Wednesday, September 27, 2017
In Philippine's own words...
Letter that Philippine wrote to Mother Barat, October 30, 1820: "Never have I been in greater need of a letter from you and never have I had to wait so long for one. At last there is the packet.... My preceding letters which must have caused you anxiety about the health of Mothers Octavie and Eugenie, made you realize our need of recruits and this one will give you still further proofs of it. After these generous souls have been delivered from their bleedings and blisterings, I too had an illness that has lasted two months, including the convalescence. I received Holy Viaicum and was never so near to meeting my God. After having burned with desire to be with Him, at the moment when I could hope for it I felt only the emptiness of my life, the severity of God's judgments, and the hardness of my own heart."
Philipine then tells how the Bishop brought his own doctor to treat her and how she has decided that none of them should take mecury, a drug widely used in American medicine at the time. Then she tells how she had just begun to regain her strength when Octavie slipped and fell and broke a bone in her leg.
Mother Duchesne ends this letter saying: "As for me, do as you wish. All desire but that of doing God's holy will is extinguished in me, and my illness has rooted me still deeper in indifference. Monsignor has ordered me to take care of myself and I am doing so quite simply. Today I am writing my first letter. I have eaten four meals and I remained in bed until seven o'clock this morning."
This is the same woman who will finally be able to reach her beloved Indians at age 71! She still has more than twenty years to wait and these are years when, although she is responsible for the opening of six houses of the Society, she still feels that she is a failure and often begs to be relieved of the burden of being superior.