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“The Promised Land of Providence”

The "autumn gold" of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods
The “autumn gold” of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

Happy Foundation Day! 173 years ago today, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her five companions finally arrived in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods after a long and taxing journey from France.

I recently stumbled upon a poem written by Sister Loretta Therese Bierman about this exact moment. It’s in a book of poetry by sisters, published in 1925 and called, quite simply, Thoughts for You and Me.

Those who knew Sister Loretta Therese called her “gentle, refined, modest and humble,” and “unusually gifted as a writer.” Though she had a difficult and sadly short life, dying from a goiter in 1919 at the age of 33, the poetry she left behind is full of joy, gratitude, and a shimmering sense of wonder.

Mother Theodore’s First View of St. Mary-of-the-Woods

A hush like that in great cathedral aisles
Wrapped the deep forest in its autumn gold;
The oaks and firs in silent martial files
Stood guard while day its evening vespers told.
’Twas thus she saw it, thus did first behold
The Promised Land of Providence, and there
Descends God’s blessing, which the years unfold,
As budding flowers in Spring’s awak’ning air,
With deep’ning beauty ’neath her loving care.

-Sister Loretta Therese Bierman

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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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