On Palm Sunday my small community of Apostles of the Sacred Heart of
Jesus had a sister visiting from Rome who only speaks Italian. My small community of 4 Apostle sisters makes mush of any attempted Italian, so with God’s grace, we also hosted a sister who speaks Italian fluently. Our plan for the day included a drive to St. Charles, MO, where we stopped first for a tour of the Shrine of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne.
While we listened to the guide’s enthusiastic story and our parallel Italian translation, I glanced around the simple but impressive chapel that housed the Saint’s remains. When we moved toward the center of the chapel, a unique mobile hanging from the ceiling mesmerized my attention. It consists of dozens of thin bars of metal hanging vertically at uneven lengths. Our tour guide explained that it was intended to represent the grace of God flowing down upon us, as it did for and through Sr. Rose Philippine Duchesne.
A young boy who had previously been on the tour, according to our guide, had looked up at the gently swaying bars and blurted out, “Of course, the Holy Spirit is always moving through – you can see the bars moving!” His observation was absolutely right! As we continued to move to the alcove that housed the Saint’s remains (that had been intact when exhumed from her original gravesite), we marveled at the Spirit’s power in her to leave behind all she had in France for the new world.
Further down the hall, we came to the “Pink Madonna” statue, modeled from a wall painting that had originally been done by a postulant of the Religious Sisters of the Sacred Heart. (Visit the shrine to hear the delightful and miraculous story behind that painting.) As we looked at it, our Italian sister began to speak of her own early education in Italy with the same Religious sisters! The exact statue was in her school as well, and seeing it renewed many memories and feelings of her early spiritual development there. She marveled at the impression made on her own spirit by the childhood experiences in her Catholic education and was moved as she recognized their lasting impact in her life.
Our visit that day brought us into contact with the Risen Christ, who had been present in His Spirit with St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, that spoke to us through the vision of a young child, the enthusiastic fervor of our tour guide, and the holy memories of our sister. We walked with the Lord in a spirit of joy together for the rest of the afternoon.
As we move through Holy Week and the Easter Season, may our eyes be open to the marvels around us that can reveal the Lord to us as He came to the Disciples on the way to Emmaus…and may our Eastertide season bring us the gentle breeze of Christ’s Spirit.
Resources for Children and Parents:
For a beautiful explanation of Jesus’s meeting with Peter after the Resurrection, you may want to check out a book for children:
Peter and Jesus by a Charcoal Fire. https://blog.renewintl.org/the-encounters-with-the-risen-jesus
For parent reflection of post-Resurrection encounters with the Risen Christ, you might pray with this on-line reflection by Sharon Krause:
"Encounters with the Risen Christ": https://blog.renewintl.org/the-encounters-with-the-risen-jesus