Emulating Madeleine Sophie’s Gaze: A Reflection by Anita Nazareth RSCJ

  • Anita Nazareth RSCJ
  • Madeleine Sophie Barat gazing up at heaven

St.  Madeleine Sophie’s prayerfulness, generosity, and joy-filled life flowed from her deep contemplation of God. “Not great things but small things with great commitment” was her aspiration.

In the images that we have of our holy mother, St. Madeleine Sophie, she seems deeply immersed as she gazes up to heaven. What does she see in her contemplative gaze? This is what we would all like to experience.

The education of girls became her prophetic mission and her legacy, second only to her loving adoration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. “For the sake of one child, I will go to the ends of the Earth”, she used to say, and indeed her sisters have spread across all the continents promoting girls’ education – thereby fostering the progress of the entire family and of society as a whole.

While preparing for my final profession in 2009, I was reading Madeleine Sophie Barat, A Life, by Phil Kilroy. That very night, St. Madeleine Sophie appeared to me in a dream and confirmed me in my vocation. She was present in a large hall, similar to the Villa Lante hall in Rome. With her holy gaze on me, she spoke to me in a soft, gentle voice: “I will see you soon in Rome.” The next morning, I awoke with a sense of confidence – strengthened and confirmed in my vocation as a religious of the Sacred Heart. I felt new enthusiasm and joy as I began my year of probation, which culminated with my final profession, the happiest day of my life. I carry the same enthusiasm and joy in my life and mission.

I had the privilege of seeing the image of our holy mother among the saints depicted on the ceiling of Sacred Heart Church in Paris, France. I felt proud that she was everywhere being raised on high. That night, she again spoke to me in a dream, “The more you are humble, the more you will be raised high in heaven”. These words of wisdom have remained etched upon my heart, filling me with her admirable virtues of humility and generosity.

Thank you, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, for giving our world this priceless gift of the Society of the Sacred Heart and for accepting me as a member of your global family of RSCJs, who are fulfilling your mission of radiating the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to our world today.

Sr. Anita Nazareth, RSCJ