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A special family visit

Sister Mary Montgomery (in back) with her niece Susan and Susan's daughter Violet in the Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

Sister Mary Montgomery (in back) with her niece Susan and Susan’s daughter Violet in the Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

As Susan and her 2-year-old daughter Violet were standing outside Providence Spirituality & Conference Center, Susan’s mother, Anna, went inside.

This was the family’s second visit to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The family lives in Phoenix.

Puzzled, Violet asked her mother where her grandma went.

Susan said she went inside the building.

Violet then said, “She went to pray. She’s going to pray for us.”

Violet was born with Jarcho Levin Syndrome, a rare growth disorder. In her case, Violet’s spine has not developed correctly, which has essentially caused her ribs to fuse together.

When she was born, Violet’s parents were told she may only live six months.

Susan said people with Jarcho Levin Syndrome can live into adulthood. The family learned this after searching on the internet for others inflicted with the disorder.

“Social media has really helped us,” Susan said. “We’re so much more hopeful now.”

In April, Violet will turn 3. And for those who witnessed her pushing her own stroller through the halls of Providence Hall, she appeared just like any normal 2-year-old.

Susan said because of the disorder, even catching a cold can be bad, due to coughing. However, Violet has had a couple of colds, and still appears to be OK.

“We have to be a little cautious,” Susan said.

During her first visit one year ago, Violet was quite anxious as the family headed to the Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. But when she got to the chapel area which is the final resting place of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin,  she became quite calm.

Anna, Susan and Violet were at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods recently to visit Anna’s sister, Sister Mary Montgomery.

During this visit, Violet knew exactly what she wanted to do. As Sister Mary and Susan knelt to pray, Violet joined them in silent prayer.

“People come here and find peace,” Sister Mary said. “They come here for many different reasons. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is a place of gifts; a place of rejuvenation.”

After visiting the Shrine, the four walked to the Providence Hall Dining Room to have lunch with many Sisters of Providence.

Violet trudged forward, pushing her stroller, as Sister Mary led the way.

When they arrived at the dining room, many sisters were already eating and eager to meet with Violet.

“She’s a joy to be with,” Susan said. “She’s super-fun.”

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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  1. S.Florence on September 26, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Great Article ,Mary.May Mother Theodore go right to Jesus with this story.Prayers and Peace.Florence

  2. Marsha Speth on September 26, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Beautiful picture! The light seems focused on Violet…no surprise. She sounds like an amazing child of God.

  3. Mary Ryan on September 26, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    A beautiful story and photo!

  4. Berni on September 26, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    What a lovely post. I hope to visit St. Mary-of-the-Woods next summer when I’m in Indiana. My mother was an alumna (Geraldine Albrecht, class of 1944) and her heart was in the woods thereafter. She was so thrilled when Mother Theodore was canonized. I want to see the grounds where my mother (who has now gone to heaven) went to school and worshipped.

  5. Paula Modaff, S.P. on September 27, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Since I missed meeting Violet and Susan in person, this writing enabled me to connect. Thank you for sharing this beautiful child of the Holy.

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