Rose Philippine Duchesne was born into a rich French family in Grenoble, France in 1769. Both of her parents taught her diplomacy, persistence and a love of the poor. Her life’s goal was to teach Indian children in the American west. She became a nun when she was 19. When war broke out, Rose helped priests and took care of the poor and infirm.
Eventually Rose and four other sisters joined the new Society of the Sacred Heart and became a close friend of Saint Madeleine Sophie Brat who was their superior. In this religious organization Rose worked her way up to being superior and overseeing the novitiate. Her dream, still, was to work with the Indians.
When she was 49 years old, Rose went to Missouri where she founded a girls school. Later she founded the first Catholic Indian School. She endured hardship after hardship but never gave up her dream of founding a mission with the Indians. At 72, her dream was finally realized when she was among those who founded a mission at Sugar Creek, Kansas with the Potawatomi Indians. Although she was too old and physically depleted, Rose’s primary function at the mission was prayer. The Indians called her “Woman-Who-Prays-Always.”
Rose died at 83 in 1852 and was canonized in 1988. She is known for her iron will and total dedication to prayer.
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