Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Visiting A 'Saintly' Relative

By Special To The Message
Sister of Providence Jan Craven, left, visits with Delphine LeBrun, the great-great niece of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. Submitted photo

When she arrived at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., Delphine LeBrun could hardly contain her excitement.

Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, is an ancestor of Delphine’s – whose father’s paternal grandmother was the great-aunt of Saint Mother Theodore.

LeBrun had never visited Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, but thought being in Alabama provided the “perfect opportunity for me to come and visit.”

LeBrun is from Les Sables-d’Olonne, a town in western France. She came to the United States in 2006 and lived in New York City until 2014. She then moved to Oregon to study aerospace engineering and is now serving as an intern for NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

LeBrun said she was thrilled as she drove up to Providence Spirituality & Conference Center to meet with Sister of Providence Jan Craven.

“I’m very happy to be here,” LeBrun said. “This is very special. I’m a little shaky.”

She had contacted Sister Jan to discuss her desire to visit Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, to see where “Saint Mother Theodore Guerin lived, where she died, reflect on her life, her sainthood and learn more about my great-great aunt.”

So, she made the six-hour trip from Alabama to Indiana in late July.

Delphine’s grandmother, Colette, and her sister, Anne-Lise, attended the canonization of Saint Mother Theodore in 2006, where they met the late Sister Marie Kevin Tighe , who at the time served as the director of the Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. Sister Jan currently serves in this position.

During her weekend visit, LeBrun was provided a tour by Sister Jan. She also met with many Sisters of Providence and attended Sunday Mass before heading back to Alabama.

LeBrun said she hoped to connect with Saint Mother Theodore during her visit.

“Sister Jan will catch me up on everything,” LeBrun said. “But I wanted to have some time with my ancestor. Some spiritual time. I didn’t realize the grandeur of what Mother Theodore did. My grandmother would be amazed.

“This visit has to do with my individual path. Somehow, everything has converged to this moment.”