This year, as we celebrate the 200th anniversary
of the Society of the Sacred Heart’s courageous decision
to live its mission and charism beyond known frontiers,
let us enter into the Holy Week Triduum with
who on Holy Thursday in 1806 had that "blessed night" experience.
In her account to St. Madeleine Sophie about that all-night prayer, Philippine wrote:
It was indeed a blessed night!... All night long I was in the New World, and I traveled in good company. First of all I reverently gathered up all the Precious Blood from the Garden, the Praetorium, and Calvary. Then I took possession of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Holding him close to my heart, I went forth to scatter my treasure everywhere, without fear that it would be exhausted.... The twelve hours of the night passed rapidly and without fatigue... And then I found myself alone with Jesus.... Dear Mother, when you say to me, “Behold I send you,” I shall answer quickly, “I will go.”
Letter of Philippine Duchesne to Madeleine Sophie, 4 April 1806
These words from our Constitutions express for us today this mystical experience and profound apostolic vision:
The pierced Heart of Jesus opens our being
to the depths of God
and to the anguish of humankind.
And so during this Holy Week Triduum, inspired by the life and mission of Philippine Duchesne, let us "come to Him with everything that touches our life, with the sufferings and hopes of humanity." Constitutions § 20
How is the pierced Heart of Jesus
touching my heart, opening my being?
What are the "sufferings and hopes of humanity"
that call me to prayer,
invite me to cross "frontiers,"
move me to commitment and action?
May this year of prayer with Philippine strengthen our capacity to contemplate and listen to the heartbeat of God in ourselves and in our world. May we, like Sophie and Philippine, be compelled by the love of the Heart of God, Jesus Christ. May we believe in a gospel vision beyond what we can see or imagine that “all may be One” and act with courage, confidence and persistence to make this vision a reality.
Letter of Barbara Dawson on the Feast of Philippine Duchesne, 18 November 2017