Great movements and profound changes most often occur because particular individuals desire to make a difference. Although many great women have played a role in shaping the Society of the Sacred Heart, our story begins with two women who are canonized saints in the Roman Catholic Church: Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat and Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne.
In 1800 Madeleine Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart in France. Confronted as a young woman with the choice of how to live the one life she had, Sophie, as she was known, wanted to be so attuned to the Spirit of God that she would be able to hear and respond to the world's cries of hope and pain. She had a keen intellect refined by rigorous study under the tutelage of her older brother, and a warm and generous personality characterized by a desire to build relationships among people. Her vision was to transform society through education. Her style of leadership derived from her trust in the abilities, talents, and goodness of others.
The spirit impelling Sophie could not be contained. In 1818, Philippine Duchesne, one of Sophie's dearest friends and earliest companions in the Society of the Sacred Heart, faced the perils of an ocean voyage from France to America to plant the seeds of this vision in the soil of the new world.
Philippine and her companions knew that people of different ages, races and ethnic backgrounds searched for the meaning of life and longed to live with dignity and freedom. Our times are no different. The thirst for God, the hunger for justice, the desire for equality, the longing for meaning and the ache to belong characterize our world and make claims on our hearts. As in the earliest days of the Society, Religious of the Heart strive to make trust in the abilities, talents and goodness of others a hallmark of their lives as educators.
Today nearly 350 Religious of the Sacred Heart in the United States province serve throughout this country and abroad, collaborating with numerous women and men everywhere in making God's love concrete in their various ministries. Their vocation is to be “wholly contemplative and wholly apostolic.” The Spirit that fired Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat and Saint Philippine Duchesne is the same Spirit that gives Religious of the Sacred Heart their passion for life and service today.
Sacred Heart Resources on Prayer and Spirituality
A website created by Lisa Buscher, RSCJ for the faculty and staff of Schools of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco. It includes articles, books and resources on the spirituality, charism and history of the RSCJ Sacred Heart Mission.
- Binz, Stehen J. The Sacred Heart of Jesus. (Threshold Bible Study) Twenty-Third Publications, 2006.
- Bourgeault, Cynthia. Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening. Cowley, 2004.
- Bowe, Barbara E. Biblical Foundations of Spirituality: Touching a Finger to the Flame. A Sheed & Ward Book, Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
- Bowe, Barbara, Hughes, Kathleen, Karam, Sharon, Osiek, Carolyn. Silent Voices, Sacred Lives. Women’s Readings for the Liurgical Year. Paulist Press, 1992.
- Burrows OCD, Ruth. Essence of Prayer. Hidden Spring, 2006.
- Huston, Paula. The Holy Way: Practices for a Simple Life. Loyola Books, 2003.
- Keating, Thomas. Manifesting God. Lantern Books, 2005.
- Keating, Thomas. Spirituality, Contemplation, and Transformation, Lantern Books, 2007.
- Kilroy, Phil. Madeleine Sophie Barat: A Life, Paulist Press, 2000.
- Merton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation. New Directions Publication, 1972.
- Mooney, Catherine. Philippine Duchesne, A Woman with the Poor. Paulist Press, 1990.
- Mortenson, Greg. Three Cups of Tea. One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time. Penguin Books, 2007.
- Richo, David. The Sacred Heart of the World: Restoring Mystical Devotion to Our Spiritual Life. Paulist Press, 2007.
- Rolheiser, Ronald. The Holy Longing: The Search for A Christian Spirituality. Random House, 1999.
- Rupp, Joyce. Prayer. Orbis Books, 2007.
- Shannon, Maggie Oman, The Way We Pray. Conari Press Books, 2001
- Thich Nhat Hanh. The Miracle of Mindfulness. Beacon Press, 1999.
- Whitmire, Catherine, Practicing Peace: A Devotional Walk through the Quaker Tradition. Sorin Books, 2007.
- Wright, Wendy, M. Sacred Heart Gateway to God. Orbis Books, 2001.