Terre Haute Postcards - St. Mary of the Woods College (17)
More postcards from my collection...
Woodland Inn, St. Mary of the Woods
This unused postcard has the printed text...
Post Cards of Quality
The Albertype Co., Brooklyn, N. Y.
The Woodland Inn was built in 1894 and now home to many of the Sisters who teach on campus.
Confraternity of Our Lady of Providence, Saint Mary of the Woods
This card has the printed text...
Our Lady of Providence
Queen of the Home
Copyright 1957 - Sisters of Providence
Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana
Scipione Gaetano (1550 - 1586)
Rome, Church of San Carlo A Catinari
The back of the card has the text...
A Parent;s Prayer
Our Lady of Providence
O Lady of Providence, my Mother
and Queenm to thee I confide the
children God has entrusted to me. Provide
for them safety of body and soul, now
in their youth and especially in the
years to come when the responsibilities
and the temptations of life will be
theirs. Then, O Mary, for my sons and
daughters continue to be a provident
Mother. Above all, O my Queen, be
with my children when the angel of
death hovers near. In thy maternal
arms enfold them and lead them into
eternity, so that forever and ever they
may praise the Father, Son, and Holy
Confraternity of Our Lady of Providence
Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana
In 1840, six Sisters of Providence left their convent in
Ruille-sur-Loir, France, on a journey to the wilderness of Indiana. Mother
Theodore Guerin, a woman whose spirit and philosophy are the foundations the
College relies on to this day, led the sisters on their journey.
Mother Theodore was not the first to step forward when the Bishop of Vincennes
asked the Sisters of Providence to establish an academy for young women in
Indiana. Although she had been decorated by the French Board of Education for
being a highly gifted and efficient teacher, Mother Theodore felt unworthy of
the task of founding an institution of learning. She feared her frail health
might impede the progress of others.
Her superiors, however, were convinced that Mother Theodore possessed the spirit, wisdom and inner strength needed to oversee the pioneering mission. Her dedication to teaching and to serving her order led her to accept the challenge, although she realized it would not be an easy task. Her acquaintances also knew that she would face great hardship. After hearing of her plans, a doctor who knew Mother Theodore wrote, "It seemed like hearing of a friend condemned to death."
During the 40 days of the stormy ocean crossing, they were robbed of a good portion of the money meant to finance the rest of their trip. When they arrived in New York, they faced the task of crossing half of a continent where they could barely speak the language. The sisters traveled cross-country by train, canal, stagecoach and ferry. Finally, in one long, arduous last day of traveling, the women crossed the Wabash River. On Oct. 22, 1840, more than three months after leaving France, they had arrived in the middle of a dark woods with no house and no other people in sight. It was only human to shed tears of frustration and disappointment; but the women quickly offered prayers of thanksgiving. Mother Theodore?s journals show that the source of the disappointment was not that they had no home - but that they did not know where they would find students.
Despite these fears, students came seeking their education even before the first buildings were standing. In 1846, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College was granted the first charter for the higher education of women in the state of Indiana. The College conferred its first bachelor of arts degree in 1899.
Conventual Church of the Immaculate Conception
The cornerstone of the present magnificent Church of the Immaculate Conception was laid in 1886, thirty years after the death of Mother Theodore. Although the building was under roof in 1890, the interior was not finished until 1907, when the marbles and altars were installed, the paintings executed and the scheme of decoration completed. The Church was consecrated Oct. 23 that year.
Originally named Central Hall, work started on this Renaissance Revival style building in 1860. The three-storey, three wing building was completed in 1868. The four-storey frontage was added in 1898. It was closed in 1988 and demolished in 1989. The Providence Center, built in 1990 now occupies the site.
Grotto of Lourdes (Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto)
This replica of the renowned grotto in France was built in fulfillment of a promise by the sisters. In early 1918, as World War I raged in Europe, Mother Mary Cleophas Foley, then general superior, prayerfully promised that, should the war end before the close of the year, a grotto would be erected in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes. After the signing of the armistice in 1918, construction on the shrine began.
Le Fer Hall
Opened in 1923, Le Fer Hall is named for two of Mother Theodore's companions. The French Renaissance style of architecture is well-suited for this "flagship" building of the campus. Today Le Fer Hall comprises faculty offices, classrooms, student housing, student lounges, a student chapel, a ballroom, an exercise room and a Career Development Center.
The bridge once divided the campus from the Sisters of Providence on the east-side and St. Mary of the Woods College on the west. A path across the ravine replaced the bridge in 1989.
The St. Mary of the Woods College campus is very large with many buildings and features so I produced this image map of the campus. It's made from information from the map and plans of the campus from the St. Mary of the Woods and the Historic Campus Architecture Project websites.
St. Mary of the Woods College Campus
|1||Gatehouse (1925)||12||Owens Hall (1958)||23||Providence Center (1990)|
|2||Athletic Fields||13||Marian Hall (1954)||24||O'Shaughnessy Dining Room (1920)|
|3||Le Fer Hall (1923)||14||Mari Hulman George Equine Studies Stables (1925, 1989, 1991 & 2000)||25||Our Lady of the Campus Statue (1904)|
|4||Sesquicentennial Garden (1990)||15||Physical Plant buildings (1892)||26||The Lodge (1940)|
|5||Mary Fredrich Hulman Hall (1969)||16||White Violet Center for Eco-Justice||27||Conservatory of Music (1913)|
|6||Woodland Inn (1894)||17||Gymnasium and Natatorium (1909)||28||Guerrin Hall (1913)|
|7||Corbe Hosue (1888)||18||Karcher Hall (1983)||29||Library (1965)|
|8||Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto (1918)||19||Lourdes Hall (1921)||30||Mary O. Goodwin Guesthouse (1964)|
|9||St. Anne Shell Chapel (1844 & 1876)||20||Providence Hall (1890)||31||
Our Lady of Fatima Shrine (1954)
|10||Sisters of Providence Cemetery (1861)||21||Church of the Immaculate Conception (1886, 1907 & 1987)||32||Le Fer Lake & Bridge|
|11||Outdoor Way of the Cross (1938)||22||Blessed Sacrament Chapel (1920)|
There are some great photos of St. Mary of the Woods on Galen R Frysinger's website. For further history notes on St. Mary of the Woods see the St. Mary of the Woods College and Sisters of Providence websites.
This page created 24th March 2010, last modified 24th March 2010