Among the many missionaries in the United States, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne stands out as one of the most influential. She was a trailblazer in the Midwest and was generous in her work among Native Americans.
Not only that, she was a missionary for decades, working until her health deteriorated and she died at the age of 83.
St. John Paul II praised the many virtues of St. Rose to pilgrims who gathered in Rome for her canonization in 1988.
St. Rose Philippine was a woman of lively faith and constant prayer, a woman full of zeal for the missionary needs of the Church. Her love, which knew no limits, was always eager to reach out to those in need in countries and cultures different from her own. By the time she got to her long-awaited mission among the American Indians, she could write to St. Madeleine Sophie Barat that “to go to teach the Indian children is a grace – a gift of God, not just a service.” And her enthusiasm never wavered. Even beyond the age of seventy she was still a valiant pioneer of the Gospel, traveling across the plains of Missouri and Kansas in North America to establish a school for girls of the Potawatomi Indian Tribe.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart
St. John Paul II also pointed out the secret to her strong missionary zeal.
How does one account for such untiring zeal, such constant dedication to the Church’s missionary efforts? Surely, it could only be the result of a heart on fire with love of God, a heart that was always in loving harmony with the Sacred Heart of Jesus the Lord.
She was a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart and her lively devotion helped fuel her in the midst of all the obstacles she faced.
While she was active in the world, she had a contemplative heart, close to Jesus, drawing from the fountain of his divine love.