WEST TERRE HAUTE -- A new display, "Daughters of the Forest," has opened in the Heritage Museum in Providence Center at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
The exhibit is created in honor of the Sisters of Providence, who have had their motherhouse grounds beautifully enhanced by the natural surroundings of certified forest land for 170 years.
Many of the historical ways the congregation formerly used the land, and the transition to current practices, are emphasized in the displays.
One display case features greenhouses, herbs, gardens, flower beds and making medicinal treatments for the sick. Another section focuses on the origins of power through an on-campus coal mine, to today's biomass energy system.
Other sections show beekeeping, orchards, gardens, produce, the history of White Violet Center for Eco-Justice, agriculture, alpacas, and chickens, cows and sheep that formerly roamed the pasture.
Tribute is paid to Sister Ann Sullivan, foundress of White Violet Center for Eco-Justice, and Sister Helen Vinton, assistant executive director and life quality director for the Southern Mutual Help Association in New Iberia, La.
Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence, was more than surprised when she and her five traveling companions arrived at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Oct. 22, 1840. To their consternation, no village or home was in site.
But Saint Mother Theodore soon learned to revere the forest land, and she came to love Indiana.
She once said, "The beauty of the forests in Indiana ... surpasses all description ... The land was no longer for me the land of exile; it was the portion of my inheritance and in it, I hope to dwell of the days of my life."
The Heritage Museum is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
For more information, contact Providence Center at 812-535-4531, or log on to www.SistersofProvidence.org.