Our Founding Saints and Leaders
Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat
was born in 1779 and was the daughter of Jacques Barat, a barrel maker in Joigny, France. Naturally bright, she was educated by her older brother Louis, who was a priest. When Sophie was only ten, the French Revolution closed all churches and convents in the country and suppressed all Christian schools. The education of the young, particularly young girls, was in a troubled state.
"Let us respect childhood; let us honor the soul of that small creature of God who can already make choices of the best if we take the time to awaken her reason and make her use her judgement."
As Madeleine grew older, her brother feared she would be exposed to too much of the world, and so he brought her to Paris with him. She wanted to be a Carmelite lay sister, but with Father Joseph Varin and three other postulants, she founded the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1801. The Society was devoted to the Sacred Heart, and dedicated to the teaching young girls. St. Madeleine Sophie became Superior General of the Society at the age 23 and held the position for 63 years. Receiving papal approval of the Society in 1826, she founded 105 houses in many countries; Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne and four companions brought the Society to the United States.
Mother Barat died in Paris. She was canonized on May 24, 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Her feast day is typically held on May 25th.
St. Madeleine Sophie, Pray for us.
Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne
On November 18th, we celebrate the feast day of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, the Society of the Sacred Heart religious sister, educator and pioneer who traveled from Paris, France in 1818 to bring Sacred Heart education to the new world.
"You may dazzle the mind with a thousand brilliant discoveries of natural science; you may open new worlds of knowledge which were never dreamed of before; yet, if you have not developed in the soul of the pupil strong habits of virtue which will sustain her in the struggle of life, you have not educated her, but only put in her hand a powerful instrument of self-destruction."
With the permission of her Superior, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, she braved the dangerous journey across the Atlantic on a ship named the “Rebecca” and landed in New Orleans on May 29, 1818—the Feast of the Sacred Heart. She and her four companions were welcomed by the Ursuline sisters and remained with them in New Orleans until July 12, 1818. Our city was Philippine’s first stop in the new world, and she documented her first impressions of our strange new land remarking on the river, the stinging insects, Spanish moss and the great hospitality of the Bishop and the local Ursulines. After a brief respite to recover from their journey, St. Philippine’s group continued their journey to St. Louis, MO eventually settling in Florissant, MO where she established her first school to teach the children of the Native Americans and those of the French settlers.
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Pray for us.
Saint John Berchmans
St. John Berchmans was born in 1599 at Diest, Belgium. His father was a shoemaker. At a very young age he wanted to become a priest. After his mother’s death, in 1615 he entered the Jesuit College At Melines. He journeyed to Rome where he continued to study. He was known for his holiness and his desire for perfection in small things.
"Our true worth does not consist in what human beings think of us. What we really are consists in what God knows us to be."
St. John Berchmans, Pray for us.