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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Saints for Today: Mother Theodora Guérin

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Dr. Jean Lee
Dr. Jean Lee
Jean M. Lee, M.A., D.Min., is a licensed behavioral health and substance abuse counselor, founding a nonprofit, state-licensed behavior health counseling agency and Christian gift/book store. Volunteer work includes: Jail ministry, Legion of Mary membership, door-to-door evangelization, and writing a weekly newspaper column titled “Faith and Inspiration: Encyclopedia of Saints for Today.” A Catholic revert after 32 years away from the Church, she is devout in the Catholic faith, loves the saints, and lives a deeper spiritual/religious and more joyful life since returning to the Church.

Trust in God’s providence enabled Mother Theodore to leave her homeland, sail halfway around the world, and found a new religious congregation.

Born in Etables, France, Anne-Thérèse Guérin’s life was shattered by her father’s murder when she was 15. For several years she cared for her mother and younger sister. She entered the Sisters of Providence in 1823, taking the name Sister Saint Theodore. An illness during novitiate left her with lifelong fragile health, but that did not keep her from becoming an accomplished teacher and leader.

At the invitation of the bishop of Vincennes, Indiana, Sr. Saint Theodore and five sisters were sent to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana in 1840 to teach and to care for the sick and poor. Under the direction of her French superiors Mother Theodore founded a new religious congregation. Her community persevered despite fires, crop failures, prejudice against Catholic women religious, misunderstandings, and separation from their original religious congregation. She once told her sisters, “Have confidence in the Providence that so far has never failed us. The way is not yet clear. Grope along slowly. Do not press matters; be patient, be trustful.” Another time she asked, “With Jesus, what shall we have to fear?”

Reflection:

God’s work gets done by people ready to take risks and to work hard – always remembering what Saint Paul told the Corinthians, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.” Every holy person has a strong sense of God’s Providence.

Resource(s): https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-theodora-guerin/

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