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Thursday, June 30, 2016


June 30, 2016 ~  Today a very treasured friend, mentor, former English professor and fellow alumna of Barat College celebrates her 90th birthday.  Yes, it is true Sr. Martha Curry, RSCJ is celebrating her 90th birthday! This past Sunday many friends and family members gathered to kick off this milestone celebration with Martha and her fellow RSCJ community in Hyde Park.  What an enjoyable afternoon we all had as we reminiscent and paid tribute to her.  

For those who still wish to purchase a copy of Sr. Curry's book, BARAT COLLGE: A Legacy, A Spirit and A Name - click here for more info.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat ~ Feast Day Celebrated on May 25th

Sacred Heart Chapel Roehampton,England

"Let Love Be Your Life For All Eternity"

Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat

The above statue of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat is located in the Sacred Heart Chapel in Roehampton, England.  The statue was donated by former pupils in 1925 after her canonization and  the buildings that were bombed are held in her hands.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

Sacred Heart Alums Take the Polar Plunge

MER with Sarah Burke at Carnivale Restaurant
attending a Legal Reception for Special Olympics

Sacred Heart Goal #3: "A Social Awareness which impels to action" 

I ran into Sarah Burke (Sacred Heart alumna of Woodlands Academy) and current board member of Special Children's Charities, Special Olympics Chicago at a Legal Reception for Special Olympics hosted on January 28th at the Carnivale Restaurant. I asked Sarah why she got involved in this particular charity and she responded: "I am involved in Special Olympics because I believe every one of us should have the opportunity to live full lives.  Special Olympics brings athletes together through athletic competition but friendship, joy and fun are the ultimate goals.  There is no better feeling than knowing that Special Children's Charities/Special Olympics Chicago support athletes and their families experience all that our City, State and World have to offer." 

This Sunday, March 6th, marks the 16th annual Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for Chicago Special Olympics' sports programs and athletes.  The weather in Chicago promises to be a balmy 50 degrees.  There is still time to support this very worthwhile cause.  To learn how you too can make a difference by jumping into Lake Michigan and participating in the Chicago Polar Plunge - click here #MAKEASPLASH FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS CHICAGO!

Previous Polar Plungers have included Sacred Heart alumna Lady Gaga (91st NY) as well as, Taylor Kinney, Vince Vaughn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Jimmy Fallon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Josephinum Annual Winter Lunch at Union League Club of Chicago

"Your example, even more than your words, 
will be an eloquent lesson to the world" 

Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat (1779-1865)

To view additional photos click on the photo album link
(right column of my blog)

Alumnae from Josephinum Academy, various Sacred Heart Academies and Colleges, as well as, many of Chicago's finest civic and corporate leaders eagerly arrived to the Union League Club of Chicago on Tuesday, February 16th to attend Josephinum Academy's annual Winter Lunch. 

Supporting Scholarships for Exceptional Young Women 

Kudos to Co-Chairs: John and Ellen Engel & Kevin and Janice Lee, along with their stellar Host Committee: Michael and Cathy Brennan, Doug and Lee Ann Hoover, Ben and Maureen Kelly Ivory, Alan and Janet Lougee, John and Liz McEnaney, Rich McMenamin and Patty Mulvihill, Kenneth Venzant and Desiree Pepper-Venzant, R. Matthew and Jacque Simon, Robert and Jean Spence.

The highlight of the luncheon was Keynote Speaker, Elizabeth Hartigan Connelly, Sacred Heart alumna and former Board Chair of Sacred Heart Schools Chicago (her alma mater) who spoke eloquently on Women in Leadership.  

The student Keynote Speaker, Stefany Rendon, is a current senior at Josephinum Academy and member of the Peace Exchange. Stefany having applied to nine colleges plans to study sociology and was returning from a college visit when a delay at the airport prevented her from joining us in person.   As a member of the Peace Exchange, last summer Stefany traveled to Nicaragua exploring solutions for peace and nonviolence with community leaders and other student activists. 

Stefany was named an Illinois State Scholar this past December and is the president of Josephinum's National Honor Society.  She was also featured in the Allstate "Good Starts Young" film series about her involvement with the Peace Exchange.  While we were not able to personally meet Stefany we were treated to a clip of the "Good Starts Young" Chicago's Peacemaker film which premiered at the Aspen Ideas Festival

Josephinum Academy is an all-girls Catholic high school located in the heart of Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood.  It is one of twenty-four Network of Sacred Heart Schools located in the United States and Canada.  For 125 years, "the Jo" has been educating and empowering young women to become confident, faith-filled leaders.  Every day young women travel from 40 zip codes around the Chicagoland area to receive the quality education that prepares them for college and life after academia.  
  • Currently 88% of students receive additional financial aid and/or scholarship support
  • Josephinum will offer 60 scholarships (nearly $330,000) to the incoming Class of 2020
  • 100% of 2015 graduates were accepted to college and awarded $6.9 million in merit-based scholarships 

Save the Date: October 1, 2016 

Gala Co-Chairs: Celeste and Alan Denton & Maureen and Ron Sippel ask you to mark your calendars and plan to join them and Keynote Speaker: Archbishop Blasé Cupich in supporting Josephinum Academy at the Intercontinental Hotel for dinner and dancing on Saturday, October 1, 2016 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Prayer by Janet Erskine Stuart

Sacred Heart Chapel - Roehampton, England
October 11, 2014


"Heavenly Father, unseen Companion of our life, give us faith and eager expectancy as we begin this fresh stage of our journey.  Take from us all fear of the unknown and teach us to wrest treasures from the darkness.  As the days come and go, may we find that each of one is laden with happy opportunities and enriching experiences; and when this year is ended may our best hopes be more than ever fulfilled."

Janet Erskine Stuart RSCJ (1857-1914)
6th Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Feast of Mater Admirabilis Proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1846

Mater Admirabilis

October 20, 1846 ~ "Pope Pius IX visited the Monastery of Trinita dei Monti. While on tour, he asked what was hidden behind the curtain. Pulling back the curtain to the surprise of all, there was the most beautiful fresco of Mary, the painting of Pauline Perdrau.  The Pope exclaimed Mater Admirabilis, thus giving her the title that she bears to this day."

Note: The ahove excerpt taken from Visions of Jesus Christ

Friday, October 16, 2015

In Memory of Sister Marge Seitz, RSCJ on the Feast of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

Photo Credits: Ada Stevens, Maureen E. Ryan and Mary Schumacher, RSCJ

Margaret T. Seitz, RSCJ
Date of Birth: April 13 1936
Date of Profession: July 22, 1965
Entered into Eternal Life: October 14, 2015

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation nun, born in France and known to have learned from "a vision of our Blessed Lord that it was His divine will that a liturgical feast be kept in honor of His Sacred Heart and in reparation for man's gratitude"

This feast day reminds me of a beloved RSCJ named Margaret T. Seitz, known to her students as Sister Seitz and to family and many friends as  "Marge".  Sister Seitz died suddenly of a heart attack on Wednesday evening surrounded by members of her community in Florida.  The Carrollton community writes that they are comforted by the memories of "her wonderful sense of humor, her love of teaching and her love of the students. A true educator." 

Mr. Olen Kalkus, Head of School at Carrollton of the Sacred Heart writes: There will be a viewing from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. this Sunday, October 18 at the Maspons Funeral Home, 3500 SW 8th Street. A Mass celebrating her life will be offered this Monday, October 19 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Hugh’s Church. All are welcome to attend.
 On Tuesday morning our students and faculty will celebrate the Feast of Mater, as planned, keeping the memory and spirit of Sr. Seitz close to our hearts.
 I ask you all to join me in keeping Sr. Seitz, and her family and loved ones in your prayers.
 Yours in Prayer,

For more information about Sister Margaret T. Seitz, RSCJ, please visit

"I need nothing but God, and to loose myself in the heart of Jesus." 
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Amazing Sophie by Dacia Van Antwerp

Amazing Sophie by Dacia Van Antwerp, BH'48, MC'52

Dacia Van Antwerp is no stranger to the story of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart. After all she spent 16 years being educated by the Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) and is an alumna of both the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield, Michigan and Manhattanville College.  After graduation Van Antwerp decided to become an RSCJ and joined the Society of the Sacred Heart. She taught for 17 years in various Sacred Heart schools until a life altering event occurred and she chose another life path.  She discusses her journey in the book she wrote entitled You Go Girl: Life and Adventures of a Former Nun

Upon making a retreat in Joigny, France, the birthplace of Madeleine Sophie Barat,  Van Antwerp was so inspired that she decided to write a book for children about the Saint whom she admired so much.  The story of Amazing Sophie is a delightful children's book that tells the story of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, complete with illustrations by Carla Maria Melendez Relli, ASH, 2020. All of the net proceeds of the book will go to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield, Michigan. 

The above video was recorded on October 20, 2012 (Feast of Mater Admirabilis) during the AASH Central Regional Meeting hosted in Detroit, Michigan.  To oder a copy of Amazing Sophie click here - Info/Order Book

Thursday, October 1, 2015

#TBT: "Hello Martha, Hello Mary", in memory of Reverend E. Corbett Walsh, SJ

Pictures of Fr. Walsh, SJ taken with  his siblings & Sacred Heart friends:
AASH 2011 Conference in Miami; AASH 2012 Regional Meeting in Cape Cod, MA
and AASH 2015 Conference in Boston, MA

The following #TBT blog post is written in memory of Reverend E. Corbett Walsh, SJ who was called home to be with God on September 24, 2015.  Father Walsh, SJ is survived by the following siblings: Bonnie Stoloski,  NC'59; Robert B., Thomas F., Inez Moore, Quentin I., and Toni Curry, NW'68. For many years Sacred Heart alums either met or interacted with Fr. Walsh, SJ as he was often asked to celebrate Mass and/or speak to alums at various Sacred Heart gatherings at the request of his sister Toni Walsh Curry, AASH past President (1981-1983).

On September 22, 2012, Father Walsh, SJ was invited to be a guest speaker at the Associated Alumnae/i of the Sacred Heart (AASH) Eastern Regional Conference hosted at The Wianno Club, Osterville, MA.  Rev. E. Corbett Walsh, SJ gave a talk entitled: "Hello Martha, Hello Mary".  Father Walsh tells those in the audience (Sacred Heart alums) of his partiality to the Gospel according to Luke.  He also tells us how his youngest sister "Anthony" aka Toni Curry, AASH past President (1981-1983) came to be named.  Toni is the current President of the Cape Cod & Islands Alumnae/i of the Sacred Heart Association and she was Co-Chair of the 40th Biennial AASH Conference hosted in Boston, April 9 - 12, 2015. Those who watch this video (twenty-five minute portion of his talk) will find Fr. Walsh an engaging, very charming, intelligent priest whose stories are both endearing and heartwarming, sprinkled with his wonderful sense of humor.  During his talk Fr. Walsh mentions that when you read Luke you often think of Father Faber (see quote below) and some of his poems. 

Rev. E. Corbett Walsh, SJ  you will be sorely missed by your extended Sacred Heart family...may you rest in eternal peace.

"There's a wideness in God's mercy
like the wideness of the sea;

there's a kindness in his justice,

which is more than liberty.

For the love of God is broader
than the measure of man's mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind."

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Blessing of the Cupola: Dedication Ceremony Woodlands Academy and Barat College Campus Reunited

Barat College Cupola

Blessing of the Cupola

Almighty and everlasting God, may this cupola be a reminder to all that you gave us this land to expand our academy and build a college that carried the name of our foundress, Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat. May this cupola be a place of peace and repose, and may it remind us of the many who have served and studied on these sacred grounds. 

Pictured above l-r: Nancy Kehoe, RSCJ, Cindy Cox, Meg Steele,
Irma Patricia Reiss, RSCJ, Heidi Kuharich, Scott Eisenstein, Barbara Wood-Prince,
Suzanne Cooke, RSCJ and Meg's mother, Tammy Mullen Steele, MC'65

The early morning thunderstorms and the threat of more rain did not seem to dampen the spirits of the attendees who traveled near and far to Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart for a dedication ceremony and open house on Friday, September 18, 2015.  Yes, I did say far, as some attendees traveled from Boston, Indianapolis, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. just to attend this event.  The following Religious of the Sacred Heart were also in attendance: Susanne Cooke, RSCJ, Director of the Sacred Heart Conference; Martha Curry, RSCJ, Barat alumna and author of the book Barat College: A Legacy, A Spirit and A Name; Woodlands Trustees; Margaret McDonnell, RSCJ and Nancy Kehoe, RSCJ; and Irma Patricia Reiss, RSCJ, Barat alumna aka "Sr. Patsy", Religious of the Sacred Heart in Residence.

Ms. Meg Steele, who began her tenure as Head of School on July 1, 2015 greeted the seated guests outside the former Sr. Madeleine Sophie Cooney Library.  The former Cooney library designed by Dirk Lohan was the last building built in the late 1990's on the campus of Barat College. The college closed in 2005 and all buildings on the original 43 acre site were eventually razed with the exception of the Library. Ironically, I attended the Sister Madeleine Sophie Cooney Library dedication ceremony 18 years prior on September 18, 1997. The 20,000 sq ft. building has been beautifully repurposed and renamed the Gloria Dei Center. The Center will serve both the Woodlands and Lake Forest communities.

The Dedication Ceremony was spilt into two parts -  Part I: Lessons and Prayers and Part II: Blessing of the New, Expanded Campus.  The following were invited to the podium by Head of School, Meg Steele to give either a prayer or lesson:  Mrs. Amy Perlick, Director of the Woodlands Academy Global Education Center; Ms. Madonna Edmunds, Principal; Mrs. Barbara Wood-Prince, Chair, Board of Trustees; Mrs. Mary Gramins, Campus Minister; and Sister Irma Patricia Reiss, RSCJ, Religious of the Sacred Heart in Residence.  Sister Suzanne Cooke, RSCJ, Director of the Sacred Heart Conference gave a celebratory reflection and final blessing of the cupola.  The cupola along with many other (internal and external) parts of the campus were salvaged during the demolition  of the Barat College campus. The restored cupola will rest in a prominent space on the front lawn and be surrounded by a garden.

It was a lovely day despite the cloudy skies and the threat of more rain. It was also a hopeful beginning to bringing this site that in the 19th century, the Fifth Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart, Mabel Digby, RSCJ envisioned would impart a Sacred Heart education to all who stepped foot on this campus in beautiful Lake Forest, Illinois to now be reunited in gratitude, generosity and grace.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sacred Heart Alumna Receives 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

 Deborah Johnson, Author and Sacred Heart alumna
of Duchesne Omaha

Congratulations to Deborah Johnson, 1966 alumna of Duchesne Academy in Omaha who has been awarded the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.  Johnson's recently released novel The Secret of Magic depicts an African American attorney working for the Legal Defense Fund with Thurgood Marshall in the 1940's.  

Authorized by Ms. Harper Lee as a means to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of her first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird and to honor the former Alabama law student and author, the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal partnered to annually award the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction in 2010.  The Prize has been awarded annually four times previously.  Narrowed down to three finalists, Deborah Johnson is the first woman, the first African-American and the first Sacred Heart alumna to receive the coveted Prize

"The Secret of Magic is exactly the kind of book the Harper Lee Prize is intended to honor; and the quality of legal literature we hope to encourage.  The language is rich, the storytelling is gripping, and the subject fits squarely in today's discussions about race, courage and the rule of law," said Allen Pusey, editor and publisher of the ABA Journal.  Pusey also served on the selection committee for the Harper Lee Prize. 

The award criteria is to publish a book-length fictional work that "best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society, and their power to effect change." The prize was awarded in Washington D.C. on September 3, 2015 in conjunction with the Library of Congress National Book Festival.  Johnson received a signed copy of the book To Kill a Mockingbird

Additional books authored by Deborah Johnson and under her pen name of Deborah Johns are listed under "Books by Sacred Heart Alum Authors" on this blog.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Nick Prokos, Master Potter, Sculptor and former Barat College Professor and Art Dept Chair has Died

Photos taken at Prokos Studio Open House May 1, 2011 ~ Pictured with Nick are:
Mary Schumacher, RSCJ, Martha Curry, RSCJ,  MER and Michael Boruch

The following news of Nick Prokos' death was forwarded to me by a fellow alumna who received word of Nick's passing from his son John.  I promised to post his obit (posted first on his son Michael's Facebook page who is also a potter) and pass this info on so that his former students and faculty members of Barat College would be apprised of Nick's passing on August 24th.  Personally, I will treasure my last visit with Nick on May 1, 2011 and most especially the beautiful vase that I purchased that day.  May Nick and all the former lay faculty and rscj of Barat College who have died rest in peace. 

Teacher and sculptor, Nicholas G. Prokos, of 1698 1st Street, a 55 year resident of Highland Park, passed away peacefully on August 24th, 2015 at Highland Park Hospital. Mr. Prokos was born May 17, 1934 in Escanaba, Michigan. He was the fourth son of Greek immigrants, George and Koula Prokos.
“Prok”, as he was nicknamed, was well known in local and regional art communities as an artist, teacher and professor. His son, John, remarks “Dad couldn’t walk more than a block in Highland Park before being greeted by a former student or friend”. He had a major and lasting impact on many throughout his teaching career. His many former students continued to visit him through the years at his home and studio in Highland Park, some traveling from as far away as Japan to visit their beloved professor and teacher.
Mr. Prokos taught ceramics for over 35 years. He received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin and his M.A. from Wayne State University. As a young man, in 1961, he received his Illinois State Teaching Certificate and secured a position with the Highland Park School District, teaching at Highland Park H.S. In 1963 he opened the studio, Ravinia Stoneware Studio, on Roger Williams Ave. In 1964, he purchased the First Street property and at that location, re-opened the ceramics studio with his wife, awarded book illustrator, Jean Cassels. There, they owned and operated a clay company, created and produced their own work, and taught. Prok would occasionally host other notable potters such as Paul Soldner and Peter Volkous.
In 1969 he began teaching at Barat College in Lake Forest where he earned tenured status and served as Chairman of the Art Department. He was a ceramics professor at Barat for 23 years. He also taught at Lake Forest College, The Art Institute of Chicago, Mundelein College, Eastern Michigan University, and St. Cloud State College.
Mr. Prokos’ works were exhibited nationally and internationally and are in the permanent collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, The Illinois State Museum, Kenosha Art Museum, Springfield Art Association, Wayne State University, South Bend Art Association, and the International Minerals & Chemicals Co.
Mr. Prokos put his artistic talent to work by serving his community. In 1985, he received the Community Service Award from the Illinois Park and Recreation Association for outstanding contributions for the advancement of parks and recreation in the state of Illinois. He also served for many years on the Highland Park Design Review Committee.
Mr. Prokos was passionate about building and flying model airplanes and shared his numerous talents with family, friends, and students. Additionally, he was a talented golfer and a long time member at Sunset Valley Golf Course. He inspired many and will be greatly missed.
Mr. Prokos was preceded in death by his son, George, and is survived by his sons, Michael  (Mindy) and John (Saraswoti), two grandchildren, Nicholas and Chloe, and four brothers, Charles, John, James and Konstantin.
Plans for a memorial service have not been finalized. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to "The Nicholas Prokos Scholarship Fund" at The Art Center - Highland Park.
Donations may be sent to:
The Art Center-Highland Park
1957 Sheridan Road
Highland Park, IL 60035
Donations can also be made by credit card or paypal online


The following excerpt was taken from page 183 of the book BARAT COLLEGE: A Legacy, a Spirit and a Name “Very suddenly, in July 1972, at the age of forty-five, Father Reicher died from a ruptured appendix.  Barat’s faculty, administration, student body, and his many friends attended his memorial Mass celebrated in the Drake Theatre when the fall semester commenced. The next year, the chair of the Art Department, Nicholas Prokos, established Barat’s first permanent art gallery in honor of Father Reicher. The Reicher Gallery provided an important venue for shows by outside artists as well as senior art majors.”    

To read more about the history of Barat College - contact Martha Curry, RSCJ