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St. Anne and Mary

St. Anne is the mother of Mary.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, or Mary, was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. In the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel explains to Mary: “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.” The feast day for Mary, Mother of God, is celebrated Jan. 1.

In November 1843, Mother Theodore Guerin, Sister Mary Cecilia Bailly and three French postulants boarded the Nashville for the return voyage to the United States after a trip to France to secure funds for the fledgling Congregation. The Atlantic crossing was extremely rough, and there was great fear among the passengers and crew that the ship would be sunk. The sisters fervently prayed, invoking the protection of Mary and St. Anne.

In thanksgiving for their safe passage, Mother Theodore had a small log chapel built to honor St. Anne at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. In 1875, the present chapel was built to replace the original log structure. This new chapel was blessed July 25, 1876. Sister Mary Joseph Le Fer de la Motte and the novices gathered the shells from the nearby Wabash River to decorate the plastered walls of the chapel as designed previously by Mother Theodore.

Mother Theodore's trip to France

During this trip, Mother Theodore was able to speak directly to Queen Amelia, the queen of France. Queen Amelia paid for the sisters’ return voyage to the United States. She also provided other funds for the Congregation and encouraged her family and other wealthy French people to support the small Indiana mission.