When I think of Rose Philippine Duchesne as a person – with her courage and commitment, her need to go to the peripheries and her contemplative being – I am connected immediately to where we are today. She speaks as a woman of yesterday but with a deep, clear, solid perception which the world of today so needs.
Philippine could go step-by-step in fidelity to the Lord, a woman of profound hope in tumultuous and difficult times. She had hope, trust and fidelity for an unfolding future.
And it is that patient step-by-step approach that our world so needs. In times where immediacy, consumerism and superficiality race together, we too are sometimes caught up in this race and unwittingly lose our very essence, our deepest identity, our freedom. There is no time for silence; there is no time for encounter. There is time for doing but not for being in the doing.
She knew how to be and manifested the love of the Heart of Jesus wherever she was. A woman of deep availability, she knew how to put herself aside so as to bring Jesus to the poor of the Kingdom.
Today, our times too are tumultuous and difficult, though in a different way. We live in a moment of history where there is more and more oppression, violence, inequality and injustice, where there are more and more barriers. We live in a moment when Mother Earth cries out along with our brothers and sisters. This is a moment needing calculated risk-taking, generous availability, a loving look towards the margins. It is there that we find the Potawatomies of today. It is there that He awaits us – and they too await us.
Philippine, woman of yesterday, who speaks so much to us, today, tells us that fidelity to God is the most important. It is that which brings us to the most fragile. It is that which enables us to overcome obstacles and incomprehension. It is that fidelity which empowers us to be loving as she loved and to live, out of love, in union and conformity with the Heart of Jesus.
When one lives like this, one can transcend everything, and we are capable of communicating in a different way, as she did.
Isabel Rocha, RSCJ, Province of Argentina – Uruguay
Image: Artist Unknown