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Pouring out your heart in prayer

2-year-old Violet prays at the Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

Remember our friend Jonah from the Jewish scriptures? He poured out his heart in prayer, saying, “In my distress I called to my God, and God answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry” (Jonah 2:2).

Later in the same prayer, he says, “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, God, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple” (Jonah 2:7). What a powerful prayer! What trust in the love and power of God!

When I was first becoming a sister, my director invited me to pray over a scripture passage that has become a perennial favorite for me. I have relied on this passage from Jeremiah for nearly 50 years now: “‘I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares our God, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares our God” (Jeremiah 29:10-14).

Saint Mother Theodore and Our Lady of Providence Shrines

Once again, I find myself overwhelmed by the prayer of those who have such deep faith. When I enter the Shrines of Our Lady of Providence or of Saint Mother Theodore and take a minute to read what people are pouring out to our loving God, it makes my day worth getting out of bed.

We started something new at the shrines recently, a chance for people to send their prayers from a distance and have us light a candle for them. Once a week, I carry my smart phone to each of the shrines in order to light the candles and copy the intentions into the prayer books in each chapel. As I light each candle, I say the name of its prayer recipient. As I write each intention, the level of pain people are experiencing and the deep faith they express in the midst of their pain sometimes brings me to tears.

Prayers to Saint Mother Theodore and Our Lady of Providence

A few examples of these prayers show the great faith of those seeking the intercession of our saints:

  • Mother Guerin and all – please pray with me and my circles of light with the soul intention of healing vision … thank you!
  • When I was in my twenties I lit a candle at Mother Theodore’s shrine … praying for a second child. Ten months later we were blessed with our daughter. She is married now and hoping for a child of her own, so I come once again, now to St. Mother Theodore, to pray for a child for my daughter.… I know St. Mother Theodore watches over all of us. Thank you for the good work you do!
  • For my grandchildren, their mother in heaven, and me. Please pray their father opens his heart to allow my grandchildren to visit me.

As you can see, our saints are busy spreading seeds of healing vision all over our world and nourishing parents with love and courage to raise children to be faithful to their own invitations to holiness. We are called not only to light a candle but to be a bearer of light for others.

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Sister Jan Craven

Sister Jan Craven

Sister Jan is a Sister of Providence. Currently she ministers as co-director of Providence Spirituality and Conference Center and as director of shrines at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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  1. Avatar Donna Butler on December 23, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Thank you. This is one of my favorite quotes too and how I love the photo of Violet!

  2. Avatar S. Rita Clare Gerardot on December 26, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Jan, thanks for sharing these heartfelt prayers and the touching photo of Violet! I’m sure Mother Theodore is smiling at this little one.

  3. Avatar Henry on December 27, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Our Lord and God,
    has always heard me when I called his name!

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