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Encyclopedia > Theodore Guerin

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin was born October 2, 1798, in the village of Etables-sur-Mer in Brittany, France. She accepted a mission to the United States and founded a congregation of Roman Catholic nuns — the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Her work in the U.S. also included founding several schools — including Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, in Vigo County a few miles from Terre Haute. She died May 14, 1856. A saint is a term used to refer to someone who is a holy person. ... October 2 is the 275th day (276th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 90 days remaining. ... 1798 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Traditional coat of arms Modern flag (Gwenn-ha-du) Historical province of Brittany région of Bretagne, see Bretagne. ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ... In general, a nun is a female ascetic who chooses to voluntarily leave the world and live her life in prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent. ... Official language(s) English Capital Indianapolis Largest city Indianapolis Area  Ranked 38th  - Total 36,418 sq mi (94,321 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 270 miles (435 km)  - % water 1. ... Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a Catholic, four-year liberal arts womens college located northeast of West Terre Haute, Indiana, between the Wabash River and the Illinois state line. ... Vigo County is a county located in the state of Indiana. ... Terre Haute is a city located in Vigo County, Indiana. ... May 14 is the 134th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (135th in leap years). ... 1856 was a leap year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...


The Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of Mother Theodore Guerin was opened in 1909. This long and thorough process of declaring saints in the Roman Catholic Church is a way to make the spiritual legacy of a person known universally. In October 1998, Pope John Paul II bestowed the title "Blessed" on Mother Theodore to signify that the Catholic Church recognizes her as a holy woman, through whose intercession a miracle occurred, worthy of honor and veneration. Pope Benedict XVI has signed a document recognizing a second miracle attributed to her, and her canonization ceremony was held on October 15, 2006 [1]. In Catholicism, beatification (from Latin beatus, blessed, via Greek μακαριος, makarios) is a recognition accorded by the church of a dead persons accession to Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in their name (intercession of saints). ... Canonization is the process of declaring someone a saint and involves proving that a candidate has lived in such a way that he or she qualifies for this. ... 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Catholic Church redirects here. ... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ... Papal Arms of Pope Benedict XVI. The papal tiara was replaced with a bishops mitre, and pallium of the Pope was added beneath the coat of arms. ... October 15 is the 288th day of the year (289th in leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Contents

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Early life

Named Anne-Thérèse Guérin at birth, she was the daughter of Laurent and Isabelle Lefèvre Guérin. Laurent Guérin was an officer in the French Navy under Napoleon Bonaparte. Anne-Thérèse was born near the end of the French Revolution, which had torn France apart. Schools and churches were closed, and many Catholic priests had chosen exile over the guillotine. The French Navy (Marine Nationale) is the maritime arm of the French military and the largest Western European navy in terms of personnel. ... Bonaparte as general Napoleon Bonaparte ( 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a general of the French Revolution and was the ruler of France as First Consul (Premier Consul) of the French Republic from November 11, 1799 to May 18, 1804, then as Emperor of the French (Empereur des... The French Revolution (1789–1799) was a pivotal period in the history of French, European and Western civilization. ...


Laurent and Isabelle had four children, but only two — Anne-Thérèse and Marie-Jeanne — survived to adulthood.


Anne-Thérèse was mostly educated at home by her mother. At the age of 10, she was allowed to take her First Communion, which was two years earlier than the custom of the time. On the day of her First Communion, she confided to the priest in Etables that she wished to enter a religious community. The First Communion (First Holy Communion) is a Roman Catholic ceremony. ...


When Anne-Thérèse was 15, tragedy struck the family when her father was killed by bandits as he travelled home to his family. The grief proved to be too much for her mother, who already had lost two children, and she fell into a deep and incapacitating depression. For many years, Anne-Thérèse accepted the responsibility of caring for her mother and sister, as well as the family’s home and garden. At the age of 20, Anne-Thérèse asked her mother’s blessing to join a religious order, but Isabelle — still unable to cope with her loss — refused. Five years later, Isabelle recognized the depth of Anne-Thérèse’s devotion and permitted her to leave.


Her sainthood was declared by Pope Benedict on Sunday October 15, 2006

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Religious life

Anne-Thérèse entered the young congregation of the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé-sur-Loir. She was given the religious name Sister St. Theodore. She professed first vows September 8, 1825, and perpetual vows, which at the time were optional, on September 5, 1831. In some religious orders, a new member will often take a religious name after joining the order. ... Monastic vows are the public vows of poverty, chastity and obedience professed by the monks in the Catholic and Orthodox tradition. ... September 8 is the 251st day of the year (252nd in leap years). ... 1825 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... September 5 is the 248th day of the year (249th in leap years). ... Leopold I 1831 (MDCCCXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...


Sister St. Theodore was sent to teach first at Preuilly-sur-Claise. There, she became ill, probably with smallpox, and nearly died. The illness damaged her digestive system and, for the rest of her life, she could only eat a simple, bland diet. Smallpox (also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera) was a highly contagious viral disease unique to humans. ...


During her career in France, Sister St. Theodore also taught at St. Aubin parish school in Rennes and taught and visited the sick poor in Soulaines in the Diocese of Angers. During this time, she received a medal for her teaching from the inspector for the Academy of Angers. Location within France Some medieval houses, such as these, can still be found in the center of Rennes. ...


In 1840, Sister St. Theodore was urged to head a mission to the U.S., at the request of the Bishop of Vincennes and her mother superior. Though she did not believe herself up to the challenge, it is known that she was convinced, in part, by the words of her congregation’s Rule (a set of guidelines for the sisters who were members): “The Congregation being obliged to work with zeal for the sanctification of souls, the sisters will be disposed to go to whatsoever part of the world obedience calls them.” 1840 is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Mother Superior is the nun in charge of a Christian convent. ... Sanctification or in its verb form, sanctify, literally means to set apart for special use or purpose, that is to make holy or sacred (compare Latin sanctus holy). Therefore sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i. ...

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Founding a new order

On October 22, 1840, Sister St. Theodore and five companions (Sister Olympiade Boyer, Sister Saint Vincent Ferrer Gagé, Sister Basilide Sénéschal, Sister Mary Xavier Lerée and Sister Mary Liguori Tiercin) stepped from a carriage into a dense forest. Their travels from France had taken three months and involved all forms of transportation available at the time: sailing ship, steamboat and stagecoach. The travels were difficult and, many times, dangerous. October 22 is the 295th day of the year (296th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 70 days remaining. ... 1840 is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


They had left “civilization” and France for the wilds of the Indiana territory, just a few miles northwest of Terre Haute. For months, they lived packed into a small frontier home with new postulants and, for a time, with a local family. Official language(s) English Capital Indianapolis Largest city Indianapolis Area  Ranked 38th  - Total 36,418 sq mi (94,321 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 270 miles (435 km)  - % water 1. ... A Postulant (from the Latin postulare, to ask) was originally one who makes a request or demand; hence, a candidate. ...


With humble resources, Sister St. Theodore and her companions moved ahead with their missionary plans. Soon, she was to be called Mother Theodore, an honor given to her as superior of the new mission. In July 1841, the sisters opened St. Mary’s Academy for Young Ladies, which later became Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Mother Theodore was not without doubt on this endeavor. An accomplished writer, her journals record her thoughts: “It is astonishing that this remote solitude has been chosen for a novitiate and especially for an academy. All appearances are against it.” Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a Catholic, four-year liberal arts womens college located northeast of West Terre Haute, Indiana, between the Wabash River and the Illinois state line. ...

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Education

For more than a decade, from 1841 to 1852, the Academy at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods was the only Catholic boarding school for girls in Indiana. Prior to 1840, two private academies and one public school for young girls existed in the state. In an attempt to help parishes establish schools for their children, Mother Theodore, from the time of her arrival at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840 to January 1849, established parish schools at Jasper, St. Peter’s, Vincennes, Madison, Fort Wayne and Terre Haute, all in Indiana, and at St. Francisville in Illinois. In 1853, she opened establishments in Evansville, Ind., and North Madison, Ind.; in 1854, at Lanesville, a small town in south-central Indiana; and in 1855 at Columbus, located south of Indianapolis.


Additionally, with Bishop de Saint-Palais, she established two orphanages in Vincennes, Ind. Also, by the time of Mother Theodore’s death in 1856, the Sisters of Providence congregation had grown from six sisters and four postulants to 67 professed members, nine novices and seven postulants. The city of Vincennes is the county seat of Knox County, Indiana. ...

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Mother Theodore’s death

The "Catholic Telegraph and Advocate" in Cincinnati, Ohio, published the following notice about Mother Theodore's death. She died May 14, 1856. Cincinnati, Ohio viewed from the SW, across the Ohio River from Kentucky. ... Official language(s) None Capital Columbus Largest city Columbus Largest metro area Cleveland Area  Ranked 34th  - Total 44,825 sq mi (116,096 km²)  - Width 220 miles (355 km)  - Length 220 miles (355 km)  - % water 8. ... May 14 is the 134th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (135th in leap years). ... 1856 was a leap year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...


"Died - At Saint Mary's-of-the-Woods (sic), in the 58th year of her age, Wednesday, 14th inst., Sister St. Theodore, Superior General of the Sisters of Providence in Indiana.


"This woman, distinguished by her eminent virtues, governed the community of which she was the superior from its commencement, to the time of her death, a period of nearly sixteen years. Being a perfect religious herself, and endowed with mental qualities of a high order, she was peculiarly fitted to fill the duties which Providence assigned her.


"Not only her Sisters are bereaved by her death, but all those who knew her excellence and the amount of good she did, join in lamenting that she should have been removed from the sphere of her usefulness. To judge from the celestial expression of her countenance as she lay in death, there is every reason to believe that she has already taken her abode among the Saints in Heaven, enjoying the munificence of God, who rewards His servants 'according to their works.'"

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Primary sources

Journals and Letters of Mother Theodore Guerin, Foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana; edited with notes by Sister Mary Theodosia Mug, SP; Sisters of Providence, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana; 1937, 1942, 1978.

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Secondary sources

Mother Theodore Guerin: A Woman for Our Time; by Penny Blaker Mitchell; Sisters of Providence, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana; 1998.


The History of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods; by Sister Mary Borromeo Brown, SP; Benziger Brothers Inc.; 1949.


Positio Super Virtutibus for the Beatification and Canonization of Mother Theodore Guerin; compiled by Sister Joseph Eleanor Ryan, SP; Rome; 1987.

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See also

Saints Portal
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Image File history File links Portal. ...

External links

  • The official Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin web site
  • "The Founding Spirit" is a modern publication promoting the cause of Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin.
  • The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods web site
  • Guerin College Preparatory High School on the northwest side of Chicago was founded in 1962 by the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.
  • Woods Day Care/Pre-School at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, is a sponsored institution of the Sisters of Providence.
  • Established in 1994, Providence Self Sufficiency Ministries is a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Providence.
  • White Violet Center for Eco-Justice is a ministry of the Sisters of Providence that was established in 1996.
  • Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
  • Saint Theodore Guerin High School in Noblesville, Indiana, is the most recent school to adopt a name honoring Mother Theodore.
  • News and an in depth look at Mother Theodore From the Tribune-Star in Terre Haute, Indiana.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Theodore Guerin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (385 words)
Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin (October 2, 1798–May 14, 1856), a French and American nun and educator, founded Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, then and since a predominantly women's college, in 1840.
She was sent with five other sisters (Sister Olympiade Boyer, Sister Saint Vincent Ferrer Gagé, Sister Basilide Sénéschal, Sister Mary Xavier Lerée and Sister Mary Liguori Tiercin) to the diocese of Vincennes, Indiana, USA on 22 October 1840.
Founded in 1962 by the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, in answer to a request from the Archdiocese of Chicago, Mother Theodore Guerin High School has provided girls on the northwest side of Chicago and surrounding suburbs a safe and supportive environment to gain a quality education.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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