January 31, 2003

Cure attributed to intercession of
Mother Theodore Guérin is being investigated

By Jennifer Lindberg

An examination into the claim of a cure attributed to the intercession of Blessed Mother Theodore Guérin, who founded the Sisters of Providence and Saint Mary-of the Woods College near Terre Haute, opened in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis on Jan. 23.

Dr. Andrea Ambrosi of Rome, postulator for Blessed Mother Theodore’s Cause, and a layman who is certified to bring such causes before the Congregation of the Causes of Saints at the Vatican, believes sufficient information is available to proceed with the formal investigation.

The official process for canonization requires that a person have two miracles attributed to his or her intercession. Currently, the healing of a nun with cancer is the first miracle that allowed Mother Theodore to receive the honor of being called blessed.

Ambrosi arrived in Indianapolis on Jan. 20 and spent two days working on details to prepare for the opening of the examination and seeking additional information from those who spoke before the Archdiocesan Tribunal. The identity of the person involved in the claim and details about the claim are not being released publicly, said David Cox, media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence.

Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger, of the Diocese of Evansville, presided at the opening of the investigation at the request of Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, who was unable to attend.

Additional testimony regarding the cure will be gathered and is expected to be completed by April. Afterward, the testimony will be sent to the apostolic delegate in Washington, D.C., who will send the information to the Congregation for Sainthood in Rome.

In Rome, a team of medical doctors, a team of theologians and a consistory of cardinals will review it. Ambrosi, who has brought 350 saint causes to the Vatican, said this is the most difficult moment
in any cause.

As a postulator, Ambrosi must have a certificate and training from the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints in Rome to begin helping with a sainthood cause. He has studied theology and juridical procedure in the Church.

Most recently, four of his causes have reached canonization, which included two nuns and two priests. After the cardinals, doctors and theologians approve the information, it is presented to Pope John Paul II, who has final approval.

Cox estimates that it will take almost two years to complete the current process. However, there is
no certain timetable for it.

Officially, Mother Theodore’s cause began in 1909. Sister Ann Margaret O’Hara, general superior
of the Sisters of Providence, attended the tribunal hearing, along with Sister Marie Kevin Tighe,
promoter of the Cause for Mother Theodore.Sister Marie Kevin will serve as vice postulator in the cause.

“As we move into this formal stage of verifying a healing through Mother Theodore’s intercession,
we are called upon for prayer and to focus on a deeper understanding of how present she is to all
of us today,” said Sister Ann Margaret.

Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Theodore on Oct. 25, 1998, moving her one step closer to being a saint.

Her beatification was based on her intercession in the healing of Providence Sister Mary Theodosia Mug, whose cancer and other related health problems were cured without medicine.

In the Church, a miracle is attributed only when a healing occurs spontaneously and there is no
medical explanation for why it happened.

The Sisters of Providence have 530 religious women, whose motherhouse is at Saint Mary-of-the-
Woods. Blessed Mother Theodore Guérin founded the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840 when Indiana was a dense forest and had few roads.

Today, the sisters minister in 21 states, the District of Columbia, Taiwan, China and the Philippines. †


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