Home » Blog » Journals and Letters week 47: Letting things take their course

Journals and Letters week 47: Letting things take their course

By now we have come to expect letters to Sister Basilide to be filled with Mother Theodore’s wise counsel and her customary frankness. She does not mince words. She reminds Basilide in these two letters that she has struggled with the question of returning to France for fifteen years, as long as they have been in America. Mother contrasts her own certainty about staying in her beloved Indiana with Basilide’s uncertainty. “You have always looked back at that dear country with regret for having left it.”

Letting Sister Basilide decide

And yet, Mother Theodore assures Sister Basilide that she is entirely free to return to France if that is her desire. How costly that must have been for Mother Theodore. How hard it would be to be willing to “let her go.” One on whom she depended for so much. Mother does not seek to end Basilide’s uncertainty by putting her foot down and telling her to make up her mind and be done with it.

No, in Mother’s great wisdom, she knows that letting things take their course is the better solution in Basilide’s case. And we finally learn how the situation plays out. The editor writes that when Basilide visited France on Congregation business ten years later, that “her heart was at Saint Mary’s. Four months away from her ‘dear woods’ cured her forever … ” Another example for us of “groping along slowly.”

Love one another

Mother Theodore’s long letters to Sister Mary Xavier in Vincennes and to Sister Maria in Madison have a common theme, loving one another. She advises Mary Xavier to “bear with the defects of others. Endeavor not to cause others to suffer, and you yourself try to endure the little annoyances which are unavoidable in the necessary relations with others.” In the letter to Sister Maria, we have a similar admonition — “To suffer everything from others and not make others suffer.” And I have always found her words to Maria more than challenging: “Try to bear everything from others without making them bear anything from you.” Wow! How different our lives would be if we lived each day from that perspective. How different our society would be!

Your turn

What advice of Mother Theodore’s speaks to you in your present situation?

Are there instances in your life where Mother Theodore’s patience with Basilide might be a good path to follow?


Next week: page 416 mid-page to page 422 lower page

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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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8 Comments

  1. Connie SP on August 28, 2021 at 9:09 am

    Really liked this reflection Ann on this section of Journals and Letters. Thanks for sharing your gift for writing and your insights too.

    • Ann Casper, SP on August 28, 2021 at 10:22 am

      Thanks, Connie. Mother Theodore never ceases to amaze me with her ability to be direct, yet with gentleness.

  2. Joni Luna on August 28, 2021 at 11:25 am

    These are some of my favorite Mother Theodore quotes. It’s a daily reminder for me to recognize my own defects.
    This comes with much humility and surrender.
    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Ann Casper, SP on August 28, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    I agree. Joni. We hear a lot of quotes about “love.” Mothr Theodore seems always to offer the challenge of putting love into practice in our daily lives.

  4. Jeanne Hagelskamp, SP on August 29, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    And, Ann, you meet the challenge of putting love into practice so well!
    Thank you for the inspiring reflection!

  5. S. Ann Casper on August 30, 2021 at 7:29 am

    Thank you, Jeanne. Her words in this section really challenge and set the bar very high.

  6. Editha Ben on September 1, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for your reflections, Ann! Great reminder for me how to play my role living in community especially this pandemic time.

  7. Ann Casper, SP on September 1, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Thank you, Editha! So true about words for living in community — whether that community be religious life, family or work place. Quite challenging!

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