I have been thinking a lot lately about the meaning of home. This simple word holds within it so many emotions, images and memories for all of us. No matter where you were raised, the place and the people and your relationships and experiences left an indelible impression. This is a common link among us all.
Saint Mother Theodore was born and raised, loved and cherished in her family home in Etables-sur-Mer. It was in this place, which is still there today, that she lived through joys and sorrows with her parents and siblings and it was in this place that she gave her heart to God.
I was very blessed to have been able to visit her home this past May. It is a simple and lovely stone cottage sitting on a shady piece of God’s green earth. Since visiting, I’ve asked myself if walls hold memories. Do footprints leave something of “us” after we leave? This home certainly felt imprinted with a peaceful presence. Many people comment on how they feel a certain something when they walk on the grounds of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. I have felt it myself. That same feeling of peace is present at Saint Mother Theodore’s childhood home.
In the summer of 1901, the Sisters of Providence of Ruille-sur-Loir in France and the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, formed the L’association Providence-Armor. This association has, as one of its objectives, to “share a spiritual and cultural patrimony attached to the house in which Saint Mother Theodore Guerin was born, at Etables-sur-Mer (Cotes d’ Armor).” For more than a hundred years, Sisters, members of L’association Providence-Armor and volunteers have been preserving her home.
I can tell you firsthand and you can see from the photos that they have done a wonderful job of making sure her home did not fall into complete ruin. But there is more to be done … that is where we come in! We can all become honorary members of L’association Providence-Armor.
For an annual membership fee of $10, you can help preserve the place where Anne-Therese Guerin, our Saint Mother Theodore, was born and bloomed into the courageous woman we know and love.
It is a simple gesture which holds so much within it. With Advent and the season of Christmas approaching, as you prepare your home, please envision preparing the fertile soil of your heart for the Christ child. It takes digging deeper, turning the ground, picking out the weeds, sticks and stones … until the earth (your heart) is prepared to receive the promise and hope of new life.
Now picture next spring, in France, at Saint Mother Theodore’s home … good people gathered there to plant seeds and flowers and trees. They will have more to plant because the additional resources required took root and grew right here in the states during Advent.
The monies gathered here will be included with all the memberships and donations to L’association Providence-Armor and brought forward as an offering during the liturgy on Christmas Eve in Ruille. If you would like to become an honorary member of the Association, please click here, or send a check for $10 payable to the Sisters of Providence by December 15 to:
Sisters of Providence
Attn: Jean Brown
1 Sisters of Providence
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN, 47876.
Your membership card will be sent to you.