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Saint Mother Theodore’s Feast Day Reflection

Happy Feast Day (Friday, Oct. 3, 2014)! How wonderful to be together to celebrate Saint Mother Theodore’s Feast Day!

Today we have the privilege, the honor, of moving the remains of Mother Theodore to her place in the chapel in her shrine. So many have brought this day to its fruition – Sisters of Providence, former staff and current staff members, artists and artisans of word, wood images and of artifacts; architects, liturgical designers, construction workers, engineers, carpenters, printers, electricians; interior designers and carpet layers.

shrine-cof-800We call to mind today, Phil McCord, the recipient of a healing the Church recognized as miraculous; and we remember Sister Marie Kevin Tighe who poured every ounce of her energy into the canonization process and its celebration.

We remind ourselves of all who have known Mother Theodore for years and years and of those who have come to know and love her more recently – those who have visited the temporary shrine here and those who visit her virtually through the materials on our website.

All these persons are with us today – as is a mighty cloud of witnesses, the presence of deceased SPs and deceased friends of Saint Mother Theodore.

I have no doubt that she herself and Sisters St. Vincent Ferrer, Olympiade, Basilide, Mary Xavier, Mary Ligouri, with Sister Francis Xavier stand with us now as we mark the feast day by transferring the remains of our Saint to her shrine.

One sentence in today’s beautiful readings snags my attention. It is this from Luke’s gospel:

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” For those of us who know God as Providence, it isn’t hard to believe that we’re given a treasure chest of treasures every day. Nor is it hard to believe from our own lived experience that no matter how many treasures are offered, we find ourselves choosing the same one or ones again and again. Somehow our hearts find a home in these familiar, particular and precious treasures.

Today, on her feast day, it may be good for us to think a little about what Mother Theodore’s treasures were, where did her heart find a home, find peace and courage?

I will name three yet I want to emphasize: we each see from where we each stand. So I don’t expect they will be the three each of you would name. In other words, don’t go into dinner today and say something like “Denise sure got those wrong. She should have named….” Rather, please listen to mine and think about yours; when we go into dinner we can share the richness, agreed?

I believe Mother Theodore’s treasures were these: steadfast belief in Providence; an enduring and practical love of people – especially her sisters; and a sense of this place, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, as the deep well from which she drank in the presence, strength, and elaborate beauty of God.

I believe, in other words, that her heart rested in the providence of God; her heart poured itself out on others’ behalf – especially on behalf of her sisters; her heart found solace and restoration here at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, where she beheld the face of God in natural and human wonders.

For you, in what treasure or treasures did Mother Theodore place her heart? For you, what treasures purified her heart so completely that she is a saint?

I’d ask you to give these questions some thought, some prayer time today and throughout this month of celebration. I’d ask that we have conversations and prayer around these questions so that she can lead us on our own journeys to become saints. I’d ask us to consider the questions so that as we place her remains in the chapel of the shrine today, we will experience in a new way her loving presence – a presence that assists us as strive to live lives of love as she did; as we walk our journeys to become saints of God.

“What must we do to become saints?” she asked. “Nothing extraordinary; nothing more than what we do every day. Only do it in His love.”

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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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Meet Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

Leader, teacher, immigrant, healer. Saint of God.

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