I came to know Philippine Duchesne through stories told by one or other RSCJ, and from writings about her. Later I had the grace of visiting some places where she lived in the United States. With Philippine Duchesne, I have seen how my life is a physical, intellectual, human, psychic and spiritual journey with an open heart, like Abraham, moving towards myself, others, nature and God with a deep inner joy. Something I continue to experience linked with her is the openness in contemplating her picture on the Rebecca, crossing cultural, religious, North/South and social frontiers.
Setting out with nothing at the start of her mission, Philippine teaches me that real human poverty is not a lack of money, but rather the lack of heart or of love towards others. As Helder Camara puts it, “Nobody is so poor that he has nothing to offer; nobody is so rich that [she] does not need help.” By her person, Philippine enriches each of us. Temple of the living God, Philippine Duchesne has enabled me to see, through her being, that “to discover and manifest the love of the Heart of Christ by the service of education” is a universal heritage lived daily by every RSCJ and by everyone who decides to live by it.
N’guemta Nakoye Mannta (Juliette), RSCJ, Province of Tchad
Image: Margaret Mary Nealis, RSCJ