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Sr. Rose Philippine Duchesne, RSJC Biography
Leadership & Responsibility
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Mission Statement

The Duchesne Center for Religion and Social Justice is the heart of community service/service learning at Manhattanville. Although not all of Mville's service programs are run by the Duchesne Center, it does coordinate many of them.

The Center serves to facilitate, educate, and encourage student involvement in community outreach, cultural, leadership, and spiritual initiatives across the Manhattanville College campus and beyond. Our service experiences and programs are tightly linked to our academic curriculum to ensure students are building the intellectual framework and acquiring the skills to make them effective and responsible members of their communities.

The Duchesne Center endeavors to create a climate in which all Manhattanville College members will value:

  • A sensitivity to appreciate the differences among us
  • A heightened awareness and understanding of social justice issues and their responsibility for taking a leadership role in local as well global community issues
  • A deeper sensitivity of, appreciation for, and interest in the components and challenges inherent being a global citizen
  • A deeper understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the spiritual, religious dimensions, and philosophies of life that promote human flourishing and community building
  • A critical and creative analysis of their civic engagement experiences and the concerns of the diverse communities to which we serve.
  • We aim to provide Manhattanville students with opportunities that actualize the College's mission. The profile of an "ethically and socially responsible citizen" is a student who:
  • Is perceptive and cooperative in the area of human relations
  • Exhibits a sense of self-worth and encourages it in others
  • Desires to learn about and respect differences in people and cultures
  • Endeavors to promote unity
  • Criticizes, when necessary, in a constructive way and when possible, suggests alternatives or solutions;
  • Demonstrates and inspires in others awareness, involvement, and leadership skills through service and civic activities and
  • Aspires to support and embody the College's mission.



Sr.-DuchesneRose Philippine Duchesne - Biography

The Duchesne Center is named after the inspirational French pioneer, Sr. Rose Philippine Duchesne, RSCJ. Her legacy as a religious sister is that of a "missionary of the American frontier" within the Catholic Church who pursued opportunities for the marginalized through social justice and works of charity.

Rose Philippine was born in Grenoble, France, in 1769. She was educated by the Visitation nuns and entered the Visitation Order in 1788, in the middle of the French Revolution. During the Revolution, she cared for the sick and poor, helped fugitive priests, visited prisons, and taught children. After the Revolution, she entered the Religious of the Sacred Heart community and answered the call for nuns to assist the emerging immigrant Church by the bishop of New Orleans, Louisiana in 1818.

Rose Duchesne was sent to St. Charles, Missouri, where she immediately opened a school; then at Florissant, she built a convent, an orphanage, a parish school, a school for Native Americans, a boarding academy, and a novitiate for her order.

Duchesne was a model and inspiration to those around her, facing all the hardships of pioneer work. She died on November 18, 1852, at the age of eighty-three and was canonized in 1988.


Leadership & Social Responsibility

Leadership & Social Responsibility are at the center of our mission and assists students with service opportunities to enhance their effectiveness as agents of change. All of the activities coming from our four core areas and through the Duchesne Center have leadership and social responsibility as individual learning skills to enhance the people and communities in which and with which we work. Our four core area experiences connect voluntary action with global concerns and economic realities in pursuit of conflict resolution, equity, equality, and quality of life for all individuals resulting in all members of society having the same basic rights, security, opportunities, obligations and social benefits.

The pursuit of leadership and social responsibility as integral to our four core areas incorporates the following elements:

Adequate Training - Student volunteers are adequately prepared for the tasks they will perform. Roles and responsibilities of students, staff, schools, parents, the community, and organizations are clear and agreed upon by all participants. Intended service outcomes are defined in collaboration with those being served.

Meaningful Service - Service performed meets a real need. Community agency staff and/or recipients of service are consulted about the nature and scope of their needs and way students can address them. The service learning experience is designed to be sensitive to developmental levels, gender, multi-cultural issues, and individual learning styles.

Leadership Development - Volunteers take responsibility for development and management of volunteer programs and service experiences. Service integrates individual accountability with cooperative group work through skills development, initiative games, reflection, celebration, and application of learning in new situations to foster appreciation of all peoples.

Structured Reflection & Recognition - Opportunities for reflection are included throughout the service experience so that students "learn how to learn from experience."


  • Develop student competencies for effective leadership, organization and communication skills
  • Develop a sense of civic responsibility and commitment to community through civic engagement
  • To understand one's responsibilities and rights when performing service and other activities as a Duchesne participant
  • To facilitate students to become Duchesne Ambassadors


  • Generate thoughts regarding leadership concepts and styles, goal setting, time management, conflict resolution, ethics, and values
  • Train students how to communicate, motivate, and collaborate effectively with peers
  • Recruit faculty, staff, and alumni as mentors for emerging student leaders
  • Research and implement best practice strategies for student service leadership
  • Provide opportunities to attend workshops as well as local and national conferences
  • Broaden historical knowledge, so that past events provide a context and foundation for present community-based advocacy and problem solving
  • Broaden civic knowledge, including the study of structures and processes of government and the responsibilities of citizenship