This striking image is of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, one of the founding mothers of the Society of the Sacred Heart, and the pioneer who brought the Society to North America in 1818. William Schickel's portrait of Philppine is a bit controversial: people either love it or they hate it! We thought it would be interesting to take a look back at thoughts of Sister Nance O'Neill, who was provincial at the time of Philippine's canonization.
In prayer we come to Him with everything that touches our life,
with the sufferings and hopes of humanity.
As apostolic contemplatives, Religious of the Sacred Heart root our lives in prayer. With a mission to discover and reveal the love of God, our spirituality and our mission are based in love. Our contemplative outlook is part of who we are, whether in prayer, in ministry or in our daily lives.
"The contemplative outlook on the world has been a call to be authentic apostles of Christ's love, to help bring to birth a more welcoming world, to make known a God who is great, bountiful and tender. It is a call to educate in such a way that God's plan, God's glory, may become a reality, so that all may grow as brothers and sisters in the inward freedom of the children of God, and have fullness of life." (Superior General Concepcion Camacho, RSCJ)
The pierced Heart of Jesus opens our being to the depths of God and to the anguish of humankind.
On these pages, we will share prayers, poems, reflections and artwork that reflect the spirituality of the Society of the Sacred Heart. We hope you will return here periodically for resources appropriate to the liturgical season and our Sacred Heart traditions.
First Sunday of Advent
From the evening Jorge Mario Bergoglio stepped onto the balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome after his election, we learned that the pontificate of Pope Francis was to be focused on the care of and outreach to "the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned" (Mt 25:35-36). Even in the choice of artist for the Holy See's commemorative postage stamps for Christmas, it is an inmate from Milan's Opera Prison, Marcello D'Agata, who communicates the hope which Christ brings by becoming one with us.*
On the Feast of the Sacred Heart, we invite you to reflect on words from our Superior General, Barbara Dawson, RSCJ: “All of us are called to pray deeply. We are called to deepen our love – within the Heart of Christ, for each other and for our world and its people. We are called to participate in whatever way is possible for us. No one is too old or too young to be co-creators of our future.”
One heart and one soul in the Heart of Jesus,
The Provincial Team
Happy Feast Day!
Today we celebrate the feast of our beloved foundress, Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat. Sophie was committed to a deep life of prayer and reflection, and she continually invited the members of the Society to see this as the basis for their inner lives and for whatever tasks they undertook. We invite you to pray and reflect today on the words of some of our RSCJs.
Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie
Helen Rosenthal, RSCJ
This Year of Prayer celebrates the missionary journey of Philippine Duchesne and her four companions from France to the New World, thus beginning the internationality of the Society of the Sacred Heart, now in 41 countries.
Click here to see the weekly reflections and to download a special journal for the year.
Imagine my surprise walking into the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health and seeing this piece of art on display. Of course I was immediately drawn to the Sacred Heart, particularly this rendition showing both the strength of the flame resting on metal and the vulnerability of the vein-crossed heart formed from fragile glass (at least that’s how I interpret it). When you go to a research institution like NIH, either for yourself or with someone you love, you are embarking on an uncharted path, often as the pioneer for a new treatment that may or may not work.
The image of Christ crucified amid a bleak urban landscape reminds us that wherever there is any human suffering, God is also suffering. The smoke stacks poisoning the environment, the tall towers that depersonalize a sense of neighborhood, and the lack of any human presence save that of Jesus Himself are underscored by the color palate of deep russet, black, and gray. One is reminded of William Blake’s “Jerusalem” – one interpretation of which suggests that the mills and factories of the Industrial Revolution dehumanized society and enslaved millions.