Skip to comments.Indiana Nun to be proclaimed a saint
Posted on 10/13/2006 1:36:17 PM PDT by Kaslin
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - An Indiana nun once banished from her congregation by a bishop will be proclaimed a saint on Sunday, providing a model of virtuous life to America's Roman Catholics even if they find themselves at odds with church leaders.
Pope Benedict XVI will canonize Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin as the first new U.S. saint in six years, a span marked in this country by the scandal over the sexual abuse of minors by clergy.
The pontiff also will canonize a Mexican bishop and two Italians who founded religious orders.
The celebration of a new saint offers a respite from the lawsuits and settlements that have dominated much of the discussion of the U.S. church in recent years, and Guerin's life story can inspire those struggling in their own faith, said members of the religious order she founded, the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods.
"The bishop here in Vincennes was impossible to work with, yet she always kept her faith. She held on to it," said Sister Marcia Speth, one of the order's leaders. "In that way, she witnesses to us how to be today in an imperfect, flawed, sinful church."
Guerin led a group of six French nuns who arrived in Indiana on Oct. 22, 1840, to establish a community in the woods outside Terre Haute. She and Vincennes Bishop Celestin de la Hailandiere struggled over control of the fledgling order, and he dismissed Guerin from her vows, threatened her with excommunication and banished her for a time from St. Mary-of-the-Woods. She did not return until after his resignation in 1847.
In that way, she is like many saints who found themselves bucking church authorities while alive, only to be acclaimed as saints after their deaths, said the Rev. Richard McBrien, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame and the author of the 2001 book "Lives of the Saints."
"So many leading figures who had tussles with their bishop or other high-ranking ecclesiastical officials were later rehabilitated. History remembers them, but not the officials who gave them a difficult time," McBrien said. "I dare say that Mother Guerin, as a soon-to-be-canonized saint, will achieve an elevated status that will forever elude the bishop who dismissed her."
When Guerin and fellow sisters stepped off the stagecoach at St. Mary-of-the Woods, only a simple church in a dense forest awaited them. They boarded with a local family until acquiring a small cabin that was so cold their bread froze. They faced anti-Catholic prejudice in frontier western Indiana.
Guerin raised money and built an academy for girls billed as the oldest Roman Catholic college for women in the U.S. It's known today as St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. The sisters also founded schools across Indiana. Today the order has 465 sisters, with 10 women currently in formation to become nuns.
Guerin, who died in 1856 at the age of 57, remains a role model for women at the college, said Samantha Dumm, a 19-year-old sophomore from Morgantown, Ind., who is traveling with other students to the Vatican for Sunday's canonization.
"She wants us to be strong women, stand up for ourselves and make our own way in life," Dumm said.
Guerin will become the eighth U.S. saint and the first one canonized since Sister Katherine Drexel in October 2000.
A little more than a year after Drexel's canonization, the scandal over the sex abuse by Catholic priests erupted in the Archdiocese of Boston and spread across the country. Since then, hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements have been paid out, and bishops' popularity has waned, despite reform measures.
Sister Marie Kevin Tighe, who promoted Guerin's cause for sainthood for the order, said she hopes the canonization will refocus the attention of Catholics and non-Catholics alike on holiness.
"I think every time it happens, it is an impetus for the rest of us," Tighe said. "God did not create just some people to be special. We are all on earth on a faith journey to heaven."
Benedict also will canonize Italian nun Rosa Venerini (1656-1728) and two 20th century clergymen: Italian priest Filippo Smaldone, founder of the Salesian order of nuns; and Mexican Bishop Rafael Guizar Valencia. Guizar was a great uncle of the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ order of priests whom the Vatican restricted from public ministry this year amid allegations he had sexually abused seminarians.
Guerin's path toward sainthood began in 1909 and accelerated earlier this year with the approval of the necessary second miracle attributed to her intercession. Phil McCord, an engineer who manages the campus of Guerin's order, had faced a corneal transplant but regained his vision in 2000 after praying for her help.
"I tell everyone it's on that long list of things I don't understand," said McCord, the son of a lay Baptist minister. But he believes in miracles after having spent 20 years in the health care industry before moving to St.-Mary-of-the-Woods nine years ago. "You don't work in health care without seeing things you can't explain."
To make Guerin's remains more accessible, the order moved them on Oct. 3, her feast day, to a casket at the front of the Church of the Immaculate Conception after they had been entombed in its floor. One day last week, 84-year-old St. Mary-of-the-Woods graduate Martha Love and her husband, James, of nearby Brazil, Ind., came to the church and touched her casket.
"She must have had a hard life," Martha Love said. "She worked so hard to get to this place."
Ninety Nine Nuns In An Indiana Nunnery bump
It would have been more accurate to call him Rev. Richard McBrien, dissenting heretic.
There's a big difference between having a difference of opinion with a bishop (whom she nevertheless apparently obeyed) when the bishop is wrong, and having a difference of opinion with a bishop who is speaking in defense of the doctrines of the Church.
McBrien is the second kind of dissenter, unlike this new saint.
The AP strikes again. I'm surprised they didn't get Frances Kissling to say that the new saint would have loved partial-birth abortion.
"Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future."
"Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent."
"Many people genuinely do not want to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings."
Thank you Oscar Wilde and George Orwell..
leave it to the press to work the clergy sex scandal into the second paragraph (heck, it was actually the second sentence) of a story on a saint who lived 160 years ago.
"On entering the village, they were met with a shower of stones, cruelly beaten with clubs, and then tied to posts to be burned to death.
Brébeuf is said to have kissed the stake to which he was bound. The fire was lighted under them, and their bodies slashed with knives.
Brébeuf had scalding water poured on his head in mockery of baptism, a collar of red-hot tomahawk-heads placed around his neck, a red-hot iron thrust down his throat, and when he expired his heart was cut out and eaten.
Through all the torture he never uttered a groan. The Iroquois withdrew when they had finished their work.
The remains of the victims were gathered up subsequently, and the head of Brébeuf is still kept as a relic at the Hôtel-Dieu, Quebec."
One does suppose I might have had family in that event too although it seems to me only the Mohawk ate hearts ~ so, probably not.
Life in early America was tough ~ really tough ~ and the people who came here to set up this great country were incredibly tough ~ and they stuck to their mission right down to the end.
Stories of their lives are worth reading and pondering.
I have never heard of her either. Check out the link that I provided in post#1
LOLOLOLOLOL! Wrong. ;)
Thanks for the ping, everyone is quite excited around here.
heh. heh, heh
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