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Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Feast Day reflection

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her writing desk with artifacts from her life as will be on display in the new shrine which will open to the public on Oct. 25 at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her writing desk with artifacts from her life as on display in the shrine for the saint at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Sister Diane Mason, director of Providence Associates, offers the following reflection on this Feast of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. Here she takes on the voice of the Sisters of Providence founder and speculates on what she might be telling the community today.

Our beginning 175 years ago was filled with challenges. Our beginnings were very humble. But we trusted and believed. No matter what was standing in our way, we have kept moving forward with grace, determination and dignity. We have met each new era, each new beginning, with gratitude for what was. We have embraced the future and trusted in Providence for what will be. We haven’t always understood the way, but we keep moving forward, paving the way for the next generation.

At one time our beautiful Saint Mary-of-the-Woods were filled with professed sisters, novices and postulants. We built for the era we lived in. Then change once again swept over us. The call to vowed life was no longer in abundance. Yet we haven’t stopped moving forward. Nor have we lost hope.

D11-MTG statue

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin statue at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

You all have really kept me busy these days, asking me for guidance, trusting in Providence that so far has never failed us. And now look, another new era has emerged: our Providence Associates and candidates! Who would have ever thought 175 years ago we would have women and men walking side by side with us. You see, if we continue to ground ourselves in deep prayer as we respond to the needs of the times, we will be fine.

It matters not what buildings remain standing. What matters is that our “spirit of Providence” will continue to touch our hearts and souls. What matters is for us to embrace the beauty of this era we live in. What matters is that we take time to walk the sacred grounds of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, inhale the richness of the grounds, the sacredness of all those who have gone before us and the gratitude for all those who are with us today.

175 years ago, our beginning was humble. We let go of what we knew and we embraced what was to come. 175 years later we are being asked to do the same. Trust me — as we continue to walk into this new era, as Sisters of Providence, Providence Associates, supporters and friends, we will grow into this era. Be patient. Be prayerful.

To all of those Sisters of Providence who have held leadership positions since my death in May 1856, thank you for remaining faithful to your times. You have made decisions that were heartfelt. You have made difficult and agonizing decisions with consultation and courage and deep prayer. You have responded to the times in which you lived. I thank you for carrying your wisdom, your prayer, your sense of humor over the years. You have loved deeply as I have loved you deeply. You have affirmed and supported the new vision of our Providence Associates and candidates.

In this new era, a new time together, we will be growing. In our relationships and collaborating together. It takes prayer and a deep desire to work together, to encourage one another and to continue to carry our mission of Providence forward.

As sisters and associates, this is our new era. Let us embrace it with reverence, with hopefulness and a deep desire to reach the depths of our hearts and souls. That is where others will feel the depth of holiness from each of us. This is truly a Divine opportunity.

It has taken all of us to reach this moment in time. Together let us celebrate with gratitude. I thank you for keeping my legacy alive. To get here today, it has taken unending faith of us all and our belief that this mission should be carried forward into the future.

Happy 175th Anniversary!
Know that I am always with you,

Your mother –
Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

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Sister Diane Mason

Sister Diane Mason served as director of Providence Associates for the Sisters of Providence until 2017. Prior to that she ministered for 37 years as a teacher or principal at the elementary level. She currently lives and volunteers in Orland Park, Illinois.

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4 Comments

  1. Rita Clare Gerardot, SP on October 3, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Diane, thank you for the beautiful reflection for today, one of Mother Theodore’s feast days this month. At Mass today we will be again thanking God for this courageous woman of faith who has inspired thousands of SP’s and others in these 175 years. Thanks to the hard work you and Debbie do with the Associate program, we continue to move forward with their involvement in many SP ministries.

    Happy Feast! May our Provident God continue to guide our decisions and inspire each of us to be true Daughters of the Forest!

    Love and prayers,
    Rita Clare Gerardot, SP

  2. Tracey Horan on October 3, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks for your reflections, Diane. It really feels like you are channeling Mama T! So grateful for her legacy and the way her spirit lives on in people like you. Happy feast!

  3. Rae Huffman on October 3, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you, Diane, for a very inspirational reflection. As a Providence Associate who has been leaning on Saint Mother Theodore a lot lately, these words give me hope for the future. Happy Feast Day!

  4. Sharon Rodriguez on October 7, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Hello Diane, As a former student of many Sisters of Providence, I am truly grateful for such inspiring words.

    Blessings!

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