Journals and Letters week 24: Support and hope
This passage from the book “Mother Theodore Guerin Journals and Letters” has very few letters. In fact, none of the passage was written by Mother Theodore. Yet this section still offered me a sigh of relief.
New bishop, new hope
We start with a letter from the new bishop which is nothing but promising. Bishop Bazin writes to Mother Theodore, “Bury the past in oblivion, or think of it only to bless the Providence of God who sent you crosses because He loved you; for God never fails to try His true children.” He goes on to tell her, “The future is yours.” Such a new chance for hope.
In a second letter to Mother Theodore, he writes, “A bishop ought to be for a superior … a lever to raise up the heaviest burdens, a light to enlighten her in her doubts and a confidant to whom she may confide her pains and from whom she may draw the consolation she needs.”
The book’s editor says the arrival of the new bishop brings peace, happiness and a feeling of security hitherto unknown at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Yay! Finally.
Loyal, loving chaplain
The rest of the section is about one of the Congregation’s great supporters and friends, Father Corbe. He served as the sisters’ chaplain from 1842 until his death in 1872. He stayed lovingly and loyally by the sisters for 30 years, even pledging to follow them if they had left Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for Detroit.
We learn Father Corbe’s background, how he was born in Rennes, Brittany, France, and came as a missionary to the Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana, at the age of 30. We learn of his lean early missionary years in which he had to hunt for the little food he had, but in which he was so happy. And of his death in which he continued to bless the sisters to the end.
We learn that he is buried here at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods because he himself desired it. “He was all for us in life, so he wished to remain with us in death,” the author says.
We learn that Father Corbe liked books, and art and nature. He served not only as the sisters’ chaplain but as pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, which served all Vigo County west of the Wabash.
In addition to bringing relief, this passage also made me thankful for the good and giving co-ministers the sisters have had and continue to have. Thankfully we find these two particular men of the Church concerned more about collaborating with others to serve the people of God and less about relishing their power.
May we all learn to work together with respect, dignity and equality for the good of all people of God.
What are your thoughts on this passage?
How can we better work together to make Jesus’ message come alive through the Church today?