November 6, 1998

Cause for beatification was initiated in 1909

Mother Theodore Guérin—whose life was characterized by constant faith in God’s Providence and unwavering devotion to prayer, to the Eucharist and to Mary, the mother of Jesus—founded the
Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840.

During the nearly 16 years of her life in the United States, Mother Theodore, who was born in 1798
and died in 1856, established Catholic schools throughout the state of Indiana and, in the process, was loved and respected by people of all religions.

Recognizing the love and holiness that permeated Mother Theodore’s actions, the people considered her to possess saintly qualities. Mother Theodore’s deep and everlasting spirituality was reflected in her eyes, in her gentle smile, in her presence, in her every action, word and deed.

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 she
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

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 Sacred Congregation for the Causes of
Saints in July 1927.

The study of Mother Theodore’s life continued with interviews and research in 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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