Eighth graders Lourdes Auais-Bulnes, Emily Eckerson and Sadie Moulton traveled to St. Charles, Missouri with Mrs. Karen Cornell this week to participate in the Sacred Heart Network Middle School “Roots” conference. The girls learned about St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, rscj and focused on how they can “Cross Frontiers” at their own schools.
Day 1: Over the course of our three days and two nights in St. Louis, Missouri, we learned more about the history of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne and connected with many other Sacred Heart schools from around the country. After checking in at the hotel, we departed for the Academy, our Sacred Heart Network school in St. Charles, to pray, eat, and mingle. There were middle school students from Sacred Heart schools from all over the country including Michigan, California, Washington, Illinois, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, Maryland, and more! We then got to know each other through different activities and even had the opportunity to pray at the tomb of St. Rose Philippine. We then returned to the hotel for a good night sleep.
Tomb of St Rose Philippine Duchesne (St. Charles, MO)
Day 2: After waking up on the second day, we all enjoyed an exquisite breakfast at the hotel. We then departed for the Shrine of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne in Florissant. It was here that Philippine established her first school for Native American children, as well as the children of French settlers in the area of the Louisiana Purchase. Here, our saint lived, taught, and prayed during her lifetime. Sr. Margaret Munch, rscj gave an insightful presentation on the life of Philippine as we toured the school and convent. We even had the opportunity to place prayer requests in Philippine’s “bedroom-” a small closet under the stairs in the convent. After lunch we went back to the Academy to learn more about the place where Philippine spent her last days. We saw Philippine’s bedroom which included a relic of the True Cross sent to Philippine in 1833 as well as a painting of the Magi sent to Philippine by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat. While touring the school, we also had the privilege to see an original Mater painting by Sr. Pauline Perdreau, the artist of the famous Mater painting in Rome. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel for dinner and a fun Sweatshirt Exchange, a building of community activity. Then, we left for the Saint Louis Arch and saw this masterpiece with a great view of the city behind it. We returned to the hotel and hung out with some new friends from the Sacred Heart school in St. Charles.
Praying at the bedroom of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (Florissant, MO)
Day 3: On the third day, we ate breakfast and concluded with some final information about Philippine and the many frontiers she crossed. We talked about how each of us is called to continue the work of Philippine today in our own schools. We concluded with a Closing Prayer and Commissioning Service. Shortly after that, we headed for the airport.
During this trip, we had an incredible experience in which we learned about other Sacred Heart schools, as well as St. Rose Philippine. We had fun while making friends and learning about her life of struggles and successes. We explored different views and ideas that each Sacred Heart school around the country had. We had the opportunity to see how other schools celebrate our Sacred Heart traditions, including the service opportunities they have and the different sports they offer, as well as many other things. It was truly an amazing thing to see. This year, we are celebrating the 200 year anniversary of Philippine’s arrival to the U.S. and the founding of the first Sacred Heart school on September 14, 1818. In honor of this celebration, the Network of Sacred Heart schools will have an international Day of Service on September 15, 2018.
This experience opened our eyes to other Sacred Heart schools and to St. Rose Philippine’s experience and voyage to accomplish and bring Sacred Heart education to the new world. Now it is up to us to continue in her footsteps!
Entire group on the front stairs of the Academy of the Sacred Heart (St. Charles, MO)