Who We Are
The Society of the Sacred Heart was founded in France by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
in 1800. Today over two thousand Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) serve in 41 different countries around the world.
We are sent by the Church to communicate the love of the Heart of Jesus. In Him all find their true growth as persons and the way towards reconciliation with one another.
We participate in the mission of the Church through the service of education.
The foundress Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat
In 1779, Madeleine Sophie Barat was born in Joigny, France as fire raged in houses nearby. Truly a child of fire, Sophie’s heart was captivated by God from an early age, and she was drawn to a life of contemplative prayer. At the same time she recognized that post-revolutionary France had a pressing need for transformation through rigorous education and a spirituality of the Heart of Christ. Sophie and four companions made their first vows in 1800, giving themselves to a form of religious life which combined the contemplative and the apostolic, the one informing and enlivening the other. “Discovering and revealing the Heart of Christ” remains the mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart to this day.
Besides her all-embracing passion for God, Madeleine Sophie Barat had other passions as well: she was an exceptional spiritual guide who helped countless others to discover and deepen their relationship with God; she was an inspired educator who insisted that those who would educate others had to cultivate in themselves both learning and virtue; and she was a gifted administrator who, by the time of her death in 1865, saw her little Society grow beyond 3500 members in foundations throughout Europe, North and South America, and Africa.
Madeleine Sophie Barat was named a saint of the Church in 1925.
Sacred Heart Spirituality is…
- Devoted to the heart of Jesus
- Contemplating the depths of God, open to the reality of our world
- Discovering and making known the love of God
By our charism, we are consecrated to GLORIFYING THE HEART OF JESUS: we answer His call to discover and reveal His love letting ourselves be transformed by His Spirit so as to live united and conformed to Him, and through our love and service to radiate the very love of His Heart. (RSCJ Constitutions, #4)
- The pierced Heart of Jesus opens our being to the depths of God and to the anguish of humankind. Jesus draws us into His movement of adoration of the Father and love for all, especially those who are poor." (#8)
- We are sent by the Church to communicate the love of the Heart of Jesus. In Him all find their true growth as persons and the way towards reconciliation with one another. This we believe; this we want to proclaim. Saint Madeleine Sophie chose to express this conviction through the service of education, especially of the young. Faithful to her inspiration, and, like her, open to new situations, we make her desire our own: that people become ever more aware of truth, of love and of freedom; that they discover the significance of their lives, and devote themselves to others; that they take part creatively in the common effort to transform the world; that they be enabled to encounter the love of Jesus; that they let their lives be shaped by an active faith. (#10 and 11)
- In the work of teaching and formation, in other activities for human development and the promotion of justice, in pastoral work and guidance in the faith............... Wherever we are sent, whatever our work may be, our lives will be inspired by the love of the Heart of Jesus and the desire of making Him known, expressed in: a concern for the growth of the whole person; a thirst for working towards justice and peace in the world in response to the cry of the poor; a passion to proclaim the Gospel.(#13)