“Satisfying the longing of the heart!” What a beautiful phrase. That’s what Saint Mother Theodore Guerin wrote as she recorded the moments of arriving at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840. She and her companion sisters had traveled from France and had agreed among themselves “that our first visit would be made to the Blessed Sacrament, and that we would not speak to anyone before having satisfied this longing of our hearts.”
Mother Theodore was dismayed to see the cabin, saying, “The Church!! … Yes, dear friends, that is the dwelling of the God of the Universe, in comparison with which the stables wherein you shelter your cattle are palaces!” She was surprised that it also was home for the priest who had humble furnishings of a cot, trunk and a couple of small tables.
Generous donors had made possible the construction of a replica of that log cabin chapel which is located at what is believed to be the original site. Some changes were necessary to meet modern-day safety standards, but visitors will get a good idea of what the French sisters saw when they arrived at their new home. Space is available inside and outside for sitting, quiet time, personal reflection and prayer.
For more information about the cabin and to arrange tours of the grounds, contact Providence Center at 812-535-4531.