This past fall the Sacred Heart Alumni Association offered an alternative to the annual Days of Recollection which it has sponsored in the past. Sister Margaret Munch conducted tours to the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine in Florissant, which is located on the site of the first convent that St. Philippine Duchesne built in America. That convent still stands and has been carefully restored in recent years. A trip to this location takes a pilgrim back to those early days when the Society of the Sacred Heart operated a school in Florissant after they left St. Charles in 1819. Some who took the tour in June suggested that it be offered more widely, in the hopes of sharing the story of our very own saint.
Sister Munch is on the Friends of Old St. Ferdinand Board and has a vast knowledge of the Philippine history that prevails in Florissant as well as a keen desire to assist that committee in its ongoing work of restoration. Because she has retired from teaching at the Academy this year, Sister Munch is free to schedule a number of tours which we are pleased to be able to sponsor. We are offering the following four dates this spring and hope to be able to add more next fall. Our spring dates are:
Saturday, February 20
Wednesday, March 9
Saturday, April 16
Wednesday, May 11
The number of participants in a tour is limited due to the size of the rooms in this historic complex. Carpool groups will set out from the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne (on the Academy grounds) at 10 a.m. Or, pilgrims may choose to join the group in Florissant at 10:30 a.m. The tour will last approximately one hour. There is the option of continuing the day with lunch at Hendel’s restaurant, which is nearby.
The Alumni Association suggests a donation of $10 per person. Sister Munch will give your gift (in any amount) to the Shrine of St. Ferdinand for its ongoing work of restoration. Reservations in advance are required. These can be made by contacting Ann Diekemper (636-946-6127, ext. 1640).
Our beloved Alumni Director, Mrs. Jane Cannon, retired recently after more than four decades of dedicated service to the Academy. Please join us as we pay loving tribute to her on Saturday, January 16, at a 4 p.m. liturgy in the Shrine and a 5 p.m. cocktail reception in the Griesedieck Conference Room.
“I think I would have to name the PEOPLE as the most enjoyable facet of this job. Of course, there is the obvious treasure of working in the house blessed by a saint, and maybe she is the reason that so many wonderful friends (and even a few challenging personalities) have made these 41 years a beautiful memory. I think they are what has kept me coming back—and what has prompted me to extract from Sister Glavin permission to hang on, after January 1, as an interloping volunteer.”
Should you wish to make an honorary contribution in recognition of Mrs. Cannon, please consider the Cindy Cannon Brooks Scholarship Fund. To give online, choose “Cindy Cannon Brooks Scholarship Fund” in the donation category field of this online donations page.
The late-summer 2015 meeting of the Alumni Coordinating Council began with a celebratory visit to the Shrine to toast the recent completion of the informative walls there. They will help to educate pilgrims about the woman who is buried in one quiet corner of that edifice. Alumni Donations made that dream a reality!
The south wall traces the story of Philippine Duchesne life from her departure from France through her years in Missouri and Kansas. It ends with her death in the little cell on our campus. The north wall describes the two burial paces that preceded her present, inconspicuous tomb in a corner of the Shrine. It goes on to proclaim the legacy that her pioneer spirit secured in the United States and, indeed, by its missionary enterprise, into the whole world. Parabolic sound domes in each corner offer additional historic narratives that enhance the story of our saint.
Now we are ready to move down the hall to Phase III of our Alumni Project. We will be addressing “Philippine’s Back Porch.” Not only was this the exterior part of the original 1835 convent, but it derived new importance in 1951 when Philippine’s remains were carried in from the “round house” in the front yard and kept here in simple reverence until the Shrine was ready to receive her sarcophagus. This area will be modestly restored with appropriate signage this year to add another dimension to the pilgrim experience.
In anticipation of the Nov. 18 Feast Day of St. Philippine Duchesne, the Alumni Association will be sponsoring 24 HOURS OF EUCHARISTIC ADORATION in the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne. Eucharistic Adoration will begin with liturgy on Friday, Nov. 13 at 8 a.m., offered for Cindy Cannon Brooks, after which the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed. All are invited for prayer in the Shrine any time during the next 24 hours, and to the closing mass on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 8 a.m.
While the public is invited to come for prayer at any time during this 24-hour period, we are asking alums to sign up for an hour (to be responsible for having the exposed Blessed Sacrament attended around the clock). CLICK HERE to volunteer for this important service.
Please address any questions to Alumni Association President Russ Clever.