Yesterday was the feast day of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. In 1818 she traveled with five other Sacred Heart sisters from France to the frontier town of St. Charles, Missouri, opening the first school for girls between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. (Magnificat Nov. 18, 2021)
The name of the girls school was Villa Duchesne. The reason I know this is that my sister attended the school in the early 1950’s. It was pretty strict. There were numerous nuns in full habit that taught and kept the girls in line. It became prominent in the St. Louis area with a top reputation. It was somewhat “hoity-toity”. I wonder if Rose would feel very much at home at Villa today.
Rose was pretty down to earth. She was a tough and holy cookie, traveling among the Indians, founding schools and praying…. spending long hours before the Blessed Sacrament. The Indians named her “Quah-kah-ka-num-ad” ….. “woman- who- prays-always”. She made her last mission to the Potawatomi Indians at the age of 72. In one of her last letters, she mentions her very poor health and asks for prayers…. “God alone knows when the end will come. Adieu , dear sister. Oh, the happy day when we shall be together once more! Then all sorrows will end and we shall have eternal happiness in the Heart of our Savior, in whom I am your loving sister and friend”. (Magnificat 11-18-21)
What’s the point of the BLOG. Well, I guess to say the saints are really wonderful…. they are holy and tough. Can you imagine 5 young nuns traveling across the ocean and founding a school in the wilderness among Indians….. fighting the elements, health issues. Yet they clearly drew their strength from the Lord, spending time before the Blessed Sacrament to gain wisdom and strength, and courage. What was her secret? The Indians saw it…”she was the woman who prays always”. She knew God and had her focus on heaven.
Well, I’m asking St. Philippine to pray for each of us to have this confidence in the Lord and focus on heaven. And Rose please pray for one of your students that you never taught ….. my sister Elizabeth Jane Touhill (Villa Duchesne Class of 1954), who is now reaching the end of her earthly life. Thru your prayers may she enter eternity as a friend of Jesus and his Sacred Heart. Ask the rest of heaven to pray also. Wow, I can’t wait to thank you one day in heaven.