Friday, July 22, 2016

St. Philippine Duchesne, RSCJ

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, RSCJ (1769-1852) = Missionary Nun. Revered by the Potawatomi and given the name of “Quah-Kah-Ka-Num-Ad” (woman who prays always), Rose was born in Grenoble, France, the second of eight children to Pierre Francois and Rose Euphrosine Perier Duchesne. She survived the religious persecution of the French Revolution.
 Bishop Louis William Valentine DuBourg, bishop of Louisiana, sent Mother Rose Philippine Duchesne and a group of nuns, in 1818, to establish an Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles, Missouri. Not only did she establish the free-of-charge girl’s school, but also the first convent of the Religious Sisters of the Sacred Heart, a teaching order, there.
In 1838, the US federal government forced some 900 Potawatomi from their land in Indiana and made them march single file over 600 miles in three months, ending near present day Osawatomie, Kansas. The forced march is now known as the Trail of Death as many died along the way. Most of the surviving Potawatomi eventually settled in Sugar Creek near Mound City, but were later relocated to St. Marys on the Kansas River in 1847. Catholic missionaries opened schools for boys and girls at both.
Duchesne’s dream was to serve the Indians and she made quite an impression on them when it finally became a reality at the age of 72, thanks to her friends, Fr. Peter De Smet, SJ, and Fr. Peter John Verhaegan, SJ. She and three other nuns arrived in Kansas City on a steamboat on the way to their assigned mission. She never quite mastered the Indian language, but prayed daily, visited the sick, and helped the Indian girls with their knitting. After a year, she was summoned back to St. Charles where she lived the rest of her life, dying on November 18, 1852. One hundred, thirty-six years after death, she achieved sainthood when canonized on July 3, 1988.

Posthumous Award:
1918 = The Historical Society of Missouri named her the greatest benefactor among the state’s pioneer women.

More to Read:
1. Philippine Duchesne. By Louise Callan.
2. The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. 150 Years of Faith: 1850-2000. By Todd Habiger. 2000.
3. Dictionary of Christianity in America.Editors: Daniel G. Reid, Robert D. Linder, Bruce L.Shelley, & Harry S. Stout, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1990.
4. Webster’s Biographical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Springfield, MA; 1956.
5. A Centenary of Catholicity in Kansas: 1822-1922. By Thomas H. Kensella. Casey Printing, Kansas City; 1921.
9. Shrine of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
10. Missouri: Day by Day. By Floyd C. Shoemaker, Editor. Mo State Historical Society, 1942.
11. Map of the Pottawatomi Indian Reservation in Kansas in 1846. 
12. Findagrave #301 and  # 9395

Historical Note: Every Pottawatomi citizen who traveled from Indiana to Kansas on the Trail of Death was listed. To find out if your ancestor was enrolled on the list, click here

Places to Visit in MO & KS:
1. The Shrine of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, 619 North 2nd Street., St. Charles, Mo.
3. Sacred Heart Church (f. 1942), Mound City, Linn Co., KS.
4. St. Philippine Duchesne Shrine on Sugar Creek, Mound City, KS.
5. St. Mary’s Mission signpost, St.Marys, KS.
6. Immaculate Conception Church, St. Mary’s, KS. (First cathedral of Vicariate Apostolic of the Indian Territory: 1851-1855).