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Mike Eck, West Chester, OH: “This changed my life”

This Rooted for Tomorrow story was contributed by Mike Eck, West Chester, OH, for the 175th anniversary of the Sisters of Providence arriving in Indiana.

While traveling from Cincinnati to St. Louis two or three times a month on business, I noticed a billboard on I-70 near Terre Haute, Indiana. This gentle and appealing image of a nun in habit extended an invitation to visit Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. One or two trips later – I ventured off the highway to look for this place. My first attempted ended – when I said to myself this route can’t be right – and proceeded on to St. Louis.

This gentle and appealing image of a nun in habit extended an invitation to visit Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
The next trip – perhaps the spring of 2009 or 2010, I prepared for the journey by looking at maps. My first drive on campus was beautiful. I stopped at the Providence Welcome Center. A very kind and smiling Sister welcomed me and invited me to look around. The Sister asked my name — “Mike Eck from Ohio” — and she reflected on knowing someone with the same last name. I departed down the hall, past a book store, a museum area and room, a stairwell up to a chapel and then into the Church of the Immaculate Conception. It was mid morning and I sat to view the stunning and moving setting. Another Sister was preparing the alter.

Then, up to the left of the alter, I saw another image of that same nun on the billboard on the highway. I approached the picture, read the plaque and met Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. I prayed for some peace in my life and for my family.

This stop at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods changed my life. I came back again and again. I have rediscovered God and have found peace. My marriage to Denise is enriched and our family now includes two grandchildren – Calvin and Audrey. This place is truly sacred and holy ground.

I met Sister Ann Casper on a subsequent trip and thanked her for her wonderful letters of thanks from the Sisters of Providence. Sister Ann invited me to lunch the next time I visited. We became good friends. Sister Ann finally met Denise in June 2014. We look forward to our future visits to “The Woods” and encounters with Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

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Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

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