Two hundred years ago today, Emilie and Therese Pratte, along with their cousin Pelagie Chouteau, woke up in the Duquette Mansion having spent their first night as boarders at the newly established Sacred Heart school. Imagine the excitement around that breakfast table—the students beginning an adventure in the frontier town of Saint Charles and the Religious now having the much-needed boarding students. What a leap of faith it was for all parties involved!
Arriving with these boarders in Saint Charles, carried by General Pratte, were letters sent to the Religious from France. Most significant among these would have been the letter from Madeleine Sophie Barat, written six months earlier, telling of Pope Pius VII’s blessing of the mission to America. She wrote to Philippine, “You see, our Holy Father the Pope has approved of your mission; it was, then, God’s will, and that is why all circumstances converged so remarkably to make it succeed.” This message from home must have been a great gift offering support and hope for the future.
Recently I asked a colleague a question about generosity of spirit. I think Sophie’s message above is a beautiful example of that form of support. As members of this community of Christ’s heart, we are called to make known God’s love through our words and actions. This happens in ways both great and small. Today, I received a beautiful thank you note from a student in First Class, you see she had forgotten to bring a stuffed animal for the Blessing of the Animals…and truth be told, I had one in my office to ready to share. Her handwritten note, delivered in person at the end of a long day, at the end of long week was the little gift that affirmed for me that my mission was being blessed. I pray that each of you will have one of these moments as this week concludes; I hope too that you will consider how you can offer someone a similar gift of love.
Thank you to all who participated in the Blessing of the Animals! It was great to see our youngest students’ pets on campus and to give thanks to God for all the living creatures of the earth. Our ‘stuffed friends’ represented creatures great and small with everything from a fish to an alligator, a giraffe to a lion…I think I even saw a unicorn! Each of these, along with those who love them received a blessing on this feast day.
October 4, 2018