A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
St Theodora Guérin (Sainte Théodore Guérin, Mother Theodore Guérin, Anne-Thérèse Guérin) (1798-1856). Feast Day for the French-American Roman Catholic saint who was born in France and entered the Sisters of Providence in Ruillé sur-Loir 50 km north of Tours in 1823. At the invitation of the Bishop of Vincennes, Indiana, she and five sisters went to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1840, to teach and to care for the poor and sick, trust in God’s providence enabling her to leave her French homeland, sail across the world and establish a new religious congregation. She was the foundress and 1840-56 Superior General of the Catholic Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana and became known for her advancement of education, especially in Indiana and eastern Illinois. She founded numerous schools, including Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, and for her care of the orphaned, the sick and the poor of the 1834 Roman Catholic Diocese of Vincennes, the first in Indiana. Mother Theodore and her community persevered despite fires, crop failures, prejudice against Catholic women religious, misunderstandings and being away from their original religious congregation. She said: “The way is not yet clear. Grope along slowly. Do not press matters, be patient and be trustful.” St Theodora died on 14 May 1856 in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and her resting place is the Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guérin in the Sisters of Providence Convent Cemetery, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Some calendars list the Feast Day in the Roman Martyrology as 14 May, her day of death. Image: catholicnewsagency.com.
Prayer God’s work being done by people ready to take risks and to work hard reminds us that St Paul told the Corinthians: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.” Every holy person has a strong sense of God’s Providence and, as did St Theodora, let us too have confidence in God. Amen
Sts Ewald the Black and Ewald the Fair (The Two Hewalds) (d695). Feast Day for the two Northumbrian Benedictine brother priests who followed St Willibrord on his 690 mission from Ireland to Christianise the Frisians. Both bore the same name but were distinguished by the difference in the colour of their hair and complexions. They began their missionary work in Old Saxony, now part of Westphalia and covered by the dioceses of Münster, Osnabrück and Paderborn. The pagan Saxons suspected that they planned to convert their ealdorman (satrapa, overlord), destroy their temples and supplant their religion and, inflamed by jealousy and anger, resolved that the Ewalds should die. An uprising followed and both priests were quickly seized, for Ewald the Fair to be killed quickly by the sword at Aplerbeck near Dortmund on 3 October 695 and Ewald the Black tortured and torn limb from limb, a spring of water gushing forth in the place of the martyrdom. Both their bodies were cast into the River Emscher, to be miraculously carried the forty miles to the place in which the companions of the Ewalds were residing, a heavenly light like a column of fire shining above them and being seen by the murderers. One of the martyrs appeared in vision to one of his companions and told him where the bodies would be found under the pillar of light. When the ealdorman heard of what had been done, he became angry and fearful of reprisals, and punished the murderers by putting them to death and burning their villages. The Ewalds were the last missionaries to be martyred in the area until the missionary from Crediton St Boniface in Frisia in 675 and the Saxons were eventually converted to Christianity by force by Charlemagne in the Eighth Century. It was said that the Ewalds’ deaths were due to a lack of support from the worldly rulers: “Without the Franconian protection, a missionary did not live long enough to explain his teaching more closely”, “Ohne den fränkischen Schutz lebte ein Missionär nicht lange genug, um seine Lehre genauer zu erläutern.” The Ewalds were enshrined in the church of St Kunibert in Cologne and they were honoured as saints in Westphalia, with annual celebrations in the dioceses of Cologne and Münster. Their relics were probably destroyed by the Anabaptists in 1534. Druten, sixty miles east of Rotterdam has a church dedicated to the Ewalds. Patrons of Westphalia. Image: spreadjesus.org.
St Widradus (Waré) (d747). Feast Day for the Benedictine Abbot of Flavigny, forty miles northwest of Dijon, who was responsible for reviving the 717 Benedictine Monastery of St Praejectus (Prix) there. Flavigny was famed for the piety of its monks and was at the height of its reputation in the Eighth Century and in 864 the relics of St Regina were translated to the monastery. It was rededicated to St Peter and rebuilt in the Seventeenth Century and occupied by Benedictines of the Congregation of St Maur, who were actively employed in research concerning the historical documents of the Abbey, but the results of their studies were lost during the French Revolution, when the Abbey was dissolved. The 1591 aniseed confectionery Anis de Flavigny was first made by the monks but after the Revolution several confectioners began making this delicacy using the same recipe. In the 1840s, a Priory of the Order of St Dominic was established by rebuilding and restoring all that remained of the Monastery, surrounded by a portion of its ancient estate, and the sole remaining manufacturer of Anise de Flavigny remains today at the Abbey, following the original recipe. St Widradus also established in 747 the community of Saulieu, 30 miles to the southwest of Flavigny. A walled town had existed there in Roman times, when it was known as Sidolocus, and the present Basilica of Saint Andoche was founded as an Abbey Church in the Sixth Century, to be rebuilt as a collegiate church in the Twelfth Century and to become a Minor Basilica in 1919. Image: catholicsaints.mobi.