As a Sacred Heart School, we find our meaning and purposes in the educational vision of the Mother Foundress, St Madeleine Sophie Barat, who founded the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1800, in the aftermath of the French Revolution.
We are indebted to the RSCJ sisters resident in the Barat Community who provide that strongest of links for us to the Sacred Heart charism. We are grateful for the spirit of religious-lay collaboration which imbues the school.
St Madeleine Sophie Barat RSCJ
What do we know about Madeleine Sophie Barat and her key attributes?
• She was courageous, a risk taker, an agent of change and able to bring others with her.
• She founded 105 Houses in many countries.
• She built communities, based on love.
• She loved children.
• She believed in forming both a student’s character and intellect as she saw the importance of bringing together our head and heart in all we do.
• She believed in friendship and the transforming power of women. I wonder what she would make of the changing role of women in our society today?
Some of her renowned sayings include – I would have founded the Society for the sake of one child. This reminds us of the focus she had on each individual, and that remains a pivotal lens through which we work with one another here.
One of her less well known sayings is, Let us leave acts not words – nobody will have time to read us – which asks us to think about what our legacy might be. How will you be remembered as student here and in your life? What profound contribution will you make?
She was aspirational in her quest or challenge for our life purpose. She would challenge us to be our best version of ourselves and to be focused on others.
We often hear people describe our community as grounded – that is we are people who have a spirit of gratitude for all that is given to us and shared with us and so too was Madeleine Sophie. She reminds us to be humble, be simple and to bring joy to others.
Like Madeleine Sophie, our pioneer women share with us incredible stories of personal strength and conviction and serve as wonderful role models.
Mother Janet Erskine Stuart RSCJ
What do we know about St Janet Erskine Stuart RSCJ and her key attributes?
• We know of her love of education and for sharing that love with others.
• Her influence extends throughout the world, primarily in her writings.
• She spoke about the power of being independent in learning and the quest to foster a thirst for knowledge.
• She was a realist, knowing that our growth and development takes time
Some sayings are captured in our JES building. You may care to look at these when you next visit.
She said we must bring home to our children and to ourselves also, the responsibilities of our gifts.
She said aim at the very highest and the best, but understand that to get this is a life’s work, not the work of a day, so never let failure cast down or disappoint you. But always begin again with great courage and confidence.
St Philippine Rose Duchesne RSCJ
What do we know about St Philippine Duchesne RSCJ and her key attributes?
• She was a courageous, sensitive woman, who was deeply prayerful.
• She loved a simple life and she was very loyal to the church, the order and those whom she met.
• She accepted change and embraced whatever it took (whether it was a changing, language or values) to make her mark wherever her life took her.
• She was committed to serving others and she encouraged people to care for the vulnerable in their families, the Sacred Heart Community, the Society and throughout the world.
Her legacy is probably best captured in the image of a pioneer – one who dared to go where few had gone before.
We learn about Philippine’s ability to respond to challenging and changing times, in a way that showed great resilience and courage.
Philippine Duchesne challenges us to be strong women who have the ability and desire to make a difference in our world.
She would encourage us to confront the challenging issues of our time because put simply, it is our gift and our responsibility to do so.
Mother Mabel Digby
What do we know about Mother Mabel Digby RSCJ and her key attributes?
• She is best remembered for her key attributes which she modelled throughout her life and the influence she had on others.
• Her attributes include her determination, her faith and faithfulness to others. She was brave and very hard working.
• She was someone who could be relied upon and she was highly regarded in the Society.
• Although we hear a lot about Janet Erskine Stuart as the ‘guru’ around education, teaching and furthering one’s thirst for knowledge, it was Mabel Digby who supported, modelled for and grew Janet Erskine Stuart’s leadership ability.
For like many of us, Janet Erskine Stuart had a voice in her head that kept telling her she was not as good, or as worthy a leader, as Mabel Digby.
Mabel Digby gave Janet Erskine Stuart the confidence to be at her best.
We learn from Mabel Digby the ability to share talents and to build the community in which we are.
Furthermore, through Mabel Digby’s example, we are encouraged to cultivate and grow our desire and capacity to change the world and to leave this earth somehow better than we found it.