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Reflections on Shrine for Saint Mother Theodore

Saturday visitors read through the timeline.

Saturday visitors read through the timeline.

Hundreds of pilgrims traveled to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, on Saturday, Oct. 25, as the Sisters of Providence officially opened the Shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, giving people the chance to “Journey with a Saint.”

Sister Jan Craven, director of the shrine, conducted a press conference for media that attended the event prior to the opening.

“We are ecstatic that these crowds have come,” Sister Jan said. “We’re so happy. We couldn’t be more joyful. The future holds great promise here.”

An open house took place from 1 to 4 p.m., during which pilgrims toured the shrine. The sisters also offered a Taizé-style prayer gathering at 4 p.m., near the Log Cabin Chapel.

Providence Associate Peggy Balensuela helped guide pilgrims through the shrine during the open house. She said the day was “fabulous.”

“When Sister Jan asked me to offer tours in the shrine, I was ecstatic,” Peggy said. “There was such a wide variety of people. It really was fun. You could hear them say ‘Wow! What a journey that was!’”

Carl Bender, who also volunteered as a tour guide in the shrine, echoed Peggy’s sentiments.

“It was a wonderful day for the event,” Carl added. “I felt privileged to be able to honor the Sisters of Providence, who taught me all those years ago.”

The open house also attracted visitors from across the ocean, including Sister Martine Meuwisson, general superior for the Sisters of Providence of Ruille Sur Loir, France, the Congregation which sent Saint Mother Theodore to establish the Indiana mission.

“Arriving here was like a dream,” Sister Martine said. “To be at the place itself, it is powerful. You feel the spirit of the place. The message Saint Mother Theodore had, trust in Providence, is still a message for people today.”

In addition, Sister Theresa Wang, general superior for the Missionary Sisters of Providence in Taiwan, was also present for the opening.

“When I saw it, I was so surprised,” Sister Theresa said. “It is gorgeous. There is so much history. It’s so beautiful.”

The shrine celebrates the life and mission of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and the Sisters of Providence. The first room depicts her life in France. The “ship” room displays the cabin she and her five companions traveled in across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States. Other rooms offer educational displays and various artifacts. The chapel area midway through the journey serves as the final resting place for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

The public is welcome to visit the shrine daily, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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