Our Lady of Providence Shrine celebrates 90 years
A particular love for the Blessed Mother can be traced back to Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her founding companions of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Providence was officially established at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1925. The history of the image that now graces the National Shrine, located in the vestibule of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, has roots in a cause for sainthood and a trip to Italy.
A typescript in the archives at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods states, “Reverend Monsignor A.J. Rawlinson, Chaplain of the Sisters of Providence [was asked by Mother Mary Cleophas] to go to Rome to promote the cause of Mother Theodore Guérin… Enroute to Rome, Monsignor Rawlinson stopped at Washington, D.C., where he was the guest of the Catholic University of America. In the Chapel of Caldwell Hall, he noticed an exquisite painting of the Madonna. After learning that the picture was a reproduction of Gaetano’s famous “Mater Divinae Providentiae,” and that it had been venerated for centuries in the Church of San Carlo ai Catinari, Rome, Monsignor Rawlinson thought it providential that Mother Mary Cleophas had sent him to Rome.”
He returned to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods with the documented history, lithographs, medals and scapulars of the image, and the National Shrine to Our Lady of Providence was born. Since this event ninety years ago, Sisters of Providence have encouraged a special devotion to “Our Lady of Providence, Queen of the Home” among their students, young mothers and families they serve.
(Originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of HOPE magazine.)