‘Journals and Letters’ of Saint Mother Theodore gets digital treatment
In 1937, the first book of “Journals and Letters of Mother Theodore Guerin,” was printed.
Since then, the book has been re-printed four times and has sold thousands of copies.
And now, the book can be purchased electronically.
Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, Mission Advancement digital media/web manager and designer Christina Blust was primarily responsible for the transition from paperback to e-book.
“Mother Theodore’s journals and letters are so full of life and authenticity,” Blust said. “Dedicating my time and effort toward digitizing the work into e-book form was more than worth it. It was a labor of love and I’m excited for a new audience to discover her colorful words.”
Blust said it took a “few years or so of off and on work” to complete the transfer.
“The book means so much to the Sisters of Providence and a broader audience that it was quite logical for me to try and make it an e-book,” she said. “I read a lot and appreciate how accessible and usable e-books can be, from being able to enlarge the type for older eyes or search for your favorite quotes.
“It seemed like a good way to get her words into the hands of a lot more people.”
Blust added the book can be “enjoyed by anyone” interested in early American pioneer life, the history of women religious in the United States, Catholic spirituality, Indiana history and more.
Sisters of Providence who work in archives also helped with various photos offered in the e-book.
The book was edited by Sister Mary Theodosia Mug, a native Hoosier, whose own story is fascinating.
Born in Attica, Sister Mary Theodosia attended Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, where she graduated in 1877. She entered the Congregation and became a teacher and writer.
She published a biography of Mother Theodore Guerin in 1904. Sister Mary Theodosia suffered from neuritis in her right hand and arm in her younger years and she later developed an abdominal tumor. While she wrote the biography, she had the manuscript resting at knee height.
In 1906, Sister Mary Theodosia’s health worsened after a lump on her left breast was discovered.
After a mastectomy, the nerves and muscles on her left side were damaged and her left arm became rigid, while the abdominal tumor continued to grow to the point that she could not kneel and had difficulty walking.
During the evening of Oct. 30, 1908, Sister Mary Theodosia paused to pray at Mother Theodore’s tomb. She did not pray for herself, but for Sister Joseph Therese O’Connell, who was also very ill.
While there praying, Sister Mary Theodosia said to herself, “I wonder if she (Mother Theodore) has any power with Almighty God?”
“Instantly, I heard in my soul the words, ‘Yes, she has,’” Sister Mary Theodosia later wrote.
After sleeping for only three hours, feeling strong and rested, Sister Mary Theodosia began making her bed and realized she was using both hands and arms. Her fingers were functioning and the tumor at her waist had disappeared. Her eyesight, which had been poor, was corrected.
Throughout the remainder of her life, she had many examinations at different medical facilities and no malignancy was ever found again. Sister Mary Theodosia died at the age of 82. Her healing was declared by the Vatican as a “miracle,” through the intercession of Mother Theodore Guerin. The first miracle was used as part of the granting of beatification by Pope John Paul II in October 1998.
CNN/Turner Media associate Jen Christensen – who worked on a story regarding Saint Mother Theodore Guerin – recently said she was pleased to see the book had been digitized.
“What a wonderful resource for people,” Christensen said. “In working on the story for CNN about how someone in modern times becomes a saint, I grew to admire and deeply appreciate the work of Mother Theodore. I personally felt inspired when I learned about her courage and her tireless efforts to make this world a fairer and more just place.
“Her sense of social justice coupled with her great sense of humor makes her writings seem timeless and is truly relevant to today.”
Currently, the e-book is available in Amazon’s Kindle store, the iBooks store and other e-book retailers. It has more than 20 illustrations and a working index. It also includes a new foreword from Sister Denise Wilkinson, General Superior of the Sisters of Providence.
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.