Saint Theodore Guerin, also known as Anne-Therese, was born on October 2, 1798, in Etables, France. In 1823, she joined the Sisters of Providence of Ruille-sur-Loir. For the next 17 years in France, she dedicated herself to the education of children and providing care to the impoverished sick.
In 1840, answering a call from the bishop of Vincennes, Indiana, Mother Theodore led a delegation of five Sisters of Providence to the U.S. Their mission was to found a motherhouse and novitiate, offer education to the children of pioneers, and serve the sickly poor.
On the night of October 22, 1840, she and her fellow sisters reached the secluded forested area of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. By the next summer, Mother Theodore had inaugurated an Academy, which stands today as the esteemed Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, the most ancient Catholic college for women in the U.S. Come March 1842, she had also started a school in Jasper, Indiana. As years passed, she went on to found several schools across Indiana, set up two orphanages in Vincennes, and established free pharmacies both at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and in Vincennes.
Mother Theodore’s journey on Earth came to an end on May 14, 1856. Her indomitable spirit and dedication led to her beatification in October 1998 at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. The good news of her canonization into sainthood was announced on July 2, 2006, and the ceremony took place on October 15 of the same year. Today, a shrine in her honor graces the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
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