Head of School Blog
Susan Tyree Dempf, Ph.D.

Celebrating Philippine

Dear Academy families and friends,

Happy Feast Day… today we join with Sacred Heart students around the globe in celebrating our saint and friend, Philippine. This morning as I was getting ready for school I was thinking about how I have celebrated this feast in the past, whether as a student in my very itchy wool dress uniform on the Kenwood campus or as a Sacred Heart educator in Newton, MA or in Miami. I feel very blessed — we all are — to be in this holy place. To be where Philippine lived, prayed and dreamed. To be where Philippine struggled, failed and endured. I think one of the reasons why Philippine is so dear to us at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, whether student, teacher, alum or parent, is because she was very real.

She was not perfect, I am not perfect, no human is… but seeing how Philippine navigated her life, like the Mississippi River with its shifting sandbars and floating obstacles gives us hope — hope that we can do the same. Philippine continues to teach us to have courage and confidence. Courage to listen for the presence of God in our heart and confidence to act, to do something that answers the call that God has for each of us.

In a message to the Heads of Sacred Heart Schools received this morning from Sister Suzanne Cooke, Provincial of the Society of the Sacred Heart US-Canada Province, she stated:

“On this day when we acknowledge Philippine, we recognize that each human being is simultaneously grace filled and challenged by inclinations to fail to operate from this grace. The good news is that we are loved by God. If we can only trust this identity as God’s Beloved, we can overcome our frailty and our failures; we can and must work to build the Beloved Community as Jesus envisioned. Philippine’s words encourage to move forward confident in God’s mercy.

We cultivate a very small field for Christ but we love it,
knowing that God does not require great achievements,
but a heart that holds back nothing for self.

Let’s pray for one another and all with whom and on behalf of whom we serve. May our union of hearts rooted in mission be a source of life to our world.”

And so with those words in mind, let us all go forward on this Feast Day — parents, grandfriends, teachers, staff, alumni and Board members — to continue to cultivate this small field for Christ, this field of children before us…a field filled with hope and joy, promise and the capacity to serve the purpose that God has given to each, and without whom God’s work will go undone.

Happy Feast!

Dr. Susan Dempf
Head of School