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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

In the footsteps of St. Philippine Duchesne

The retreat was good with these wonderful women. I always find God so present at Villa Maria del Mar and could spend the day just looking at the ocean. I think of Philippine and her companions on the ship. the Rebecca, for so many days. They were going into the unknown really and were trying to learn some English so they could make themselves understood in their new country.
I cannot help but think how different it was for me to go to Chile without knowing a word of Spanish. First of all, I flew; it was my first experience flying and I went to Paris from Rome to wait in the airport for one of our French nuns who was returning to Chile. We made one stop in South America before flying across the Andes mountains to Chile. During this stop, we met two of our young Religious who were on there way to Rome. When we arrived in Santiago, the Superior Vicar and the Mistress of Novices were waiting to bring us from the airport to Maestranza, the house founded by Mother du Rousier who was buried in a small shrine in the vast garden. The house was over a hundred years old and had 13 patios! It had held a Normal School, the boarding school, and a free school besides numerous works. Arriving at night, I saw little until the next day. My alcove opened onto a gallery that over-looked the patio where the nuns had recreation all summer near the huge Cedar tree planted by Mother du Rosier. Not knowing Spanish made the first days difficult; indeed, the first year was very difficult because as soon as I arrived in Vina del Mar, I was given the middle school with a huge study hall.  The next year I had the high school and had picked up some Spanish from the children. Sorry, but I got carried away by my memories.

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