News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 25, 2008

Fall tours will highlight beauty, peacefulness of St. Mary-of-the-Woods


WEST TERRE HAUTE — One of the most breathtakingly beautiful, spiritual and peaceful times to visit St. Mary-of-the-Woods is in the fall.

Providence Center, the official welcome center and a ministry of the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, invites the public to enjoy special fall tours. Individuals and smaller groups of two or more people are welcome to sign up for the special Sunday tours, starting at 1 p.m. this Sunday. Additional tours will be given Oct. 26 and Nov. 23. Tour participants should meet at the stained glass window at the west end inside the Providence Center lobby.

“This mainly came about because we have requests from individuals, small groups and families who don’t have sufficient numbers to qualify for a dedicated group tour,” Brother Barry Donaghue, director of Providence Center, said. “We wanted to make these opportunities available because of the interest being expressed,” he said.

Donaghue said the special tours last approximately two hours. Tours will include an indoor segment focusing on the life of St. Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence, who was canonized the eighth U.S. saint in October 2006. Her interim shrine, now located in the historic Church of the Immaculate Conception, is a part of the tour. In addition, visitors will be welcome to experience the National Shrine of Our Lady of Providence, the Heritage Museum, and the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

Visitors will then be guided to the outdoor portion of the tour and will be transported around the grounds of St. Mary-of-the-Woods via a comfortable, handicap-accessible, air-conditioned bus.

“There is not a great deal of walking,” Donaghue said.

Highlights of the outdoor tour include history related to the beautiful architecture of buildings located around the grounds, viewing of the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto and various shrines, in addition to a stop to see the award-winning alpaca herd and organic gardens. There is no cost to participate in the special tours, but free-will donations are welcome.

People also are invited to attend the Eucharistic Liturgy in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated at 11 a.m. Sundays and special feast days and at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

The ever-popular Sunday Brunch, featuring a full-line buffet of breakfast items, main entrees and desserts, is available from 10:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Sundays in O’Shaughnessy Dining Room at Providence Center.

There also will be time to shop at The Gift Shop at Providence Center, which carries authentic St. Mother Theodore Guerin merchandise and other unique, one-of-a-kind items. The Gift Shop is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

People interested in signing up for one of the special fall tours, or those wanting more information, should contact Tina Soules, Providence Center administrative assistant, at (812) 535-2952, tsoules@spsmw.org or provctr@spsmw.org. Persons also may sign up for one of the special fall Sunday tours at the Providence Center Reception Desk the day of the Sunday fall tours. Advance sign-ups are encouraged in order to ensure every person’s needs are met.