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Journals and Letters week 44: Full as an egg and a tribute to a friend

[Today we are discussing “Journals and Letters” page 388-397 mid-page. This is located in “Part VI: Later Letters (1846–1856)” starting with “To Sister Basilide, Madison.” Join us in reading a portion of Saint Mother Theodore’s writings every week.]

Again, we begin our section with a letter to Sister Basilide. And, per usual, it contains a range of topics and emotions: Mother Theodore’s perceived anger, which she denies. Praise for Father Dupontavice (or Dupo, as his priests referred to him). Cherished words about Sister St. Francis. Sound advice about how to handle Sister Maria. And the description of the Church being “as full as an egg.”

Mother Theodore describes the Church as being “as full as an egg.” Photo by pics_pd on Pixnio

The reader can choose any paragraph and have plenty to reflect on or investigate more fully it seems to me! That’s our Mother Theodore!

Death of a dear one

Not only did the year 1855 bring the announcement at Saint Mary’s about the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, but it also marked the death of “the revered Bishop of Le Mans, Jean-Baptiste Bouvier.” Mother Theodore in her letter circular reminded the sisters that “Saint Mary-of-the-Woods owes to him its very existence and preservation.” In their darkest days with Bishop de la Hailandière, he was “a shelter and a light.” And in their days of peace, “ever a father.” What words of endearment and praise for one of the first benefactors of the Congregation. The editor offers the reader an extensive account which confirms the bishop’s importance to the universal church and his personal holiness.

Problem solving

The final letter in this section again shows Mother Theodore’s ability to problem solve. She is concerned about an establishment in Louisiana because of distance. So she suggests that the problem could be resolved by the bishop’s requesting sisters to govern from Ruillé and sisters to teach from Saint Mary’s. She even offers to bow out and leave the mission in the hands of the Sisters of Charity. I love her balanced approach and the fact that she is not threatened by the presence or success of others.

I’ll have to end this reflection now for “I have already exceeded the amount of work my head can bear.”

Your turn

Is there someone in your life who has been “a shelter and a light” in your darkest days?

What insights about daily living did this section offer you?


Next week: page 397 to page 402 bottom starting with “To Sister Basilide, 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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