The Society of the Sacred Heart established Duchesne House as response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We asked the questions: beyond our school here in New Orleans, how might we help in the rebuilding of this community? What would Philippine do today? The following programs, each offering an engaging, reflective, and prayerful experience, are our response:
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We have some sad news. Anne Byrne rscj passed away on Sunday morning Jan 8. She collapsed leaving Mass and despite the best efforts of police, EMTs and the caring staff of University Hospital she could not be revived. We are in shock at the loss and appreciate the prayers and support of DH friends here and around the country.
In September Duchesne House welcomed faculty and friends from the University of San Diego here for a local conference. They graciously invited Duchesne House staff to profit from the input they were getting and of course we enjoyed being with them. In September a temporary communty member Adba Musharrifie arrived from Mexico. She added a Latin accent to our staff and practiced her English. She participated in volunteer activities and shared her culture especially the customs around the Day of the Dead with the volunteers.
The busiest season at Duchesne House is usually the time from February through July and 2016 was no exception. We hosted a return visit from an international volunteer Fabiola from Austria who came both to enjoy the city and do more service. After Mardi Gras (when no volunteers are accepted) we hosted in rapid succession: Stuart Hall/Convent of the Sacred Heart from San Francisco CA, a repeat visit from the University of Michigan doing an alternative Spring Break, South Illinois University at Edwardsville – for the first time and the University of San Diego.
Spring was a busy time in New Orleans with the celebration of Mardi Gras which, this year, occurred in February. Here it is not just a one day affair as in many places limited to “Fat Tuesday” or the day before Ash Wednesday. Traditionally it is a day of celebration before the solemn season of Lent. Here the celebration starts around Jan 6, the feast of the Epiphany with eating “King cakes” and putting up Mardi Gras decorations. At the end of January and the first two weeks in February the parades began. Everything here moves at a different rhythm during those weeks.