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 succesor 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: In 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