We want you to see everything when you visit the Woods! However, you may only have time to see the top spots. If that’s the case, make sure you get to these places first.
The Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin
Begin your visit at the Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. If you’ve been to a museum, you’ll feel right at home in the shrine. Dedicated to telling the story of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, the shrine is an exhibit filled with artifacts and first-hand accounts about her amazing journey from France to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Towards the back of the shrine is a small chapel which is also her final resting place. Here you are welcome to take a moment to reflect, meditate and pray.
Church of the Immaculate Conception
You don’t need to travel to Europe to see old world design. More than 21 years in the making, this Italian Renaissance church was patterned after the Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris to honor Mother Theodore’s wish to one day have a chapel similar to the one she left behind in Ruillé, France. The Church of the Immaculate Conception is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
National Shrine of Our Lady of Providence
At the back of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, you’ll discover this beautiful shrine dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus. It may be small in size but the sisters pray for each one of the thousands of prayer requests they receive throughout the year from all over the world at this shrine. The Our Lady of Providence ministry, started by the Sisters of Providence, was created to promote the humanness of Mary and her family of Joseph and Jesus. Through this ministry, the Sisters of Providence offer spiritual support and guidance for the real needs of families today.
White Violet Center for Eco-Justice
You may already know about our adorable alpacas but did you know we also have an actual working farm? At White Violet Center you’ll find a farm store, chickens, bees, USDA-certified organic gardens with two high tunnels and two greenhouses, an orchard, a berry patch, and a classified forest. A self-guided walking tour is available.
Blessed Sacrament Chapel
You’re not going to know where to look first when you enter this breathtaking chapel. From the floor to the ceiling you will find yourself surrounded by unparalleled beauty. Ironically, the stained glass windows were created with no images so that worshipers were not distracted from prayer. Despite the amazing atmosphere, the sisters have spent thousands of hours praying for the needs of the world in this chapel and continue this special devotion today.
Saint Anne Shell Chapel
Completed in 1875, this chapel is the oldest structure on campus. In 1843, Mother Theodore had returned to France to secure funds when arson destroyed the sisters’ barns, farm implements, and harvest. On her return voyage, her ship was caught in a storm. Fearing that death was imminent, Mother Theodore prayed to Saint Anne, the patron saint of Breton sailors. Immediately the ship righted, and the sea calmed. Upon her safe return to The Woods, Mother Theodore built this chapel. When the original logs began to erode, they were replaced with stone. The interior walls are lined with shells from the Wabash River.
Bronze statue of Saint Mother Theodore
As you learn more about Mother Theodore, you begin to realize she was truly a woman of action. This is why her 6-foot-tall bronze statue, created by Teresa Clark of Fort Wayne, Indiana, shows her walking and not standing still. If you have a camera or smart phone, this is a great place to take a #selfiewithasaint.
Log Cabin Chapel
Made with logs from a 19th-century cabin, this near exact replica stands on the same location as the original woodland chapel which was the first place the French sisters stopped to give thanks after their safe journey. Mother Theodore was surprised that it also was home for the priest. When you go inside you’ll notice the humble furnishings. The Log Cabin Chapel was built with assistance from the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department, Terre Haute Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and inmates of the Terre Haute Correctional Facility.
As you walk through this peaceful space, we invite you to celebrate the lives of over 2,100 women who dedicated themselves to serving others as Sisters of Providence. Feel free to mediate, pray, or just enjoy the abundant nature at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. If you would like to contact our Archives Department to find a specific sister, please click here.
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto
Note: Work on the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes Bridge will begin on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022. During the time of repairs, foot traffic on the bridge will not be possible as cement will be laid for the walkway part of the bridge. Other repairs will also take place on the bridge in 2023 that may limit foot traffic.
You can enjoy this amazing space from the viewing area above or take the steps down to get a closer look. During WWI, Mother Mary Cleophas Foley prayed for peace and pledged to build a grotto similar to the famous Our Lady of Lourdes in France should the war end before Dec 8, 1918, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. When peace was declared on Nov 11, 1918, construction soon began on the grotto. The stone upon which the statue rests is from Lourdes, France.