While so much was happening outdoors this summer to transform our campus and the entrance approaches, parking spaces and play areas, some wonderful things were happening close by in the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne. As part of the five-year plan undertaken by the Alumni Association in anticipation of the Bicentennial in 2018, one of the needs identified by the administration (and certainly by the Shrine Director) was a way to accommodate pilgrims who arrive at a time when no volunteer docent is on duty.
The two walls adjacent to the west door of the Shrine have now been mounted with educational information (both visual and audio) that serves as a self-conducted tour opportunity. Many had observed that, until now, a visitor might come and go without having any experience of who our saint was, what she did and why she had been canonized. The south half of this display “travels” with the reader from France to New Orleans, to St. Louis, St. Charles, Florissant, and Kansas, returning to this house for the last ten years and death of Mother Duchesne. The north wall tells of her several burial places (culminating in the Shrine), names prelates in the Church who honored her, and declares the impact that her missionary endeavor had on the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Other enhancements rendered by this much-needed project include: better lighting and an attractive log cabin image in the niche that houses St. Philippine’s primitive chair and footwarmer, better lighting and signage around the sarcophagus, and better lighting of the large banner which hung in front of St. Peter’s Basilica the morning of the canonization in 1988. A committee of Religious of the Sacred Heart and lay personnel of the school worked for two years with Peter Drochelman, of The Drochelman Group, to achieve this desired outcome.
The Shrine is open every day from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. All are welcome to come for private prayer. To schedule a tour it is best to call the Shrine Director at (636) 946-6127. New entrances to the campus on Second, Clark or Fourth Streets will lead visitors to the Shrine parking area, which is clearly marked.