Happy Anniversary Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN

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Missionaries make great personal sacrifices to promote the faith to people who may otherwise never know Jesus. In 1840 Saint Theodora, also known as St. Mother Theodore Guerin, and her five companions left their families, friends, and familiarity of their native country to sail across the ocean to the dense forests of the American Midwest. Their mission was to open Catholic schools for children and the higher education of women and recruit and teach young women to assist them in their work as Sisters of Providence.

This year marks the beginning of a celebration in honor of the Sisters’ 175 year history in the U.S. In the month of October, we remember St. Theodora’s birthday (October 2) and feast day (October 3).

Festivities for the year of celebrations in honor of their anniversary begin on Foundation Day (October 22), the day Saint Theodora and five other sisters set foot on the soil of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. On that day there will be a celebration of the Eucharist at 11 a.m. in the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

October 25 is the grand opening of the shrine of Saint Mother Theodore/Saint Theodora. Tours and light refreshments will be available from 1 to 4 p.m. and conclude with a prayer service at 4 p.m.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods sits on 1200 wooded acres nestled in the Midwest near Terre Haute, Indiana. The peaceful grounds are lovely year-round and feature a marker where St. Theodora first stepped off the carriage, statues of Our Lady of Fatima and honored saints, a grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes, the Saint Anne Shell Chapel, the cemetery of the Sisters of Providence, Our Lady of Providence chapel, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Providence Gift Shop, an alpaca farm, the Sisters of Providence motherhouse, and St. Mary-of-the-Woods College campus as well as the new shrine. The opportunity to walk the physical steps of a saint and pray close to her remains is a spiritual experience worth the trip.

More celebrations are scheduled for next year as well.

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

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Chicago Catholic Church

Just because we belong to the same church does not mean we believe exactly the same way. See my review on the book, An Irrepressible Hope, which highlights stories from Catholics in Chicago.

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We are never alone. In our times of greatest sorrow, the Lord surrounds us with his love and the assistance of saints and angels, Mary being the greatest of all. See my review on my book, Grieving with Mary.

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Blessed Are the Merciful

God’s mercy for us is abundant. It is extended to us in spite of the fact that we are sinners. We do nothing to earn it. But we are mandated to extend it to others.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy (Matthew 5:7), says Scripture. We are required to be non-judgmental and compassionate to all those in need. We are to forgive everyone at all times. This is the essence of mercy.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Mercy is considered a moral virtue.

It is expressed in what is considered corporal and spiritual works. Corporal works of mercy include feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and imprisoned, ransoming the captive, and burying the dead.

The spiritual works of mercy include instructing the ignorant, advising the doubtful, correcting sinners, showing patience to sinners, willingly forgiving offences, comforting the afflicted, and praying for the living and the dead.

The Sisters of Providence’s mission is committed to performing works of love, mercy, and justice. Saint Theodora and the sisters did, and continue to do, all of these things. Their ministries consist of working with the poor, hungry, needy, and imprisoned. They teach both academics and our faith. They comfort those in need.

And Saint Theodore was an incredible example of forgiveness. Numerous people, including those who were to assist her work in America, treated her poorly. They often obstructed her ministries. However, she quickly and continuously forgave them. Nothing prevented her from what she believed was God’s work and her gratitude for God’s mercy toward her.

She wrote, “As to myself in particular, I cannot cease admiring the merciful ways of God. Thank him for us and beseech Him, let me repeat it, that we may become daughters according to His Heart. “

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

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Reclaiming Your Life After Abuse

Bad things do happen to good people. Picking up the pieces and marching on is important in reclaiming your life. See my comments on Michael D. Hoffman’s book, Acts of Recovery, about moving forward after abuse by a priest: Acts of Recovery /

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Angels Ready and Waiting

The Lord has our back. We have a team of angels watching out for us. The Angel Devotion Prayerbook can help you pray to some very special angels. See my write-up on the book on Doyle’s Delights:   Angel Power

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Striving for Excellence From the Back of the Church

We typically are so caught up in our own lives it’s difficult to truly understand life from someone else’s perspective. The book, From the Back of the Pews to the Head of the Class opened my eyes as to what it was like being an African American child in the 1960’s–the push for excellence in the Catholic school, and yet, their relegation to the back of the church. This book is worth reading. See my review here: Doyle’s Delights.

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