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To Mother Theodore and companions

Editor’s note: On this Foundation Day, as we celebrate the arrival of Saint Mother Theodore and her companions in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840, we share this poem created by Sister Thomas Jeanne Doriot, SP, in the 1970s. Several sisters who have been using it for prayer this time of year have passed it on to be shared with all of you.

Fragile forerunners of ourselves,
we thank you for your coming.
Bearing sainted heroes’ names
across the sea, you are a litany
chanted down the years.
Theodore, St. Vincent Ferrer,
Basilide, Marie Xavier, St. Ligouri,
Olympiade, with St. Francis Xavier
scurrying after you another year.

Daughters of your founding in that Woods
we too call home, we round the season’s
corner to another Autumn. The leaves
turn gold in honor of your coming.
Like new psalms chanted with the old
we celebrate our anniversary Eucharist
with you, Ladies of the past.

You look on us amazed, as women will
at daughters growing generations after
them. We are all this century knows
of any value in your venturing
into a wilderness where Christ was
waiting for you, waiting in the poor,
the frightened, the wealthy, the self-
assured, the hungry, the homeless,
the peaceful and the violent.

Ladies of the past, your coming cost us
lives we might have led — in homes with children
of our own or cloisters where we might
have savored more of solitude and prayer.
But we, like you, were led into this special
wilderness that is, for us all, Providence.

Ladies of the past, handing down your dreams
to us like shells from Bretons shores,
we value them. We ARE your dreams come true.
From you, from us, a future grows taller
than the trees. We thank you for your coming.

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Sister Thomas Jeanne Doriot

Sister Thomas Jeanne has been a Sister of Providence since 1960. She spent more than 35 years ministering in Nevada and California. She currently ministers in prayer at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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  1. Lori Strawn on October 22, 2020 at 10:22 am

    This poem is breathtakingly beautiful. Thank you, Sister Thomas Jeanne!

  2. Connie Schnapf on October 22, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing Sister Thomas Jeannes beautiful poem. I will carry her words with me throughout the day, and celebrate in thanksgiving , all that it holds

  3. Sue Hovey on October 30, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Beautiful! I’m thinking you were at Marywood, Evanston, Il in the 60s when I was in school. I was great friends with Luanna Henke (Sr. Luanna). Nice to see your picture!!!
    Sue Hovey
    Wilmette, Il

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