Visiting the birth place of Mother Marie Gratia Luking
October has been quite a busy month for the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
The month featured Saint Mother Theodore’s birthday (Oct. 2), Feast Day (Oct. 3), eighth anniversary of her canonization (Oct. 15), Foundation Day (Oct. 22) and the official opening of the Shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin (Oct. 25).
On hand for several of those events were sisters from the Missionary Sisters of Providence in Taiwan, including General Superior Sister Theresa Wang.
Those sisters made an additional journey during the week of the shrine opening when they paid a visit to Connersville, Indiana, the birth place of their foundress, Mother Marie Gratia Luking.
Sister Theresa said this was her second time visiting Connersville as she was there 25 years ago during the Sisters of Providence sesquicentennial celebration.
While there, Sister Theresa said they dined with the great-niece of Mother Marie Gratia. The great-niece’s daughter – an eighth-grader – also lunched with the group.
“Mother Marie Gratia is our foundress,” Sister Theresa said. “We so appreciate the Sisters of Providence who took us there. For our Congregation, that is the root.”
Mother Marie Gratia was born on May 10, 1885. She entered the Sisters of Providence when she was 21.
In 1919, Bishop Joseph Tacconi from Kaifeng, China, paid a visit to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and requested the sisters begin a school for young women in Kaifeng.
One year later, Mother Marie Gratia and five sister companions traveled to Kaifeng for the mission. In 1929, she founded a native Congregation, the Missionary Sisters of Providence.
Mother Marie Gratia died on Oct. 29, 1964.
During the Connersville visit on Thursday, Oct. 23, Sister Theresa said they had the chance to visit the site of the home Mother Marie Gratia originally lived in, although the home no longer exists. They also had the chance to visit the church where Mother Marie Gratia was baptized, the elementary school she attended and the cemetery where her parents are buried.