Open your hearts with Madeleine Sophie: A woman attentive to the poor

The Province of BFN has created a monthly series that presents the life and work of Madeleine Sophie and invites us to follow her bold example. Read the installment for the month of February: A woman attentive to the poor.

Important dates

  • February 2 – Feast of Consecrated Life
  • February 11 – Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes
  • February 18, 1812 – Philippine leaves Paris for Louisiana, via Bordeaux
  • February 15, 1831 – The bishop of Paris, Monseigneur de Quelen, takes refuge in the house of the Congregation, Rue de Varenne, because of the Parisian insurrections

Madeleine Sophie?s life

Life in the first community was marked by poverty: sharing of all tasks, teaching, supervision of the students, work, housework, cramped lodging, frugal food… Despite the material difficulties, a climate of charity reigned.

The motto of the Society was “cor unum et anima una in corde Jesu”, or “one heart and one mind in the Heart of Jesus”. In these difficult conditions, the joy is very present. The days ended with a fraternal and joyful time around a brazier. From the very first Constitutions, the simplicity of the lifestyle of the religious was an important element for Madeleine Sophie. At the apostolic level, we already find two types of schools in Amiens: boarding schools for wealthy girls and free day schools, the former financing the existence of the latter. Later, when it was necessary to build, Madeleine Sophie was always very careful to limit the costs, and not just because of the difficulty of finding funds. In other countries, schools for the poorest are planned from the very beginning or arrangements are made to reduce school fees.

For prayer

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say: ?You have faith and I have works.? Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.?

“If someone says he has faith”: What is “having faith” for me: to believe, to trust, to be faithful? In whom or in what do I have faith? What forms does it take in my life, where does faith in God find its source?

“Can that faith save him?” : I think about what I do, what I say, what I think… Is it in accordance with my faith? When I see contradictions, how do I recognize them? What do I feel? What does it call me to do?

“Faith, if it does not have works, is dead?: If I am a Christian, if I read the Gospel, does that change anything in my daily life? Do I ever say to myself: here I would like to do or be like Jesus, to do good to those I meet? To make them happy?

To work more for justice or fraternity? When I look at Jesus, Madeleine Sophie or other saints, what is my desire to turn my faith into action? I can ask Christ for the grace to see it more clearly.

From the writings

“I wish we could take care of all the working-class areas! It is impossible… but at least we must keep what we have.?

(Letter to Mother Eugènie de Gramont, October 8, 1837)

“In Beauvais, where the Cuignères boarding school was transferred in 1816, there were eighty boarders, four hundred children from the free school and several hundred people who came every Sunday to hear spiritual instruction.”

(Jeanne de Charry, RSCJ, Life of Saint Madeleine Sophie)

“Although all the souls entrusted to the care of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus seem to present the same reasons to receive their affection, there are some in whom they are permitted to take particular interest: these are the children of the poor, who will learn from them the science of salvation, of which the majority would be deprived within their families.”

(Constitutions 1815, n∞350, XXI)

Texts for today

“Coming together as the international family of the Sacred Heart heightens our awareness of a common goal for transformation in favor of justice for those living in poverty and those rejected by the world. Together we envision and work for a new social fabric that is founded on the values of justice, peace, and integrity of creation. We hope for a better world where there is greater equity and a deepened sense of democracy that welcomes diversity and the participation of all. We clamor for respect for human dignity and we make our small contributions in responding with care and hope to the yearnings of humanity and earth.”

(Being Artisans of Hope in Our Blessed and Broken World, Society of the Sacred Heart, June 2019)

An invitation

For Madeleine-Sophie, welcoming God’s love means turning towards others.

  • Do I experience the presence of Christ living in me, speaking to me, listening to me, instructing me, encouraging me?
  • How is this manifested in my life?
  • What place does compassion have in my life?

Listen to songs and music


Section |History|International News


Province |Belgium/France/Netherlands


Our Spirituality |Reflections from Around the World


Tags |Madeleine Sophie|Magdalena Sofía|Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat|Sainte Madeleine Sophie Barat|Santa Magdalena Sofía Barat