Friday, March 1, 2013
Reflection on St. Philippine Duchesne
Rose Philippine Duchesne was beatified in 1940. Four years later, at age thirteen, I began high school as a weekly boarder at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles, Missouri. The school was first opened by Philippine in 1818. Each night, I was one of the students who went to close up the shrine where Philippine was buried. Sometimes we would be wrapped up in the nuns’ black shawls to go out and say goodnight to our “Mother Duchesne.” I think I learned to pray as we knelt around the marble tomb with only the flickering light from the amber and green vigil lights that decorated it. For me, Mother Duchesne was a real mother: tender, loving, interested in all that I did each day and ready to help me. Those nightly conversations began a real friendship with Philippine that continues even today.