Sunday, April 23, 2017

Introducing St Rose Philippine Duchesne

The next pilgrimage has begun already.  I've met two pilgrims - Roscoe and Jim - in Kansas City, Kansas, USA to commence a pilgrimage dedicated to a teaching nun who came from France in 1818 and opened the first school west of the Mississippi the same year. Next year, 2018, the modern sisters of her Sacred Heart of Jesus congregation are celebrating the bicentennial. The dozens of Sacred Heart Catholic Schools in North America blossomed from her efforts then. It's my hope that our pilgrimage now will also serve as an exploratory expedition to inspire other pilgrims to celebrate the life and legacy of St Rose Philippine during her bicentennial year and beyond.

St Rose Philippine desired to teach Native Americans as a young woman in France. She had a bumpy ride during and after the French Revolution but eventually arrived in St Charles, Missouri in 1818. Starting several schools and accepting many women into the Sacred Heart Society, she finally came to the area of eastern Kansas in 1841 to teach the children of the Potowatomi tribe. The Shrine of St Rose Philippine Duchesne in Mound City is therefore our starting point.

Our pilgrim plan is to walk through farmland for the next week or so to Clinton, Missouri then get on the Katy Trail - a wonderfully accessible rail-to-trail route to her tomb at the shrine, tomb, and original school in St Charles, Missouri. In total, we will take 25 days to walk the 328(ish) miles (~500 kilometers). Most of the path is broad and flat. More than half of the distance is along the left bank of the Missouri River. I'm particularly looking forward to the many vineyards along the path.

We began our effort with a encouraging pilgrim blessing by Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City, KS in his chapel this morning and were driven to this starting point 70 miles south of the city. The shrine in Mound City can comfortably host pilgrims. Already, the effort to just get to the starting line has been filled with the joys that come when people help people... warm and friendly support that pilgrims need. Thanks to all who have helped us so far.

Because the school children of the Sacred Heart School in St Charles will be following us, everybody who who wants to follow us benefit with more frequent updates - promise!  To get more details about St Rose Philippine and bicentennial activities, visit without hesitation


Gr8ful said...
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Gr8ful said...

I look forward to reading your blog- and living vicariously through your journey.
I wish you safe travel!

Michael Martin said...

We do hope and PRAY that all is going well. I am sorry we couldn't keep the sun out for you.