Fall in love with Saint Mary-of-the-Woods
It’s hard to pick a favorite season to visit Saint Mary-of-the-Woods – but fall is really spectacular. The foliage is changing from its’ summer greens to an array of brilliant autumnal hues of yellow, orange and red. There are still plenty of warm days where you can wander outside and visit the many beautiful and peaceful sites peppered throughout the grounds. You’ll find an abundance of paths where you can walk and if you need to rest you’ll also find strategically placed benches. This year is especially sweet because as you stroll by the alpaca pasture, you may catch a glimpse of our newest member of the herd, Providence Ruth, who was born in September.
Fall is also when Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, first arrived. It’s a great time to get a sense of how she must have felt when she first stepped out of her carriage on that October day in 1840. Learning her story in the actual place she lived it, is truly a powerful experience you could never quite get from a book or a video. While there have been many additions and changes since she was last here, I promise you’ll still find the essence of what originally captivated her heart. She loved her Woods. If you do happen to catch a bit of bad weather you needn’t worry. You can lose yourself for hours in the Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Each place is unique and special. Although they are sacred spaces where you can take time to reflect and pray, they are also historically significant. In the Shrine you will be taken on Mother Theodore’s journey and even get to see some of her personal items that have been carefully preserved. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel and Church of the Immaculate Conception are just two of 25 buildings at the Woods now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll be spellbound by the breathtaking architecture and stunning workmanship.
But don’t mistake historic for old. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is full of life. Fall is a time when things really start to bustle after the slower, sweet days of summer. Each year at this time there is a renewed energy when students from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, with whom we share this wonderful campus, return to begin a new year. Harvesting continues in our organic gardens at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice as we gather food to be sold in The Farm Store at White Violet, at the Terre Haute Farmers Market and for our members of our Community Supported Agriculture program. Fall is also the time when the Sisters of Providence begin their new programs. Each year they offer a wide variety of interesting events, retreats and workshops for all to enjoy. On Sundays O’Shaughnessy Dining Room is open for an amazing Sunday Brunch for all to enjoy. Linden Leaf Gifts is hard at work stocking socks, hats, gloves and other alpaca fiber products for the cold weather that is most certainly just around the corner. Volunteer docents give tours daily to schools and other groups, sharing their love and knowledge about the Woods. There are always curious visitors who pull off the highway to discover what this place is all about.
Saint Mary-of-the Woods is peaceful and renewing yet at the same time energizing and exciting. Each season is truly special with much to offer but don’t wait. Why don’t you visit this fall and decide for yourself? All are welcome.