St. Rose Philippine Duchesne was drawn to religious life at an early age. After hearing a Jesuit speak about missionary work in the New World when she was 8 years old, Philippine already felt a desire to evangelize the Americas.
She was eventually granted that desire, and even though she did not always know the language of the Indigenous people she served, she kept a devout life of prayer.
For example, St. Duchesne was asked to help with a Jesuit mission to the Potawatomi tribe in Sugar Creek, Kansas. She had difficulty learning the language, so instead of teaching there, Mother Duchesne spent her time praying for the success of her fellow sisters. This gave her the reputation among the Native people as the “Woman-Who-Prays-Always.”
St. John Paul II noted in his homily for her canonization that it was prayer before the Eucharist that kept her missionary heart alive.
Rose-Philippine’s whole life was transformed and illuminated by love for Christ in the Eucharist. During the long hours she spent in front of the Most Holy Sacrament, she learned to always live in the presence of God. In him she placed her hopes and desires. The words of today’s responsorial psalm well express the intensity of her love for Christ: “The Lord is my part of my inheritance and my cup: in your hands is my life” ( Ps 16 , 5).
Furthermore, it was her love of the Eucharist that drew her to minister to poor children in the New World.
Increasingly filled with the love of God, and nourished by the ardent worship of the Holy Eucharist, Rose-Philippine Duchesne felt irresistibly pushed towards poor children, destitute families … Rose-Philippine Duchesne … Looking at [her] spiritual profile, we find confirmation of Paul’s words on the “love of Christ” who “impels us” (cf. 2 Cor 5:14 ).
Her life highlights for us the importance of having a deep devotional life to Jesus in the Eucharist, knowing that the greater our love of Jesus, the more love we will have for the most vulnerable among us.