One half of that love story is Philippine’s deep awareness of God’s great love for her. We know about this half of the love story when we read about Philippine’s passion for prayer and her desires for spending time with God in prayer. You’ve heard the tales of how the children in France put little papers on her habit to see how long Mother Duchesne would kneel motionless in the chapel. Or perhaps you’ve read about how the Native Americans or little pioneer children would put leaves on her habit for the same reason. Or, maybe you recall how the Potawatomi people would reverently come to the rustic log chapel on the Kansas prairie and kiss the hem of her habit during the hours this holy old woman was ‘lost’ in God. At the center of all these remembrances is Philippine’s capacity for prayer. What is at the heart of this capacity was the simple JOY of being with her Beloved. She was opening her heart to God and allowing the One Who loves her to fill her heart to overflowing. In the process, Philippine was being sustained and suffused with knowing herself to be loved by Love’s Very Self.
The other half of this love story is Philippine’s life poured out in love. Her whole life can be seen as returning love with love. She wanted to reveal God’s Love to others. Her love for God was the impetus for her passion and the energy behind her famous zeal. We can imagine Philippine up early in the morning and we can picture her going to bed late at night, busy about many things. What is important to remember is that she was a woman whose very life was poured out AS love for the one whom she knew loved her first!
So, let us celebrate Philippine’s Feast by opening our Hearts to that same Love. Let us allow God in, let us let God love us. Let us take time to sit with and in that Love. And then, like Philippine, let us allow our lives to be a witness to that Love through all that we do!
Maureen Glavin, rscj