been too bold in thinking she could really do something for God. She felt vaguely distressed, but she began to draw from her store of names of women who had done things for God, and this made her feel better. First of all there was Our Lady, greatly daring, greatly obedient. There was Judith, who had freed her people, and Esther who had delivered hers by her bravery and wit. There was Catherine of Siena, unafraid of the brilliant men who opposed her; Clare holding up the monstrance before the Saracens at Assisi; the great Teresa, tramping through Spain on her errands for God; Margaret Mary who worked for God in her quiet cloister.
“Anne-Thérèse would never be among those great names; that she knew, but she felt in her heart that there was a work ahead of her that would advance the kingdom of God — a small work, but nevertheless hers. What it was or where it would take her she did not know. But she was definitely certain that it was in the religious life that her own work must be carried out.” (page 33)
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