Woman with a Global Heart
I find Philippine Duchesne to be a particularly inviting model for our twenty-first century world because she had a global heart.
A global heart shifts the focus of interest and compassion from “me” to “us” to “all of us”! This development describes an emergence of consciousness and compassion into ever-expanding circles. The circle of “my neighbor” is an ever-increasing number of people with whom I am capable of truly empathizing. A global heart has an inclusive, wide tent and a porous boundary!
Philippine Duchesne was constantly expanding the boundaries of her heart. As a child she yearned to reach out to the poor of Grenoble; as an adolescent and a young nun she dreamed of working with native peoples across the ocean; as an old woman she longed to travel to the Rocky Mountains and beyond—even to China. Philippine courageously crossed frontiers that were not just geographic or political; she crossed frontiers of social class, language, culture and custom. Philippine’s circle of compassion was as wide as the world. Her deep desire was to bring the Love of God, which she had come to know so intimately, to those in the world she thought were most removed from it. Philippine had a Global Heart.
So what of us? How broad is the tent of our own inclusion? How wide is the circle of our compassion? How porous are the boundaries of our hearts? For whom do our hearts hurt? If the answer is too narrow or parochial, it is useful to remember how Philippine’s Heart became so global. How? She opened her heart. She spent copious amounts of time allowing God’s Love, through Christ, to fill her, to form her and, ultimately, to transform her. Philippine’s heart thus became increasingly revelatory of Christ’s Heart. And as Christ’s Heart, her heart encompassed the globe.
Maureen Glavin rscj