Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Sophie's Direction of Philippine Duchesne
Reading all of St. Madeleine Sophie's letters to an individual religious reveals her guidance through the years. She aimed at deepening the grace of vocation in each by leading them to greater union with the Heart of Jesus. She often wrote: "If you only knew how I long for you to become holy." It was this desire, coupled with her own spiritual wisdom, that made Sophie such a great spiritual director. Her gift of directing by letter began with her correspondence with Philippine Duchesne who was ten years older than Sophie, but who was one of the first novices formed by her.
Her correspondence with Philippine began on November 2, 1804. Sophie is answering a letter written by Philippine two months previously; she is accepting Philippine's offer of herself, her companions, and the old Visitation convent in Grenoble for the Society. Always humble, Sophie sends greeting to the companions of Philippine and asks: "Please ask them to pray for me; we shall pray for you too, for we must be united in our Lord as we shall soon be together."
Because Philippine treasured the letters sent to her through the years by Mother Barat, we can follow the growth in intimacy, the maturing response of both of these great religious to the calls of our Lord, and the gradual preparation and then support of this first missionary religious of the Society of the Sacred Heart to North America. I can only give some excerpts in this blog, but I hope they will not only reveal Sophie's gift for directing others by letter (never an easy thing to do), but give insight into these two great saints of the Society.