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Journals and Letters week 40: All will be well

(Today we are discussing “Journals and Letters” pages 356-364. This is located in “Part VI: Later Letters (1846–1856)” starting with “To Sister Mary Xavier.” Join us in reading a portion of Saint Mother Theodore’s writings every week.)

As usually happens, these few pages offer many words of wisdom from Mother Theodore. There is certainly more than enough for one blog.

Merit of ministry

The first letter to Sister Mary Xavier caught my attention for several reasons. I can remember when I was a very young sister thinking that I should spend more time in the convent chapel. Mother Theodore set me straight, as she did Mary Xavier. Obedience to one’s ministry carries more merit than one’s choosing to spend “all the day long on our knees before the Blessed Sacrament.” Mother Theodore shows us proper balance.

"Love all in God and for God, and all will be well." -Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

The same letter verified for me Mother Theodore’s choice of motto for the Academy: Virtue with knowledge. She tells Sister Mary Xavier, “Remember that you have not only to teach them how to sew, but also (by her example) how to become meek, humble, patient, etc.” She then pens these timeless words: “Love all in God and for God, and all will be well.”

Being present to reality

Mother’s counsels to young Sister Maria continue. I particularly like her brief letter on page 357. She is inviting Maria to deal with the reality of her situation. To stay in the present moment (teaching music lessons) rather than fantasizing about what she might do. In her letter on page 360, she mentions how wrong Maria is “in listening to the follies of her imagination.”

I love Mother Theodore’s frankness when writing to Father Kundek in Jasper. She spells things out especially regarding money. Yet she leaves the door open for what the community is willing to do. And she never fails to mention what she is grateful for. In this case it is that he is going to build the sisters a house.

Little apostles

This section ends with the letter to Bishop Bouvier. It gives a clear picture of what the sisters had to contend with from the “Protestant” ministers. Mother Theodore believes they are trying “their utmost to destroy our schools.” As usual, she looks for the positive in the situation. In this case, she praises the number of her students who “return home like little apostles.” She goes on to praise “their fervor and piety.” I can just imagine the pleasure this would have given Mother Theodore.

Your turn

What particularly stood out for you in this series of letters?

Are there times in your life when these counsels of Mother Theodore might have helped you?


Next week > page 364 to page 371 top. This is located in “Part VI: Later Letters (1846–1856)” starting with “To Sister Maria, Madison.”

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Sister Ann Casper

Sister Ann Casper, SP, retired as the executive director for Mission Advancement for the Sisters of Providence in 2018 and currently serves as minister of Providence Community Cemetery at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Sister Ann has ministered in various scholastic and administrative positions in Indiana and North Carolina. She also was a member of the Sisters of Providence leadership team, serving as General Secretary.

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1 Comment

  1. Mary Riley on July 10, 2021 at 8:31 am

    I always enjoy your perspective Sister Ann. Mother Theodore is always so grounding for me as well. Her wisdom still feels relevant even though it was written so long ago. I loved reading about how her words helped you as a young sister. What a gift to be able to pass on so much wisdom throughout the years.

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