Students, Faculty Take Pilgrimage to St. Charles Ahead of Bicentennial

Convent & Stuart Hall Schools of the Sacred Heart, San Francisco, CA
Students and faculty chaperones retraced the footsteps of St. Philippine Duchesne, who brought Sacred Heart education to North America, and attended a large-scale reenactment of her early days in Missouri.
Six students and two faculty members traveled to St. Charles, Missouri in early September to visit Sacred Heart historical sights and participate in commemorative events to mark the anniversary of St. Philippine Duchesne’s arrival to North America 200 years ago.

“The trip ultimately became a pilgrimage of our shared heritage, with each participant discovering something new about Sacred Heart education,” says Kristin Monfredini, K-8 Spiritual L.I.F.E. Director and the trip’s organizer.

On the three-day trip, the group visited the Academy of the Sacred Heart, the original school opened by St. Philippine in North America. “I developed a greater understanding of what she did and how our school originated,” says Katrina, a Convent eighth grader. “I really liked learning about our school in St. Charles and the impact Philippine had on the area around her,” Cat, a Convent junior, adds.

The trip also included a private tour of the Shrine of St. Philippine, where she was laid to rest and is memorialized, and Old St. Ferdinand, where she lived and worked for many years. Students conducted an interview with an on-site archivist, one of several interviews from the trip that they are using to help share their experience with classmates and the greater community.   

After a visit to the St. Louis Arch and Walk of Fame, where students posed for photos with a star dedicated to St. Philippine, the trip concluded with a reenactment of St. Philippine’s voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and her early days in Missouri, brought to life by students from the Academy. More than 1500 students from St. Louis-area schools and Sacred Heart affiliates, as well as state and local officials, were on hand for the celebration.

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Schools of the Sacred Heart share in the educational mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart as articulated in the Goals and Criteria. The structure supporting Sacred Heart education in Canada and the United States includes the Conference of Sacred Heart Education and the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.  Together they provide services and programs to ensure vitality of mission for the member schools sponsored by the Society of the Sacred Heart.