Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Beginnings at Florissant
To continue with the life of Philippine we must go back a bit and take a look at 1820. The boarding school is flourishing with twenty-four pupils by May. We have an account from one of the first pupils, Emilie St. Cyr that shows Mother Duchesne as an educator and gives us a word picture of her among the children:
" I always looked on Mother Duchesne as a perfect model of all virtues. It was my good fortune to have her as class mistree during more than two years. Never once did I see her lacking in poise and self-control; never did I notice in her the least movement of impatience in dealing with the group of children who were so difficult to handle. She showed the same gentle kindliness toward all. More than once I called the attention of my schoolmates to the heavenly radiance that shone on her countenance. One might have mistaken it for sunshine, but the light was softer than than. Then we would say, "Mother Duchesne has just come from the chapel. She has had an ecstasy." We certainly had a saint for a teacher. Even the most troublesome girls venerated her."
The second scholastic year at Florissant had scarcely begun when Mother Duchesne fell dangerously ill. Mother Duchesne wrote to Mother Barat on October 30 and I will copy part of her letter tomorrow as it helps us to realize how hard those years were for Philippine.