This pen & ink drawing of Mother Theodore was done by Terre Haute artist John Laska in 1992.

Saint Mother Theodore (Anne-Thérèse) Guerin was born on Oct. 2, 1798 in Etables, France. She entered the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé sur-Loir in 1823. She educated children and cared for the sick poor in France for 17 years.

In July 1840, in response to a request from the bishop of Vincennes, Ind., Mother Theodore led a group of five Sisters of Providence to the United States to establish a motherhouse and novitiate, to educate children of pioneer families and to care for the sick poor.

After an arduous journey over sea and land, Mother Theodore and her companion sisters—Sister St. Vincent Ferrer Gage, Sister Basilide Seneschal, Sister Olympiade Boyer, Sister Mary Xavier Leree and Sister Mary Liguori Tiercin—finally arrived in the remote forest wilderness of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., the evening of Oct. 22, 1840.

The following summer, Mother Theodore opened an academy, now known as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. In March 1842, she opened a school in Jasper, Ind. In the years that followed, Mother Theodore established schools throughout Indiana and Eastern Illinois, two orphanages in Vincennes and free pharmacies at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and in Vincennes.

Mother Theodore died May 14, 1856.

At St. Peter’s Square in Rome on Oct. 15, 2006, Mother Theodore was canonized and received the title, “Saint” from the Catholic Church. She is designated in the Vatican’s official record as Saint Theodora.

Saint Mother Theodore’s feast day is celebrated October 3.


Life in France

Life in the United States