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Steps to sainthood

A years’ long process brought Saint Mother Theodore Guerin to official recognition as a Saint within the Catholic Church. Follow along with the process below.

Local devotion to Mother Theodore began after her death in 1856. Her successor Mother Mary Cecilia Bailly began writing historical sketches of Mother Theodore. The sisters took special care to preserve her writings and collect first-hand accounts of her interactions with others.

Community historian Sister Mary Theodosia Mug published a biography of Mother Theodore in 1904. During this time, there were growing reports of special favors granted to the intercession of Mother Theodore.

Timeline to canonization

Dec. 3, 1907

The remains of Mother Theodore Guerin are transferred from the Sisters of Providence Cemetery to the crypt in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Oct. 30, 1908

The miracle healing of Sister of Providence Mary Theodosia Mug occurs after she prays at Mother Theodore’s tomb for the improved health of another Sister of Providence.

Sept. 8, 1909

Bishop Francis Silas Chatard of Indianapolis granted permission for the opening of the Informative Process of the Cause for Mother Theodore. The process took place in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and involved a thorough study of Mother Theodore’s life, work and writings. The Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Rites received the documents compiled during this phase in 1914. Mother Theodore’s writings were compiled and delivered to the Congregation in 1916.

July 25, 1927

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints submitted their recommendation to the Pope, who approved the writings of Mother Theodore.

September to November 1937

Interviews and study are conducted in the Diocese of St. Brieuc and the Diocese of Le Mans, sites in France where Mother Theodore lived and ministered.

Dec. 6, 1955

Cardinals at the Vatican vote to continue the Cause.

Feb. 19, 1956

Pope Pius XII approves and signs the Decree for the Introduction of the Cause and formally introduced the Apostolic Process of the Cause.

Nov. 5, 1956, to Oct. 20, 1958

Archbishop Paul C. Schulte of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis presides over the Apostolic Process and conducts meetings at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and in Indianapolis.

October 1978

Sister of Providence Joseph Eleanor Ryan arrives in Rome to compile the Positio, a documented account of the life, work and writings of Mother Theodore. (The Positio, which means statement, is a documented account of a holy person such as Mother Theodore. There are two statements related to Mother Theodore’s Cause — Positio Super Virtutibus (Statement on Heroic Virtues) and Positio Super Miraculo (Statement on the Miracle).

May 12, 1988

Vatican historical consultants vote unanimously to approve the Positio. The approval affirms that the information in the Positio is sufficient to judge the sanctity of Mother Theodore.

Feb. 15, 1992

Vatican theologians approve the Positio.

July 22, 1992

By Papal Decree, Pope John Paul II grants Mother Theodore the title “Venerable” indicating that she lived a virtuous life to a heroic degree.

Nov. 20, 1996

Vatican medical consultants unanimously approve the healing of Sister Mary Theodosia Mug, through the intercession of Mother Theodore, as a miracle.

March 25, 1997

Vatican theologians unanimously approve the cure of Sister Mary Theodosia, through the intercession of Mother Theodore, as a miracle.

June 3, 1997

Cardinals unanimously approve the cure of Sister Mary Theodosia, through the intercession of Mother Theodore, as a miracle.

July 7, 1997

Pope John Paul II accepts the healing of Sister Mary Theodosia, through the intercession of Mother Theodore, as a miracle. The acceptance of the miracle clears the way for the beatification of Mother Theodore. Beatification is a process, guided by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, that begins with an intense investigation of a deceased person’s life, writings and virtues and, except in the case of martyrs, proof of one miracle worked by God through the intercession of the person. If the person meets all of the requirements, the pope gives the person the title “Blessed” and decrees that he or she may be honored or venerated.

Oct. 25, 1998

During a beatification ceremony in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II grants the title Blessed to Mother Theodore, thus signifying that she is a holy woman worthy of honor and veneration.

Jan. 23 to April 7, 2003

Formal trial in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to determine the validity of the claims of a second miracle attributed to Mother Theodore’s intercession.

June 9, 2005

Evidence of a miracle granted through Mother Theodore’s intercession is approved by a commission of medical examiners appointed by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome

Nov. 20, 2005

A commission of theologians appointed by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome approves the healing of Phil McCord’s eyesight as a second miracle granted through Mother Theodore’s intercession.

Feb. 21, 2006

The Ordinary Congregation of Cardinals in Rome approves the second miracle attributed to Mother Theodore’s intercession, opening the way to her canonization.

April 28, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI signs a decree acknowledging the second miracle attributed to Mother Theodore’s intercession. The Pope’s action serves as the final approval for canonization.

July 1, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI announces Mother Theodore Guerin will be canonized Oct. 15, 2006, during a ceremony at the Vatican.

July 21, 2006

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniel hangs a portrait of soon-to-be Saint Mother Theodore Guerin in the Governor’s Office during a ceremony in the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Oct. 3, 2006

The remains of Mother Theodore Guerin are moved to an interim shrine adjacent to the sanctuary in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods to allow for greater public veneration

Oct. 10, 2006

A portion of U.S. Highway 150 adjacent to the Sisters of Providence motherhouse grounds is named Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Memorial Highway by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. Informational signs are placed along the roadway.

Oct. 15, 2006

Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, is canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church during a ceremony and Eucharistic Liturgy presided over by Pope Benedict XVI at The Vatican.

Oct. 3, 2014

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin’s remains are moved to their final resting place in the new chapel room of the new Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

Oct. 25, 2014

Official opening of the Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana

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