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Strength from being ordinary this Foundation Day


Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her companions first arrived at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on this day in 1840.

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her five sister companions arrived at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, on this day in 1840. We Sisters of Providence, Providence Associates and the community at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College all celebrate this day as our Foundation Day.

As I write this it is dark and dreary outside. The dampness enters into one’s bones. But I have a warm house and warm clothing to keep the chill away.

Thinking back to 1840 when our Saint of God arrived with her companions from France, they certainly didn’t have the comforts of home that we do today. They were tired, probably filled with fear and anxiety not knowing the language and being in a different country. Nothing was ordinary for them. They were facing challenges of many obstacles and new beginnings.

Looking back at this time in history reminds me what prayerful and wholesome women these were. They modeled that for us in 1840. And that grace and courage has been passed on to each of us from generation to generation. This grace, this spirituality, is a gift that our founders have given us.

It matters not if it is cold and dreary outside. What matters is what is in our hearts and souls. It’s the warmth, respect and love that we have for others — that same love and respect Saint Mother Theodore modeled to all with whom she came in contact. It was her ordinary, her natural response that came from deep within her heart. It was a response borne of deep prayer and of complete trust in her Provident God.

As director of the Providence Associate relationship, I see that the call to become a Providence Associate is not a call to be an extraordinary individual. It is a call to be an individual who strives to be a prayerful and holy ordinary person. Just as was our Saint Mother Theodore.

I wish each of you a very happy Foundation Day. May the presence of God’s love radiate from within you every day of your ordinary life.

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Sister Diane Mason

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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  1. Avatar Bill Hughes on October 22, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Sister Diane, You have captured the message of Mother Theordore’s life perfectly. Thank you for starting my day by reminding me of what being an associate is all about.

  2. Avatar S.FLORENCE NORTON on October 22, 2016 at 8:29 am


  3. Avatar Theresa Tighe on October 22, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Rather long but from the heart.

    Mother Querin. That’s what I call her because she became me a mother to me – through her writings – when my mother slipped into her last illness. My mother could no longer care for me and guide me as fully as in the past. My mother always thought the Woods held something special and was another step forward on my journey in God’s love and plan.
    This morning, I was very cranky because I had plans and was very tired. The tiredness is part of an illness.
    I usually look down on myself for that weakness. I read your words. I thought I can’t be a super hero. I can be pleasantly ordinary with grace.
    I drank strong coffee, to fuel myself, to perform, a little worried about the crash that would follow tomorrow.
    The phone rang. It was the friend I was meeting for lunch and bargain hunting. She had to cancel. I was disappointed. But when I settled down, I saw it as God’s providence. Lunch and writing these words will calm. Then I’ll take a well needed nap.
    Mother Guerin continues to care for and guide. You the sisters channel her to others and have always over the years. The culmination of all that love and belief in God’s providence is the special peace and inspiration people sense when they come to the Woods.
    And now hopefully, with prayer, guidance and grace, we her son and daughter associates, will be able to spread her love. Happy Foundation Day.
    Thank you for including us in her mission in this special way. Thank you for your words.

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