Celebrating Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, a pioneer missionary of the Society of the Sacred Heart, who came to St. Charles, Missouri, from France and founded the first free school west of the Mississippi in September 1818.

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Society of the Sacred Heart Spirituality Forum 2017

Jul 12, 2017 to Jul 16, 2017


Philippine Duchesne: Celebrating Her Life and Legacy
July 12-16, 2017
Saint Louis University Busch Student Center
20 N Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103

Registration is due by May 15, 2017

Featuring Confirmed Speakers:

Catherine Mooney
Lives That Matter: Philippine Duchesne and Solidarity Across Frontiers

Philippine Duchesne crossed frontiers of many sorts, including frontiers that brought her face-to-face with people who were apparently “other” than she. The events of her life and her own writings indicate how she negotiated boundaries that separated blacks, mulattoes, whites and Amerindians; poor and rich; the enslaved and the free. The events of Philippine’s life and her own writings poignantly illuminate her diverse relationships: the spirituality that grounded them, the blind spots that obscured them, the strategies that strengthened – and sometimes stymied – them. The gospel call that “all may be one” perhaps seems elusive in our very divided world. How can we build solidarity across the borders that separate us from “other” lives that matter? Philippine shines a light on our path.

Gerardette Philips, RSCJ
Crossing Religious Frontiers: Discovering Anew the Interior Life

In crossing religious frontiers, Philippine preserved the religious truth of her own tradition. This gave her the zeal to gain knowledge of the tradition of the people she met. In doing so, she discovered anew the meaning of the interior life. She helped people placed under her care to form themselves in the love and knowledge of the Lord in a manner that was not merely conceptual, but also effective.

Failure, though she felt, her human enterprise in a “new country” was brought to fulfillment by her wisdom and method both operating together. The Tibetans convey this lesson by the following parable: two men were both trying to get to the City of Nirvana, but neither of them could make much headway because one was blind while the other was lame. They decided to join forces; the lame man climbed on the blind man’s back and pointed out the way (this is Wisdom) while the man who had sound legs (this is Method) carried his companion along the road. This sets the pattern of every spiritual life; all the rest is but a matter of variable circumstance and detail.

Philippine let Jesus point the way (Wisdom), and she discovered Him anew as she followed (Method) Him in the hearts of all whom she met. She let the Interior Life capture her as she waited upon the Lord by day and by night.

Priscilla Solomon, CSJ
All My Relations: Circle of Life

Some of the Indigenous spirituality I would like to address is the interconnectedness and interdependence of all creation; the relationship of Indigenous Peoples to the land and water; and our sense of responsibility to the land and the water.

Pope Francis speaks of “integral ecology” and the call to conversion in our world today, a vision which connects very deeply with Indigenous spirituality. Indigenous Peoples have a deep sense of the interconnectedness of the physical and spiritual worlds as well as awareness that the earth is our home only for a time. We are entrusted by our Creator to care for it, not only for ourselves but for all living beings and for future generations. Every living being, and especially every human being, has a purpose on this earth, which we need to be free and courageous enough to carry out, as Philippine Duchesne was. Today, Indigenous peoples struggle with the destructive influences of both the colonization process and globalized economies, especially the extractive industries, which frequently challenge the Indigenous sense of the sacredness of all creation. At the same time, reconciliation is becoming a key aspect of our spirituality.

Spirituality Forum 2017 is for anyone interested in the spirituality of the Society of the Sacred Heart. Our time together will include presentations, small group reflection, workshops, prayer, daily liturgy and celebration.

The forum starts with check-in from 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12 in Busch Student Center and ends with lunch Sunday, July 16, 2017.

For inquiries: Contact Kathy McGrath, RSCJ at spiritforum@rscj.org or 636-373-4925

Forum Committee: Kathy McGrath, RSCJ (Chair); Mary Charlotte Chandler, RSCJ; Matthew Anita MacDonald, SSJ; Rhonda Meegan; Diane Roche, RSCJ; Julie Siderfin; and Margie Strom, RSCJ


Breakout sessions

The more than 30 breakout sessions being offered by RSCJ from USC and International provinces, associates, alumni, faculty and friends, span myriad topics, several in Spanish. Consider, for example: the friendship of Sophie and Philippine; life in Sugar Creek; how RSCJ pray; the Black Madonna; Pope Francis’ Laudato Si from a scientist’s perspective; confront immigration or trafficking from an insiders point of view; explore the Potawatomi Trail of Death in preparation to make a commemorative walk; experience the power of silence in our lives; make a joyful sound with music; learn the meditative walk of a labyrinth; delve into the spirituality of Philippine; the influence upon Philippine by St. John Francis Regis; the artwork of indigenous people; how RSCJ have made a difference in Cuba; or how they are following the footsteps of Philippine in the new Philippine Region of the International Society.


> View a video from the 2013 Spirituality Forum