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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Coast Live Oak" A Poem by Danielle Moragne, SHP'13

Photo taken July 2013 on the grounds of Sacred Heart Schools ~ Atherton, Calf
near Oakwood, the RSCJ Retirement Community

Coast Live Oak

A trunk
massive, contorted, and gnarled
splits and cuts its way into the sky,
demanding its place in the earth by spreading its roots.
Thick at first, then wean away,
like capillaries.

Though native only to the
Golden Coast,
the wide canopy,
dark leaves, and grand stature 
forge the confidence of a continent,
reminding us that we must respect
what we cannot change, and
that we must praise
that which is
than we.

~ Danielle Moragne, SHP '13

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Conge - A Poem by Kate O' Flaherty Chopin

Kate O'Flaherty Chopin
Sacred Heart Alumna, St. Louis - Class of 1898

The CongĂ© – 1867

The Congé is past and the frolic and fun
Was over, before it seemed scarcely begun;
For with playing and romping and teasing away,
The quick fleeting hours soon filled up the day.
But the morning was not to amusement devoted
For Madam to all of her “Brights” had allotted
The task (this displayed a heart ever trusting)
Of arranging and breaking and mending and dusting,
Her chemical tools, which of delicate make
We could easily handle and --- easily break.
There was Lizzie who thought with importance of air
That we could do nothing if she was not there,
And Frank --- thinking much, and speaking but little
Who handled with safety tools e’en the most brittle
While Katie O’F, poor unfortunate lass
Broke implements stoutest as though they were glass.
But this war of destruction, thanks, soon was to cease
And the room and its contents left happily in peace.
For kind Madam Hamilton, with due form and state,
Announced the dinner no longer could wait,
And arranging the girls with artistical taste,
Led the way to the hall without trouble or haste.
But ye Fates! On arriving I found ‘twas my doom
For what I presume of more benches or room,
To sit between Lizzie and Nina my cousin
Who seemed to have appetites due to a dozen,
And gave me scarce time to breathe or to think
With asking for butter --- the bread ---or a drink.
But between these demands which indeed were not few,
I found time to admire an arrangement or two
Of the garlands of flowers and pigs a la fry
Which in every direction were greeting the eye.
But all these howe’er beautiful sink into nought,
In considering the fun which the afternoon brought;
For through cellar and basement and garret so high,
We tumbled and tossed in the game of “I spy.”
Now into the barn yard --- the loft or the stable,
Hiding in every place ---any place that we were able;
And thrown into ecstasies of foolish delight
At not being found or at seeking aright.
But at length Madam M. with mysterious air,
Comes whispering that the girls must prepare
To enter a room, shut out from all light,
To see a strange thing ___ a most wonderful sight;
Which sight we soon found was a new source of pleasure
Got up by “our Madam” whose mind is a treasure,
Ever teeming with jewels of science and fun,
And in whom we all think sets and rises the sun.
‘Twas a strange magic lantern which displayed a queer sight
Of devils in every conceivable plight.
Of hills and volcanoes; St. Peter’s at Rome;
Of Pantheons at Paris --- or a neat cottage home.
Of monkies and tigers and elephants rare ---
All displayed with precision and mentioned with care.
When, at the best part we are told we must leave;
For fear that the already fast fading light
Would leave us in fear at the coming of night.
And as I reluctantly arose to obey,
Though my reason said “homeward” my heard bade me stay.
So greatly put out --- nearly ready to cry,
I kissed my companions --- bade Madam good bye ---
And secretly knowing I’d no time to waste
Turned my steps towards home with all possible haste.

                                                      Written in 1867 By Kate O’Flaherty

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Crow Song by Zoe Keithley

Zoe Marhoefer Keithely, attended Sacred Heart Lake Forest (1947-1951)

The little child's bones
inside me rattle and cavort,
play music when I walk.
The eros of the great engine
is their familiar; and how,
never sleeping, it draws
the juice along to force it
through the many narrows.
Again the ancient seeds
sprout in the collar of silt.
Oh, I am the holy child dancing
on the rim of the earth.
Forever is my name.

Poem by Zoe Keithley taken from Crow Song, Roan Press, 2009 

For further info on Zoe Keithley and her upcoming Roots Writer Series & Workshop on April 26, 2014 in Chicago, IL ~ click here. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A poem by Louise Imogen Guiney - "John Brown: A Paradox"

Louise Imogen Guiney
Alumna of Sacred Heart 

John Brown: A Paradox

Compassionate eyes had our brave John Brown,
And a craggy stern forehead, a militant frown;
He, the storm-bow of peace. Give him volley on volley,
The fool who redeemed us once of our folly,
And the smiter that healed us, our right John Brown!

Too vehement, verily, was John Brown!
For waiting is statesmanlike; his the renown
Of the holy rash arm, the equipper and starter
Of freedmen; aye, call him fanatic and martyr:
He can carry both halos, our plain John Brown.

A scandalous stumbling-block was John Brown,
And a jeer; but ah! soon from the terrified town,
In his bleeding track made over hilltop and hollow,
Wise armies and councils were eager to follow,
And the children’s lips chanted our lost John Brown.

Star-led for us, stumbled and groped John Brown,
Star-led, in the awful morasses to drown;
And the trumpet that rang for a nation’s upheaval,
From the thought that was just, thro’ the deed that was evil,
Was blown with the breath of this dumb John Brown!

Bared heads and a pledge unto mad John Brown!
Now the curse is allayed, now the dragon is down,
Now we see, clear enough, looking back at the onset,
Christianity’s flood-tide and Chivalry’s sunset
In the old broken heart of our hanged John Brown!
Source: She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (University of Iowa Press, 1997)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Trees - A poem by April O'Leary, RSCJ

Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
Sacred Heart Schools Atherton Campus

Trees have a way
of teaching us the deepest things.
Seasonally, quietly, they demonstrate their truths.
You must endure,
(trees say) bow down, give way, accept
when from the North ice-laden winds oppress.
You must release
what you with year-long love watched slowly grow,
when at the summer's end green leaves turn sere.
The darkest times
these are, watching your hope's fulfilment drift away,
when all the best you strove for, you renounce.
- But then, trees say,
think of that rare delight when buds, in Spring, define
on desiccated boughs their glory once again.

Written in 1968 by April O'Leary , RSCJ (1922-2012)
Province of England - Wales

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Celebrating National Poetry Month with Favorite Poems Authored by Sacred Heart Alums and RSCJ

In 1996 the Academy of American Poets inaugarated April as National Poetry Month.  So throughout this month I will showcase poetry authored by Sacred Heart alums and RSCJ.  To start off the month, I have selected a well known poem that was written by Mother Stuart.  This year we celebrate the Centenary of Janet Erskine Stuart 's death through October 21, 2014.  Click here for further info.


Spirit seeking light and beauty,
   Heart that longest for thy rest,
Soul that askest understanding,
   Only thus can ye be blest.

All the joy and all the fairness
   Fade away from earth's delight
By the steadfast contemplation
   Of the glory out of sight.

Through the vastness of creation
   Though your restless thought may roam,
God is all that you can long for,
   God is all His creature's home.

Taste and see Him, feel and hear Him,
   Hope and clasp His unseen hand.
Though the darkness seem to hide Him
   Faith and love can understand.

God, who loves all Thy creatures,
   All our hearts are known to Thee,
Lead us through the land of shadows
   To They blest eternity!

 Written by Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ
Sixth Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart (1857 -1914)

The above poem was taken from the book The Fable of the Ugly Duckling from Highways and By-Ways in the Spiritual Life by Janet Erskine Stuart (Longmans, Green and Co. London 1923)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ from the "Life Lived Perpetual Calendar" - "If we wait to be taught,..."

Network of Sacred Heart Schools in the United States

"If we wait to be taught, we shall never learn."

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

Mission Statement for Network of Sacred Heart Schools

Guided by the global vision of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, the Network of Sacred Heart Schools is an association of Catholic independent schools and the United States Province of the Society of the Sacred Heart, for the purpose of advancing the educational mission of the Society. The Network provides services and programs that promote and stimulate creative education and leadership framed by the Goals and Criteria for Sacred Heart Schools in the United States.
Independent but never isolated, every Sacred Heart school needs to feel the strength of belonging to a larger whole, of sharing principles, broad purposes, hopes and ambitions.
Preamble to the Goals and Criteria, 1975

The above quote is taken from the perpetual spiral-bound calendar "The Life Lived" which celebrates the Centenary of Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ - click here to order

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sacred Heart Alumna Virginia Bueide Awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant

Virginia Randolph Bueide
Barat College 1960

Virginia Randolph Bueide, an alumna of Barat College majored in Fine Arts and graduated with Art Honors in 1960.  Her love of art began as a teenage portrait painter and after graduation from Barat College she had studios on both the east and west coast. Her various travels especially to Italy and France inspire her. 

Currently Bueide resides in Minnesota and having had a long, successful art career was recently named recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant for 2014-15. Bueide is the only Minnesota artist to receive the award this year, and the first since 2011.  Below is the press release with details.

Farmers Market (40x60) acrylic on canvas 2011
Click here to learn more about artist Virginia Randolph Bueide and her artwork 

Minnesota painter Virginia Bueide awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation's mission is to recognize and award those individuals who have worked as professional artists over a significant period of time. Since its inception in 1985, the Foundation has awarded over $58 million dollars to artists in 75 countries. It allows recipients to concentrate time for studio work, and prepare for exhibitions, purchase materials, document work, and otherwise build their artistic practice.

Bueide has been a Minneapolis-based painter for six decades. She’s since exhibited nearly everywhere you can in the region – the Walker Art Center (where she was selected for a group exhibition by none other than Donald Judd), the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Plains Art Museum, the Duluth Art Institute, and, most recently, at the Minnesota Museum of American Art as part of their acclaimed Studio Sessions exhibition in 2013. This is not to mention the dozens of galleries, universities and project spaces where her work has also been shown, in one-woman and group exhibitions – Suzanne Kohn Gallery, Grand Hand Gallery, the Kilbride-Bradley Gallery, and the galleries of St. Thomas and St. Catherine colleges. She’s also had studios in New York City, Los Angeles, and Texas, and her paintings, prints and drawings are included in museum, corporate, and numerous private collections throughout the United States and Europe. In her professional journeys, she’s encountered everyone from New York Times critic Hilton Kramer, who singled her out for merit in an MIA show when she was scarcely out of college, to Minnesota painter George Morrison, a good friend and colleague for many decades. Of her work, Morrison once said, she “paints from the inside out.”

Her paintings have portrayed the physical landscape with a keen eye for detail, sensitive brushwork, and a wry sense of humor – everything from farmer’s markets, swimming pools, lakes, farms, and kitchens to barnyards, skating rinks, city scenes, and gardens. These landscapes are sometimes peaceful and still, and sometimes energized by the presence of all sorts of creatures: curious chickens, busy children, errant flocks of sheep, and the occasional self-portrait.

Bueide will be using the funding to create new work, as well as catalog and document her earlier works. The Foundation recognized the “exceptional quality” of her work as well as the “extent of [her] artistic achievement,” and this funding will give her a chance to create this remarkable body of work into the future.
For further info: Contact, Andy Sturdevant, 651-503-6456

Monday, March 17, 2014

For the Love of Ireland A Historical Novel by Judy Leslie

Margaret Frances Buchanan Sullivan (1847-1903)
Sacred Heart Alumna ~ Detroit, Michigan
(photo taken from Barat College a Legacy, a Spirit and a Name by Martha Curry
and courtesy of her 
great grandnephew Peter Buchanan of Berkley, Michigan)  

As Saint Patrick's Day has come to a close and I sit at my desk doing research, I have discovered a book For The Love of Ireland - A Historical Novel by Judy Leslie which I am anxious to read. What I find so fascinating about this book is that Margaret Frances Buchanan (Mrs. Alexander Sullivan) a Sacred Heart alumna is one of the main characters! 

Margaret Sullivan was born in Ireland, she was the youngest child of John and Susan Buchanan who settled in Detroit, Michigan in the 1850's.  Margaret was educated at the Sacred Heart Convent in Detroit.  Her obituary states that "she was a proficient Greek, Latin and French scholar".  She taught in the public schools in Detroit and then traveled to Chicago to begin her career as an editorial writer for the Chicago Chronicle.  When she first came to Chicago as a single woman with no family she lived at the convent of the Sacred Heart on Taylor Street and according to Martha Curry, RSCJ on page 28 of her book, Barat College a Legacy, a Spirit and a Name, Margaret Buchanan "moved into the convent on Taylor Street as a 'parlor boarder', neither a student in the boarding school nor one of the nuns."  

Margaret Buchanan married Alexander Sullivan in 1874 and while living in Chicago became active with fellow Sacred Heart alums. By 1896, she was serving as president of the Chicago Alumnae Association which included mostly alums from either Taylor Street (now located in Lake Forest, IL) or State Street in Chicago (now located on Sheridan Road).

click here for a summary of the book

The following was compiled from official obituary notices posted in various newspapers after her death and taken from the website For The Love of Ireland - A Historical Novel by Judy Leslie.

Margaret’s career as a journalist spanned over 30 years, a remarkable feat for a woman during the Gilded Age. Though publishing without a byline or under an alias to hide her identity as a woman, Margaret Frances Buchanan Sullivan was well known on both sides of the Atlantic as an author and editorial writer during Charles Anderson Dana ‘s lifetime.  She was a frequent contributor to The New York Sun and an editorial writer for Chicago Times in the days of Wilbur F. Storey.  In addition, Margaret was an editorial writer for several Chicago daily newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, and for leading journals of New York and Boston.  In 1895, she held the position of chief editorial writer for the Chicago Times-Herald.  In 1901 she was a writer and art critic for the Chicago Chronicle.

After covering the Charles Stewart Parnell trial in London 1889, Margaret went to the Exposition Universelle (a World's Fair held in Paris, France from  May to  October) as the only official special cable-correspondent representing the Associated Press.  At the opening ceremony, she was the only writer to whom a seat was assigned in line with Jules Simon, the president of France.  Margaret was the only representative of the press invited to assist at the ceremony.  However, this required some finessing on her part.  Upon arriving in Paris, she discovered that she was not permitted to sit with the other press members because of her gender.  When she went to the French Ministry for assistance she was refused.  Margaret quickly sent off two telegrams in the presence of the Minister, one addressed to US Secretary of State, James Blaine and the other to the president of the Associated Press.  Needless to say, the French Minister jumped to accommodate her.

By the turn of the century, her book Ireland of To-Day had sold more than 30,000 copies.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Quote by Madeleine Sophie Barat, "Let us have only one thought: to suffer and to love."

Crucifix originally located in the Narthex of the Barat College Chapel
now at Sacred Heart Schools Chicago - Sheridan Road 

"Let us have only one thought: to suffer and to love.  Suffering is the source and sustenance of love.  If we love purely, we wish to imitate, and it is impossible to imitate Jesus Christ except by suffering with him"

~ St. Madeleine Sophie Barat (1779-1865)
Founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart 

The above quote was taken from The Wisdom of Madeleine Sophie Barat - Day by Day Calendar.  To order a copy of the calendar (Cost: $10.00 + postage) - click here

Monday, March 10, 2014

Rose Philippine Duchesne: A Profile Carved in Hope

copyright 1988 - Elizabeth Sherman, R.S.C.J

Last Saturday, I attended a Day of Reflection hosted at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart. The  theme for the Day of Reflection was Spirituality and the Resilient Woman.  Dr. Nancy Kehoe, R.S.C.J. facilitated a discussion around the topic Women of Prayer. She asked each participant what we hoped to get out of the day and as we went around the room the answers were varied.  At one point we discussed St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne and Janet Erskine Stuart, R.S.C.J. (she served as the 6th Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart and this year we honor her by celebrating the centenary of her death).  All three of these women embody a deep sense of tenacity and resiliency.  

Each attendee received a copy of the book Philippine Duchesne, RSCJ A COLLECTION to take home. So today as I perused the book, I came across the following excerpt written by the granddaughter of Indian chief Rondon who was decorated by the governments of the United States and Brazil for his contribution to the Indians of Brazil.  Below is an edited version of what I read.  

"The history of the last century, and the history of centuries before that, will echo far beyond the 21st century.  Part of this history is the story of a woman of great contrasts but with inner unity. Many who knew her are repelled by her austerity.  Others place her among those who cannot be imitated and for this reason try to forget her.  Others allow themselves to be captivated by this woman who was unconquerable in her Hope and who dared to share her ideals with others.  You, who are full of hope as you begin to read these pages, Come with me and let us discover together "the height, the depth, the breadth, and the length" of this life wholly humble, and happy in the Love of God. ...For to understand someone deeply is to strengthen the bonds of friendship.
Let us read the life of Philippine.Let us contemplate this "profile carved in Hope"in order to learn from her union and conformity with the Heart of the great Missionary of the great Incarnated of the Son of God who chose the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, the exploited, and the little ones of the earth:and who made herself one of them. In a world in crisis she found her place of incarnation...
Let us learn with her to contemplate the Heart of Jesus, a Heart broken but unyielding in Hope." 

by Maria Cecilia Rondon Amarante, RSCJ

The above excerpt is taken from the book Philippe Duchesne, RSCJ A COLLECTION Copyright 1988

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day of Reflection hosted at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart

Day of Reflection hosted at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart
Spirituality and the Resilient Woman

The Woodlands Academy Alumnae Board (WAAA) hosted a Day of Reflection for all Sacred Heart alums and friends on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Upon arrival all attendees were warmly greeted by: WAAA President, Marni Soderland Mans,'90; WAAA Immediate Past President, Maureen Hogan Lang, '56 and WAAA Board member, Helen Bruns Ryan,'50.  A packet filled with our schedule for the day and supplemental materials along with two books "Excerpts from the Letters and Writings of Janet Erskine Stuart R.S.C.J." and "Philippine Duchesne, RSCJ A COLLECTION", as well as, a beautiful prayer card with the image of a statue of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat were prepared and ready to be collected at 9:30 a.m.   

After coffee and sweet rolls we began our day with Associate Director of Advancement, Alumnae Relations, Maua Chamberlin introducing our facilitator Dr. Nancy Kehoe, R.S.C.J. who aptly wove the theme Spirituality and the Resilient Woman into three topics
Women of Prayer: Old Testament and New Testament Models
Women of Prayer: St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, St. Philippine Duchesne, Janet Erskine Stuart
Women of Prayer Today:  Developing Our Own Lives in Prayer

After Sr. Kehoe was introduced she told us of her background and deep roots in Chicago. She currently resides in Boston, serving as the Director of Expanding Connections and is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School.  Sister is an alumna of both the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chicago and Duchesne College in Omaha, and Jeannette Kimball, R.S.C.J. (1914-1994) was her Aunt! Sr. Kehoe currently serves as a Trustee of Woodlands Academy, which brings her back to the campus on a regular basis. But most notably, Sr. Kehoe has authored the book, Wrestling With Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness and the Journey to Wholeness. 

Everyone introduced themselves and briefly expressed what they hoped to gain from attending the Day of Reflection.  After discussing the first topic we broke for a delicious buffet lunch in the Faculty Dinning Room. In the afternoon our intimate group of twenty-four Sacred Heart alums and friends returned to the Haggerty Center to continue to nourish our minds and souls as Sr. Kehoe discussed the next two topics.  We concluded our day with group sharing and the Sacrament of Reconciliation was available before we ended our day with a closing liturgy in the Woodlands Chapel celebrated by Fr. John Trout the Pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Libertyville, IL.

Below one of the many prayers enclosed in our packet.   


I could not move against this wind if I did not
And all that is said of me that is untrue 
would make lame my gait if I
could not free myself from 
the weight of other's 

I could not move against all His light
if I did not 

See how things become: what a change
can happen, when we find a way
to keep Him

Rabia (8th c. woman from Sufi tradition)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Celebrating National Women's History Month - Agatha Louise Pfeiffer, Musician and Composer

Mater Admirabilis Statue
originally located at the Convent of the Sacred Heart (Hilltop) - St. Joseph , MO
the statue is now at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart - Lake Forest, IL

During the month of March the National Women's History Project will be celebrating Women of Character, Courage & Commitment.  The NWHP "will honor the extraordinary and often unrecognized determination and tenacity of women".  

I'd like to personally honor a Sacred Heart alumna who wrote a song about Mater Admirabilis. 

Agatha Louise Pfeiffer (January 1, 1879 - June 1975) an alumna of the Convent of the Sacred Heart (known as "Hilltop" due to its location) in St. Joseph, Missouri was a teacher, musician and composer. Agatha played the organ at St. Francis Xavier church in her hometown of St. Joseph and for many weddings her song "O Mother Will It Always Be" was sung. 
"Pfeiffer's compositions included "Sacred Music" and "Piano Studies for Children", published by G. Schirmer, New York. Copies of Pfeiffer's music which are in the archives of the Women Writers Along the Rivers project include:  'All Spotless Heart', 'Bright Queen of Heaven', 'O Mother of Mercy', 'O Mother Will It Always Be', 'Our Lovely Queen of May', 'Raise Your Voices', 'Virgin Mother'."
From: Women Wtiters Along the Rivers 1850-1950

The statue of Mater Admirabilis (above) is the inspiration for Miss Pfeiffer's song "O Mother Will It Always Be".  A plaque next to the statue which is now located at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois reads as follows:

The restoration of Mater
Is a gift to Woodlands Academy
in honor of Gwen Gregory-Conzelman
and in memory of her mother,
Gwen Wheelock Lobus

The work is made possible by gifts from family,
students, and friends.

It honors the special devotion to Mater
Shared by Gwen and her mother.

This statue is very precious as it was
Sent from France by
St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
for the opening of the school in
St. Joseph Missouri in 1854

It was then sent to Woodlands when the
St. Joseph school closed in the late 1950’s

          O Mother Will It Always Be

O Mother will it always be 
That every passing year
Will make thee seem more beautiful, 
Will make thee grow more dear?

How near to God, how dear to God, 
Dear Mother thou must be –

We scarce can raise our hearts to Him, 
Unless we think of thee. 

O Mother thou art fair to see, 
More fair than starry night, 
Thy radiance is a tender beam 
From God’s own heav’nly light 

Ah this we know, how true it is 
That every passing year 
Will make thee seem more beautiful, 
Will make thee grow more dear 

All pure, all good, all sinless thou, 
Beyond mere human keen 

All tender and all pitying, 
Toward us, frail sons of men 

The more we seek to know thy heart, 
The more there is to learn – 
Like thee to be most rich in grace, 
We pray and hope and yearn

Written by Agatha Louise Pfeiffer