Postcards from the past: Founding in Amiens

Apse of the chapel

On October 17, 1801 in Amiens, Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat and two companions founded the first Community and first School of the Society of the Sacred Heart, officially founded on November 21, 1800 in Paris, in rue de Touraine (Maison Duval).

They moved repeatedly among different buildings in the town as they grew in numbers, both in the Community and in the School. In 1804, after moving to different places, they arrived in the Rue de l’Oratoire, (image on this page.)

The original convent has disappeared. However, Madeleine Sophie Barat must have been familiar with the central building facing the Rue de l’Oratoire, built in 1825 and made of red bricks and white stone.

To the right of this building, looking at it from the garden where the two older buildings meet at right angles, a chapel was built in the 17th century. A room remains from this chapel, which was the gallery where Madeleine Sophie spent long hours in prayer (pic. “Oratoire de SMSB”). This room is the only one that survived the bombing by Allied troops that destroyed the town center and the railway station in May 1944, during the Second World War. The outer walls of this building remain as well; they are still those of 1825.

To the right of the central building, another building was erected between 1863 and 1865, facing the Rue des Augustins. The ever-growing number of boarders – about a hundred at the time – needed more space. The first, original house building was then demolished, by the decision of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat. However, a votive chapel was built at the right end of the new building.

This 1864 edifice is interesting from an architectural point of view. It was designed by the brothers Aimé and Louis Duthoit, two renowned architects who worked extensively in Amiens. The chapel, to the left of the central building, is by the same architects and is neo-Gothic in style. It is particularly beautiful, especially the interior.
In this iconic place, the Society of the Sacred Heart held its General Chapter for the year 2000, symbolically returning to the place of its beginning, exactly 200 years later.

The last rscj community left the apartment in Rue Balzac, Amiens in 2013/14

Nowadays in Rue de l’Oratoire there is a high school; no rscj teach there, but the management of the school is still carried on in the Sacred Heart Apostolate.

Section |History

Province |Belgium/France/Netherlands|Mother House

Tags |Amiens|fondacion|fondation|founding|General Archives|Madeleine Sophie Barat|postcards from the past