Senior Living: A Sacred Heart girl reflects on the past and present

National Post | Alice Lukacs, Postmedia News
Usually I think of ideas for my column myself. Today’s, however, is different. It was suggested by a friend, author Patricia Burns, whose daughter Erin Olizar is a Sacred Heart School graduate from Montreal. She knew that I, too, was a Sacred Heart School graduate from Budapest, Hungary. So she suggested I write about the Sacred Heart School then and now. So here goes:
In my bedroom hangs a portrait of me at 18. I am smiling and wearing my Sacred Heart uniform, including a blouse with a necktie. My parents brought the painting with them from Hungary when they joined me in Canada in 1957.

The portrait was done in 1947, the year of my graduation from the Sacred Heart School in Budapest (we called it by its French name Sacré Coeur). I had been attending the school for the final three years of high school (we called it gymnasium), earning top marks at matriculation.

The Sacred Heart School and convent were housed in an impressive building, surrounded by beautiful grounds, located on the Pest side of town, on an avenue bordering City Park. The nuns lived in the building and so did the boarders attending high school. My best friend, Marika, and I, however, made the twice daily trip on foot from our nearby homes, she from a beautiful villa and me from a more modest apartment.

My days at the Sacred Heart hold pleasant memories. Some of our teachers were Sacred Heart nuns (we addressed them as “mère” (mother in French), robed in their black habit from head to toe, except for a white band framing the face. The girls the nuns liked were chosen to wear a special sash, blue for boarders (ruban bleu), and green for day students (ruban vert). To my dismay, I never earned that honour, perhaps not living up to the nuns’ idea of a perfect student.

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Schools of the Sacred Heart share in the educational mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart as articulated in the Goals and Criteria. The structure supporting Sacred Heart education in Canada and the United States includes the Conference of Sacred Heart Education and the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.  Together they provide services and programs to ensure vitality of mission for the member schools sponsored by the Society of the Sacred Heart.