October 24, 2008

Oct. 31 marks 100th anniversary of first healing attributed to the intercession of St. Theodora Guérin

Sr. Mary Theodosia Mug, S.P.

Sr. Mary Theodosia Mug, S.P.

Eighty current Sisters of Providence were members of the congregation at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods when Sister Mary Theodosia Mug died on March 23, 1943.

Sister Mary Theodosia received the first healing attributed to the intercession of St. Theodora Guérin, the congregation’s foundress.

Approval of her healing opened a long process that led to Mother Theodore’s canonization in Rome on Oct. 15, 2006.

Sister Mary Theodosia’s healing occurred during the early morning hours of Oct. 31, 1908.

The congregation will recognize the 100th anniversary of her healing this year.

“I was in awe that she was cured,” said Sister Marceline Mattingly, who entered the order in 1933. “I couldn’t imagine how she must have felt. … She seemed like an ordinary person in the community. Seeing her was very special because she was so very close to Mother Theodore.”

The story of Sister Mary Theodosia’s healing unfolded on the evening of Oct. 30, 1908. She was passing the crypt where the remains of Mother Theodore were entombed at that time. After going to confession, she paused at the crypt to pray for Sister Joseph Therese, who was very ill.

According to the congregation’s history, when she came to the tomb of Mother Theodore, she said to herself, “I wonder if she has any power with Almighty God?”

Instantly, she felt very clearly in her soul that, “Yes, she has.”

Somewhat startled, Sister Mary Theodosia ascended a stairway and again heard the inner voice say, “Yes, she has.”

Sister Mary Theodosia said, “Well, if she has, I wish that she would show it.”

Sister Mary Theodosia had numerous ailments and was in poor health. She had a tumor removed from her left breast in 1906. After surgery, she could not use her left arm. Because of a large abdominal tumor, she had to wear clothes that were too large and often had to take food standing up because of severe pain. She also had poor eyesight.

After she returned to her room on the evening of Oct. 30, she was correcting proofs of documents to be printed. She worked until nearly 1 a.m. on Oct. 31.

The lights went on at 4 a.m. as they did every morning. Sister Mary Theodosia arose with an unaccustomed sense of well being and found that she could use her left arm easily. She made her bed and combed her hair without difficulty. The abdominal tumor was gone and the pain had ceased.

As her health continued to improve, Sister Mary Theodosia was instructed by Bishop Francis Silas Chatard to record the details of her case. She was later examined by her own doctor, another independent doctor and at the Mayo Clinic.

The Catholic Church requires proof of two unexplainable healings attributed to a person’s intercession as part of the requirements leading to sainthood.

The Church accepted Sister Mary Theodosia’s healing and pronounced Mother Theodore blessed in 1998.

A second healing attributed to Mother Theodore in 2001 was approved by Pope Benedict XVI in early 2006, leading to her canonization in October that year.

Sister Mary Theodosia, the former Helen Mary Mug, was born in Attica, Ind., on July 16, 1860. She entered the congregation on Jan. 5, 1878, and was a gifted musician and writer. She wrote a book about the life story of Mother Theodore. †

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