My home town is the small city of Plaquemine, Louisiana. There is only one Catholic Church there, St. John the Evangelist, nicknamed “The Cathedral on the Bayou.” It was here that I was baptized, celebrated my high school graduation, and also where I was married.
My mom began working for the church a couple of years ago, and one of her main roles is to create the weekly bulletin. Recently, the priest decided to feature each of the stained glass windows inside the church in the bulletin. To my mom’s surprise (and mine), one of the windows depicts a scene of St. Philippine Duchesne. I have since learned that Philippine, on her way to visit the newly founded convent and school in Grand Coteau, stopped in my home town of Plaquemine. Plaquemine is actually located on the Mississippi River, and Philippine and her companions changed boats here from the large ones they used on the Mississippi River to the smaller boats meant for traversing bayous and swamps.
Philippine spent a total of 12 days in Plaquemine, but was not very complimentary of the “City of Hospitality,” for which it is known. Of Plaquemine, Philippine wrote to Mother Sophie Barat: “A stop of seven days in the detestable hostelry of Plaquemine, while awaiting the refitting of the steamer, the exorbitant overcharges by the innkeeper collected from the poor religious, were only the prelude…”
I don’t think it will be a surprise to those of you who know me that it thrills me and comforts me to know that St. Philippine Duchesne has always been a part of my life.
Alaina Scorsone, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Houston