History

RoundhouseBWFollowing her death in 1852, Mother Duchesne was buried on the grounds of the Academy of the Sacred Heart. After three years, her body was exhumed, found to be miraculously intact, and reverently interred in a crypt within a simple octagonal shrine in the front yard of the school.

Following Philippine’s beatification in 1940, an order came from Rome decreeing that her remains be removed from the little octagonal shrine and suitably deposited indoors. This was done in 1949, at which time the remains were placed in a marble sarcophagus housed in an oratory prepared in the old “back porch” area of the original (1835) convent.

Scan0002The Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne was begun in 1951 to honor this pioneer Religious of the Sacred Heart. John J. Cardinal Glennon of St. Louis was one of the strong proponents of the building of the Shrine, which he envisioned as a basilica to honor the new Beata. However, he died in 1946 and so it was Archbishop Joseph Ritter who presided over the groundbreaking. On June 13, 1952, the sarcophagus was moved into the finished Shrine.

Scan0004Initially the Shrine was a freestanding building. It was connected to the Academy when the south wing of the school was added in 1961.

The Shrine remains unfinished according to its original plan, which called for a cross-shaped building with the longest nave stretching out to the south. When funds were exhausted, however, the building was finished to its present size.