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Saint Philippine Duchesne
Mother Philippine Duchesne was canonized on July 3rd, 1988
The following is from small brochure printed by Maryville College Press around 1960
Rose Philippine Duchesne
Religious of the Sacred Heart
Beatified by Pope Pius XII May 12, 1940
"Mayest thou be blessed by Him in whose honor thou art to be consumed" -- From the Liturgy -- Mother Barat’s farewell to Mother Duchesne.
Rose Philippine Duchesne was born in Dauphiny, France. August 29, 1769, into a family much esteemed m Grenoble. Her father was a member of the local Parliament. her education was virile. She studied Latin, Greek and Mathematics, painting, and the practical arts of the home. At the age of twelve she went to the Visitation Convent of Ste. Marie d'en Haut to prepare for her first Communion, and in that holy meeting she heard the divine call and gave herself irrevocably to God.
Despite the family opposition, she entered Ste. Marie just before the reign of terror. When the storm broke she was obliged to return home and while waiting for peace, she devoted herself to prayer, penance and apostolic labor. In 1801 she got possession of Ste. Marie, but despite her zeal, she failed to reestablish religious life there. In that holy house, Father Varin, Spiritual Father of the young Society of the Sacred Heart, found her and wrote to Mother Barat, "You will find… one here… and if there were only that one she would be worth seeking at the end of he world." In advent 1804 the two saintly women met; Philippine knelt to welcome her new Mother and to surrender herself and the Convent to her.
In 1805, on the least of the Presentation, Philippine made her vows. Her life-long desire for the mission had flamed into a mighty fire as she listened to the account, of passing missionaries and she wrote burning letters to Mother Barat, The saint's deep spiritual insight "held her daughter’s mettlesome impetuosity in thrall." She shared Philippine's yearnings, believed God inspired them, for through twelve years of waiting she repeated, "I cannot send you now; keep up your hope, . . . pray to be chosen."
In 1815 Mother Duchesne was called to the Mother House in Paris and appointed Secretary General. Divine Providence permitted that he should be present when Monsignor Du Bourg. Bishop of Louisiana. called to ask Mother Barat to send nuns to his diocese. She longed to consent but prudence counseled delay. However, after his second visit she yielded to Mother Duchesne’s prayer, "Only
say the word 'Go' and obedience will do the rest." The departure was set for the spring of 1818, and Mother Duchesne named Superior of the Mission, four of her Sisters were chosen to go with her. They embarked on the sailing ship Rebecca on March 19; during the nine weeks at sea they suffered much from, rough weather and privation. They landed on May, 29, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, The Ursulines of New Orleans, received them with tender charity and nursed Mother Duchesne through an illness that seemed unto death.
The Bishop's letter of welcome did not come for weeks. In July they took the river boat up the Mississippi; the journey lasted forty days. The Bishop welcomed them to his palace--a barn! Believing St. Louis less promising for their work than St. Charles, he secured for them a one room house in the Latter place. The year there was one of untold suffering and joyous abnegation; a few children entered as boarders. In 1819 Bishop Du Bourg closed SL Charles and removed them to his farm at Florissant: children came, a school was built, postulants arrived. To Mother Duchesne’s intense joy, a colony of Jesuits settled in Florissant she delighted to serve these men of God and they gave her what her soul desired, spiritual help.
In 1827she established a convent of the Sacred Heart in St. Louis, and fifty children came at once. In 1828 St Charles was reopened. These foundations grew slowly and Mother Duchesne, in her deep humility, felt that she was a useless and an obstacle to successful work and begged to be relieved of superiority. Her life-long desire had been to go to the Indian missions and in 1841 her prayer was granted. She was sent to Sugar Creek, to the Pottawattomies; though old and broken, she could pray and speak to them of God. They reverenced and loved her and called her "The woman who always prays." She was more than happy, but her health failed and she was taken bark to St. Charles. where her energy and zeal kept her useful to the end, teaching a class of poor children.
Infirmities and desolation put the finishing glory on the sanctity of this heroic soul. Her room was near the chapel. Holy Mass had ever been her supreme joy and she passed uncounted hours before the Blessed Sacrament. Then, she found consolation for the last vials, strength to bear all with joy.
On the very day of her death Reverend Mother de Rousier came to St, Charles with messages from Mother Barat and left to found the Society of The Sacred Heart in South America. A few hours later, clear of mind, strong of soul. this. great religious. this holy warrior went to God in the order of sanctity.
November 18, 1852
with Potawatomi Indians