Saturday, March 24, 2012
When I was a child at school at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles, I loved Mother Philippine Duchesne dearly and prayed daily at the little shrine where she was buried or at her room. She had founded the school in 1818, went back to reopen it in 1828 and installed Mother Lucille Mathevon as superior; Philippine went to the Indian mission with Lucille in 1841 but had to return after a year and she spent the last ten years of her life at St. Charles. Her prayer was always worldwide and the fact that the Society of the Sacred Heart is an international Society with houses in over 44 countries today is something that attracted me even as a child. I never dreamed that I would be able to spend twenty years as a missionary to Chile later, but those words from the Constitutions mean more to me now because of my friendship with Philippine. I think "friendship" is the word I want to describe my relationship with her. I felt that she was a friend and always ready to help me. Here is what we are praying over in the Constitutions that brought to mind Philippine and her prayer for the world:
The pierced Heart of Jesus
opens our being to the depths of God
and to the anguish of humankind.
Jesus draws us into His movement of adoration
of the Father
and love for all, especially those who are poor.
We keep returning to this word of Jesus,
as to a light which gradually transfigures us in His image:
"Learn of Me, because I am gentle and humble of heart."
I guess that I should add that Philippine spent long hours in adoration; she was really a woman who prayed always, as the Indians called her, but she was both deeply apostolic and contemplative and today is a canonized saint!