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.
Reflections On St. Philippine Duchesne
For much of her life, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne wanted to be a missionary, most specifically a missionary working with Native Americans. Not until she was 49 was she able to leave her native France for America, and not until she was 72 was she allowed to establish a school for Native American girls in Kansas.
In a world of instant gratification, Philippine stands as a witness to the power of persistence. By age 72, she might have given up hope of ever being allowed to go to the Native American missions. After all, she was past the age of retirement, but as the saying goes, where there’s life, there’s hope, and Philippine never gave up hope. She never gave up looking for opportunities, either. She was ready when the chance came, and even though she was recalled after only a year in the mission school, she was ready to return, if the opportunity arose. To a friend she wrote, “I live in solitude and I am able to employ all my time in going over the past… but I cannot put away the thought of the Indians, and in my ambition I fly to the Rockies.” (From 365 Saints)
A Prayer of Madeleine Sophie
Oh, Sacred Heart of Jesus,
give me a heart that is one with your own;
A humble heart
that knows and loves its nothingness;
A gentle heart
that holds and calms its own anxieties;
A loving heart
that has compassion for the suffering of others;
A pure heart
that recoils even at the appearance of evil;
A detached heart
that longs for nothing other than the goodness of heaven;
A heart detached from self-love and embraced by the love of God,
its attention focused on God,
its goodness is its only treasure in time and eternity.