An American Saint’s Journal

Two years ago, Mother Theodore Guerin was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI, making her America’s newest saint.  (Though I’m pretty sure she never became an official American citizen, she did come here from France at age 42, and spent the last 14 years of her life here, doing some extraordinary and tireless work for God during that time.) 

I did an article on her canonization at the time for Our Sunday Visitor, which included interviewing the vice-postulator of Mother Theodore’s cause, and it was all extremely interesting.  She deserves to be better known among American Catholics.

So I was pleased to see this news today: A journal that St. Theodore kept throughout her American years, which has been carefully preserved by the Sisters of Providence, the community in Indiana that she founded, is now digitized and available to all on the internet.  All 260 pages can be view here.  The work was done with the help of the Indiana Historical Society. 

The Sisters of Providence website tells us:

According to the July/August 2008 issue of the Indiana Historical Society’s publication, INPerspective, “After receiving permission to separate the pages by clipping what remained of the stitches, each sheet was gently humidified to relax the center crease and then gently flattened. Some pages have been mended with an early conservation technique that uses undyed sheer silk gauze and wheat starch paste to cover fragile areas, which allows the script to be read while holding the torn areas together.”

Sister Mary worked closely with Ramona Duncan-Huse, senior director of the Indiana Historical Society Conservation. In an e-mail correspondence to Sister Mary, Ramona wrote about this project. “We have finished the Guerin diary; attached is the first page! We are very excited about the research these digital images will allow. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to work with this very special artifact — special not only to the Sisters of Providence, but to the world.”

They appear to be all in French.  But I’m sure they’ll make an excellent resource for research into the history of the Church in that part of America, as well as into the life and spirituality of Mother Theodore.


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