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Saint connects sisters across the ocean

Sister Gill Quigley, an English Sister of Providence from Saint Mother Theodore’s French congregation, spent the fall semester taking art classes at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and living with the Sisters of Providence. She also connected more deeply with her sister Saint Mother Theodore. (Photo courtesy of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.)

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin is at the root of a special connection that still exists between the original Sisters of Providence in France and the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Sister Gill Quigley, who spent the fall at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods living with the sisters and taking art classes at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, is testament to that connection.

Sister Gill (pronounced Jill) is herself a Sister of Providence. She is a sister from Mother Theodore’s original community whose motherhouse is in Ruillé, France. Sister Gill is one of 10 English sisters from this order. She lives in London and ministers as a nurse who provides therapy for children with disabilities and their families.

Connecting and reconnecting

Sister Gill says she feels continuity between the European and American communities.

“I think the similarities are massive. And the reason I say that is that I come over here and I feel at home. I haven’t come over here and felt really out of place or on edge about a foreign country or people I don’t know. There is a very strong spirit and charism of Providence that exists in both Congregations. There are the cultural things that are different, and that is kind of expected. But I think we are very much trees from the same seed,” Sister Gill said.

Sister Gill had fun with art sketches of fire hydrants and making them into characters. She said they don’t have fire hydrants in England and they remind her of little people. Here is the sketch she made for the birthday of Saint Mother Theodore (Mama T as her fellow college students call her): Mother Theodore as a fire hydrant!

Her time at the Woods has strengthened her connection to her sister in community, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

“I think being able to walk in her footsteps. To walk around the place where she was. To go and sit and talk to her in the shrine, is something really special.” Sister Gill said.

“I have this fantastic admiration for her to leave her country, the people that she knew, and to go to a country that she knew nothing about really and where she couldn’t speak the language. I think that was just amazing. What trust in Providence was that? And I think because I went to France enough times without being able to speak French [she has since learned], I can only imagine what it was like for her to arrive, the six of them, with no language. It must have been scary.

“I think her entire life is inspiring. She was a really, really simple woman, I think. And that’s what brought people to her, and that’s what allowed her to settle where she was sent.”

(Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of HOPE magazine.)

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Amy Miranda

Amy Miranda is a Providence Associate of the Sisters of Providence and a staff member in their Mission Advancement office. Amy is a 1998 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She currently manages the SP publication HOPE and works on marketing support for Providence Associates, new membership and Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

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1 Comment

  1. Sheila Donis on January 28, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Sister Gill felt so much at home at the Woods because she exudes the same wonderful spirit as Mother Theodore!

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