This past year, Sacred Heart schools throughout the United States have been celebrating the bicentennial (200 years) of Sacred Heart education. A French woman who was a Religious of the Sacred Heart, named Rose Philippine Duchesne, crossed the ocean 200 years ago to bring the love of the heart of Jesus to the “new world.” Remember in 1818, the United States was still a relatively new country. Philippine came by ship (the Rebecca) with four other religious on a difficult and challenging journey that took many months.
After initially landing in New Orleans, Philippine and her companions went up the Mississippi to St. Charles, Missouri. This initial foundation at St. Charles marked the beginning of Sacred Heart education in the United States. And here we are 200 years later still being educated in that same spirit and love of the heart of Jesus.
November 18 is the feast of St. Rose Philippine. As a way to celebrate her feast as well as to close the bicentennial celebration, there was a Mass celebrated in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis in Missouri. I had the privilege to attend this Mass along with many Religious of the Sacred Heart as well as many Sacred Heart educators from our many network schools throughout the United States and Canada.
There are so many aspects of Philippine’s life that I admire. In particular, I applaud her courage to accept all circumstances (easy as well as difficult) as God’s will for her. In doing this, she accomplished so much for God and for all those who to this day continue her great work–including all of us. Before the Mass, I had a few moments with Philippine to look into her eyes and to ask her heavenly intercession for each of us as we try to follow her example of daily following God’s will in our lives.
St. Rose Philippine, pray for us!
Theology teacher – Grades 5th and 7th