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My favorite part: visits to the Woods have an impact

“Show our students how sweetly tender is the Providence of God…” — Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

We know that Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is a special place but we often discount how it is also a ministry. Children always provide fresh perspective that sometimes adults cannot grasp. Sisters of Providence Tour Manager, Rita O’Donohue, shared students’ letters after their visit. Some demonstrate the profound impact their visit made.

“The one that really spoke out to me was the Shrine because Mother Theodore Guerin answered my prayer when I prayed to her.”

“My favorite part was seeing lots of people at Mass it gave me a warm feeling in my body. I had a wonderful time because that place was very holy.”

“My favorite part was getting to go in the chapel with the beautiful stain glass windows because the beautiful stain glass windows made the room light up with peace.”

“The alpacas were peaceful and quiet so it helped me to think about how God made all living things.”

“My favorite part was when I got to touch St. Theodore’s hand because it made me feel like she was alive in human because I already know she is alive in my heart.”

“My favorite part was praying with Mother Theodore Guerin because I felt her with me.”

One student summed up her visit very eloquently:
“I am writing to say thank you and let you know how much I enjoyed my visit. The grotto was my favorite because we got to light candles. Everything was very appealing to the eye from the entrance with trees hiding the sun to the shell chapel. I enjoyed seeing the gentle alpacas or feeling their wool or almost buying a stuffed animal with alpaca fur on it. I liked the National Saint Mother Theodore Shrine. I loved the big church with different marbles from around the world. The painting that took days, weeks, months, maybe years to create just so we could see it. Overall it was very nice.”

These children will carry their visit forward with them for the rest of their lives. How wonderful that together we are able to provide a place for people to be inspired, moved and loved.

(Originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of HOPE magazine.)

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Mary Riley

Mary Riley

Mary Riley is director of operations for White Violet Center for Eco-Justice, a ministry of the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Prior to her current role, she served as the marketing manager for some ministries of the Sisters of Providence including White Violet Center for Eco-Justice and the Volunteer Services.

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