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Mademoiselle Duchesne

Mere Duchesne, Rscj

Theresa Riley Shaw

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When Rose Philippine Duchesne was born in Grenoble, the beautiful gateway to the French Alps, in 1769, no one knew she’d eventually be canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. When she went to the Sisters of the Visitation convent, Ste. Marie d’en Haut, to study for her First Holy Communion at age twelve, she consecrated herself to God. That was the happiest day of her life. At age eighteen, she asked to join the sisters, and while her father did not approve at first, he eventually began to realize how happy Philippine was. During the French Revolution, the government outlawed any and all religious congregations, so all convents, monasteries, and Catholic schools were closed. Philippine kept busy teaching her cousins, visiting the sick, and teaching catechism to the poor children she met in the streets. Finally, after twelve years of praying and hoping to go to the New World, in 1817, Bishop William Valentine DuBourg, bishop of Louisiana, came to visit the convent to ask for help for his American missions. Philippine threw herself at his feet and begged to be invited, and against all odds, she established religious communities in the United States to spread the word of the Lord.

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