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Our Lady of Providence; Queen of the “Lake” Home

Lakehouse 2

The house on Sweet Water Lake in Brown County

Wanting to assure memorable occasions for family togetherness through the years, when their first grandchild was just 2-years-old, Mary Lou Teipen Dunlop and her husband Bill purchased a home on Sweetwater Lake in nature-resplendent Brown County, Indiana.  During her high school years, under the tutelage of the Sisters of Providence, Mary Lou became aware of the portrait of Mary entitled “Our Lady of Providence, Queen of the Home.”  Determined that the lake house venture would flourish under the patronage of Our Lady with this entitlement, Mary Lou obtained the picture from the gift shop at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.  Thus it was that this portrait held a prominent place in the lake house for 22 years.

There it was that family members gathered frequently on weekends during the spring time, summer, and autumn seasons, national holidays or special occasions assuring the presence of swarms of aunt, uncles, cousins and friends.

Through the years numerous events strengthened the bonds of “family” and “home” and were blessed under the aegis of trust in a providential care.  There were occasions for swimming in the deep, clear water and lounging on the deck afterward, or the churning of the lake water while enjoying a rapid jaunt in a speed boat, or perhaps venturing a solo excursion on the wave runner or enjoying the camaraderie of the paddle boat.  True to her title of Our Lady of Providence through all these activities during all the years there was never a mishap or injury.

Lake Paddle Boat            Lake inside           Lake Ducks           Lake Boat

Conversations while preparing and partaking of the cook outs and the fun and challenge of countless games (euchre, scrabble, dominoes, checkers, etc.) also provided quality time for sharing and deepening relationships, for strengthening the bonds of “home” and “family.”  This, too, was perceived as a blessing from the “Queen of the Home”.

Each year the gift of God’s Providence unfolded a new opportunity for a study of nature as the beauty of spring foliage and flowers burst forth, as the summer months made apparent the copious presence of birds, ducks and countless other creatures.  The breathtaking beauty of autumn in all its colors called forth wiener roasts as well as decorative lanterns, pumpkins and corn stalks.  It was then that the deer ventured forth searching for acorns dropped by the oak tree by the front porch of the house. Mom and pic

Many memories crown the years that have passed so joyfully – and so quickly.  Today, the grandchildren are busily engaged in college classes.  Their grandfather has moved on to the blessings of eternal life.  The lake house has new owners.  But the cherished picture of “Our Lady of Providence – Queen of the Home” now hangs over the mantel in the living room of Mary Lou’s home in Greenwood.  There the family gatherings for holidays, birthdays, graduations and other events continue to flourish under the loving care of Our Lady of Providence, Queen of the Home.


Sister Mary Maxine Teipen is the sister of Mary Lou Teipen Dunlop, the owner of the house on Sweet Water Lake.

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Sister Mary Maxine Teipen

Sister Mary Maxine Teipen

Sister Mary Maxine has been a Sister of Providence for more than 70 years. She previously served as a teacher to both junior and senior high school students. She has also served in local, provincial and general administration for the community.

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  1. Avatar Ann Mooney on August 2, 2016 at 7:35 am

    What a heartwarming story of family love! Thanks for sharing, Sister Mary Maxine, about the family fun, laughter, and solidarity that bonded you together. Family memories are a treasured keepsake!!

  2. Avatar Donna Butler on August 3, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Thank you for this wonderful story about your family and Our Lady of Providence.
    Lake cottages seem to be one of those wonderful gathering places that help families stay connected with each other so what a lovely place for Our Lady of Providence, Queen of the Home to be placed.

  3. Avatar Paula Modaff, S.P. on August 4, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Your descriptive blog brought back happy memories of Mary Lou’s generosity in sharing Our Lady of the Lake with those of us who lived with you as well. We did several prayer, play, plan days in that beautiful home and environment. The lake was especially inviting and refreshing whenever we were able to get in it. Thank you for your generosity and the joyful memories.
    Paula Modaff, S.P.

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