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St. Mother Théodore Guérin

St. Mother Théodore Guérin

Feast date: Oct 03

St. Théodore Guérin, SP, was born Anne-Therese Guerin at Etables, Brittany in France on October 2, 1798.

As she was growing up, the French government was virulently anti-clerical, closing down seminaries and churches and arresting priests and religious.  Her cousin was a seminarian who lived in hiding in her parents’ devout Catholic home. He instructed her thoroughly in the faith and she displayed an advanced knowledge of theology, even at a young age.

Anne-Thérèse entered the Sisters of Providence at 26 and devoted herself to religious education. Her intellectual capacities were formidable, and she was even recognized by the French Academy for her acheivements.

In 1840 Mother Théodore Guérin was sent to Indiana, in the USA to found a convent of the Sisters of Providence in the diocese of Vincennes.  There she pioneered Catholic education, opened the first girls’ boarding school in Indiana, and fought against the anti-Catholicism prevalent in the day.

She was well known for her heroic witness to faith, her hope, and her love of God. The fledgling years of the convent of Our Lady of the Woods were difficult, with the ever present danger of it being burned down by anti- Catholics. The persecution also came from within the Church, from her own bishop, who, on not being allowed to tamper with the order’s rule, excommunicated her.  The excommunication was eventually lifted by his successor.

James Cardinal Gibbons said of her in 1904, that she was “a woman of uncommon valour, one of those religious athletes whose life and teachings effect a spiritual fecundity that secures vast conquests to Christ and His holy Church.”

She died on May 14, 1856 after a period of sickness, and her feast day is celebrated on October 3.

She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 25, 1998, and canonized a saint of the Roman Catholic church on October 15, 2006, by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Zanchetta affair (Part 5): the Pope speaks (CWN)

[For background, see:

'Allow your beauty to shine!': papal message to Ursuline Global Education Compact (Vatican News)

On September 30, the Vatican Press Office made public a papal message, dated September 21, to participants in the Ursuline Global Education Compact.

The Ursulines are a women’s teaching order founded by St. Angela Merici in 1535. Pope Francis first outlined his vision for a Global Compact on Education in a 2019 message.

“The first thing I wish to tell you, dear young people, is allow your beauty to shine!” the Pope wrote in his message. “True beauty, not like that of worldly fashion. In our society, suffocated by so much unpleasantness.”

“The second thing I wish to tell you concerns doing,” he added. “The beauty that Jesus revealed to us is a splendor that communicates itself through action; a beauty that is embodied in order to be shared; a beauty that is not afraid of getting its hands dirty, of becoming disfigured in order to be faithful to the love of which it is made.”

Pope names new members to commission for protection of minors (CNS)

Pope Francis has expanded the size of Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors from 17 to 20 members; 10 of the 20 members are new to the commission. Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, 78, remains the commission’s president.

UN, abuse survivor groups seek Vatican investigation of Nobel laureate Belo (AP)

Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his work on behalf of human rights in East Timor and resigned from his post in the Dili diocese in 2002, at the age of 54, citing health reasons. Following a report that Bishop Belo had sexually abused minors, a Vatican spokesman said that the Vatican learned of allegations in 2019 and imposed secret sanctions on him in 2020.

“These allegations are truly shocking and need to be fully investigated,” said Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

“The Vatican’s suggestion that it first learned of the allegations in the last few years doesn’t pass the smell test. It is wholly implausible,” said Anne Barrett-Doyle of Bishop Accountability. “Signs point to the real possibility that Belo is another McCarrick – an acclaimed churchman whose predations were known to many Church officials.”

Archbishop offered to meet with State Department officials about Korea trip (USCCB)

On September 30, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops released a February 2019 letter from Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Military Services, then chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, to an official of the State Department about a trip to Korea.

Archbishop Broglio shared requests made by Korean bishops about humanitarian assistance to North Korea, meetings of separated North and South Korean families, and international support to resolve the Korean conflict.

“The USCCB will continue to monitor the situation on the Korean peninsula closely,” Archbishop Broglio added. “I would be happy to meet with you and your staff on the Korea Desk to share more of my observations.”

Your mission also has a maternal aspect, Pope tells Thomas Aquinas fraternity (Vatican News)

On September 30, Pope Francis received members of the Fraternidad de Agrupaciones Santo Tomás de Aquino (Fraternity of St. Thomas Aquinas Groups).

Founded in 1962, the Argentine Dominican youth organization attained Vatican recognition as an international association of the faithful in 1997.

“It is important that you remember that teaching is precisely one of the works of spiritual mercy,” the Pope told members of the association. “Mary teaches us to be evangelizers of culture, youth, and families by bringing divine tenderness.”

Pope warns of nuclear war risk; appeals to Putin on Ukraine (AP)

Pope Francis devoted his entire Sunday Angelus address on October 2 to the war in Ukraine.

“Let there be a halt to arms, and let us seek the conditions for negotiations that will lead to solutions that are not imposed by force, but consensual, just and stable,” Pope Francis said. “And they will be so if they are based on respect for the sacrosanct value of human life, as well as the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country, and the rights of minorities and legitimate concerns.”

“My appeal is addressed first and foremost to the President of the Russian Federation, imploring him to stop this spiral of violence and death, also for the sake of his own people,” the Pope continued. “On the other hand, saddened by the immense suffering of the Ukrainian people as a result of the aggression they have suffered, I address an equally confident appeal to the President of Ukraine to be open to serious proposals for peace.”

Amid crises, rural roots anchor Southern Baptists' president (AP)

Bart Barber, the recently elected leader of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, has been a pastor in a town of 3,600 in Texas for 25 years. The Southern Baptist Convention faces a Justice Department investigation for covering up sex abuse; the number of baptisms has fallen 63% since 1999.

US bishops' president offers prayers in solidarity with those impacted by hurricanes (USCCB)

“I am deeply saddened to see the images of the damage and devastation left in their wake,” Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said following Hurricane Fiona and Hurricane Ian. “I call on Catholics and all people of good will to pray for those who have lost their lives, and for the comfort of their grieving families and communities.”