Sisters of Providence to create a permanent shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin
The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods have raised the money to create the permanent shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. However, fundraising continues for an additional $250,000 to complete phase one of the project. This phase includes renovation to Providence Spirituality and Conference Center related to the Shrine work.
Sister Denise Wilkinson, the Congregation’s general superior, made the announcement during the annual Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Dinner on Saturday, June 1. The annual dinner recognizes donors, patrons and friends of the Congregation for their support.
Renovation of current facilities to make way for the Shrine’s new home is expected to begin during the autumn of this year and is expected to be completed by autumn, 2014. The museum-like area, complete with educational displays, will be located below the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in the hallway adjacent to the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Currently, the area is used for office and work space. Previously, it was used as housing.
Saint Mother Theodore came to Indiana from France in 1840 with five traveling companions to provide education to the state’s pioneer children. Within a few months, the sisters founded a school now known as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Saint Mother Theodore was canonized in Rome on Oct. 15, 2006, by Pope Benedict XVI. The decision to pursue a fund-raising campaign to create the shrine for the Congregation’s foundress was made with intense discernment, said Sister Denise.
“We were very careful to plan wisely and to create a sacred space for our sisters and for our many visitors from throughout the world. We have had visitors from all 50 states and from nearly as many foreign nations. Daily, we receive requests for prayers, favors or just information about our foundress,” Sister Denise said.
Shrines in the United States do not attract the same high-level interest in comparison to shrines that attract pilgrimages in Europe and other countries.
“In their permanent location, Saint Mother Theodore’s remains will rest in a simple wooden coffin in a quiet place conducive to reflection and prayer,” Sister Denise added. “As visitors and pilgrims return to their homes, families, churches and jobs, our hope is that they will share the blessings of Providence in their lives. In that way, the sisters feel that the shrine will be a living ministry.”
With the announcement that work will begin later this year, Sister Denise also said that fundraising will continue for renovations to Providence Spirituality and Conference Center and to create a sense of Mother Theodore’s journey and spiritual legacy as one enters the facility.
Creating the shrine brings the need to relocate some offices and modify several of the venues at Providence Center and to expand The Gift Shop at Providence Center. Those projects will not begin until funds have been raised.
People who make a donation by Aug. 31 to complete phase one of the project will be considered a “founder” of the shrine and their names will be inscribed in a special journal to be displayed in the shrine area. Anyone interested in making a donation to any of these projects should call the Sisters of Providence Mission Advancement office at 812-535-2801, or visit the Congregation’s website at www.SistersofProvidence.org.
About the Sisters of Providence
The Sisters of Providence, a congregation of 214 women religious, with 300 Providence Associates, collaborate with others to create a more just and hope-filled world through prayer, education, service and advocacy. The Sisters of Providence have their motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, located just northwest of downtown Terre Haute, Ind., which is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. Today, Sisters of Providence minister in 13 states, the District of Columbia and Asia, through works of love, mercy and justice. More information about the Sisters of Providence and their ministries can be found at SistersofProvidence.org.