Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Perdition, Job 9:1-16, Luke 9: 57-62, St Mother Theodore Guerin, Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
Perdition, Job 9:1-16, Luke 9: 57-62, St Mother Theodore Guerin, Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  perdition  per·di·tion [per-dish-uhn]

Origin:  1300–50;  < Latin perditiōn-  (stem of perditiō ) destruction, equivalent to perdit ( us ) (past participle of perdere  to do in, ruin, lose, equivalent to per- per-  + di-,  combining form of dare  to give + -tus  past participle suffix) + -iōn -ion;  replacing Middle English perdiciun  < Old French  < Latin,  as above

1. a state of final spiritual ruin; loss  of the soul; damnation.
2. the future state of the wicked.
3. hell ( def. 1 ) .
4. utter destruction or ruin.
5. Obsolete . loss.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Job 9:1-12, 14-16

1 Job spoke next. He said:
2 Indeed, I know it is as you say: how could anyone claim to be upright before God?
3 Anyone trying to argue matters with him, could not give him one answer in a thousand.
4 Among the wisest and the hardiest, who then can successfully defy him?
5 He moves the mountains, though they do not know it; he throws them down when he is angry.
6 He shakes the earth, and moves it from its place, making all its pillars tremble.
7 The sun, at his command, forbears to rise, and on the stars he sets a seal.
8 He and no other has stretched out the heavens and trampled on the back of the Sea.
9 He has made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the Mansions of the South.
10 The works he does are great and unfathomable, and his marvels cannot be counted.
11 If he passes me, I do not see him; he slips by, imperceptible to me.
12 If he snatches his prey, who is going to stop him or dare to ask, 'What are you doing?'
14 And here am I, proposing to defend myself and select my arguments against him!
15 Even if I am upright, what point is there in answering him? I can only plead for mercy with my judge!
16 And if he deigned to answer my citation, I cannot believe he would listen to what I said,


Today's Gospel Reading - Gospel Reading - Luke 9: 57-62

As they travelled along they met a man on the road who said to Jesus, 'I will follow you wherever you go.'
Jesus answered, 'Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.' Another to whom he said, 'Follow me,' replied, 'Let me go and bury my father first.' But he answered, 'Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.' Another said, 'I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say good -- bye to my people at home.'
Jesus said to him, 'Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'

● In today's Gospel the long and hard journey of Jesus continues from the periphery of Galilee toward the capital city. Leaving Galilee, Jesus enters in Samaria and continues toward Jerusalem. But not all understand him. Many abandon him, because the demands are enormous. But others get close to him and present themselves to follow Jesus. At the beginning of his pastoral activity in Galilee, Jesus had called three: Peter, James and John (Lk 5, 8-11). Here also, in Samaria there are three persons who present themselves or who are called. In the responses of Jesus there are the requirements or conditions in order to be able to be his disciples.

● Luke 9, 56-58: The first one of the three new disciples. At that time, as they travelled along, they met a man who said to Jesus, "I will follow you wherever you go". Jesus answered: "Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head". To this first person who wants to be his disciple, Jesus asks him to divest himself of everything: he has nowhere to lay his head; much less should he seek a false security where to lay the thoughts of his head.

● Luke 9, 59-60: The second one of the three new disciples. To another one he says "Follow me". And he replied, "Let me go and bury my father first". Jesus replied: "Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the Kingdom of God". To this second person called by Jesus to follow Him, he asks him to leave the dead bury the dead. It is a question of a popular saying used to say: leave aside the things of the past. Do not lose time with what happened and look ahead. After having discovered the new life in Jesus, the disciple should not lose time with what has happened.

● Luke 9, 61-62: The third one of the three new disciples. "Another said: I will follow you, Sir, but first let me go and say good-bye to my people at home". But Jesus replied: once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God". To this third person called to be a disciple, Jesus asks to break the family bonds of union. On another occasion he had said: Anyone who loves his father and his mother more than me cannot be my disciple (Lk 14, 26; Mt 10, 37). Jesus is more demanding than the Prophet Elijah who allowed Elisha to greet and take leave from his parents (1 K 19, 19-21). This also means to break the nationalistic bonds of race and the patriarchal family structure.

● These are three fundamental requirements as necessary conditions for those who want to be the disciples of Jesus: (a) to abandon material goods, (b) not to be attached to personal goods lived and accumulated in the past (c) to break away from the family bonds. In reality, nobody, even wishing it, can break neither the family bonds, nor break away from things lived in the past. What is asked is to know how to re-integrate everything (material goods, personal life and family life) in a new way around the new axis which is Jesus and the Good News of God which he has brought to us.

● Jesus himself, lived and became aware of what he was asking to his followers. With his decision to go up to Jerusalem Jesus reveals his project. His journey toward Jerusalem (Lk 9, 51 a 19, 27) is represented as the undertaking (Lk 9, 51), the exodus (Lk 9, 31) or the crossing (Lk 17, 11). Arriving in Jerusalem Jesus fulfils the exodus, the undertaking or the definitive crossing from this world toward the Father (Jn 13, 1). Only a truly free person can do this, because such an exodus presupposes to dedicate one's whole life for the brothers (Lk 23, 44-46; 24, 51). This is the exodus, the crossing, the undertaking of which the communities should become aware in order to be able to carry on Jesus' project.

Personal questions
● Compare each one of these three requirements with your life.
● Which are the problems that arise in your life as a consequence of the decision which you have taken to follow Jesus?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St. Theodora

Feast Day:  October 3
Patron Saint:
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana
  • The Knights of Columbus of Indianapolis, Indiana

Saint Mother Théodore Guérin (1798–1856), designated by the Vatican as Saint Theodora, is the foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, a congregation of Catholic nuns. After a standard process of approval within the church often referred to as a "cause for sainthood," she was beatified by Pope John Paul II in October 1998 and finally canonized a saint of the Roman Catholic church on October 15, 2006, by Pope Benedict XVI. Guerin is particularly known for her advancement of education in Indiana and elsewhere, founding numerous schools including Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Early life

She was born Anne-Thérèse Guérin on October 2, 1798, in the village of Étables-sur-Mer in Brittany, France. Her parents were Laurent Guérin, an officer in the French Navy under Napoleon Bonaparte, and Isabelle Guérin, née Lefèvre. Anne-Thérèse was born near the end of the French Revolution, which had torn France apart and caused a crisis within French Catholicism. Schools and churches were closed, and many Catholic priests had chosen exile over the guillotine.

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.

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.

Entering 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. Théodore. She professed first vows September 8, 1825, and perpetual vows, which at the time were optional, on September 5, 1831.

Sister St. Théodore was first sent to teach at Preuilly-sur-Claise in central France. There, she became ill, most likely 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.

During her career in France, Sister St. Théodore also taught at St. Aubin parish school in Rennes and taught and visited the sick and 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.

From France to Indiana

A request from Vincennes

In 1839 the Most Reverend Simon William Gabriel Bruté, the first bishop of the vast Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana, sent Célestine Guynemer de la Hailandière as a representative to their native France. Bruté was in search of a religious congregation to come to the diocese and teach, provide religious instruction, and assist the sick. With only a few priests and a great influx of Catholic immigrants of French, Irish and German descent, the diocese was in need of assistance. Bruté knew the great assistance a religious order could provide, having worked with Mother St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and her Sisters of Charity during the founding and early years of Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

While Hailandière was in France, Bishop Bruté died in Vincennes, and Hailandière was then consecrated bishop of the diocese. One of the first acts of the newly ordained bishop was to request the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé-sur-Loir to send a group of sisters to minister in Vincennes.

The superior general of the Sisters of Providence suggested Sister St. Théodore for the task. Although she was unsure of her own abilities to complete such a mission at first, after considerable discernment, Sister St. Théodore agreed. Later she said that it was a sentence from the Rule of the Congregation, "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," that convinced her to answer the American call.

Founding a new order in Indiana

In July 1840, Sister St. Théodore and five companions (Sister Olympiade Boyer, Sister Saint Vincent Ferrer Gagé, Sister Basilide Sénéschal, Sister Mary Xavier Lerée and Sister Mary Liguori Tiercin) departed from France to sail to America. After a treacherous journey across the Atlantic Ocean, the six women traveled by steamboat and stagecoach to the dense forest of the Indiana territory.

On October 22, 1840, Sister St. Théodore and her companions stepped from a carriage into the wilds Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, a small village in Vigo County a few miles northwest of Terre Haute. For several months, they lived packed into the small frontier farmhouse of the local Thralls family along with a few postulants that had been waiting for them when they arrived. With the founding of this new order separate from that in France, Guerin became known as Mother Theodore, the superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Life work

The gravestone of Mother Theodore.
One final resting place of Mother Theodore in the Sisters of Providence Convent Cemetery.


Despite their humble resources, in July 1841 Guerin and the sisters opened St. Mary's Academy for Young Ladies, which later became Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Guerin did have doubts concerning the success of the institution. In her journals is written, "It is astonishing that this remote solitude has been chosen for a novitiate and especially for an academy. All appearances are against it." For more than a decade, from 1841 to 1852, this Academy was the only Catholic boarding school for girls in Indiana.

In an attempt to help parishes establish schools for their children, Mother Théodore, 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, Indiana and North Madison, Indiana; in 1854, at Lanesville, Indiana; and in 1855 at Columbus, Indiana, south of Indianapolis. Additionally, with Bishop de Saint-Palais, she established two orphanages in Vincennes.

Growth of the congregation

Guerin proved to be a skilled businesswoman and leader as well as a beloved general superior. By the time of Mother Théodore'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.

Death of Mother Theodore

After a period of sickness, Guerin died at age 57 on May 14, 1856. The Catholic Telegraph and Advocate in Cincinnati, published the following notice about Mother Théodore's death.
Died - At Saint Mary's-of-the-Woods (sic), in the 58th year of her age, Wednesday, 14th inst., Sister St. Théodore, 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.'



Cause for sainthood

In 1907, Bishop Francis Silas Chatard, the first bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis, requested that the body of Mother Theodore be exhumed and examined. Chatard, a medical doctor before becoming a priest, was hearing much about her heroic life and service to the people of the area. When the body was exhumed the brain was found to be perfectly intact after 51 years in the grave. This phenomenon encouraged Chatard to introduce the Cause for Canonization, the long and thorough process of declaring saints in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Cause for the beatification and canonization of Mother Théodore Guérin was opened in 1909. In October 1998, Pope John Paul II bestowed the title "Blessed" on Mother Théodore 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 later signed a document recognizing a second miracle attributed to her, and her canonization ceremony was held on October 15, 2006.

Miracles attributed to Guerin

The first miracle attributed to Guérin is said to have occurred in 1908. Before going to bed, Sister of Providence Mary Theodosia Mug prayed at Guérin's tomb to be healed of her damaged nerves, poor eyesight, breast cancer and an abdominal tumor. When she awoke the next day, Sister Mary Theodosia was healed.

The second of the miracles attributed to her involves Phil McCord of Terre Haute, Indiana, and occurred in January 2001. McCord, who had worked in facilities management for the Sisters of Providence, stopped by the Church of the Immaculate Conception on the grounds and was drawn in by music from the pipe organ there. While in the church he felt compelled to pray to Guérin, asking for strength to undergo a medical operation for his failing eyesight, as his eyes had deteriorated to legally blind status: 20-800 in one eye and 20-1000 in the other. After praying, he went home. When he awoke the next morning, his vision had returned to 20-20, and his eye now needed only laser treatment to remove old tissue.

National Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

The national shrine for Saint Theodora is currently in the Church of the Immaculate Conception on the motherhouse grounds in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. This shrine includes her coffin, made of walnut wood from the Sisters of Providence grounds. The Sisters of Providence maintain various relics of her life in their congregation archives as well as in a Heritage Museum in Providence Center on the grounds. A statue is placed in Mary's Garden of her created by artist Teresa Clark.



More than 5,200 women have entered the Sisters of Providence since 1840. As of 2010, there are nearly 400 sisters in the order, roughly 300 of whom live and minister from the motherhouse grounds in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Other sisters minister in 19 U.S. states and Asia. (Currently, foreign missions are in Taiwan and China.)


  • Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
  • Guerin College Preparatory High School
  • St. Theodore Guerin High School


Saint Mother Theodore has been named patron of:
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana
  • The Knights of Columbus of Indianapolis, Indiana


Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Memorial Highway

On October 10, 2006, Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana, unveiled four highway markers in a ceremony at the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. These markers read “Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Memorial Highway” and were placed in four locations along U.S. Route 150, the highway near Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Hoosier Pioneer

On November 3, 2007, Guerin was given the title “Hoosier Pioneer” by the Indiana Historical Society. This honor is given only to persons whose contributions to the development of the state of Indiana were made by 1840, the year that Guerin began her missionary activities with five other sisters in the area of education and care of the sick.


  • Brown, Mary Borromeo (1949). History of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods: Volume I. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana: Benziger Brothers Inc..
  • Vatican News Service (October 15, 2006). Théodore Guérin (1798-1856). Rome. Retrieved October 29, 2009.
  • Mug, Mary Theodosia (1904). Life and Life-Work of Mother Theodore Guerin. New York: Benzinger Bros..
  • Mitchell, Penny Blaker (1998). Mother Théodore Guérin: A Woman for Our Time. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana: Sisters of Providence.
  •  Burton, Catherine; Mary K. Doyle (forward and afterword) (2006). The Eighth American Saint: The Life of Saint Mother Théodore Guérin, Foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Skokie, Illinois: ACTA Publications.
  •  Guérin, Théodore; Mary Theodosia Mug, ed. (1937). Journals and Letters of Mother Théodore Guérin, Foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana: Sisters of Providence.
  • Briggs, Bill (2010). The Third Miracle. New York: Broadway Books. pp. 24–30. ISBN 978-0-7679-3269-1.


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today Snippet: Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods


Church of the Immaculate Conception,
The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods are an apostolic congregation of Catholic women founded by Saint Theodora Guerin (known colloquially as Saint Mother Theodore) at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, in 1840. Mother Theodore and her companions left the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé-sur-Loir, France at the invitation of the Bishop of Vincennes to found the Sisters of Providence in the United States. In 1843, the Indiana congregation became independent of the religious institute in Ruillé, and the Rules of the Congregation were approved by the Holy See in 1887.

More than 5,200 women have entered the Sisters of Providence since 1840. As of 2010, there are nearly 400 sisters in the institute, roughly 300 of whom live and minister from the motherhouse grounds in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Other sisters minister in 19 U.S. states and Asia.

Currently, foreign missions are in Taiwan and China. Former foreign mission were in Peru and Antigua.
Sisters of Providence are designated by the initials "SP" following their name in print. The congregation is a member of the Women of Providence in Collaboration.

Saint Mother Theodore was canonized on October 15, 2006. Her remains are currently enshrined in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, as well as a portion buried in the Sisters of Providence Convent Cemetery.


According to their mission statement, Sisters of Providence are "dedicated to the mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing ourselves to works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people."

Individual sisters are free to worship in their own ways and places of ministry. On the motherhouse grounds of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, the congregation has daily mass available in the Church of the Immaculate Conception. The grounds are also home to numerous shrines and sacred places, including the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, the Saint Anne Shell Chapel, the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Providence, and a walking labyrinth. An outdoor set of the stations of the cross leads into the Sisters of Providence Convent Cemetery.


In 1840 at the invitation of Bishop Simon Bruté of the Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana, the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé-sur-Loir, France sent Sister St. Theodore Guerin to open a school and minister to people in the Diocese of Vincennes. She was accompanied by five other sisters: Sister St. Vincent Ferrer (Victoire) Gagé, Sister Basilide (Josephine) Sénéschal, Sister Olympiade (Therese) Boyer, Sister Mary Xavier (Francis Louise) Lerée and Sister Mary Liguori (Louise Frances) Tiercin.

After a rough journey across the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern United States, the sisters arrived in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana on October 22, 1840. They were given living accommodations by a local family, Joseph and Sarah Thralls. (This location is now honored with a historical marker from the Indiana Historical Bureau.)

Educational ministry

Educators from the beginning, the sisters began building an academy for girls called The Academy in 1840. The first student at the academy arrived for enrollment July 4, 1841. The Academy is now known as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and is the oldest Roman Catholic college for women in the United States.

The sisters soon found themselves in charge of or staffing several local schools, including St. Joseph's Parochial Catholic School, St. Benedict's German Catholic School, and St. Patrick's Day School, all in nearby Terre Haute. As their reputation as educators grew, Sisters of Providence would eventually staff schools across Indiana. They also would extend their ministry into Illinois, Massachusetts, California, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, other states and the District of Columbia. They have also staffed schools internationally in China, Taiwan, and at Colegio San José in Arequipa, Peru.

Mission in Asia

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods were the first congregation of American women religious to establish a mission in China.

Ministry in Kaifeng

In the summer of 1919, Bishop Joseph Tacconi of Kaifeng, China, met with Sisters of Providence general superior Mother Mary Cleophas Foley to request sisters for a school for young women in Kaifeng. Sister Marie Gratia Luking led this group of sisters to Kaifeng to open an elementary school and a junior middle school for girls.

Luking and her companions arrived in Kaifeng on November 24, 1920. Soon after arriving, the sisters opened a medical dispensary and the Hua Mei School for Girls. The sisters ministered here until 1927 when the Communist army of Mao Zedong reached Kaifeng. The sisters were forced to leave, taking refuge with the Maryknoll Sisters in Korea.

In 1929 they returned to Kaifeng and opened an orphanage as well as a novitiate for women wanting to enter religious life. This native congregation, the Providence Sister-Catechists, received papal approval in 1932. Ching I Middle School was opened September 12, 1932.

World War II

Japan began threatening China by 1935, and air raids, bombings and attacks by soldiers became commonplace. Kaifeng was bombed March 25, 1938. Soon the school and novitiate became a place of refuge for people seeking safe haven. Though Kaifeng fell to the Japanese June 6, 1938, and life became more difficult for the sisters, they remained in their compound.

On December 8, 1941, the sisters' compound in Kaifeng was attacked by Japanese soldiers. The sisters from the United States were forced to relocate to a Baptist mission compound and then a Benedictine Sisters' compound in Kaifeng. On March 22, 1943, the Sisters of Providence and all other U.S. missionaries were interned at the Weihsien Compound, a concentration camp in Shandong. Five months later U.S. internees were again relocated, this time to Peking where they were placed under house arrest with the Spanish Daughters of Jesus.

In September 1945 after the war had ended, the sisters returned to Kaifeng and repaired their compound, I Ching School and the novitiate. However, China was soon politically plagued by internal strife between the Communists and the Nationalists. As the Communist armies advanced to Kaifeng, the United States Consulate General advised U.S. citizens to leave. The sisters spent some time with the Religious of the Sacred Heart in Shanghai.


As China fell under Communist rule, 23 Sisters of Providence and Providence Sister-Catechists moved to Taiwan, then known as Formosa, and settled in Taichung. Luking and the other sisters began building a new college. The school, now known as Providence University, opened in 1949 and moved to the region of Shalu, Taichung in 1987.

Currently, Sisters of Providence work in multiple ministries in Taiwan. In addition to ministry at Providence University, sisters staff multiple facilities for care of children and adults with mental and/or physical disabilities including St. Theresa Opportunity Center in Yucheng, Reed School in Hsinchu, St. Camillus de Lellis Center for the Mentally Challenged in Penghu and Miracle Place in Taishan.

Recently, the Sisters of Providence have returned to China again in hopes of establishing ministries there such as elder care, education or religious formation.

Current ministries

Sisters of Providence work in the areas of education, health care, peace and justice, social services and spiritual development. In addition to the individual ministries of its sisters, the congregation funds multiple ministry organizations.

Providence Center

Providence Center is the welcoming center of the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The facility includes the Sisters of Providence heritage museum, with exhibits about Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, the history of the congregation, and the ministries of the Sisters of Providence. Also preserved at the Center is a set of twelve historical dioramas, began by Henri Marchand and completed by Gregory Kamka.
There is also a gift shop, dining services in O'Shaughnessy Dining Hall and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Providence.

White Violet Center for Eco-Justice

White Violet Center for Eco-Justice focuses on organic agriculture, eco-justice education, spiritual ecology and social advocacy. Founded in 1995, the center maintains a herd of alpacas, 343 acres (1.39 km2) of state-certified organic farmland, bees, a berry patch, a farmers' market, classified forest and orchards. White Violet Center is considered an "engaged project" by the Yale University Forum on Religion and Ecology.

Guerin Outreach Ministries

Guerin Outreach Ministries is made up of three ministries: Education and Family Services in West Terre Haute, Indiana; Providence Family Services in West Humboldt Park, Chicago; and Providence in the Desert in southern California. These ministries provide adult literacy/GED instruction, tutoring for school-age children, English as a Second Language classes, citizenship classes, music classes, computer literacy classes, and bilingual counseling.

Providence Self Sufficiency Ministries

Providence Self Sufficiency Ministries, Inc., (PSSM) collaborates with local agencies and organizations to provide need based services including foster care services, family reunification, counseling, low-income housing, senior citizen care, and low-income medical treatment. Associated organizations are Guerin Woods, Providence House for Children, and The Meadows of Guerin in Georgetown, Floyd County, Indiana and Saint Ann Clinic in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Peace and justice

The congregation has elected to focus on several social justice issues: women in church/society, eco-justice, racism, nonviolent strategies for peace and disarmament, immigrant rights, and persons living in poverty.
Several ministries of the Sisters of Providence address these issues, including White Violet Center for Eco-Justice, Guerin Outreach Ministries, Providence Self Sufficiency Ministries.

The Sisters of Providence administer grants to not-for-profit systemic change groups with limited access to other funding through their Poverty and Justice Fund. They are also a founding congregation and sponsoring member of 8th Day Center for Justice, based out of Chicago.

Death penalty and prison reform

Numerous Sisters of Providence participate in prison ministry, visiting and writing to inmates. The General Council of the Sisters of Providence adopted a public stance against the death penalty in 1995 in collaboration with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Sisters of Providence plan prayer vigils, write letters to government leaders and provide media relations support for this cause.

The only federal execution chamber in the United States is located at the Federal Correctional Complex just south of Terre Haute, Indiana, only five miles away from the motherhouse of the Sisters of Providence in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.


The Sisters of Providence Anti-Racism Team works to dismantle systemic racism within the Sisters of Providence, their sponsored institutions, places of ministry and the larger society. The Sisters of Providence Litany of Non-violence reads, in part, "Deliver us from the silence that gives consent to abuse, war and evil. Grant us the desire, and the courage, to risk speaking and acting for the common good."

Prisoners of Conscience

Since 1990, numerous Sisters of Providence have been involved with School of the Americas Watch in protest of the training of mainly Latin American military officers, by the United States Department of Defense, at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Several Sisters of Providence have chosen to take direct action in protest, facing legal repercussions for crossing onto federal property at Fort Benning. For action in November 2001, Sister Kathleen Desautels was convicted of federal trespassing and served a six-month sentence at the Federal Prison Camp in Greenville, Illinois. Other sisters have been arrested and sentenced to house arrest, community service and probation.

Green projects

In accordance with their commitment to eco-justice, the Sisters of Providence installed a biomass boiler to heat and power the buildings on their motherhouse grounds in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The boiler burns downed trees, trimmings and scrap wood from construction projects, all donated by local tree services, cities and manufacturing companies.

The Sisters of Providence also produce their own biodiesel for use in lawn mowers and off-road trucks on the grounds. They maintain a significant recycling program and use a sustainable irrigation system for their organic gardens and orchards.



  • Bradsby, H.C. (1891). History of Vigo County, Indiana, with Biographical Selections. Chicago: S. B. Nelson & Co.. pp. 543–544.
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