This week, we celebrate the life of St. Philippine Duchesne and our ties to France
From the School Archives…
This week’s column honors the Frenchwoman who brought Sacred Heart education to America:
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, RSCJ 1769 (France)- 1852 (USA)
As we celebrate her life and work here in the U.S, our thoughts go to France, especially to Paris, at this time of deep sorrow and pain for the deaths of innocent people, most of them young, who died in the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday evening. Our prayers are ones of hope for peace in our world, as well as for God’s peace to those who have suffered during this past terrible weekend.
We think of their families and friends, and also of our CSH teachers who were born in France, or who have close ties there, for students and alumnae whose families live there, and for our schools and religious communities there.
In the midst of tragedy in the country of our American schools’ origins, we thank God for the work of St. Philippine Duchesne in establishing our U.S. schools in 1819, and for her life, honored by all of us this week.
We think of her separation from family and community in France and the sacrifices she endured in bringing Sacred Heart from France to America.
She wrote to her cousin:
‘When my thoughts revert to what I am leaving in France—all that is dear to me—I put them aside, being convinced that, as I have desired only one thing—to answer God’s call and to abandon myself to His Providence—so the voyage and the trials ahead will never be as great as the help I may confidently expect from Him.’
St. Philippine’s message to us is to trust in God, to accept and love what life brings to us, and to enter wholeheartedly into life, giving it our all.
As one of our Religious of the Sacred Heart has written about St. Philippine:
‘When we are asked to be bold and courageous, you are our inspiration. When our imaginations dream and see beyond the limits of our sight, you are our hope. When we fail to meet a challenge and need to accept our limitations, you are our model. When we pray with the desire for a deep union with God, you are our Saint. And with your blessing, to the greater glory of God, we seek to be loving people who live and serve others with your same purpose, vision, and quiet humility.’ Kimberly King, RSCJ