SAINT MARY-OF-THE-WOODS — A large mural featuring the life of St. Mother Theodore Guérin that soon will have a permanent home in the rotunda of the Vigo County Court House was unveiled May 6 in Providence Center at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
St. Mother Theodore, foundress of the Sisters of Providence, was canonized Oct. 15, 2006, in Rome by Pope Benedict XVI. She came to the United States in 1840 to establish the Sisters of Providence.
The five-foot-by-ten-foot mural was created by well-known Terre Haute artist Bill Wolfe, who was assisted by Terre Haute artist Becky Gropp-Hochhalter. The frame for the mural was made by Keith Ruble of the Vigo County Park and Recreation Department. About half of the lumber used for the frame came from the same walnut stock that was used for St. Mother Theodore’s coffin. The coffin rests for public veneration in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
The mural shows St. Mother Theodore as a baby, then as a young woman walking on the Breton Shore in France. A map of France locates the French motherhouse for the Sisters of Providence.
The central image shows Saint Mother Theodore kneeling in prayer at the ship’s bow as she and her companions prepare to arrive in the United States. Other images show LeFer Bridge at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, St. Mother Theodore welcoming students to the Academy, now Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, the sisters’ journey by stagecoach across swollen river waters to their new home, a sister carrying firewood to a log cabin and a map of Indiana documenting the state’s only Catholic saint.
Also shown is an authentic replica of St. Mother Theodore’s handwriting from her journals.
“I’m happy it’s completed and I’m honored to have had this opportunity to document history, not only for Mother Guérin, but also the other parts of history in Vigo County,” Wolfe said about the three-month project.
Wolfe also will create three other murals about Vigo County’s history for the rotunda project.
Sister Denise Wilkinson, the Congregation’s general superior, hosted the unveiling reception in the Providence Center lobby on behalf of the Congregation.
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