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St. Theodore Guerin

Anne Therese Guerin was born in Etables, France on October 7, 1798. Her father was murdered when she was fifteen years old and for many years she took care of her mother and younger sister. In 1823, she entered the Sisters of Providence and took the name Sister St. Theodore. In 1840, she and five other sisters went to teach and care for the sick in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Indiana. She was to set up a motherhouse and novitiate. She later learned that her superiors had already decided that she should establish this foundation as a new religious congregation, but did not tell her of their plans until the work was under way. Life in Indiana was difficult for the sisters; people were suspicious of Catholics, especially religious women. The convent suffered from fires and crop failures. Mother Theodore persevered telling 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." In 1841 she established Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods Academy which would become a college. She opened schools across Indiana, two orphanages, and some free pharmacies. Never in the best of health, since an illness when she was a novice, Mother Theodore died May 14, 1856. She was buried in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. She was canonized in 2006.

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