While the Sisters of Providence will be celebrating their Foundation Day with a special Mass on Saturday, Oct. 21, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, students at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) will be getting into the spirit of Foundation Day with an event of their own.
Because of their fall break, they will do so on Tuesday, Oct. 24. Students will take part in the second annual Foundation Day of Service.
“While it is not required that students participate, it is expected,” said Janet Clark, SMWC vice president for academic affairs and coordinator of the event. “Classes are not in session that day to allow for the opportunity to participate without it competing with other work of personal responsibilities.”
The college created the event last year in honor of the “charitable spirit” of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and America’s eighth saint.
Festivities will begin with a prayer service followed by a day of students, faculty, staff and alumni taking part in the day of service projects, ranging from grounds keeping and gardening to many more.
During the day of service, students will also participate in activities with the sisters.
“We have students who will be working with the alpacas and doing some landscaping projects at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice,” said Sister Becky Keller, coordinator for volunteer services for the sisters. “And there will also be students involved with sisters and residents in the morning at Providence Health Care.”
“We encourage the participation and involvement by including the Sisters of Providence and White Violet Center as sites for service opportunities,” Clark added.
Foundation Day recognizes the arrival of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her five sister companions to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on Oct. 22, 1840. Within one year of their arrival, the Academy – now known as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College – was established and schools were opened in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Village and St. Francisville, Ill. The sisters’ ministry of education grew from there as more schools were established in Indiana and Illinois and other areas of the country, including Massachusetts and California.
Saint Mother Theodore died May 14, 1856. She was canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church during a ceremony Oct. 15, 2006, by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. The sisters’ congregation furthers her legacy today by serving those in need in the community and beyond.