Monday, February 7, 2011


Yup, that’s what I would like to have my friends (and others) say about me. It is what the Potawatomi Indians called Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne. It translates as “Woman-who-prays-always.”

Saint Rose was born in France in 1769 and as an adult entered the Visitation Order in the midst of the French Revolution. Because of the turmoil and warfare the sisters were expelled from their convents, and she spent many years caring for the sick and poor, helping fugitive priests, visiting prisons, and teaching children. All the while she prayed for the day she might go abroad as a missionary, although time passed and it did not seem possible.

While serving in the Sacred Heart Order after the Revolution, God honored her patience and trust in His timing and granted her desire. At the age of 50 she enthusiastically answered the bishop’s call for nuns to go to the United States as missionaries. From Louisiana she was sent to Florissant, Missouri where she opened a school, then built a convent, an orphanage, a parish school, a school for Indians, a boarding academy, and a novitiate for her order.

Saint Rose duplicated many of those works in St. Louis, and at the age of 72 founded a mission school for Indian girls in Kansas where she spent much of her time nursing the sick until her death at 83. Her energy and ideas were prodigious in spite of encountering all the hardships of pioneer work. She was rightly called the “missionary of the American frontier” and was canonized in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

Although her works were many, Saint Rose was best known for praying for those whom she served. Her works may have disappeared in the passing of generations, but her intercession for the people is even now bearing eternal fruit. I too want be make myself available as a “Quah-kah-ka-num-ad.” When my friends, my family, even virtual strangers, or those with little Christian background ask me to pray for them, as they often do, I want to be “instant in prayer, in season and out of season.” To pray is such a great privilege!

Many people contact me by e-mail. May I make full use of instant communication and respond by praying immediately and at times when appropriate writing my prayer in reply. I try to avoid saying “I will pray for you” but do so on the spot. I believe that Saint Paul would have used e-mail and the various other media we have today to pray and to preach and to teach.

I am confident that my prayer thus sent off into cyberspace is simultaneously transmitted by Angelic Messenger Service in less than a nanosecond to Our Father Who is in Heaven. On the way my prayer passes through His Son, Jesus Christ, the One Mediator between God and man. It is sped on its way by the “groanings which cannot be uttered” by the Holy Spirit Who knows the mind of God and His will. He edits my prayers however necessary to make them conformable to the perfect plan of God. Scripture assures me of that. (1 Timothy 2:5; Romans 8:26-28)

Saint Rose didn’t have recourse to the modern means that I have at my disposal, but I believe her prayers reached the Throne of God in the very same way as quickly and efficaciously as mine do. Prayers are everlasting. Once released to God, Who is The Eternal Now, they don’t diminish, or lose strength, or go astray, become obsolete, or end up in some heavenly wastebasket even with the passing of generations. Our eternal God always answers all prayers although not necessarily in the way we may expect. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for Your editorial blue pencil to make my prayers good and acceptable and perfect before they reach God!


No comments: