Thursday, October 3, 2002

The irony about the previous post is that this story ran in the paper on the memorial of Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin, a strong and untiring missionary sister who worked in these parts in the 19th century.

Mother Guerin was a French Sister of Providence who immigrated to the US in 1840 to minister here in Indiana. Her biography says that she founded a school here in Fort Wayne, but I don't know which one - the Perpetual Adoration chapel in our parish is named after her, but since our parish was founded in the 1930's, I don't think this was Mother Guerin's school.

Michael, Joseph and I paid a visit to St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, founded by Mother Guerin in Terre Haute, summer before last. We were struck by the discomfort the modern sisters (at least those in charge of the chapel and grounds) obviously seem to feel about their foundress. She is buried in the church, but her place of burial isn't set off by any sort of barrier - you could walk right over the plate set into the floor, if you're not careful. The "shrine" is basically the narthex, or (in plain English) the vestibule of the chapel - there's a couple of chairs and a painting of Mother Guerin. It looks like the waiting room of a funeral parlor.

If these sisters seem ill at ease with the foundress of their college, one can only imagine what she'd say about them - despite the good work many continue to do, as pointed out by Ed in the comments. The schedule of retreats for the fall include programs on The Enneagram and Spirituality and Earth Spirituality. (These ladies are pretty down with Gaia all around - the college offers a graduate degree in "Earth Literacy.") There's also Zen meditation on Wednesday evenings.

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