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Construction is underway toward a shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

Plans for the new shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods include an entryway reflective of her early life in France, a passageway reflective of the ship’s cabin in which she crossed the ocean to the United States and a room showing her new life and mission in the Indiana wilderness. There is also a chapel room that will serve as a final resting place for Saint Mother Theodore.
Plans for the new shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods include an entryway reflective of her early life in France, a passageway reflective of the ship’s cabin in which she crossed the ocean to the United States and a room showing her new life and mission in the Indiana wilderness. There is also a chapel room that will serve as a final resting place for Saint Mother Theodore.
Sister Denise Wilkinson, general superior of the Sisters of Providence, leads prayer during a construction blessing marking the beginning of work on a new shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The new shrine will be located just beyond the right window in this photo, down the hall from the Church of the Immaculate Conception.
Sister Denise Wilkinson, general superior of the Sisters of Providence, leads prayer during a construction blessing marking the beginning of work on a new shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The new shrine will be located just beyond the right window in this photo, down the hall from the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

Work is underway in creating a new permanent shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

The Sisters of Providence gathered with friends and supporters the morning of Nov. 8 to commemorate work beginning on the shrine with a Construction Blessing outside the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The shrine is expected to be open to the public by the fall of 2014.

The beautifully designed shrine celebrates the life and mission of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, who came to Indiana from France in 1840 with five companions to provide education to the state’s pioneer children. She founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, both at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Saint Mother Theodore was officially declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church in 2006, the first person from Indiana to receive such distinction.

The planned shrine will be located under the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, just down the halls from Providence Spirituality and Conference Center and the Church of the Immaculate Conception. It will include a museum-like area, complete with educational displays. Special features include an entrance area reflective of Saint Mother Theodore’s origins in France, a passage fashioned after the wooden ship’s cabin in which Saint Mother Theodore traveled to the United States, an area with images of her new home in the woods of Indiana and a chapel area that will serve as a final resting place for the saint.

Friends and supporters of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin gather to pray a construction blessing as work begins on the creation of a new shrine to Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Sister Denise Wilkinson, general superior of the Sisters of Providence, said she is excited to think that this beautiful and sacred space at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods will draw many people here to come to know Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. In the process they will experience the natural beauty and welcoming community present in the place she founded.

“This place of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, where Mother Theodore found a home and created a school and a religious community, is a place of hope and healing. How wonderful that more people will find their way here and to her,” Sister Denise said.

“The chapel area is one of my favorite parts. It is designed to be a place of quiet, prayer — a place to sense the presence of the saint — a place one can pour out one’s heart: worries, joys, requests, thanksgivings,” Sister Denise said.

Those gathered for a construction blessing as work gets underway for a new shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods stop to look at the plans for the new shrine which will include museum-like exhibits and memorializes the spiritual and historic journey of Saint Mother Theodore's life.
Those gathered for a construction blessing as work gets underway for a new shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods stop to look at the plans for the new shrine which will include museum-like exhibits and memorializes the spiritual and historic journey of Saint Mother Theodore’s life.

“I also love the way the shrine is designed to convey a journey. Mother Theodore’s journey is used as guide and model for each of us as we make our journey in life — in following the calls of our hearts, the desire for God, however we know God.

“I hope that real people will come and find hope and healing for themselves, their loved ones, our Earth — that their time here will somehow revitalize their spirits and renew their desires to be the very best, loving persons they can be,” Sister Denise said.

Jack Kelly of McBride Kelley Baurer in Chicago served as architect on the project, Father Mark Joseph Costello of Liturgical Consulting and Design in Chicago was the artistic consultant and Garmong Construction is completing the project. Numerous friends, supporters and donors came together to contribute the more than $1.5 million that is making the creation of the shrine a reality.

“Indeed, the blessing for me has been the people who believe that creating a space for prayer and for renewal of our deepest hopes and desires is a worthy undertaking,” Sister Denise said. “Believing that, they are making it happen.”

Read more about the shrine and its progress at SistersofProvidence.org.

Photo captions:
Shrine plans: Plans for the new shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods include an entryway reflective of her early life in France, a passageway reflective of the ship’s cabin in which she crossed the ocean to the United States and a room showing her new life and mission in the Indiana woods. There is also a chapel room that will serve as a final resting place for Saint Mother Theodore. Download a high-resolution graphic here: https://spsmw.org/?attachment_id=33578

Shrine construction blessing Sister Denise pray: Sister Denise Wilkinson, general superior of the Sisters of Providence, leads prayer during a construction blessing marking the beginning of work on a new shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The new shrine will be located just beyond the right window in this photo, down the hall from the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Download high-resolution photo here: https://spsmw.org/?attachment_id=33568

Shrine plans view: Those gathered for a construction blessing as work gets underway for a new shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods stop to look at the shrine plans which will include museum-like exhibits and memorializes the spiritual and historic journey of Saint Mother Theodore’s life. Download high-resolution photo here: https://spsmw.org/?attachment_id=33569

Shrine blessing crowd: Friends and supporters of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin gather to pray a construction blessing as work begins on the creation of a new shrine to Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Download high-resolution photo here: https://spsmw.org/?attachment_id=33574

Download a high-resolution graphic of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin here: https://spsmw.org/?attachment_id=33575

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.

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Amy Miranda

Amy Miranda is a Providence Associate of the Sisters of Providence and a staff member in their Advancement Services office. Amy is a 1998 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She currently manages the SP publication HOPE and works on marketing support for Providence Associates, new membership and Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.
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For inquiries or information, contact Jason Moon at jmoon@spsmw.org or 812-535-2810.

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