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Reflections on St. Philippine

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Rose Philippine Duchesne was a pioneer, an educator, a vowed religious. Her fortitude, faith, courage and humility continue to inspire today. The Reflections below were written by Religious of the Sacred Heart, Sacred Heart Associates and educators, alumnae and other friends for the "Month of Philippine," February, 2013, as part of the Year of Faith.

Quakahkanumad (Woman Who Prays Always) was the name Philippine Duchesne was given by the Potawatomi when she lived in Sugar Creek for a short time during her "grandmother" years. It is an honor for a non-indigenous person to be named by an indigenous tribe, and in the remaining ten years of her life after she left Sugar Creek, Philippine continued to live up to her Potawatomi name. In fact, the legacy of Philippine's witness to contemplation continues to be attractive in today's frantically-paced world.

Imagined by Mary Lyman, RSCJ

Mary:  Philippine, there’s so much about you that has inspired me, challenged me, attracted me over the years: your courage in facing the constantly shifting political situation, the frontier challenges, the separation from all that was familiar. But what attracts me most right now is your prayer. It is what carried you through all the changes, the failures and struggles. Your world seemed turned upside-down. And right now our world seems turned upside-down, too—yet another paradigm shift.

Philippine's "global heart" makes her a particularly inviting model for our 21st century world.

"Property of John Nava and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.. This image is from those of the South Tapestry Gallery of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. http://www.olacathedral.org/ 

One of the most valuable things that Sacred Heart gives us is a sense of determination. We learn from Sacred Heart that in order to succeed in life and be happy with ourselves, we must keep striving and working towards what we want and with hard work and faith, anything is possible.

When Philippine made her First Communion at age twelve, she had already chosen to give herself totally to God and bring the love of His Heart to the world.

Whispers from Heaven - a poem to Philippine by a Sacred Heart Associate

Like many who are part of the Sacred Heart community, courage and confidence are words I most often associate with Philippine.

Philippine as honored at Saint Louis University

Where else could you be in a room with other men and women who are there because of two women with a love of God and a dream to educate girls?

The life of our saint, Philippine, could be told under the title “Broken Dreams.”

What have we learned from her?

For me, Mother Duchesne was a real mother: tender, loving, interested in all that I did each day and ready to help me.

She bestowed on the Society in the New World one of its most distinctive and endearing characteristics: wideness.

Philippine, on her way to visit the newly founded convent and school in Grand Coteau, stopped in my home town of Plaquemine.

“…unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains a single grain, but if it dies it bears a rich harvest.”

A poem by Judith Brown, RSCJ

We need our saints, our biblical rebels and sacred superheroes. They weren’t born with any more power than the rest of us. What they did have was morality, courage, and faith.

St. Philippine pray for us ...

Ordinarily (God) gives one outstanding grace to a soul, and this grace becomes the source of many others. In my case, that signal grace was my return to Sainte Marie and membership in the blessed Society of the Sacred Heart.

Mother Philippine Duchesne at work in her garden

She had a great love for little children, gathering them around her whenever possible.

A poem by Carmen Smith, RSCJ

The Visitation by Ann Davidson, RSCJ

Once upon a time, long ago across the sea, there was a woman whose name was Wisdom.

Simple duties daily done ...

In thanksgiving for prayers granted

Mission to America by Patricia Reid, RSCJ

Our passionate, impetuous Saint

Philippine's arrival among the Indians

“Her prayer was a quiet looking and listening…”[1]

“Strong was her heart that heard God’s voice/ when first it called across the seas… "

Philippine dreamed big and listened wide for the voice, the call, of God.

Rose Philippine Duchesne can be viewed as a teacher of prayer for today.

A poem by Janet Reberdy, RSCJ

she was waiting for me, there, in Sugar Creek

In the wake of its second general council, Philippine Duchesne takes her first steps into missionary glory.

To those of us who think we are too old to do something, we have only to look to Philippine Duchesne for inspiration.

Philippine’s preference for comforting and giving service to others could be called a forerunner of the current day focus on “solidarity with the poor.”