In the spring of 1804 Sophie Barat was seriously ill, and doctors in Paris could only ease her condition, not cure it. A turning point came in July 1806, when Sophie spent some weeks in Grenoble with Philippine Duchesne. During this visit Philippine nursed Sophie back to health. However, this recovery took place only when Sophie had left Grenoble, but she was sure it was due to Philippine’s loving care.
On 1 August 1806, Sophie wrote to Philippine telling her how much their deepening friendship meant to her and how she had been healed:
You know the state I was in when I left you. I was still in Lyon when all symptoms had disappeared. All disappeared in a night. I am completely healed.
Sophie confirmed her complete cure on 30 August 1806, and told Philippine:
The Lord has blessed your good care of me. I have had no further symptoms of my illness since Lyon.
From 1818, Philippine and Sophie spent their lives apart, one in Europe and the other in Missouri. The healing energy of love between them would always exist, however long apart they were physically, however difficult and erratic their communications, however diverse and difficult their experiences. That energy, that love, could cross and re-cross the Atlantic waves and reach their shores. And they were sure of it, they could count on it, and they did, to the end.
Author/Image: Phil Kilroy, RSCJ, Province of Ireland – Scotland
Image: Montée de Chalemont leading up to the Monastery of Sainte-Marie d’En-Haut