|St. Rose Philippine Duschesne|
Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis
Photo by Andrew Balet
Born in France, Saint Rose joined the Society of the Sacred Heart as a religious sister. In 1818, when she was 49 years old, she was sent to the United States. She started out working for pioneer girls whose families were trying to tame the wild plains of Missouri, but what she really wanted to do was minister to the Native Americans. She endured terrible winters, wildfires, unbearable heat, poverty, hunger, illness, and many other disappointments for 23 years. At last, she was able to start a school for Pottawatomie children in Kansas, where the Native Americans called her “Ouahkahkanumad,” the Woman Who Always Prays.
Saint Rose had to learn how to communicate with the Native Americans whom she lived and worked with in Kansas. Today, you can learn to pray the Sign of the Cross in the Pottawatomie language, just as she must have done.