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Posted by on Nov 18, 2007

Saint of the Day – St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Saint of the Day – St. Rose Philippine Duchesne


“Learn to let others do their share of the work. Things may be done less well, but you will have more peace of soul and health of body. And what temporal interest should we not sacrifice in order to gain these blessings?”
     St. Philippine Duchesne

Rose Philippine Duchesne, pictured here in a mosaic in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Missouri, was a French woman, born in 1769 to a successful middle class family. She entered the Visitation order during the French Revolution, but was forced to return home when revolutionaries expelled the nuns from their convents. She was active in the underground church during the Revolution, caring for the poor and sick, visiting prisoners and helping fugitive priests.

Following the Revolution, she joined the Society of the Sacred Heart. When the Bishop of Louisiana requested missionary help, she volunteered, arriving in New Orleans in 1818. She worked in Missouri and Kansas, starting schools and orphanages, for children of the settlers and Native Americans of the area. When she was 72 she founded a mission school for Native American girls and spent many years working there. The Potawatomi among whom she worked called her “Woman-who-prays-always.”

Despite the many years she lived in America, she was never able to master the English language. Yet that limitation never stopped her from doing what needed to be done for the children or the poor.

Her final years were spent at St. Charles, where her work in America had begun. She died there at the age of 83 on November 18, 1852 – a woman who accomplished wonders on the American frontier without sacrificing “peace of soul and health of body.”

“Learn to let others do their share of the work” — Not bad advice today either!

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