This striking image is of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, one of the founding mothers of the Society of the Sacred Heart, and the pioneer who brought the Society to North America in 1818. William Schickel's portrait of Philppine is a bit controversial: people either love it or they hate it! We thought it would be interesting to take a look back at thoughts of Sister Nance O'Neill, who was provincial at the time of Philippine's canonization.
In prayer we come to Him with everything that touches our life,
with the sufferings and hopes of humanity.
As apostolic contemplatives, Religious of the Sacred Heart root our lives in prayer. With a mission to discover and reveal the love of God, our spirituality and our mission are based in love. Our contemplative outlook is part of who we are, whether in prayer, in ministry or in our daily lives.
"The contemplative outlook on the world has been a call to be authentic apostles of Christ's love, to help bring to birth a more welcoming world, to make known a God who is great, bountiful and tender. It is a call to educate in such a way that God's plan, God's glory, may become a reality, so that all may grow as brothers and sisters in the inward freedom of the children of God, and have fullness of life." (Superior General Concepcion Camacho, RSCJ)
The pierced Heart of Jesus opens our being to the depths of God and to the anguish of humankind.
On these pages, we will share prayers, poems, reflections and artwork that reflect the spirituality of the Society of the Sacred Heart. We hope you will return here periodically for resources appropriate to the liturgical season and our Sacred Heart traditions.
This Year of Prayer celebrates the missionary journey of Philippine Duchesne and her four companions from France to the New World, thus beginning the internationality of the Society of the Sacred Heart, now in 41 countries.
Click here to see the weekly reflections and to download a special journal for the year.
Imagine my surprise walking into the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health and seeing this piece of art on display. Of course I was immediately drawn to the Sacred Heart, particularly this rendition showing both the strength of the flame resting on metal and the vulnerability of the vein-crossed heart formed from fragile glass (at least that’s how I interpret it). When you go to a research institution like NIH, either for yourself or with someone you love, you are embarking on an uncharted path, often as the pioneer for a new treatment that may or may not work.
The image of Christ crucified amid a bleak urban landscape reminds us that wherever there is any human suffering, God is also suffering. The smoke stacks poisoning the environment, the tall towers that depersonalize a sense of neighborhood, and the lack of any human presence save that of Jesus Himself are underscored by the color palate of deep russet, black, and gray. One is reminded of William Blake’s “Jerusalem” – one interpretation of which suggests that the mills and factories of the Industrial Revolution dehumanized society and enslaved millions.
Prior to the noviceship, I certainly did not anticipate that the interior work of the noviceship would bring me into such acutely vulnerable places of my heart. In no way did I ever surmise how visceral it would be to face my naked self in those places into which God draws me. The soreness of encountering my shadow, however, is not all that I did not know about the noviceship. I also did not imagine the impact of grace—how deeply it touches my heart and urges me to connect to God’s beauty in people.
At a particularly difficult moment in the noviceship, I found myself at the botanical garden in Encinitas, California, where I was surrounded by desert flora and could see the Pacific Ocean in the distance. The internal work of being a novice at that moment felt too big for me – whatever it was I had discovered in myself could no longer be contained by prayer in my room. It needed instead the openness of ocean and desert.
On Friday, June 23, 2017, the Religious of the Sacred Heart from the United States-Canada Province celebrated a special Eucharist on the Feast of the Sacred Heart – the feast day when Saint Philippine Duchesne arrived in the New World.
The Mass and reception were held at the chapel at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School in St. Louis, Missouri. Videocameras were set up in the chapel, allowing members of the Sacred Heart family across the United States and Canada to join by webcast.
On Friday, June 23, 2017, we celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart!
This is an important Feast in the Society of the Sacred Heart - a time when we come together to renew and deepen our common spirituality.
Join us, as we prepare for the Feast, with a special message from our Central Team in Rome.
In her Letter for the Feast of the Sacred Heart, Sister Barbara Dawson invites us to respond to Jesus' call:
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble of heart."
In Exodus 35:35 we read that God has filled artists with skill to do every kind of work done by an artisan, designer, or embroiderer in blue, purple and crimson yarns, and in fine linen. They are able to do work of all kinds and with such originality. This piece of Scripture reflects something of the skill of this fabric artist. I do not know the artist but the gift that this person offers is a talent, a light, offering compassion, hope and joy to a suffering world.