St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
This saint labored for Jesus in the United States. She was born into a wealthy French family in 1769. As a youngster, there was nothing especially holy about Rose. In fact, she often did her best to get her own way. She ordered everyone else to do what she wanted. In school, her favorite subject was history. She later became very interested in stories about Native Americans. At the age of seventeen, Rose entered the convent. She was not allowed to take her vows when the time came, because of the French Revolution. All the professed sisters were forced by the revolutionaries to leave the country, and Rose had to return to her family. Still she did not give up her desire to belong to Jesus. Several years later she joined the newly formed Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Mother Rose Philippine Duchesne's great desire was to be a missionary. However, she was fifty before she was sent to the United States. It was still a mission land at this time. In Mississippi, she and a small group of sisters started a free school for the children of poor families. The work was hard, because of the different languages and ways of the people. Despite the many difficulties, Mother Duchesne never lost her youthful enthusiasm. As she grew older, she became less commanding and more gentle.
Mother Duchesne was a real heroine who went through terrible journeys. She nearly died from yellow fever. She overcame all kinds of obstacles to open convents in the New World. Then, when she was seventy-one, she resigned her position as superior. She went off to open a school among her beloved native people. She died in 1852 at the age of eighty-three and was proclaimed a saint by Pope John Paul II in 1988.
Although St. Rose spent a very short time serving in the mission, she was able to help the people with her prayers. The Native Americans called her "the Woman Who Prays Always."