St. Rose Philippine Duchesne was born on August 29, 1769, into a wealthy family with political connections. Her father was a lawyer and prominent civil leader, and her mother was a member of a leading family from the Dauphine region.
When she was 8, Rose knew she wanted to evangelize in the Americas, after hearing a Jesuit missionary speak about his work there. She was educated at home, and her mother provided her faith formation.
When she was 12, Rose went to a convent of Visitation nuns in Grenoble to study. Without the knowledge of her family, she joined them when she was 19. Although her family initially opposed her decision, they eventually gave in.
In 1804, Rose joined the Society of the Sacred Heart, and in 1818, she was sent to the United States. She initially opened a convent and school at St. Charles, MO, and then traveled widely, founding schools for girls, doing charitable works, and ministering to Native Americans.
Rose spent the last decade of her life in retirement, living in a tiny shack at the convent in St. Charles, praying constantly. She died on November 18, 1852.
St. Rose was beatified on May 12, 1940, by Pope Pius XII, and canonized on July 3, 1988, by Pope John Paul II. She is often called the “Lady of Mercy,” or the “Woman Who Prays Always.” St. Rose is the patroness of the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri.