St Theodora Guerin -3rd October

The Story of St. Theodore Guerin

St. Theodore Guerin (1798–1856), also known as St. Theodora, was born in Etables, France, towards the end of the French Revolution. She was a pious child who loved prayer and who knew her vocation was to be a nun. However, she was delayed in following this path after the murder of her father when she was 15, which, in addition to the previous death of two of her siblings, sent her mother into a deep depression. St. Theodore took on the household tasks and the care of her mother and her remaining sister. Finally, when she was 25, her mother gave her consent, and Theodore left home to enter the religous life. She joined the Sisters of Providence who served God by educating children and caring for the poor, the sick, and the dying. In 1840 she was asked to lead a band of missionary sisters and establish her order in the United States of America, specifically to serve the pioneers in Indiana. Even though her health was fragile, she crossed the Atlantic and then traveled by steamboat and stagecoach until she reached the wilderness mission of St. Mary of the Woods, which consisted only of a tiny log chapel. She and her five sisters endured the extreme hardships common to life on the frontier. Less than a year after arriving she opened an academy which became the first Catholic women’s Liberal Arts college in the United States, still active today, called St. Mary of the Woods College. St. Theodore also established numerous schools, pharmacies, and orphanages throughout the state of Indiana. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II and canonized in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin prayer

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin,
valiant woman of God,
intercede for us in our needs.
Implore for us through Jesus, the Christ,
the gifts of a living faith,
abiding hope
and steadfast charity,
so that
through a life of prayer
and service with others
we may aid in promoting
the Providence of God
among all peoples.

(Mention your request here…)
St Mother Theodore Guerin, pray for us.

Collect Prayer

Loving God,
in Saint Theodore Guérin
you have given us an example of a religious woman
who trusted deeply in Providence.
Through her intercession,
inspire us to dedicate our lives
to proclaiming the Gospel
through works of love, mercy, and justice.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Novena to Saint Mother Theodore Guerin
Day 1

Anne Therese Guerin, Saint Theodora, I call upon you to help me through my present situation. You know how dependent I am on God’s Providence to fill my need.

Out of love and respect for your holiness, as well as my admiration for your strength of character, I ask for your assistance now. You were able to withstand so many difficult situations, yet you relied on God’s endless Providence to meet the needs of you and your community.

Please implore Providence, on my behalf, to remember my needs.

(Mention your need or concern)

Thank you, Saint Mother Theodore, for coming to my side at this time of need. Allow me to lean on you with my concerns.


Day 2

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, again I call your name and ask you to walk with me for another day. You know my fears and concerns. You too experienced hardship and misunderstanding. Therefore, I can humbly come to you, asking for you to pray with me to our generous God to rain down the endless gifts of Providence. I know that my current need is not beyond Providence’s concern for me.

(Mention your need or concern.)

Saint Theodora, you feared what would become of you, and your little community, during those violent storms at sea in 1840. Now I too am experiencing life’s trials and am filled with concern. In your loving compassion, join me in my prayer, and I know our Providential God will hear us.

Thank you, Saint Mother Theodore, for being at my side while I am in such need.


Day 3

Mother Theodore, you were always so aware of the frailties of those for whom you had responsibility. You were willing to pray for them individually and to privately challenge them to face their spiritual flaws. Please see me as one of your companions who is in need of your wise mentoring.

Stay with me through this time of stress; help me understand what I can do on my own behalf and then pray with me to be graced with what only God’s Providence can provide for me

(Mention your need or concern.)

Thank you, Mother Theodore. It brings me a sense of serenity to know I am not alone. You understood it was your responsibility and your privilege to be at the side of your dearest friends during their final hours of life on earth. Therefore, I know I can count on you to stay with me when I am feeling so needy. With your help, I now release my needs to God’s loving Providence.


Day 4

Saint Mother

Theodore, again I come to you with my need for your assistance. My expectations are unending, but I know Providence’s gifts are too vast to count; therefore, I feel no shame in asking you to keep praying on my behalf.

(Mention your need or concern.)

Saint Mother Theodore, I know you suffered from people who questioned your motives and did not understand your deep spiritual standards as you set about the work of building a community that would endure. You have become a spiritual model for me, so I am making an effort to be more courageous and to set higher spiritual goals for myself. Thank you for your influence upon my soul.

Please help me.


Day 5

My dear Saint Mother Theodore, you knew the exhaustion and fear of an uncertain future. Therefore, I know you can sympathize with the concerns I am carrying now.

God’s Providence always brought good and generous people into your life to assist you in bringing your saintly goals to fruition. Please help me to purify my own motives in order to overcome the needs of my ego. Let my only desire be what God wills. Allow me to learn from your sense of purpose and grow in your ability to rely on God’s Providence to bring the outcome that will bless those who are affected by my life. If it be God’s will, I ask for this favor.

(Mention your need or concern.)

Please send your blessings to me. Stay by my side, my dear Anne Therese Guerin.


Day 6

In your lifetime, you relied on Saint Joseph, the Patron of the Church, to join with you in asking for God’s Providence to intervene … and it did! I can only imagine the great love that flows between your two sacred souls … as you and Saint Joseph share the overwhelming joy of God’s will being done in heaven — as we desire it to be done on earth.

I ask for you and Saint Joseph to intercede for me today.

(Mention your need or concern.)


Day 7

What happiness it brings me to reflect on your life and to come to an understanding of how God’s Providence sustained you in so many forms.

Saint Mother Theodore, I am aware your dear friends petitioned the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of Victory, on your behalf. Their nine-days novena imploring the Blessed Mother to restore you to good health did in fact bring about a cure. Please ask these same good souls, these holy and dear friends of yours who share your heavenly home, to join in praying for me now.

It is beyond my comprehension to imagine you, the Holy Virgin Mary, your friends and all the blessed souls, since the beginning of time, praising God and interceding for us here on earth. We need God’s providential care. I join in your praise and add my petition to that endless heavenly choir.

(Mention your need or concern.)

Thank you, my dear Saint Mother Theodore.


Day 8

My dear Anne Therese, today I come to you as a close friend. Speaking to you so openly each day allows me to feel the freedom to address you so intimately.

There seems to be something in your nature that comes to me as extraordinarily warm and endearing. The fact that you and your companions erected Saint Anne’s Shell Chapel deep among the trees at your beloved Saint Mary-of-the-Woods was a fitting way to honor Mary for miraculously saving you and your companions from drowning. Honoring Mary’s mother, Anne, was a unique inspiration that only one who loves with a daughter’s heart could understand. I too thank Mary Immaculate for sparing you to serve God as her son willed. Though I’m not in danger of drowning at sea, you know how consumed I am with my own needs. Please call upon Saint Anne and our holy Mother Mary to join you and me in asking for God’s assistance.

(Mention your need or concern.)

With you, my Mother Theodore, I ask God to help me to know and do God’s will during my time on earth.


Day 9

Mother Theodore, it seems right that I call you that. You were the spiritual mother to your fledgling group, the Sisters of Providence, where you showed that you loved each individual as if she were a beloved only child. You were given this ability to appreciate and articulate each person’s abilities and God-given attributes because you understood how important it is that we use our gifts to make God’s love visible in the world.

Your spiritual insights also gave you the wisdom to sense frailties and flaws that needed to be corrected. I desire that same kind of spiritual and earthly care. Look upon me with tenderness in my time of need.

Because you are a loving and spiritual mother, I ask you to also direct my spirit so I can better understand both the blessings and the frailties I carry within my soul. I aspire to be a more effective witness to God’s goodness, but I often let my own needs come first. Assist me in becoming more spiritually mature. Nevertheless, I also continue to ask you to intercede with your motherly love for me in my current need.

(Mention your need or concern.)

Thank you for your help, dear mother.