St. Theodore (Anne-Therese) Guerin was born October 2, 1798, in Etables, France. She entered the Sisters of Providence of Ruille-sur-Loir in 1823. Mother Theodore educated children and cared for the sick poor in France for 17 years.
In 1840, in response to a request from the bishop of Vincennes, Indiana, Mother Theodore led a group of five Sisters of Providence to the United States to establish a motherhouse and novitiate, to educate children of pioneer families and to care for the sick poor.
Mother Theodore and her companion sisters arrived in the remote forest wilderness of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, the evening of October 22, 1840.
The following summer, Mother Theodore opened an Academy, now known as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. In March 1842, she opened a school in Jasper, Indiana. In the years that followed, Mother Theodore established schools throughout Indiana, two orphanages in Vincennes and free pharmacies at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Vincennes.
Mother Theodore died May 14, 1856.
In October 1998, Mother Theodore received the title “Blessed” during a beatification ceremony in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
On October 15, 2006, Mother Theodore was canonized into sainthood. Canonization is the formal declaration by the Church that a Christian whose life was an outstanding witness to Christian virtue is now in heaven and interceding for us. With canonization, Mother Theodore received the title “saint” and was approved to be venerated by the worldwide Church. As the patroness of Saint Theodore Guerin High School and the first “Hoosier” to become declared a saint, her canonization is a historic event for the school and entire community.
A shrine honoring Mother Theodore is located in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
St. Theodore Guerin’s feast day is celebrated October 3.