Open your hearts with Madeleine Sophie: Introduction

  • Rita Crivelli RSCJ

The Province of BFN has created a booklet, which we will be publishing on RSCJ International as a monthly series, that presents the life and work of Madeleine Sophie and invites us to follow her bold example. Read this introductory editorial by the Provincial of Belgium-France-Netherlands, and stay tuned for the first part of the series!

An Invitation to Be Daring

As I write this editorial to greet the release of the booklet on Saint Madeleine-Sophie Barat, foundress of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it is difficult not to underline the link between her personality, her "work" as foundress of a congregation dedicated to education, and the context of an era, a country, and a Church.

As in this socially turbulent post-revolutionary time, our time, more than ever in this spring of 2022, is not conducive to detecting signs of hope and life at the dawn of Easter night. Two years of pandemic and the beginning of the war in Ukraine have shattered the illusion of a possible human omnipotence and reminded us of our fragility, our responsibility and our interdependence as a human community on the planet Earth, our Common Home. Even today, divisions, conflicts, violence in relationships at the level of individuals, groups, countries, inflict deep wounds and call for a work of reconstruction of the social, political, religious bond.

This long road of "taking care", of reconciliation, of searching for the common good in order to live in peace, passes by the will not to get stuck on the past, but to make a work of memory which allows us to take distance and to learn from History. An "educational" work that turns us towards the future.

With this booklet, evoking the life and work of Madeleine-Sophie Barat is an opportunity to let ourselves be inspired by the conviction that in Jesus, dead and risen, God's love for all humanity is revealed to us and that in Him we are offered a possible path of conversion and reconciliation. Madeleine-Sophie embodied this conviction in her service to the education of youth, enabling each person to commit themselves to justice and peace, wherever they are called to live, and to build the world of tomorrow.

With her, let us be men and women daring in hope, committed to the human adventure, passionate about the horizon of a universal brotherhood to be built in a "broken and blessed" world that aspires to peace with respect and care for all Creation.

Rita Crivelli
Provincial of Belgium-France-Netherlands