October 20, 2006

Cause for beatification and canonization was initiated in 1909

The Criterion archives

The cause for the beatification and canonization of Mother Theodore Guérin began in September 1909 when Bishop Francis Silas Chatard, bishop of the then Diocese of Indianapolis, approved the opening of the informative process.

Events that occurred in 1907 and 1908 prompted the opening of the cause.

In 1907, when the remains of Mother Theodore were transferred from the Sisters of Providence Cemetery to a crypt in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, both at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, it was discovered that a portion of Mother Theodore’s brain tissue was intact, pink and healthy—even though her body was buried in 1856.

Then, during the night of Oct. 30, 1908, Providence Sister Mary Theodosia Mug was healed of cancer and neuritis after she prayed at Mother Theodore’s crypt for the health of another Sister of Providence.

During the informative process of the cause, 24 individuals testified to the holiness of Mother Theodore’s life. The end of the process in 1913 marked the beginning of a study of Mother Theodore’s writings, which were approved by the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints in July 1927.

The study of Mother Theodore’s life continued with interviews and research at dioceses in France and Indiana.

In 1956, Pope Pius XII approved and signed the Placet Eugenio to continue Mother Theodore’s cause. Subsequently, the apostolic process was introduced, also in 1956.

In October 1978, Providence Sister Joseph Eleanor Ryan began compiling the Positio, a documented account of the life, work and writings of Mother Theodore.

The Positio was acknowledged to be sufficient to measure the sanctity of Mother Theodore and was approved by the Vatican’s historical consultants and theologians.

On July 22, 1992, by papal decree, Pope John Paul II granted Mother Theodore the title “Venerable” in recognition of her virtuous and heroic life.

The next step in the cause involved a thorough investigation of the healing of Sister Mary Theodosia. The investigation included the study of medical practices common in Indiana in the early 1900s.

In November 1996, medical consultants affiliated with the Vatican approved the healing of Sister Mary Theodosia as a miracle through the intercession of Mother Theodore. Subsequently, the healing was approved by Vatican theologians in March 1997 and by cardinals in June 1997.

On July 7, 1997, Pope John Paul II accepted the healing of Sister Mary Theodosia as a miracle through the intercession of Mother Theodore. The acceptance of the healing as a miracle opened the way for the beatification of Mother Theodore on Oct. 25, 1998. †


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