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Mother’s Day reflection: God’s grace and love help mothers “do it”

Due to the construction of the shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Providence was recently relocated to the narthex of our big church here at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. (Don’t stop to Google — narthex: an enclosed passage between the main entrance and the nave of a church.) We Sisters of Providence have long wished that this shrine would be in a space that lent itself to quiet prayer and not in a main hallway of Providence Spirituality and Conference Center.


The National Shrine of Our Lady of Providence is now located in a prayerful space in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind.

The shrine space looks lovely and is very conducive to individual or small group prayer. The oil painting of Our Lady of Providence hangs above a small and lovely marble ledge, wide enough for bouquets and candles. The pastels of the portrait complement the muted rose-grey-white marble of the narthex walls.

I’ve taken to “stopping by” the shrine at different times of day, on my way to or from a meeting or a visit with someone. I like gazing at the portrait and usually find myself thinking of the many mothers I know or have known. Oh my! What an incredible vocation to which mothers are called!

It seems to me — looking in from the outside – that “it” never ends. Demands for your time, for your attention, for feeding and clothing, for worrying about and being concerned for – sometimes all of these in a morning or an afternoon.

Yet, again looking in from the outside — I love seeing the expressions of love and affection on a mother’s face as she watches her child, her children. I love the affectionate smiles children give their moms – especially if that “child” happens to be a teenager.

You mothers reading this would not believe how many times I’ve been in conversations with other Sisters of Providence about “how do mothers do it?” Any small incident can trigger this — watching a mother juggle small children in church or in the grocery store. All significant incidents evoke the conversation — watching a mother care for a hospitalized child or getting a call from a mother asking for our prayer for her child who is troubled by alcohol or drugs. No doubt, God’s grace and love help mothers “do it.”

So, dear mothers, hang in there! Your love is one way God’s love flows to the one or ones given to your care.

Know that, among others, the Sisters of Providence pray with you and for you that you may know the love of God for you, the strength of God in you, and the joy of God shining through you.

Our Lady of Providence, Queen of the Home, pray for us. Amen.

Sister Denise Wilkinson

General Superior

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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  1. Avatar Joanne DiMare on May 10, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    My dear Sister Denise–I, too, have thought, “How do these mamas do it?” They are impressive, aren’t they? Right now, I am missing my mama. Maybe you are doing the same. I miss her presence- I miss that I can’t call her and ask her a question (about anything!)- I just plain miss her. However, I am also feeling grateful for her impact on my life. She taught me so many valuable life lessons, but compassion for those who are less fortunate than I am is one of the biggest. I love her for that! I also love to share little stories about her with my students. We can be discussing To Kill a Mockingbird or even The Raven, and I can make a connection to my mama! They love to hear the stories….at least that’s what I think! (Anything to sidetrack from the actual work!) Anyway, thank you for this reflection. I enjoyed it so much! XO

  2. Avatar Millie Brady on May 10, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    This was a letter with so much tenderness as to the vocation of a mother and how she loves and cares for her children. Also, a reason to put ourselves in the loving hands of Our Lady of Providence.

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