Tomorrow we will celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart. On this day the Religious of the Sacred Heart across the world will renew our vows. Educators of the Sacred Heart will renew our commitment to Sophie’s vision as articulated in the Goals and Criteria. Vow renewal and promise renewal may be seen as an act of love since our spirituality is rooted in the desire to reveal God’s love in the heart of the world. As we pray for renewed energy in our vocations, we will hear these words:
This Friday, we will join our sister schools across the globe as we all celebrate the Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat. It is rather extraordinary to consider that a French woman living in a quiet town in France in the later 1700’s could inspire educators in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceania more than 200 years after the first Sacred Heart School began in Amiens, France. How is it that Sophie’s vision still informs the mission of Sacred Heart education? As we have continued our celebration of Philippine, we know part of the answer lies in Philippine’s fidelity to Sophie’s vision, but we all can see that the mission of Sacred Heart education remains vibrant today because so many before us remained faithful to Sophie’s desire to reveal the love of God in the heart of the world through education.
This week we are celebrating the Feast of the Ascension. Traditionally, this day is celebrated on a Thursday, the fortieth day of Easter. However, in some parts of the world, the observance has been moved to the following Sunday. The Feast is one of the ecumenical feasts (i.e., universally celebrated), ranking with the feasts of the Passion, of Easter, and Pentecost.
I am always shocked by the arrival of May. What about you? It may be that as a former Head of School, I still operate within the framework of the academic year. Once May arrives, I am acutely aware of what still needs to be accomplished by June.
I don’t know about you, but in spite of a packed weekend full of meetings, I did stop long enough to watch some of Barbara Bush’s funeral. I have always admired her tenacity, her straightforwardness and her fidelity to relationships.
Sacred Heart Educators hope to form young people on a path towards transformation and hope by providing an effective education and the formation of character. For Sacred Heart educators this cultivation of virtues is informed by the charism of St. Madeleine Sophie and the values articulated in the Goals and Criteria. We believe that nothing short of excellence will ensure that the members of learning communities develop an informed, active faith, critical thinking and service to others. Excellence is nurtured through curriculum planning that focuses of the dynamic of learning both in and outside the classroom.
We find ourselves midway in Holy Week. These days have been influenced by the homily I heard on Palm Sunday. Instead of imaging ourselves walking with Christ into Jerusalem during the entrance procession, the homilist invited us to consider entering into our hearts to find Him there.
I think it is a marvelous coincidence that this year Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fall on the same day because Lent is essentially a season of the heart. These days leading up to Easter offer us the time to pause and consider the health of our hearts, that is our capacity to love.
The preamble of the original draft of the Goals and Criteria states that “…Sacred Heart education is deeply concerned for each student’s total development: spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical. The essence of a Sacred Heart school emphasizes serious study, educates to social responsibility, and lays the foundation of a strong faith.”
In the Goals and Criteria, the Society of the Sacred Heart defines the mission of the school as part of the Society’s educational mission in the Catholic Church (Foundational Principle 1). These past weeks during Ordinary Time, we have been thinking about Sacred Heart education.
As I explained last week, we have entered the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. I want to take advantage of these weeks to reflect on the extraordinary mission of our schools. This mission comes alive in the ordinary day to day dynamic within each learning community that is sponsored by the Society of the Sacred Heart.
Happy New Year! Ideally this Christmas season has brought each of us joy and delight. Now the question remains what impact has the reality of Christmas had on us. In other words, in our day to day life, what influence is the extraordinary gift of Christ’s presence having on us?
It was at Christmas that our Lord, as it were, took His first plunge into the heart of our troubles, of our difficulties, of our experiences, into the heart of the life we are leading. And that, not as someone standing at a distance, but as thrown into the stream--feeling the shock, the human astonishment at what took place around Him--feeling the poverty, the pain, the isolation in which He was left. He loves that we should sympathize with Him in it.
Our hope as Sacred Heart Educators is to form young people who contemplate the wounded world through the eyes of Jesus so that the transformation they effect is one that builds the Body of Christ. Watching young people across the country, particularly the survivors of the Parkland shooting reminds us all that youth are our hope, our promise and our responsibility.
This Sunday we will celebrate “Gaudete Sunday.” Gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin. From now through Christmas, we are urged to focus on that spirit of joy that emanates from knowing that Christ is indeed with us, in us and among us. Embracing this knowledge is fundamentally an act of faith.
Prepare for His coming into your hearts, for that is why He came on earth: to be born, to develop in your souls, and when the beautiful day of Christmas arrives you will taste that peace the Angels announced to persons of good will.
Today, I realized how short Advent is this year given that Christmas is on Monday. The final week of Advent will literally be a few hours in length. Now even Advent seems rushed. How do we slow down sufficiently to enjoy the opportunity Advent offers us?
Welcome to Musings…a blog intended to explore insights into how to respond to the challenges to which members of the Sacred Heart Family are called. Advent seems the ideal moment to begin this blog as Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year. I will confess it is a favorite time of the year for me. I love the music of the Advent; its readings are beautiful.
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.