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Who is Philippine for Us Today?

Window at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, St. Charles

(From a letter written by Helen McLaughlin, RSCJ, Former Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart, to the communities of the Society of the Sacred Heart)

I feel it is important for each one of us to take up Philippine’s life and to reflect on her message. She has surprised us now by stirring the surface of our immediate consciousness with extraordinary energy! What is she trying to communicate to us today? Who is she for us:

a courageous, sensitive woman;
a deeply prayerful religious;
a lover of poverty and simplicity;
a loyal, suffering daughter of the Church;
a pioneer into the future who dared to go where few had gone before?

She is saying something to us with urgency and insistence.

… What impresses me about Philippine is her ability to respond to difficult events and times; to accept and love a new and totally different country and way of life; to enter wholeheartedly into another culture, language, and system of values and to appreciate these.

St. Madeleine Sophie loved poverty and prayer, and Philippine followed her example with a boldness and totality that permeated her whole life. This openness to the Spirit and freedom of her whole being to respond to His call did not lead her to great success, but rather to the deep experience that the grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die that the Lord might bring forth the harvest. Trusting in God, she gave her all.

Her goal in life was not personal holiness, but the spending of her energies to make the Heart of Christ known and loved. Her missionary élan was lived in fidelity to the Constitutions of 1815. This fidelity made her holiness and virtue authentic and real, visible to those who knew her …Philippine can encourage us to believe more surely that “the power now at work in us can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)