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Day by day with Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

When I was (allegedly) praying this morning, I found myself wondering if Mother Theodore ever woke up thinking, “I’ll try to be a saint today.”  

I hope not.

I’d prefer to believe that she woke up thinking one or some or all of these:

 I’ll try to be kinder today.

I’m not going to worry so much about where the money will come from.

 I won’t be so impatient with Sister Maria when I see her.

I don’t want to write one more letter but I have to respond to the sisters in Jasper.

I wish I weren’t so distracted when I pray. I spend most of the prayer time thinking about a million other things.

Fact of the matter is I do believe one or some or all of these were part of her daily inner dialogue. I choose to believe this because unkindness, worry, impatience, resistance and distraction are part and parcel of my days. And believing this, I feel closer to her.

I feel her encouragement as I work at being my best — or at least better — self. She said,Try to bear everything from others without making them bear anything from you.

I feel inclined to talk with her about what’s worrying me, or making me happy or driving me crazy. “Another means for preserving the peace is to let little things pass without noticing them.”

In moments of frustration, I like to recall fragments from her letters that shine with Mother Theodore’s humanness. For example, Sister Maria (referenced earlier) received this rather crisp response from Mother Theodore. “You are very foolish, my dear Sister, to be tormenting your imagination with the fear of losing your mind. …Believe me, my daughter; we cannot lose what we never had.

In moments of annoyance and crabbiness, I can hear Mother Theodore saying to me: “There are some among you who are like old Bouraux. This was a turkey-cock that got angry at the least thing. He did not have one good quarter of an hour during the day because he got mad at everything.”

Any old time, I love hearing from her. “No one will ever love you like your old Mother Theodore does.

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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  1. Avatar Michelle M. Barrentine on October 3, 2019 at 11:32 am

    I needed to hear this message today. Thank you, S. Denise.
    Happy feast day.

  2. Avatar S.Rita Clare Gerardot on October 3, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Denise, great reflection for M.T.’s feast day! I think it’s encouraging

    that we can see she was very human and the nitty, gritty got to her also. It’s consoling that we may one day be saints, though I doubt we’ll be canonized, but shucks we don’t need that, right!
    S.Rita Clare

  3. Avatar Nell Trainor on October 3, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks, Sister Denise, for channelling St. MTG again- love to you and all the wonderful Sisters of Providence.
    Thanks to the Sisters of Providence for making such a huge difference in my life❤️👏👏🙏

    • Avatar NANCY Vandenbergh KREMER on October 3, 2019 at 11:13 pm

      Yes, Mary Nell, like you I am grateful for the many dear Sisters of Providence in my life. Through their gentleness, honesty and friendship I have met St. MTG and witnessed the living touch of Providence and been blessed. I pray to remain vigilant to St. MTG message Lean on Providence , the Providence that never fails.

  4. Avatar Mary Popp on October 3, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Thank you, Sister Denise, for giving me a feeling that St. Mother Theodore was indeed human. I have the same failings. That makes it easier to pray through her.

  5. Avatar Anne Therese Falkenstein, S.P. on October 9, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Thanks, Denise, for sharing these important reflections and for being you.

  6. Avatar Madonna Buchanan on October 16, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    Thank you Sister Denise, I especially appreciate those words of Mother Theodore. I hope you are well.

  7. Avatar Charles Fisher on October 18, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Dear Denise,
    Thank you for the reminder that our Dear old Mother Theodore embraced the every day so gently, firmly, cautiously and strongly. Yet she felt the ordinary and the potentially extraordinary stuff of living.
    Good old Mother Theodore.
    Again Denise, thanks.
    Chuck Fisher

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