Rosie Sheehan, a student in Year 10 at the Stuartholme School, a Sacred Heart school in Brisbane, Australia, reflects on what Madeleine Sophie’s feast day means to her and the Stuartholme community.
“When I was in Year 7, our first Religion Assignment involved explaining how we have been influenced by the wisdom found in the key messages of St Madeleine Sophie Barat. I remember being struck by two things upon research; her incredible dedication to her work and her legacy which truly transcends time. My respect for our foundress has only grown since then, and I know that as a school we share this appreciation and are continually united by Sophie’s loving presence.
For this reason, the Feast of St Madeleine Sophie Barat is a day of great joy and reflection at Stuartholme. Joyful festivities which have been anticipated for many preceding months, come to life and smiles always light up the school grounds. Mass in the morning is the time for our deepest reflection, where our entire community are welcomed to participate. In the true spirit of Cor Unum, we share the sacred space to pray, sing and remember. I feel there is always a deep sense of gratitude during this time, as we remember that, if not for Sophie’s willingness to change the world, we would not encounter the joy and bountiful opportunities we are gifted at school. Her passion for using her gifts to empower others, especially through the education of young girls, has made a profound impact on society, appreciated even 200 years on. The work of Sophie and the ones who followed in her footsteps, such as the RSCJ, continue to make a difference, sharing God’s love with students and through them, wider society.
As we celebrate the day alongside so many people from around the world, we are reminded of our strong and diverse community. Despite being from different places and backgrounds, we are incredibly fortunate to be connected by the Society of the Sacred Heart, to support us in our mission to continue Sophie’s vision. Especially on her Feast Day, we are inspired by the strength she drew from her relationship with God, and we too are invited to reflect upon how we may take every opportunity to make the sacred more present in our lives and others’. We are encouraged to recognize our ability to draw strength from our hearts to love others, by valuing each person’s individuality and fostering community together.
It is inspirational to think how Sophie, from a small town in France, has created a lasting impact for people across the world.
If she was here today, in a world where the magnitude and complexity of the issues we face can sometimes be overwhelming, I believe she would remind us of the importance of staying true to ourselves and being courageous. Sophie said, ‘Your example, even more than your words, will be an eloquent lesson to the world’, a powerful statement which is certainly relevant today. In honor of St Madeleine Sophie Barat on the 25th May, we will remember that when united, and accepting of everyone’s uniqueness, our actions truly have the power to bring empathy and justice to the world.”
Student, Year 10