Year of Prayer - December 18

Pools of Silence in This Thirsty Land*

There is much in Philippine’s life of prayer that could be a source of reflection for us, but today let us focus on just one aspect – how her prayer touched and inspired others, especially her beloved Potawatomi.

Philippine is nearing the end of her life after physical illness and much heart suffering. She is at last at Sugar Creek among the Potawatomi peoples to whom she longed to bring knowledge of the Heart of Jesus. She is unable to learn their language but they have observed her at prayer and felt her kindness and her concern for them. As is their custom, they have given her a name expressive of who she essentially is, Quah-Kah-Ka-num-ad (woman-who-prays-always).

Philippine is important to them in herself, but she is also a signpost pointing beyond herself to the Great Spirit, the Native American name for God. It is the Great Spirit who gives her life meaning, inspiration, beauty and love. Through Philippine the Great Spirit calls the Potawatomi to find new meaning for their own lives – new inspiration, beauty and love.

Today, Philippine’s example invites each of us to live and pray in such a way that others, especially the young, may see new possibilities in their own lives and so choose what is truly life-giving.

Geneviève Bannon, RSCJ, Province of Australia - New Zealand Image: Rita Carroll/Milton Frenzel

*Title and photograph inspired by the Australian poet, James McCauley, who likens prayer to “pools of silence in this thirsty land.”