To write about Philippine is to focus our gaze on someone who stood out because of her persistence. A valiant and determined woman, she overcame many hardships with the strength of one who knows she possesses a truth, that of the love of God, which must be known further afield by more people. We discover this persistence in her early vocation at the age of twelve, in her admiration for St. Francis Xavier, in Grenoble as a Visitation novice, in her deep friendship with Madeleine Sophie, in the obedience that kept her in France until she was 49 … Her strength is in her character, in her way of being, but also in the message that set her heart on fire.
Philippine was a woman who was all passion, but on her own she would probably never have achieved her aims. What was lacking was something unexpected, a chance event, or the Providence of God. On January 14, 1817, she was in charge of the portry of the motherhouse in Paris. She received a visitor for Madeleine-Sophie, Bishop William Valentine Dubourg. She met the new bishop of Louisiana and Florida and knew that the great moment she had been expecting had arrived. When the bishop asked for religious for his new diocese, Madeleine Sophie accepted his request. It was May 16, 1817, and the moment had come to let Philippine go. She experienced tremendous joy.
The necessary human will and the overshadowing grace of God are two paths which come together at an unexpected point. Today, as then, the God of fidelity bursts into our lives. Let us always live in readiness, attentive to discover him at the crossroads.
Teresa Gomà, RSCJ, Province of Spain