Words of Wisdom

Blessed Luigi Guanella said...
Run, run to Mary, our dearest Mother. Cling to her all-powerful arm. Take shelter beneath her mantle; invoke her with all your heart and she will come full of compassion, to sustain your wavering strength.


Daughters of St. Mary of Providence Fund D.C.'s Shrine's Final Oratory

On June 5, 2000, the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, an affiliated community with the INSTITUTE ON RELIGIOUS LIFE, memorialized all the members of their religious congregation who have ministered in the United States in a most special way. The community, which consists of 80 sisters in their North American Province, provided $350,000 to build an oratory in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. This project marked the final stage of improvements in keeping with the National Shrine's original design.

Over forty community members representing the United States, Canada, Italy, Argentina, Mexico and Columbia-as well as family members, friends and benefactors-joined Chicago's Auxiliary Bishop Thad J. Jakubowski for a concelebrated Mass in the Crypt Church, and the Blessing of the Oratory which followed immediately thereafter (see photo below on right).

The new oratory is located at the west entrance of the Basilica's Memorial Hall. The walls of the oratory are covered in Botticino-Classico marble, from the Brescia region of northern Italy. The more than life-size statue of the Madonna and Child is surrounded by a semicircle of rose-colored marble and flanked by two ceiling-high pillars, also of marble. On the statue's marble base is inscribed a simple, yet powerful prayer for all to recite: "Mother of Divine Providence, hear, aid and console our communities and families."

A Portuguese limestone statue is the centerpiece of the Mother of Divine Providence Oratory, located at the west entrance to the Basilica's Crypt level. At the base of the sculpture by Theodore Barbarossa is an invocation to Mary: "Hear, Aid and Console our Community and our Families."

The Sisters of Mary of Divine Providence of the North American Communities donated the oratory to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mother Angela Cettini's religious profession. This oratory is a memorial to the community members who have ministered in the United States among the poor and needy. Bishop Thad Jakubowski dedicated the oratory June 5, 2000.

Origins of this Marian Devotion

Devotion to Our Lady under this particular title originated with the Daughter's Founder, Blessed Aloysius Guanella. Fr. Guanella often prayed to Mary as the Mother of Divine Providence in a parish church in Rome staffed by the Barnabite Fathers. He deeply desired that the Sisters and the Servants of Charity, their male counterpart, dedicate themselves and their work with full confidence to Mary's maternal care and loving protection. This spiritual tradition has continued to this day: the entire month of November dedicated to her and each Saturday the votive Mass of the Mother of Divine Providence is celebrated when liturgically permitted.

In November 1976 an agreement was made for "the erection of a statue of Our Lady of Divine Providence to be placed in the Crypt Church at the entrance of the Confessional Chapel." This statue was to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Mother Angela Cettini's religious profession in a special way. Mother Angela was the Congregation's Superior General for 18 years and had been a member of the North American Community prior to her being elected Mother General.

After three terms of office she returned to the United States as Superior of the Delegation. The blessing of the statue was held on August 22, 1979. Subsequently, the location of Our Lady of Divine Providence was moved; her first home became the Austrian, Our Lady of Mariazell, side chapel. The next home for Our Lady initiated a desire in the community to request a permanent and fitting "place of honor" for their Mother. In 1998, the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence met with Monsignor Michael Bransfield, Director of the Shrine, to express this desire. It was at this time that the Oratory of Our Lady of Divine Providence was commissioned.

After the grace-filled dedication, Sr. Bernardine Kauffmann, D.S.M.P., the Provincial Superior noted: "In memorializing our deceased members, we recall their consecrated lives dedicated to the Lord's service as religious. This sacred space will forever serve as a reminder of their many sacrifices and of our call to respond to the physical and spiritual needs of others, especially those with disabilities. Yet this vocation cannot be lived without the special assistance of the Mother of Divine Providence who is so good and generous to us."

Impelled by Christ's Love

The Daughters of St. Mary of Providence work with developmentally disabled children and adults in school/residential settings; serve senior citizens in apartments for independent living and/or nursing homes; have a hospital and are engaged in parish work. Their Founder, Blessed Aloysius Guanella, was greatly impelled by the love of Christ and spent his entire life and energies for the needy, physically and mentally handicapped, orphans and aged. The Daughters have been quite supportive of the INSTITUTE ON RELIGIOUS LIFE. In fact, Mother Angela Cettini, D.S.M.P, had worked closely with Fr. John Harden, S.J. and others to help found the INSTITUTE. Among the many expressions of support, the original IRL offices were at their Austin Avenue complex in Chicago from 1974-1990. These offices were later moved to the present location when additional space was needed due to growing apostolic needs.

(Credit: Religious Life - Page 5.)


O Mary, Mother of Divine Providence, you sit as Queen at the right hand of your Son.
You aid the Church in her needs and, with maternal care, provide for the personal needs of us, her children, who were entrusted to you at the foot of the Cross by Jesus, our Lord. I implore you to remove from us whatever is harmful, evil or destructive, and bestow on us only that which is helpful, holy and loving. I ask you this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.



Some of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence
with Auxiliary Bishop Thad J. Jakubowski.
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