Following what we believe to be God’s direction often comes with great sacrifice. The mission and ministry presented to us may require parting with those people and things we hold most dear. Such was the way with Saint Theodora/Mother Theodore and the other sisters who left their home in France, which most would never see again, to teach and evangelize in the U.S.
Saint Theodora wrote a couple of journals and numerous letters about her departure from France and her American ministry. Her writings offer an important glimpse into her saintly life as well as historical data on the Catholic evangelization of the American Midwest.
Here are the initial paragraphs from her “First Journal of Travel” included in Mother Theodore Guerin. Journals and Letters:
“The moment of separation and of death had come at last. We had to leave all. After having made the most painful sacrifices, which had cost our hearts so much, we had to break the last ties by tearing ourselves away from our dear Providence of Ruille, that home so tenderly loved by all the Sisters of Providence.
It was the twelfth of July. That was the last day the sun would shine upon us in this happy abode. At nine o’clock in the evening, the hour for all to go to rest, we were embracing our dear Sisters for the last time. We received also the last blessing from our Lord in our small but lovely chapel; in a word, we bade adieu to all that was dearest to us upon earth. And to add still more to the bitterness of this sacrifice, the hand of a Mother (their superior) ; alas! was not to be raised to bless us.
At length the hour had struck. We were obliged to tear ourselves away from this heart-rending scene. The carriage was waiting; we entered; the door was closed upon us, and all was at an end for us (so to speak): it was like the moment of death.
The weather was gloomy. The silence of the tomb reigned all around. Nothing disturbed the monotony, save the dull sound of the carriage wheels and the broken sobs of the poor exiles, who offered to God in silence the sorrow of their heavy hearts. “
(See more posts on Saint Theodora/Mother Theodore on my Facebook page dedicated to her.)