Dear Academy families and friends,
Yesterday, the Academy celebrated the 250th Anniversary of Philippine’s birth with a “First Headmistress’s Holiday.” Students were surprised with the fun festivities throughout the day.
The plans included:
- Inflatables—an obstacle course and slide
- The arrival of an ice cream truck with treats provided
- A coloring “contest” for Primary School students of an image of Philippine
- A “name the cow” contest for Lower School and Middle School students
- Photo opportunities with Flat Philippine and her cow companions
Our thanks go to the following groups for their generous support of this celebration:
- Alumni Coordinating Council
- Fathers’ Club
- Mothers’ Club
- The Shrine of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
Why did our school include cows in the celebration?
- Nearly concurrent to the celebration of her birthday in 1819, Philippine was preparing to move the Academy from the Duquette Mansion to a more suitable location that would support the growth of the school and the desired easier access to paying students from St. Louis.
- Among Philippine’s most precious acquisitions during that first year here in St. Charles were two cows. We have all heard about the scarcity of food and the struggle to feed the students, and these cows were essential.
- Philippine wrote about the cows in her letters to Sophie and recounted the challenge these creatures presented as they “revolted”—refusing to walk in the hot sun. This caused a new plan to be forged. In the cool of the morning, despite an attempt at rampage, the cows were mastered and went aboard the boat waiting to carry them across the Missouri River to Florissant. Upon the arrival, the cows, now free to roam, took off for the woods! One of the priests who had come to meet the Religious took off on horseback to corral the wayward cows.
So, why cows? Because it is a relatable story. It shows Philippine’s determination and it allows us to imagine the conversation that might have occurred on that first night in Florissant—hopeful for a fresh start and happy that the cows had come home.
Why cows? Because they offer a lighthearted glimpse of the struggle. If Philippine could move the cows, what can we accomplish if we put our minds and hearts to it?
Have a great holiday weekend,