Friday, November 18, 2011
Feast of St. Philippine Duchesne
Mother Duchesne always seemed very close to me when I was at school at St. Charles. We used to go out to the little shrine in front of the school each night to help one of the nuns close up for the night after some prayer. I still remember the vigil lights that had been burning around the tomb and gave us enough light to kneel there in the shadows. It seems to me that they were usually green and amber lights almost burned out. Philippine was always there for me and I was astonished when I entered to find out that so many thought of her as an austere person while I saw her as a mother. I still do and feel that she watched over all of us in a special way at St. Charles and still does. I think she has inspired me as a missionary, as a faithful religious who loved the Society, her family, her country, America, the Church, the nuns and children entrusted to her care and the Indians. She had a heart as wide as the world and was so generous and did so much to help the pioneer Jesuits. She is still an inspiration for me and I am happy to celebrate her feast. The "woman who prays always", as the Indians named her, calls me to a life of prayer and integrity. I think she lived the prayer of Ignatius "to give without counting the cost', to toil without rest, to labor and not to seek any reward except that of doing the will of God. May she give us her gift of prayer and her fortitude and faithfulness!