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A legacy of humor, trust, patience and kindness

Among all that is written about Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, I wanted to share some of her qualities I am most drawn too. One of the first that comes to mind is her sense of humor. This is so well crafted in her “Journals and Letters” as the founding Sisters of Providence make the perilous journey to an unknown place to do a service which had no job description, no definite office space to perform the ministry, and no housing. No wonder the phrase “all appearances are against it” was an initial observation on their arrival.

50 years of living the legacy of Saint Mother Theodore: from left, Sister Marianne Ridgell (blog post author) and Sisters Jan Craven and Jody O’Neil

Another quality Mother Theodore expressed so well is kindness. She shows kindness in trying to accept not only her own difficult situation but also some personality conflicts which tried her patience. Some qualities seemed to just flow from her person: humor, trust, patience, kindness. She spoke much about humility and charity.


Each morning, I read the daily reflections in the calendar of her sayings. I guess in these uncertain times, the one that continues to jump off the page is “… what does it matter what becomes of us, provided God’s work be accomplished?” To me, this is powerful to grasp as my own. I like to think that, as witnessed in Saint Mother Theodore, it is not about “us” but any good we do is God’s grace working through us.

Each time we celebrate Foundation Day, Jubilees, Vow Ceremonies or a Celebration of Life for a Sister, it is not about us. It is about how Providence continues to be faithful in our lives just as Mother Theodore’s life witnessed to us. Her obedience, trust and perseverance in trials are hard to come by today as we see humankind trying to take control without God. All the values we express today in our Community go back to our roots and Mother Theodore’s lived example of love, mercy and justice.

I do believe Saint Mother Theodore is very much walking with us on this continued journey in the legacy she began. Her presence is still very much with us, as we are reminded from the verse, “I sleep, but my heart watches …”

I do truly love everything about Mother Theodore!

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Sister Marianne Ridgell

Sister Marianne Ridgell

Sister Marianne Ridgell is originally from Arlington, Virginia. She entered the Sisters of Providence in 1968. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and education and master’s degrees in Spanish and in counseling. Among her ministries have been teacher, pastoral associate, Catholic Charities and staff trainer for caregivers. Her current ministry is driver/ companion at Saint Mary-of-the- Woods since 2020. Sister Marianne enjoys reading, writing poetry and walking.

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  1. Avatar Paula Modaff on October 18, 2022 at 10:33 am

    Your deep love for our Theodore is evident in your reflection and behavior, Marianne. Thank you for reminding us of some of her essential qualities.

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