Some great figures of rscj
Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat: a woman of fire
Born in 1779 in the small Burgundy town of Joigny in France, in a family of coopers artisans, she feels very young the call to a religious life and plans to become Carmelite. Marked by the French Revolution (1789-1799), she wanted to unite her appeal for a contemplative life and her desire to re-christianize the society of her time.
On the advice of Jesuit Father Joseph Varin, she decides to devote herself to the education of young girls which she considers the best way to spread the love of the Heart of Jesus in the world.
On November 21, 1800, at the age of twenty, she made her first vows in Paris with three other companions. A year later, she moved to Amiens where she founded the first school of the Sacred Heart.
Rooted in Jesus through prayer, she shows an inexhaustible energy despite a fragile health, multiplying displacements and correspondences (more than 14,000 letters!) To preserve the unity of the Society.
All her life, she is aware of the need to adapt to the changing world. ” Times are changing and we too must change our way of thinking”, she wrote to Philippine Duchesne in 1831.
She died on May 25, 1865, at the mother house of the Boulevard des Invalides in Paris.
A video, created for the Province BFN (Belgique France Nederland) and the Sophie Barat Centre in Joigny by Quentin Pouteau, beautifully recounts the story of Madeleine Sophie and the founding of our Society.
Saint Philippine Duchesne: ” the woman who always prayed “
Born in 1769 in a family of notable Grenoble, Philippine Duchesne very young feels a call for distant missions, she does not see how to achieve in the Order of the Visitation where She entered. The Revolution having dispersed her community, she bought her former monastery where she welcomed the mother Barat in 1804, and decided to become a religious of the Sacred Heart.
In 1818, when the bishop of Louisiana asked Mother Barat to send nuns to the United States, Philippine embarked for New Orleans with four companions.
Despite significant difficulties, the small community moved to Saint-Charles, where she quickly opened the first school. Mother Duchesne has an unusual activity and dedication. In 1841 she finally realized her dream of going to live among the Potawatomi, where, too old to teach, she became known to the Indians as ” the woman who always prays “.
She died in Saint-Charles in 1852 and was canonized in 1988
Mother Janet Erskine Stuart: an indefatigable seeker of God
Born November 11, 1857 in Cottesmore, England, Janet Stuart is the youngest of 13 children of an Anglican rector . Very intellectually gifted young girl, speaking several languages, she is haunted by the question of her last end since the age of 13 years. Her search for meaning led her to convert to Catholicism at age 21.
Entering the Sacred Heart of Roehampton in 1882, she was elected Superior General of the Sacred Heart in 1911, and spent the first three years of her mandate visiting the convents of the Society in the world.
Sick, she died on October 21, 1914 in England where she had returned to seek treatment.
Sister Josefa Menendez: at the service of Love
Born in Madrid in 1890 to a very Christian family, she decided at 11 to be “all to God”. After a serious accident of his father, the family falls into poverty and Josefa provides for the needs of his family by becoming seamstress. When her father died in 1912, her mother’s tears kept her from entering the convent as she wished.
On February 4, 1920, on the day of her 30th birthday, she left Spain for the novitiate of Poitiers. Hardly acquainted with the French language but carried by the love of Jesus, intelligent, active and generous, she already has a deep inner life, matured by trial.
Until her death on December 29, 1923, she lived for four years in the Feuillant in the erasure of daily work: cleaning, sewing, sacristy … But in reality, the Lord manifested to her almost daily, asking her to be the bearer of a new message of love and mercy for the world.