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Friday, September 30, 2011

To Madeleine Sophie Barat

Madeleine Sophie Barat, R.S.C.J.
1779 - 1865


September 30, 1840 ~ Mother Duchesne writes to Mother Barat, "I thank you most sincerely for having at last lifted the burden I have carried so inefficiently and which would have been such a trial in my last hours.  I desire death and I fear it.  But God, Who is so good, will give me the means of expiating my faults, for I see quite clearly that crosses will follow me, though of quite another kind, if only that of exchanging a very busy life for one of complete inactivity."  

Taken from the book:  Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne

Thursday, September 29, 2011

To: Father Peter De Smet, S. J.

Fr. De Smet, S.J. 1801-1873

September 29, 1852 ~ Mother Duchesne writes to Father De Smet, S.J., "God must be very good, indeed, to give me an intercessor like you.  Thank you a thousand times for the Masses offered to God for my poor soul.  I beg you to continue to protect it with your prayers.  If God has mercy on me, I shall not fail in the duty of gratitude which I owe you on so many counts."  

Taken from the book: Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sally Furay, RSCJ - opening prayer at BEF board meeting

Front entrance of Josephinum Academy also home to the
Barat Education Foundation offices

Well it was a very busy and full weekend for me to say the least!  Saturday morning started with a BEF (Barat Education Foundation) board meeting and ended with a dinner hosted at the Glen View Club to celebrate Josephinum's Full Membership in the Sacred Heart Network of Schools.  

So my day started with the following prayer which was read by fellow board member Sally Furay, RSCJ who was home in San Diego, California recuperating from a recent surgery on her ankle.  I asked that she forward it to me as it seemed most appropriate for all the changes that have taken place this past week and will continue as we adapt to a world of growth and prosperity.  I will post more about the terrific evening at the Glen View Club along with a few photos to describe the event entitled: Passport to Gouter tomorrow.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the prayer below as much as I did when Sally read it.



PRAYER  OF  BLESSING

Lord and Source of All Gifts,
                  we rejoice in the fullness of Your generosity,
                  in the life to which you have called each of us.
We thank You now for the gift of change,
                  for the gifts of beginning and newness,
                  which can open doors.
We bless You and thank You as well
                  for that which is stable and unchanging,                 
                  for the ancient and traditional
                  which give meaning to the present and future.
We thank You for the capacity for change in our lives,
                  for without change, there can be no real growth
                  and no deepening of the life to which You have called us.
We are grateful, in this prayer, for those people
                  who, through their gifts of dream and adventure,
                  have taught us not to fear change, not to resist the new.
We are thankful for Jesus Whom we follow
                  who spoke to us of new wine for new wine skins
                  and who calls us daily to a new kingdom and to a new promise.
May our hearts be ever-changing, ever in growth,
                  as we continue on our journey to You, our Mysterious Source,
                  You who are forever fresh and new
                  yet forever the same.
May we walk with one another,
                  in trust and forgiveness and hope,
                  daily seeking to be there for one another,
                  ready to stay at the table and walk the journey always.
Blessed are You, Lord our God
                  Who gives spice to life with change.   Amen


Thursday, September 22, 2011

To Mother Eugenie de Gramont, R.S.C.J.

 Artist rendering of the First Brick Convent 1835
by Beverly Zoellner Groneck, SC'69


September 22, 1833 ~  Philippine writes to Mother de Gramont, "The work of overseeing the construction of our new building has kept me so busy, I am spending this night in letter-writing. So please excuse the brevity of all the stupidities of an old nun who is never sleepy when chatting with you, but who is growing very weak.  My fondest regards to all our Mothers and Sisters in Paris."

Taken from the book: Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne


The mural above can be seen as you enter the Academy of the Sacred Heart Archives lower level.  Artist and alumna Beverly Zoellner Groneck, SC '69 was commissioned to draw murals featuring significant historical buildings and quotes as you descend the staircase leading into the archives.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Barat College property to become a large canvas ... possibilities are endless!

Barat College of the Sacred Heart ~ Lake Forest, IL
Old Main Building erected in 1904 ~ Egan & Prindiville Architects


Last night I attended the community meeting hosted at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart to learn details of the gift of the Barat College campus to Woodlands Academy.  I learned that the anonymous donors' gift is contingent upon the demolition of Old Main and thus a blank canvas will create many opportunities and possibilities for Woodlands Academy and the Lake Forest community as ideas are considered as to how to develop the 23- acre property for the future.


Gerry Grossman, Head of School introduced Ralph Elwart, former Chair of the Board of Trustees and below as printed on the school website are his opening remarks.  Afterwards members of the audience were able to make comments and ask questions.  On behalf of the AASH, I thanked the generosity of the anonymous donor and offered our prayers and support.  While many will be sadden to no longer see the Old Main building which opened its doors in 1904 to 66 boarding students, it is rewarding to know that the site will be used to continue and perhaps expand the Sacred Heart education that over 50,000 current alums throughout the United States have experienced.  
Early 1900's photo of the entrance
Sacred Heart Academy Lake Forest




Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart Public Information Session Gloria Dei Project: Acquisition of the Barat Campus
September 20, 2011

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart, the faculty and staff, the students and parents and friends of Woodlands, and in particular with thanks and admiration for those brave and visionary Religious of the Sacred Heart who purchased this property 100 years ago, welcome to our school.
My name is Ralph Elwart, and I am a trustee and chair of the Community Relations Task Force of the Board of Trustees. I am also the parent of two alums of Woodlands Academy and I have been a resident of the Second Ward in Lake Forest, where this property is located, for 22 years.


The purpose of the meeting tonight is to begin a conversation with the community about this remarkable gift and about the future of Woodlands Academy, which we are calling the Gloria Dei Project. I really should begin by telling you what you already know: we are thrilled and we are still in shock. Some of us cannot stop smiling. For people who live in Lake Forest and for the entire community of Sacred Heart people, the saga of the Barat property over the past few years has covered a period of great uncertainty. So to wake up one morning and to learn that we would not wonder any more who our new neighbors will be -- or how many of them there will be -- comes as a bit of a shock, a wonderful and humbling shock.

Let me share with you how it happened. On July 30, the Board received word from donors who wished to remain anonymous of their intent to purchase the Barat property and to donate it to Woodlands Academy. We then learned more of the details at a board meeting the following week.

The donors negotiated an option to purchase the property by December 20 of this year. The purchase is contingent upon the city's approval of the demolition of Old Main as well as any zoning approvals, with the result that the property will be used solely for educational purposes. It is the donors' intent to provide as much flexibility as possible in allowing Woodlands Academy to develop its plans for the future.

The Barat property is currently zoned R4, which calls for single family homes on lots of approximately one and one-half acres, which is the same zoning for the property owned by Woodlands Academy. For years, probably since the zoning requirements were enacted, Woodlands has been operating under a Special Use Permit for Educational Purposes. This was true as well during the time in our history when Old Main was our home. We anticipate that the two properties will be joined into a single parcel and the Special Use Permit for Educational Purposes will be extended to cover the entire property. Just as an aside, Special Use Permits are also in place for Lake Forest College and Lake Forest Academy.

The donors explained to the board that they would arrange and pay for the demolition of the building and the regrading of the property. Again, the donors intended that the gift to Woodlands Academy would be a blank canvas with endless opportunities. The former library building will remain on the property. Its design -- unlike that of Old Main -- allows for many potential uses and will provide us with an immediate presence on the property. There are no other buildings on the property. Our board members are comfortable with the terms of the gift.

We are hopeful that the City will be in a position to approve the demolition and the extension of the Special Use Permit prior to December 20, using the established city review process. And as a board, we are pledged to work with the city. Given the incredible words of support and excitement we have heard from many, many people, particularly from the Religious of the Sacred Heart, we are very optimistic that the property will once again be used as the nuns originally envisioned.

We know that not everyone in our community will understand or agree with the donors' intent to demolish Old Main. It may occupy a special place in your memory. It does in ours as well. Old Main was built on the land purchased by the Religious of the Sacred Heart in 1901 to become the new home for our school, which at that time was located on Taylor Street in Chicago. Our school moved into Old Main in 1904. It wasn't until 1918 that Barat College was established, occupying the south wing of Old Main. And when we moved across the ravine in 1961 to our new home, our school became known as Woodlands Academy. At that time the property was divided into the two segments which exist today. So, for more than half of our existence in Lake Forest, the Barat property was our home. The thought that the property will once again be joined as one and used for Sacred Heart education is very significant to us.

Given the choice between high density housing, commercial purposes and educational purposes, we believe that using the land for educational purposes will tip the scales in favor of the school in the viewpoint of our neighbors, friends and indeed the community as a whole. We know there will be bumps along the road leading to demolition. But after one hundred years of educating young people, we believe that the strong community support we have treasured will continue and will grow. As one Sacred Heart educator was heard to say, "Sacred Heart was never about buildings; it was always about the girls." In the end, we trust that people will stand with us and look to the exciting future of one of the oldest institutions in Lake Forest.

Some members of our community have been giving thought to how we may maintain the memory of Old Main. And several ideas have been put on the table. My only hesitation in sharing all of them with you is that there may be more creative ideas out there that we haven't thought of, and we wouldn't want those lost. I will tell you that one idea involved creative uses for some of the bricks. I hope that will give you something to think about. We are very interested in hearing any and all ideas you have. This is an important step for us in the planning process. If anything occurs to you, please see one of the notetakers after the meeting. We don't want to miss any outstanding ideas.

So, what we are doing now? Beginning to plan for the future. Three task forces have been established by the Board, and they are made up of various members of the Woodlands community, including trustees, parents, administration, faculty, neighbors and friends:

  • The Information Task Force, chaired by Trustee Anna Donnelly. Its charge is to "reach out to the broadest possible community to collect opinions about what Woodlands should do with the new property." It will develop "big picture possibilities," as our Head of School, Mr. Gerry Grossman has said. In fact, an initial survey has been sent to the Woodlands community.
  • The Design Task Force, chaired by Trustee Shay Cullen. Its charge is to "use the data collected by the Information Task Force to create both a conceptual design for the new property and an executive summary about that conceptual design." Its job is to give shape and form to those possibilities.
  • And the Community Relations Task Force, which I chair. Its charge is to "make recommendations on actions that will facilitate relations with each constituency." In short, its job is to keep the various constituencies engaged and informed.

The purpose of these task forces is, in the end, to begin sketching out the first draft of the plans for the future. As you can tell from their charges, the task forces will draw heavily on the comments from the community.

We will also look for suggestions from people with experience and expertise. Lake Forest Open Lands and the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation and groups with similar interests may have suggestions about our use of the property. When action by the City is necessary, the process will be open, and you can follow along on the City's website. We encourage you to provide the City and us with your comments. We will keep in touch with you as the planning process progresses. This gift will mean much more to us if our friends and neighbors are part of the process.

I feel compelled to say a word about rumors. We have already heard a number of them and they range from the plausible to the ridiculous. If -- no, WHEN you hear a rumor, please call the school, and we will either confirm or deny it. I can tell you that at present any rumor you may have heard about the plans for the future is untrue. It is way too early in the process and no plans have been developed. The best way to handle rumors is with the truth -- and you can get that by emailing your question to ideas@woodlandsacademy.org or by calling the school.  We will do our best to respond to any and all inquiries. We ask, as well, that you understand that we are not a large institution and that we have a school to operate and a student body which deserves our full attention.

The Religious of the Sacred Heart have done an excellent job of training the independent boards of the 23 Sacred Heart schools across the country. Their example has shown us that in planning for the future, the time frame is measured in generations and not in weeks or months. Indeed, as a board it is our job to plan for the financial integrity and overall health and stability of the institution both for the children and for the grandchildren of our current students. So please do not expect to hear our plans overnight. This is truly a time when haste can make waste. We will take our time and make certain that we do this the right way.

Every time we hear the name Barat, we are reminded that the Religious Order dedicated to education was founded by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat. And how fitting is it that this property will continue to be dedicated to education, in the tradition of those very early Religious of the Sacred Heart. Indeed, some of the early pioneers, who taught at our school before and after it moved from Taylor Street in Chicago to Lake Forest, are buried in the cemetery on this property. That's commitment, and that's how strong the tie is with Sacred Heart education.

And so our work begins. One hundred years ago this month, Janet Erskine Stuart became the fifth Superior General of the Religious of the Sacred Heart -- not long after the Lake Forest campus opened. Mother Stuart once said that educating students is like teaching construction: It is not necessary to teach students how to build entire buildings. Instead, one should teach students how to build strong foundations, and then leave it to the students to build the buildings of their dreams.

This property gives us a strong foundation upon which we can build the building of our dreams, bringing new life to the Barat campus. Thank you for coming and for your attention and for your interest in Woodlands Academy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Barbara Dawson, RSCJ named new US Provincial

Announcement from the Society of the Sacred Heart....
Barbara Dawson, RSCJ
Next Provincial Named


Barbara Dawson, RSCJ
A familiar face will return to the office of provincial for the United States Province of the Society of the Sacred Heart next summer. Barbara Dawson, RSCJ, has accepted the appointment to serve as the next provincial of the U.S. Province. Sister Dawson’s three-year term, beginning in the summer of 2012, will be her second appointment as provincial. She previously served two three-year terms from 1993 to 1999. As provincial, Sister Dawson will be responsible for the communities and ministries of the Religious of the Sacred Heart in the United States. She will consult with province members and assemble her provincial team prior to taking office.

Kathleen Conan, RSCJ, superior general of the international congregation of women religious, announced Sister Dawson’s acceptance of her nomination in a letter to the province on September 19. In it, she wrote, “Barb will bring to this service her strong commitment to the Society, her belief in our vocation and in the province.… Barb will bring her strong sense of mission rooted in our spirituality, her commitment to the co-responsibility of the membership, her experience in various aspects of the province’s ministries and the Society’s internationality, and her considerable administrative experience.”
Sister Dawson will succeed Paula Toner, RSCJ, who has led the province since 2008, when she replaced Sister Conan when she was elected superior general while in the midst of her term as provincial.
A native of San Francisco, Sister Dawson recently moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where she is living and working with the Society of the Sacred Heart Indonesia (Kongregasi Hati Kudus Yesus) as it develops its plan for mission and ministry. She concurrently serves as an executive consultant to the Urban Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Oakland. Her previous ministries include President of St. Martin de Porres School in Oakland, Director of Public Policy and Immigration Outreach for Catholic Charities of the East Bay and Director of Ministry for the U.S. Province.

Sister Dawson earned her bachelor of arts from Lone Mountain College (now the University of San Francisco) and a law degree from the University of San Francisco. Her master of arts in international comparative education came from Stanford University. She is a member of the bar in both California and Missouri and serves on the board of trustees for Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, the Network of Sacred Heart Schools and the School of Applied Theology, Berkeley.

In the Society of the Sacred Heart tradition, the superior general of the international community names the leader of the province following a province-wide nomination process. U.S. provincials serve for a term of three years and choose their own provincial term to serve alongside them.


###




Society of the Sacred Heart
U.S. Province



For Immediate Release
September 20, 2011

For more information:
Therese Meyerhoff
314-880-0555
tmeyerhoff@rscj.org

Next Provincial Named for Society of the Sacred Heart, U.S. Province

Barbara Dawson, RSCJ, will be the next provincial of the United States Province of the Society of the Sacred Heart. Kathleen Conan, RSCJ, superior general of the international congregation of women religious, announced Sister Dawson’s acceptance of her appointment on September 19. Sister Dawson will succeed Paula Toner, RSCJ, who has led the province since 2008, when she replaced Sister Conan when she was elected superior general.

In her letter to the U.S. province, Sister Conan wrote, “Barb will bring to this service her strong commitment to the Society, her belief in our vocation and in the province…. Barb will bring her strong sense of mission rooted in our spirituality, her commitment to the co-responsibility of the membership, her experience in various aspects of the province’s ministries and the Society’s internationality, and her considerable administrative experience.” 

Sister Dawson’s three-year term, beginning in the summer of 2012, will be her third term as head of the U.S. Province. She previously served 1993-99. As provincial, Sister Dawson will be responsible for the communities and ministries of the Religious of the Sacred Heart in the United States. She will consult with province members and assemble her provincial team prior to taking office. 
A native of San Francisco, Sister Dawson recently moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where she is living and working with the Society of the Sacred Heart Indonesia (Kongregasi Hati Kudus Yesus) as it develops its plan for mission and ministry. She concurrently serves as a consultant to the Urban Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Oakland. Her previous ministries include: 

President of St. Martin de Porres School in Oakland (2003-2011)
Executive Director of Urban Catholic Schools, Diocese of Oakland (2009-2011)
Director of Public Policy and Immigration Outreach for Catholic Charities of the East Bay (2000-2003) 
Research consultant at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1999-2000)
Teacher and consultant, Atma Jaya Katolik Universitas, Indonesia (1990-93) 
Director of Immigration Programs for Catholic Charities of the East Bay (1988-90)
Director of Ministry, Society of the Sacred Heart (1982-88)
Managing attorney, Mental Health Advocacy Project, San Jose (1980-82)
Adjunct Professor, Lone Mountain College (now University of San Francisco), San Jose State    University, and New College of California Law School (1977-82)
Private law practice (1976-79)
Associate Dean of Students, Lone Mountain College (1971-74)

Sister Dawson earned her bachelor of arts from Lone Mountain College (now the University of San Francisco), and a law degree from the University of San Francisco. She earned a master of arts in international comparative education from Stanford University. She is a member of the bar in both California and Missouri and serves on the board of trustees for Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, the Network of Sacred Heart Schools and the School of Applied Theology, Berkeley. 


In the Society of the Sacred Heart tradition, the superior general of the international community names the leader of the province following a province-wide nomination process. U.S. provincials serve for a term of three years and choose their own provincial team to serve alongside them. 


The Society of the Sacred Heart was founded in France in 1800 by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat and brought to the United States by St. Rose Philippine Duchesne in 1818. There are 340 members in the United States Province and more than 2,500 professed members in 41 countries. Members of the Society are committed to discover, live and announce God’s love through the service of education for transformation, in diverse ministries, particularly addressing the needs of children, young people, women and those in society who are marginalized.
# # #

One heart and one mind in the Heart of Jesus. 



Monday, September 19, 2011

Notes written by Mother Amelie Jouve, R.S.C.J.

Academy of the Sacred Heart ~ St. Charles, MO

September 19, 1853 ~  Notes written by Mother Amelie Jouve, R.S.C.J.,* "The convent of St. Charles is very pleasantly situated on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River.  The unpretentious little brick building has been enlarged on one side by a cloister chapel. Adjoining this is the small room in which Mother Duchesne spent most of her time during the last ten years of her life, now praying, now working.  The furniture of her room consisted of a low cot, a chair, a wooden box in which she kept her treasures: some instruments of penance, some spiritual notebooks, some letters of Our Mother General."  

Taken from the book: Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne

* Mother Amelie Jouve, R.S.C.J. was Philippine's niece

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mother Duchesne is ill with yellow fever


September 18, 1822 ~ Mother Duchesne, ill with yellow fever, got off the steamboat Hecla on the bank of the Mississippi opposite Natchez, as the town was quarantined against all passengers from New Orleans. She and Therese Pratte were cared for by a Catholic family for about three weeks, then left for St. Louis on the Cincinnati, which ran aground near New Madrid. By December 1 she was back at Florissant. 

Taken from the book: Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Journal of Mother Duchesne, 1818-1840

St. John Francis Regis
as seen in the Round House, located on the grounds of the

Academy of the Sacred Heart - Saint Charles, MO

September 17 1819 ~ Mother Duchesne writes, " Among so many holy priests I find no one for a spiritual director. I feel as if my soul were quite alone, but I am too numb to be distressed about it. I do not know what the condition of my soul is.  I taste only the sweetness of Jesus, and the strongest conviction I experience is that of God's goodness to me. My soul is, as it were, in mid-air, with no movement except towards Jesus, Mary, and St. Francis Regis.

Taken from the book:  Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mother Octavie Berthold, RSCJ

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

September 16, 1833 ~ The death of Mother Octavie Berthold, one of Mother Duchesne's first companions on the American mission, occurred at the old City House in St. Louis.

Taken from the book: Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne

Below information came from the Society of the Sacred Heart archives:

Octavie Berthold was born September 2, 1787 in Geneva to a Calvinist family and given a solid education. She converted to Catholicism at age of 23 in Grenoble, where she had been teaching young girls.  She had an aptitude for language, and knew Latin, Italian, and English.  She entered the Society February 5, 1815 at Grenoble and made her First vows on February 5, 1817 in Paris. Mother Berthold made her final profession February 1818 in Paris, approximately six days before departure with Philippine for America. She was at St. Charles, then Florissant working with the boarders, was known for her devotion and generosity.  Held the position of Superior at Florissant from 1827-1829. Mother Berthold suffered at a young age from “rheumatism,” and was very ill for eight years, especially the last three years before she died on September 16, 1833 in St. Louis, the first of the original group to die. Philippine nursed her devotedly in her last illness.

Nine of her letters to St. Madeleine Sophie, 1818-1823, are published in Chantal Paisant, Les années pionnières.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

For the Feast of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin



Feast September 15th ~ O most desolate of all Mother's, what a terrible sword of sorrow penetrated thy soul! All the blows that Jesus received fell upon thee; each of His wounds rent thy heart; but especially His last farewell revived all thy sorrows. What but supernatural strength sustained thy soul when thou didst witness His expiring sigh! O Mother of love and sorrow, grant that I may love and suffer in imitation of thy sacred example.  Queen of Martyrs, let me share thy martyrdom. Love gave thee the Cross; may the Cross give me holy love; and, if to love, it be necessary for me to suffer and to die, obtain for me the grace of loving all that comes from God, even though it be sufferings and death. Amen

Taken from the book: Special Devotions Compiled for Children of the Sacred Heart

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Feast of the Holy Cross



September 14, 1825 ~ Philippine writes to Mother Barat, "This feast of the Holy Cross always recalls a day when our little girls at Grenoble acted a little play for you on the love of the Cross.  Experience teaches that always and everywhere the drama of the Cross can be renewed.  Personal crosses are light in comparison with those that hinder our work, and I see so many of this kind, they take away my desire for death. While I do not love life, I do love the houses we have founded, and I realize that even the least important person, if she is loyal, is a support greatly needed."

Taken from the book: Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To Mother Adeline Boilvin, American RSCJ

Signage as seen above the door at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School

{n.d.} ~ Philippine writes to Mother Boilvin, "Do not look back to the past, nor forward to the future.  Claim only the present, for it holds God's Will." 

Taken from the book:  Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne


Today I travel to the AASH National Office with thoughts of Philippine Duchesne and God's Will.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Announcement from the Canadian Provincial Team

I received the following letter (see below) from the Canadian Provincial Team via email on Friday and a copy of it will be sent to all alums today via an Email blast.  As the discussions and collaboration process unfolds, I will continue to keep all of the AASH community updated.  Your prayers as this process begins are most appreciated. 

I have also been in communication today with Pam Snyder, AMASC President and she writes that she and many members of the AMASC board plan to attend the upcoming CASHA Conference on October 28th in Montreal. I plan to attend and encourage all alumnae/i to consider joining us in beautiful Montreal!  

FROM THE SOCIETY OF THE SACRED HEART CANADA - PROVINCIAL OFFICE


                                                                                                                                    September 9, 2011
Dear U.S. Sacred Heart Alumnae/i,

At Assembly 2009 the Canadian Province began to look at the future of the mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart in Canada.  This was based on the reality of diminishing numbers of Canadian RSCJ and on financial realism, along with a strong commitment to the future of the mission of the Society in Canada.  In autumn 2009 the Provincial Council named a Futuring Committee to lead the Province in a futuring process. Their goal was to:

…lead a discernment process for the strategic planning of new ways of organizing ourselves in the areas of governance and leadership, finances, communities (with a focus on long-term health care needs and assisted living), and all of this for the mission of the Society in our service in the Church.

The Province entered wholeheartedly into this discernment that culminated at Assembly 2011 in two unanimous leanings pointing to clear directions for the future.  On August 20, 2011, with this part of the provincial discernment complete, and in the name of the Canadian Province, the Provincial Council made two decisions:

1.     To close the infirmary at Barat Residence.
2.     To discontinue the Canadian Provincial structure.

These decisions call the Canadian Province to further discernment and planning. A process has begun to ensure the best care possible in public nursing homes for our infirmed sisters. Barat Residence will continue as an assisted living retirement home for Canadian RSCJ who do not need nursing care.  The Canadian Province has asked the USA Province to begin a formal dialogue and discernment about possibilities for collaboration between RSCJ in Canada and the United States with regard to leadership and governance, in the light of life and mission.

We count on your love, prayer and support as we continue the futuring process, trusting in the Spirit who inspired St. Madeleine Sophie to say, “Times change and we must change with them and modify our views.

With love,

The Canadian Provincial Council



Mary Finlayson rscj                      Shelley Lawrence rscj                       Sheila Smith rscj




Sunday, September 11, 2011

To St. Madeleine Sophie Barat


September 11, 1827 ~  Philippine writes to Madeleine Sophie Barat; "On the morning of the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, when I was pouring out my heart to her in prayer, I heard in the depths of my soul these consoling words: "My protection will never be laking you." So the Blessed Virgin has let me know I shall always have her protection." 

Taken from the book: Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne


An email sent from Judy Garson, RSCJ on Sept 10, 2011 reads:

Dear friends,
As our country prepares to mark the 10th Anniversary of 9/11/01, Sr. Cecile Meijer asked me to share the attached flyer with you. 
Amidst all the materials that have been coming our way as the date approaches, this one seems unique in helping us think into the future.  Do we not all long for "a culture of peace and a world that works for all?"
May we be close in this spirit.
All the best,
Judy Garson RSCJ


  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Heart's Interpreter from God Calling


This past Wednesday evening, while attending a mass at Sacred Heart Schools Chicago to celebrate the life of Marie Antoinette "Mary" Merlo (1944-2011), an alumna of Sheridan Road '62 and Barat College '66, I was struck by what Father Dominic Grassi (pastor of St. Gertrude's parish) said in his homily ..."for Mary, this was perhaps the place where she spent her happiest years ~ here at Sacred Heart".  

The following was taken from the memorial card and I wanted to share this with you as we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11. 


THE HEART'S INTERPRETER

I am the heart's greatest interpreter.
Each soul is so different
I alone understand perfectly the language of each.
The heart of man is so delicate, so complex,
each heart controlled by different circumstances,
influenced by different sufferings that
only I, its Maker, can know it.
Leave to Me the unraveling of the puzzles of life.
Bring each heart to Me, its Maker, and leave it with Me.
Secure in the certainty that I can set all right. 
          

                                                               from God Calling


Friday, September 9, 2011

Journal of Mother Duchesne, 1818-1840

St. John Francis Regis
(1597 - 1640)

September 9, 1818 ~ Mother Duchesne writes in her journal, "We placed in the chapel a picture of St. Francis Regis, before which prayers for the American mission had so often been said. He has been chosen as special patron of the house in accordance with a promise made in Paris with our Mother General's permission, on condition that he obtain this favor for us."

Taken from the book: Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary - also International Literacy Day


Today we celebrate the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
September 8, 1818 ~ On this feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Bishop Du Bourg offered the first Mass in the little convent at St. Charles.

Taken from the book:  Through the Year with Philippine Duchesne




September 8th is International Literacy Day.  The United Nations (UN) International Literacy Day annually falls on September 8 to raise people's awareness of and concern for literacy issues in the world. The theme this year is Literacy for Peace.


Below is a reprint of a letter received from Cecile Meijer, rscj ~ NGO Office.  To learn more click here.



Our Commitment to Literacy and Growth for All

Wherever we as members of the Society of the Sacred Heart are present, we are engaged in education of many kinds and at differing levels. From early childhood care and education, to formal education in schools and universities, to vocational training as well as non-formal education for the excluded and marginalized, RSCJ are educators at heart.

Our educational work often also includes basic literacy – for women who never had a chance to learn or for migrants and refugees who need to study a new language but who lack the basic reading and writing skills even in their own mother tongue. As an ingredient of education, literacy is part of our service as educators, one of the many manifestations of our “walking with humanity” towards a more inclusive and equal world.

As the cornerstone of education, literacy too is a human right and, as such, a matter of justice. Literacy means empowerment and, as our experience as RSCJ has shown repeatedly, it is the most fundamental contributor to human and social development which leads to reduction of poverty, improvement of child mortality rates, gender equality, peace, as well as other social and sustainable development gains.

In the Ministerial Declaration entitled Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education, which was unanimously adopted at the High-level segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) session on July 8, 2011, governments expressed their concern about the slow progress on certain Education for All (EFA) goals. The governments, gathered in Geneva, reaffirmed

“the need to redouble efforts to drastically reduce the intolerably high number of the non-literate population, with a special focus on women, including the further implementation of the International Plan of Action for the United Nations Literacy Decade, and promote lifelong learning with the ultimate goal of preventing and breaking the cycle of low literacy and creating a fully literate world.”

These Education for All goals, six in total, were concluded at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, in April 2000, and address the learning needs of children, youth and adults. UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is the lead agency for the UN’s educational efforts and has a leading role in implementing the Education for All goals.

For more information about UNESCO’s work in regard specifically to literacy, please see:
      the United Nations Literacy Decade (2003-2012) (UNLD) which has “Literacy as Freedom” as its motto.
  the Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE), which serves as the framework for implementing the goals of the Literacy Decade, LIFE focuses on 35 distinct countries in which the vast majority of the world’s non-literate people live.

Cecile Meijer, rscj
NGO Office – July 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Congratulations to Rosemary Holland Gidionsen, MV'50

Rosemary Holland Gidionsen will be honored by Maryville University 
during the upcoming Reunion Weekend on September 23, 2011.  

After hearing and reading much about Rosemary Gidionsen over the years, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting her for the first time last April when she arrived in Miami to attend the 38th Biennial AASH Conference. Rosemary as you will read below was one of the four 2011 AASH Cor Unum recipients.  And, this past June while in St. Louis for our first AASH Board meeting a mutual friend Helen Mashburn Penton and her husband Bill hosted both Rosemary and I for dinner.  What an evening!  Great food and lively conversation!  Rosemary you are very much deserving of this honor and I send you, Jeff Flieg '96 and Kay Blumestock Thorton '05 my very best wishes.   

The article below was taken from the July 2011 issue of  Maryville University ~ The Clock Tower


Rosemary Gidionsen, ‘50
The 2011 Centennial Award from Maryville University recognizes a lifestyle best exemplifying the values of the Sacred Heart tradition. It will be presented during Alumni Weekend to Rosemary Gidionsen, ’50 – alumna, alumni parent, former director of various alumni and constituent relations, and past executive assistant to two Maryville presidents, Claudius Pritchard and Keith Lovin.

Gidionsen’s years of dedication to the University are, in some ways, the glue that binds one generation to the next. Greatly guided by long-held wisdom shared by then-president Odeide Mouton, RSCJ, who first welcomed her as student to Maryville, Gidionsen found herself in a unique position to help the University bridge major periods of transition, especially when the Religious of the Sacred Heart turned the institution over to a lay board in 1972.

“The Society was founded to meet the educational needs of the time and that’s what Maryville was doing in creating a lay board, changing programs and admitting men,” Gidionsen says. “One of the things I’m most proud of is being able to communicate these changes to alumni and help them understand and adjust.”

In honor of Gidionsen’s work with Maryville, the Sacred Heart Chapel in Hutting Chapel on campus is dedicated in her name. She was also awarded the Southern Region 2011 Cor Unum Award last spring by The Associated Alumnae and Alumni of the Sacred Heart.

Gidionsen is still involved in voluntary advisory roles with Maryville as a member of the National Leadership Councils for the University Library and the Duchesne Society.

“I’ve never considered my role at Maryville as a career – I consider it an extension of the life I had chosen as wife and mother and I loved every minute of it. Someone once told me that the role of a mother is to interpret members of the family to one another,” Gidionsen says. “That philosophy has guided me, and it carried over into my years at Maryville during those times of uncertainty and institutional change regarding the influence of the Religious of the Sacred Heart.”


Rosemary Holland Gidionsen pictured with her family at the
2011 AASH Conference in Miami after receiving the Cor Unum award
see page 8 of the Winter 2010 issue of Esprit de Coeur