1839-2013.Origination : Sisters of Providence (Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind.)
Governed by contract.
Given by the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.
Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Records (SPS), University of Notre Dame Archives (UNDA), Notre Dame, IN 46556
Records consisting of photocopies of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin letters; files on Coadjutrix Sisters; Jubilee and Celebration Files; Theses and Dissertations by Sisters of Providence; biographies by or about the Sisters; spiritual and theological works written or translated by Sisters; books, pamphlets and scholarly works by Sisters of Providence; and other material, including family collections from the Brassie, Haag and Shirley, and Schaaf and Kuefler families; and files on popes, bishops, and clergy.
Founded in 1840 by Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods came to the Diocese of Vincennes at the invitation of the new bishop, Celestine de la Hailandiere. The old Catholic Encyclopedia describes their beginnings in these words: "Instead of being established in the episcopal city, as they had been led to expect, they were taken to a densely wooded country, where only the foundation of a building for them was completed; and they were obliged to find shelter in a neighbouring farmhouse, one room and a corn loft being at their disposal. After a few weeks the community obtained sole possession of this house, which then became the mother-house, called St. Mary-of-the-Woods. In the summer of 1841 the new building being completed, a boarding school was opened with seven pupils. In 1841 another member from the French mother-house arrived at St. Mary's, Irma Le Fer de la Motte, Sister St. Francis Xavier, who became mistress of novices. The foundress showed her foresight and capacity for organization and administration, in an educational plan providing for the advanced studies and culture of the time. As early as 1846, a charter was granted by the State empowering the institution to confer academic honours and collegiate degrees. While the new foundation prospered, many sufferings and hardships were endured, arising from the rigours of the climate, poverty, isolation, a foreign language, troublesome subjects, and the like. The keenest trial of all was misunderstanding with the bishop. It lasted seven years. At the Seventh Council of Baltimore, the bishop placed his difficulties before the assembly and offered his resignation, at the same time strongly denouncing the Sisters of Providence. In 1847, just as he had informed Mother Theodore that he deposed her from her office as superior-general (in which she had, with his consent, been confirmed for life), released her from her vows, and dismissed her from her congregation, the Papal Brief appointing Bishop Bazin to the See of Vincennes was received from Rome. The death of Mother Theodore occurred 14 May, 1856, and so eminent was her holiness that preliminaries have been undertaken for introducing the cause of her beatification at Rome."