April 27, 2001

Part of highway to be named for
Blessed Mother Theodore Guérin

By Mary Ann Wyand

A section of U.S. Highway 150 near Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and the motherhouse of the Sisters of Providence will be named in honor of Blessed Mother Theodore Guérin, foundress of the order.

The honorary designation is the result of a resolution approved by the Indiana House of Representatives last month during the first regular session of the 112th General Assembly.

State representatives adopted House Resolution No. 31, urging the Indiana Department of Transportation to name part of the highway for Mother Theodore, by voice vote on March 12.

The resolution was sponsored by Rep. John Gregg of Sandborn, Speaker of the House, and Reps. F. Dale Grubb of Covington, Clyde Kersey of Terre Haute and Vern Tincher of Riley.

Kathy Noland, director of communications and legislative affairs for the state Department of Transportation, said the signage will be installed along the highway this summer.

Noland said state highways are most frequently named in honor of war veterans and people who made significant civic contributions in Indiana. She said this is the first time that a Catholic woman religious has been honored in this way.

This honor for Mother Theodore recognizes that “she was beatified by the pope in 1998,” Gregg said. “I think with all that the Sisters of Providence have done in our area as a result of Blessed Mother Theodore coming to our area, and with the college there, the very least that we can do is
name [part of] that highway after a person who made such a great contribution to the Wabash Valley and western Indiana.”

He said the designation also honors the Sisters of Providence for their “strong characteristics of mercy and justice.”

House Resolution No. 31 calls attention to Blessed Mother Theodore’s historic contributions to the state after she “came to pioneer Indiana from her native country France in 1840 with five other sisters at the request of the bishop of Vincennes to teach the children of pioneers and establish a
home for the Sisters of Providence northwest of Terre Haute.”

The resolution also honors Mother Theodore for establishing“a school for girls that would eventually become Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, the oldest Catholic liberal arts college for women in the United States,” as well as other Catholic schools throughout Indiana.

It also commends the Sisters of Providence for their commitment to “living the virtues of love, mercy and justice,” and for their ministries of “adult education, medical assistance, home rehabilitation and food service programs for the underprivileged.”

Providence Sister Diane Ris, the congregation’s general superior, said “Blessed Mother Theodore Guérin gave herself fully in providing quality education and establishing schools all over Indiana. To receive this resolution from the Indiana General Assembly, honoring Mother Theodore’s contributions to education across the state, is deeply appreciated by the Sisters of Providence.” †


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