If you’re a history buff, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is a treasure trove of architecture and artifacts.
Founded in 1840, Saint Mother Theodore and the Sisters of Providence contributed significantly to settling Indiana.
Did you know that 66 buildings, sites, structures and objects at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods are listed on the National Register of Historic Places? Seventeen of those were built during the leadership of Mother Mary Cleophas Foley, general superior from 1890-1926. The Church of the Immaculate Conception was completed in 1907. Other buildings of this era include: The Woodland Inn (1894); Guerin Hall and the Conservatory of Music (1913); the O’Shaughnessy Dining Hall (1921) and The Blessed Sacrament Chapel and Le Fer Hall (both in 1924).
Throughout the grounds you’ll also see stones which mark some extremely noteworthy sites.
You can stand where Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her traveling companions first stepped down on the sacred ground of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on October 22, 1840 after surviving an arduous, four-month voyage from France.
By the ravine near Providence Hall you can see the site of the first Mass offered at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods by Bishop Bruté, first bishop of Vincennes, January 6, 1837.
First Providence Convent
This spot marks the first convent which was first the home of Sarah and Joseph Thralls who generously shared their home for more than a month with 10 members of the Thralls family, Mother Theodore and her five French companions and four American postulants. The home was purchased for the sisters in late November 1840 by the Diocese of Vincennes.