Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God

Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God

Children are often asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” In Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God, author Mary Doyle introduces children to the life of Ann-Therese Guerin who trusted that God would “help her along and show her the way.” Young readers can journey with St. Theodora through her childhood in Etables, her entrance into religious life, her call to go to Indiana to establish a mission, the treacherous journey by ship and other transportation, and the arrival in the remote Indiana wilderness. Mother Theodore’s character and determination built schools, orphanages, and care for the poor and sick as she founded the Sisters of Providence. Accurately researched in history and appealing to children, Mary Doyle weaves into the story of Mother Theodore the theme to trust God and know that God is always with us throughout our lives. This 2014 Catholic Press Association award book is illustrated in simple water colors often shown from a unique perspective. Explanations of Catholic rituals, maps, glossary, bibliography, and contact information for the Sisters of Providence and the author’s blog encourage further exploration of Mother Theodore’s life. Highly recommended for schools, churches, and families searching who are searching for a role model for living a life dedicated to trust in God.

By Patty Wallace

Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God chronicles the compelling life of St. Theodora filled with selfless service to others and a deep devotion to God. Doyle follows the lifelong spiritual journey of Saint Theodora, focusing on her seemingly simple yet profound belief that "If God asks you to do something he will help you along the way." Doyle successfully weaves this theme throughout her narrative as St. Theodora accepts many challenging tasks throughout her life, beginning with the task of caring for her ailing mother and younger sister for 10 years after her father dies, postponing her fervent wish to join a convent. Once able to join the convent of the Sisters of Providence in France, Saint Theodora devoted herself to the duties of teaching children, overseeing a large city school and studying with a doctor to learn how to care for the sick. These responsibilities prepared her to accept the daunting challenge of journeying to the frontier of the American wilderness in 1840 with five fellow sisters to start a new religious order,Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods in Indiana. Under St. Theodora's leadership and guidance a dedicated community of nuns thrived, building schools in Indiana and Illinois, opening orphanages and caring for the sick.

The text is clear, direct, and well paced throughout the book as St. Theodora faces each new challenge. The watercolor and pencil cartoon like illustrations are gentle and bright. Included at the end is a very useful glossary of terms and a bibliography to direct readers to further information about the remarkable and faith-filled life of Saint Theodora.

By Sr. Mary Ryan S.P.

This book tells the story of how young Anne-Therese, born in 1798 in Etables, France, through her love of God and her joy in performing acts of goodness, grew up to become a nun and then later the Mother Superior who established an order of the Sisters of Providence in Indiana when it was still a frontier state.Told through simple yet interesting sentences and clear and colorful pen and watercolor cartoonlike illustrations, this picture book is a wonderful introduction to young children of what it means to live your life for God, doing God's work. It is a spiritual and also a historical and humorous tale as Sister Theodore, sad to leave her native country of France, travels bumpily yet devoutly by boat across the ocean then by stagecoach, train and flatbed to find a log cabin church in the woods and a school of only three children. By publishing this book, the present Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods have done a beautiful and important job honoring their predecessor, recently canonized a Saint by Pope Benedict. The book includes a Glossary and Pronunciation Guide and a Bibliography, as well as information about the present day Sisters of Providence.

By Martha Morgan

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Mother Theodore a saint. Many books have been written for adults about the courageous journey of this young French nun to sainthood. but none for children. In this inspiring picture book biography, Mary K. Doyle tells her story so that children, ages 6-12 will know the childhood roots of her achievements, the obstacles she overcame and her legacy. Born in France in 1798, 10 year old Anne Therese Guerin promised to "d o whatever God asked of her" on the occassion of her First Holy Communion. True to this promise, she was a devoted daughter, nun, educator, and healer of the sick in France, and ultimately in the wilderness of Indiana and Illinois. Phil Velikan's colorful illustrations enhance the text by conveying the magnitude and emotional impact of her undertakings. This book belongs on library shelves and in religious Education classes. It would make a wonderful First Communion gift!

By Brenda Wettergreen

Some people know right from the start what they want to be when they grow up. It was that way for Saint Theodora. She was only ten years old when she promised God that she would do whatever God asked of her. She always believed that would be done best by becoming a religious sister. What she did not know was that her promise would take her to the American frontier where she and her fellow sisters founded a school for the higher learning of women and the Sisters of Providence religious community of Indiana, both of which continue to this day, as well as Catholic schools throughout Indiana and Illinois, an orphanage, and free pharmacies. Beautifully illustrated and fun to read, Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God, is an inspiring story of how one little girl followed God's call. Saint Theodora's legacy of faith changed the course of young pioneers in the wilderness of Indiana in the mid-1800s and continues to do so today.