Former Gov. Mitch Daniels' Newsroom

Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317/232-1622

For Immediate Release: Jul 21, 2006
Daniels adds Mother Theodore Guerin to portrait collection

INDIANAPOLIS (July 21, 2006) - Governor Mitch Daniels today unveiled a portrait of Mother Theodore Guerin as the newest addition to the Hoosier Heritage Portrait Collection that adorns the south wall of the Governor's Office.

"Mother Theodore has left a magnificent positive mark on the life of our state and the lives of countless Hoosiers," said Daniels. "She was brave. She was selfless, gave her life in service to others - she was a pioneer in every sense."

Mother Theodore moved from France to Indiana in 1840 to establish a ministry near Terre Haute. Her charge, as given by her superiors in France and the bishop of the Diocese of Vincennes, was to establish a novitiate, teach the children of pioneer families and minister among the ill and the poor. The first school she established in the summer of 1841 was the Sisters of Providence Academy which is now known as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, the oldest liberal arts Catholic college in the United States. Under Mother Theodore's leadership, schools were also founded throughout the state before expanding into Illinois, Massachusetts, and California.

In 1992, Pope John Paul II declared Mother Theodore "Venerable" and she was beatified in 1998 after her first miracle was recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. A second miracle was recognized in 2006 and a date was set for Mother Theodore's canonization. On October 15, at a ceremony in the Vatican, Mother Theodore will become the first person from Indiana and the eighth person from the United States to be canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.

In January, 2006, the governor designated the south wall of the governor's office as a place for portraits of historically important Hoosiers - a change in the longstanding tradition of hanging portraits solely of former governors. The portraits, which are loaned to the state, are part of a rotating exhibit that is updated periodically.

The portrait is on loan from the Sisters of Providence in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. It replaces portraits of Madam C.J. Walker and the Ball Brothers.

Mother Guerin's biography is attached.

Photos from the event are available here:

Audio from the event is available here:


Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin Bio

The Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin was born Anne-Therese Guerin on Oct. 2, 1798 in the village of Etables in Brittany, France. At a young age, Anne-Therese had a fondness for the ocean and beaches. She nurtured her love of God through prayer while enjoying nature's beauty.

At age 25, her mother gave permission for her to enter the ministry. She entered the Sisters of Providence of Ruille, France, Aug. 18, 1823 and was first known as Sister St. Theodore. She spent several years teaching and ministering to the sick.

The Most Reverend Simon Brute, bishop of the Diocese of Vincennes in the 1830s, had a desire for sisters to minister in the diocese. The superior of the Sisters of Providence of Ruille asked Sister St. Theodore to lead the mission, however, Sister St. Theodore was reluctant to accept the challenge because of health problems. She eventually agreed and began her arduous journey that eventually led her to Indiana.

Mother Theodore came to the United States from France in 1840 to establish a Congregation of women religious in a dense forest adjacent to a remote community known as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods near Terre Haute.

In her new homeland, she and her companion sisters started right away on their mission and opened an academy for girls less than nine months after their arrival in Indiana. Soon thereafter, under Mother Theodore's leadership, schools were founded throughout the state before expanding into other areas such as Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles.

Mother Theodore suffered from illness most of her life. She was treated for a disease at an early age, and the treatment is believed to have damaged her digestive system. Eventually, her condition overtook her, and she died May 14, 1856. Her remains rest in a tomb under the floor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception at the motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. A Celtic cross in Mother Theodore's memory stands prominently in the Congregation's cemetery bearing the inscription that reads "I sleep, but my heart watches over this house which I have built."

For more information on Mother Theodore and the Sisters of Providence, please visit