A feast-day letter to Saint Mother Theodore
Dear Mother Theodore,
Your daughters and sons of the forest are very busy these days. We’re putting the finishing touches on your beautiful shrine.
I’m guessing that you wish we had not done this — building the shrine, making you known to the people of God, going through the canonization honoring your strength, your courage, your wisdom and your zeal.
But Mother Theodore, you showed us the way. It wasn’t easy, but you never let up. You believed in your Provident God. Providence was your shield of faith and hope, and you lived it to the fullest.
I look around the Woods and even the world. So many things have changed since you were here. We don’t have stagecoaches or mud roads. Modern transportation such as cars and vans get us around. You had heartache and worries about your little community in America. The heartache and worries we still have, just in different sizes and shapes.
Oh yes, things have changed since 1840. Beautiful buildings have been built. The avenue is paved, and when we drive through those “gates” a feeling of awe and wonder stirs within our hearts. Because a Saint of God walked the grounds. That Saint of God is you, Mother Theodore.
Your leadership was grounded in love and union with the Holy One. You were fearful, but your courage was showered with grace to move forward. You showed us how to pray and you modeled for us that prayer is what fueled you to keep going. Your physical stamina was weak with sickness, but you showed us how to be strong.
You didn’t know how we would look 174 years later, but you believed the Holy One, our Provident God, would still be with us no matter how we looked. Your physical presence planted the seed of life for all of us. The roots of our call to religious life are very deep. So deep that we have been able to share our rootedness of the mission and charism with our Providence Associates. They too have heard the call, and they are willing to carry the mission and charism to parts of the world where we are not.
Our Congregation began welcoming associates in 2006. They have brought a new dimension, a renewed energy to us, your daughters of the forest. The associate relationship is still young. but our associates are growing in a deeper relationship with one another. Our associates have a strong desire to deepen their own spirituality. You model this for us.
I was in Owens Hall at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods the other day. I stood in front of the pictures of all our former General Superiors. I stood there and thanked each of them for sharing their wisdom and courage with all of us. Each one of them and their council had hardship of some kind. Each one of them had to make decisions that were not easy. Each one of them, I am, sure stopped and thought, “What will we look like in the next ten, thirty, or fifty years?” None of them knew the answer, but they believed as you believed.
So here we are preparing to move you to your final resting place.
Your new home, your shrine will show the world that you are a holy woman of God who lived a life of extraordinary love. Your love for God filled your being. You embraced pain and anguish. You transformed the hardest hearts by simply being you.
Yes, Saint Mother Theodore, you have shown us the way. You have not stopped showing us how to live a good full life. You will continue to show us how to live through all those who are touched by your life of love and courage as they come from all over to simply feel the positive energy that you are still sharing with us.
Happy Feast Day Saint Mother Theodore. Enjoy your new home!
Leave a Comment