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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sacred Heart Alumna Wins Fiction Contest with Theatrical Mystery Novel

Elizabeth McCormick Ireland, BC'73


Barat Alumna Wins Fiction Contest with Theatrical Mystery Novel and Incorporates Theatrical Experience in Novel Series

Barat alumna and former faculty member Elizabeth (McCormick) Ireland’s first mystery novel, Death Takes Center Stage won the 2012 fiction contest sponsored by Atlanta publisher BookLogix.  The winner was announced last fall at the Decatur Book Festival, the country’s largest independent book festival. 

Death Takes Center Stage combines mystery, strong characters and historical events to create a definite page turner – the perfect summer read.  Written as a memoir of 19th century actress and amateur sleuth, Lillian Nolan, who foregoes her upper class Chicago upbringing for a life in the theater, it chronicles her career and adventures from the point of view of her personal and professional life.  The book tells the story of the death of the great tragedienne, Irene Davenport who is murdered onstage during the opening night of one of the greatest and haunting plays by Shakespeare.

“I’ve always had a passion for American theater history and wanted to blend that with my favorite type of fiction.  Since I grew up outside of Chicago and the vibrant theatrical world there, it was a natural blend of elements,” said the author Elizabeth Ireland, a former associate professor of theater at Barat in the Theater and Dance Department.

The first in the Backstage Mystery series, Lillian investigates crimes in the theatrical world of the 19th century through the help and hindrance of her clairvoyant abilities. “Because so many died during the Civil War, many families wanted to make contact with their loved ones; giving rise to an interest in bridging the veil between life and death and spawning the Golden Age of Spiritualism.  I wanted to include that element as well in the book so I gave Lillian some intuitive abilities,” said Ms. Ireland.

About Elizabeth Ireland:  Author, screenwriter and ghostwriter, Elizabeth Ireland is an alumna and former professor of theater at Barat College where she taught for ten years.  Her career continued at The Disney Channel where she worked in the Atlanta and Burbank, CA offices.   Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead.  She has also written screenplays, two of which have been optioned.  Her screenplays have been quarter-finalist and semi-finalists for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting sponsored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, an amazing teen-aged daughter, and two quirky dachshunds.

For further info about the author and book signing events - click here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"The Light of the Holy Spirit transforms"... St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat window
St. Cecilia Cathedral ~ Omaha, Nebraska

"It is quite certain that the best way of avoiding too many mistakes is to live in union with God by recollection, the spirit of prayer and complete dependence on God's will.  The light of the holy Spirit transforms our nature and gives us a Wisdom and Prudence which are the very virtues of God."
St. Madeleine Sophie Barat 

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

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ - Reflection

God wants to take you sailing out into the glory of his thoughts and love, and through sheer fright you cling to the rope... I say 'let go' and so does God! 
--- Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ (1857 - 1914)

Taken from the Society of the Sacred Heart website monthly reflections  -  click here for more info on Janet Erskine Stuart

Society of the Sacred Heart: SPIRITUALITY FORUM 2013
Janet Erskine Stuart: Spirituality and Education for the 21st Century
Dates: Wednesday, July 10 - Sunday, July 14
Place: Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, Calfornia
For further info: click here

and across the pond...

Janet Erskine Stuart - Centenary Celebrations
2013 Launch of the Centenary Year 
Dates:  Monday July 22 - Friday July 26, 2013
Place: High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire
For Further info:  click here

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Sr. Martha Curry, RSCJ author of BARAT COLLEGE: A LEGACY, A SPIRIT AND A NAME was invited by fellow Barat College alumna Virginia Fitzgerald, Director of  Visitor Services at the Chicago History Museum to speak about her recently published book.  The Chicago History Museum was a perfect venue to sit and listen to Sr. Curry share the history of Barat College and read from various chapters of her book.   Afterwards Sr. Curry signed books while we enjoyed a delicious Gouter. Thank you Ginny for hosting us and thank you Sr. Curry for writing such an incredible history of BARAT COLLEGE!

If you wish to host a book signing or to learn more about Sr. Curry's book - click here

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Martha Curry, RSCJ Book Signing at Chicago History Museum June 22nd

Sheila McGinn Dorman BC'79 and Martha Curry, RSCJ

Please join Sr. Martha Curry, rscj, in The Guild Room at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL from 2:30-4:30 pm on Saturday, June 22, 2013 to celebrate her book: Barat College: A Legacy, A Spirit, A Name. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Spirit of Zeal... Janet Erskine Stuart

Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat
Foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart
by Tommy Meaney, AM'13

"We could not do better than look at our Mother Foundress's zeal, for she possessed it in rare perfection. As we have already seen, our vocation consists in the spirit of prayer and the spirit of zeal."

Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ (1857-2014) 

Society of the Sacred Heart: SPIRITUALITY FORUM 2013
Janet Erskine Stuart: Spirituality and Education for the 21st Century
Dates: Wednesday, July 10 - Sunday, July 14
Place: Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, Calfornia
For further info: click here

and across the pond...

Janet Erskine Stuart - Centenary Celebrations
2013 Launch of the Centenary Year 
Dates:  Monday July 22 - Friday July 26, 2013
Place: High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire
For Further info:  click here

I hope to see you there!  MER :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Feast of St. John Francis Regis

St. John Francis Regis (1597-1640)
as seen in the Round House located on the grounds of the 

Academy of the Sacred Heart - Saint Charles, MO

June 16, 2013 ~ Today is the Feast of St. John Francis Regis.  The significance of this feast day is the affection St. Rose Philippine Duchesne had for him.  Regis was considered to be Philippine's favorite Saint. Additionally, Regis School of the Sacred Heart in Houston, Texas is one of twenty-two Network of Sacred Heart Schools in the United States that bears his name.

Jean Francis Regis was born in the southern region of France, he began his study of theology at Toulouse in 1628 and entered the Society of Jesus at age thirty-one.  In 1640 Regis became ill and died of pneumonia at the age of forty-three on December 30, 1640.  He was beatified in 1719 and canonized on April 5, 1737.  He is known as the patron saint of lace makers as he helped many young girls living in the country establish themselves in the lacemaking and embroidery trade which kept them away from the cities and a life on the streets living as prostitutes.

Prayer to St. John Francis Regis:
Zealous worker for souls, you wrought many miracles and labored for all classes of people, but especially to convert the Huguenots. To you St. John Vianney of Ars attributed both his vocation and his spiritual successes. Make social workers go about doing good not as mere humanitarians but as messengers of Christ who have a supernatural love for their clients. Amen.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sacred Heart Schools Chicago Hosts Annual Angel Brunch for 2013 Graduates

For the past 55 years Sacred Heart Schools in Chicago has hosted an Angel Brunch. This event is one that students, as well as, parents, grandparents and family friends enjoy attending as it honors the 8th grade graduates from The Academy and Hardey Preparatory.   The annual brunch is hosted at the Chicago Hilton and all in attendance enjoy the music of The Stanley Paul Orchestra.  The Academy girls were beautifully dressed in white and the Hardey boys looked so distinguished in their dark blazers  emblazoned with the Hardey Prep crest and special custom red ties. The crest proudly worn on their blazers reads "Hardey In Hoc Signo Vinces" which means "in this sign you will conquer". 

Sheridan Road Alumni Association President Elect, Joey Yao, HP'86 welcomed everyone and as the  traditional Flag Ceremony began read each country in alphabetical order.  As is the tradition the tallest boy from the Hardey Prep graduating class of 2013 carried the United States flag up to the podium and we all sang The Star Spangled Banner accompanied by The Stanley Paul Orchestra. 

Dr. Jane M. Steinfels, ASH '92 Campus Minister gave the Invocation.  After we enjoyed a delicious lunch,  Nat Wilburn, Head of Schools introduced the Keynote Speaker and Sacred Heart Alum, Virgil Williams, HP'84.

Virgil Williams, HP '84

Keynote Speaker: Virgil Williams, is a 1984 graduate of Hardey Prep.  After graduating, he attended St. Ignatius for one year, transferring and graduating from The Latin School.  Virgil attended the University of Southern California majoring in communications and took many film classes.  He graduated from USC with a BA in communications in 1992 and set out to find work.  His credits include NBC's ER, Fox's The Chicago Code and is currently a Co-Executive Producer on CBS' Criminal Minds.  Recently Virgil sold his first screenplay, an adaptation of Hilary Jordan's bestselling novel MUDBOUND.  Virgil currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Steffanie and two daughters Isabelle (5) and Sophia (19 months).

Virgil Williams' talk centered around five key points: Commitment, Compassion, Love, Gratitude and Change.  It was very inspirational and meaningful.  Virgil's wife and two daughters were in attendance beaming with pride as he spoke so eloquently to the graduates and their families.

During the Presentation of Graduates Stephen Puricelli, Head of the Middle School read each graduates name as they came up on the stage for their official Induction into the Alumni Association.  Sheridan Road Alumni Association President, Kwaben Komai, A'85 presented each of the Academy graduates with a charm engraved with their initials and Sheridan Road Alumni Association President Elect, Joey Yao, H'86 presented each Hardey graduate with a Hardey pin.  All of the graduates received their Christmas Lamb as a keepsake as well as the International Passport.  

The International Passport given to all graduates during the Induction Ceremony is a card that identifies the holder as a member of the worldwide Sacred Heart community (AASH and AMASC). It serves as a means of introduction in the forty-four countries where the Society of the Sacred Heart serves. 

Once the Induction ceremony had concluded all sang Coeur de Jesus and each graduate went to the dance floor and danced their first dance with either their father or mother to the music of The Stanley Paul Orchestra.  A simply beautiful tradition that will long be remembered in the lives of these 79 Sacred Heart graduates.  

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J. - Invocation at Sacred Heart Prep 2013 Commencement Exercises

Very Reverend Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J.

Sacred Heart Schools Preparatory in Atherton, California held their One Hundred and Fifteenth Commencement Exercises on Friday, May 24, 2013. The Very Reverend Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J. currently serving as the provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus gave a moving Invocation prior to the Feast day of the Society of the Sacred Heart Foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat.  Fr. Kesicki's most memorable Invocation will long be remembered by the 2013 graduates. 

Fr. Kesicki asked the graduates to imagine what it would be like if Madeleine Sophie were with us now. "Would she have the iPhone 5? Would she be tweeting pithy little aphorisms? Would Madeleine Sophie be sporting Gator pride and high five the graduates as they walked in the procession?"  

Fr. Kesicki concluded his remarks by asking the graduates to give witness to St. Madeleine Sophie Barat's belief that 'your example, even more than your words, will be an eloquent lesson to the world' and "may that example further Sacred Heart's noble mission to form leaders who love God and serve others."

Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J.  was recently named the New President of the Jesuit Conference of the Society of Jesus and he will assume his new position August 1, 2014.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Feast of the Sacred Heart ... a message from Superior General Kathleen Conan, RSCJ

Feast of the Sacred Heart is celebrated on June 7, 2013

Message below is from Superior General Kathleen Conan, RSCJ


Ref. No. 13/106

June 7, 2013
Feast of the Sacred Heart

Dear Sisters,

As the General Council reflected on the letter for the Feast of the Sacred Heart, we sensed that not only we, but also the Church and the Society, are at a new moment.  We have heard from you, and from so many others, that the words, the gestures, the actions of Pope Francis have captured our hearts and awakened our hope.  They call us anew out of complacency to be who we as individuals and as a congregation want to be.  While there are challenges, ambiguities and complexities in living out the calls, something of our core desire has been awakened. Something of our spirit is being renewed!

There are new moments in the life of the Society as well. Throughout the year we have heard how the reflection in the JPIC process has given new impulse to our hearts and choices. The call from the international formation meeting to conversion in our community life, our interior life and our understanding of poverty has evoked a desire for and commitment to renewal at the core of our vocation.  It is interesting now to notice that they also left us with the conviction: “We feel the need for deeper reflection on our sense of church. ”

At each of the regional meetings in the past year, those of Latin America and Africa, there was a renewed sense of cor unum.  We had the experience that when our unity is strong, we appreciate, respect and value our diversity.  Each region committed to “think region,” to have some common foci for the next few years and to think together in a new way about the fragile areas in the region.

We sense this new spirit in the midst of a world where violence and devastation continue to be the daily bread of so many of our sisters and brothers; where economic crisis affects more and more people. It is a world where exploitation and trafficking of persons is ongoing; where creation continues to be endangered by our choices; where hearts and minds of people of good will are overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenges.  Yet at the same time we know in our own hearts and, in those of so many, a faithful commitment to justice and inclusion. We know that we are called to educating in a way that unleashes creativity and passion for building a world of peace; to developing relationships and communities of life and love.

The readings for the Feast this year offer us a way to live God’s love in a world in need of shepherding.  Let us ponder these texts in the light of some of the calls Pope Francis has offered us as he begins his ministry.  Let us ask that our hearts be opened by and to the Spirit, that we may be renewed at depth in our call and capacity to live the tenderness of God’s love and renewed in zeal to seek out those who are lost and on the margin, gathering them into community, offering them nourishment and refreshment.


In the mass to begin his Petrine ministry, Pope Francis called us to care for creation with “goodness and tenderness 2.”  For many of us, his exhortation to live tenderness, to not be afraid of it, echoed that of our own vocation to live the “strength and tenderness of Jesus’ love for each one” (Constitutions 62).  In the Constitutions we recognize that we live our call to tender love with different nuances according to the time and situation in our lives.

Our elderly sisters by their wisdom and their tenderness bear witness to God’s faithfulness and the joy of belonging to Him.”(35)  Sisters, your wisdom and tenderness have been fashioned throughout your lives as you have let the sentiments of the heart of Jesus shape your own.  You have been the shepherd to so many children and young people; to persons in situations of distress in community centers, soup kitchens and clinics; to your sisters with whom you live and the lay collaborators with whom we work.  You have sought out the lost, carried them to security, accompanied them on their next steps, offered compassion and nourishment.  Your hearts have been molded by the heartaches of others as you have felt their pain and been a presence of tender, patient, faithful love.

While at this moment in your lives some may be more aware of the suffering or discouragement which can accompany illness and diminishment, may you know our gratitude for the journeys of your hearts.  You are strength and encouragement for our own journeys. We admire and bless your desire that God continue to shape your hearts in tenderness.  

Our younger sisters too have a special call to tenderness.  We know that what we say in the Constitutions in the section on the novices expresses our vision of what we all hope to live as Religious of the Sacred Heart.  In that spirit, we say to our newer members, “discover the wealth of (your) own affectivity and extend towards others an affection which is honest (vraie), tender and faithful.” (88)  The prophet Ezekiel (Chapter 34) offers us images of such tender, faithful love:  reaching out to the wandering; healing the sick; binding up those whose bodies or hearts have been injured; seeking out green pastures where people will be nurtured.  

Discovering and integrating the human and spiritual dimensions of the wealth of our affectivity was a key theme at the international formation meeting and is an ongoing process for all of us.  Letting God be tender with us opens up our own capacity to be tender. Growing in tenderness in relationships with ourselves and others teaches us something of how God wants to be with us.  In a spiral way this growth happens, one aspect building upon another, moving together towards wholeness and a fuller gift of myself in loving as God loves.

All of us are called “to reveal the strength and tenderness of Jesus’ love for each one.” (62) Little by little, through growing in the attitudes of Jesus, through our efforts to be God’s heart in a world where love and relationships are scarred by deep wounds, our own hearts are softened, stretched, pierced, healed and strengthened.  Through the heart journeys we touch in our ministries and relationships, we learn to love more freely, to care more fully, to be bearers of God’s tenderness.

For all of us, the call to tender love is inextricably linked to the central relationship of our lives:
“Our union and conformity with the Heart of Jesus widens our capacity to love and to let ourselves be loved…(62)
“…the novices will increasingly centre their lives on Jesus Christ”  (88)
 “Our elderly sisters… bear witness to God’s faithfulness and the joy of belonging to Him” (35)

Let us take this Feast of the Sacred Heart as an opportunity to renew our relationship with God, opening ourselves to God’s love, uniting and conforming ourselves more closely to Jesus’ way of loving, confident that the Spirit wants to shape our hearts to become God’s tender love, that we all may know the joy of belonging wholly to God!


At the Chrism mass on Holy Thursday Pope Francis issued a strong call to those who minister in the church, asking us to be “shepherds living with the odor of the sheep, as shepherds among your flock.”   As we heard this exhortation, did we not find ourselves checking our lifestyle, examining our reality and questioning ourselves? "Do I have the odor of the sheep? Is it obvious that I am one with my sheep? What odors permeate my body, my daily life? Whose scents, whose joys and sufferings, would someone recognize in my heart and spirit? "

The shepherd is among his scattered sheep.  Where are we shepherding?  Francis continues, “We need to go out… to the outskirts where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many masters. ”   We know from our visits to provinces that we are ministering in many situations of marginalization, tending the lost, pasturing the hungry, pouring out healing, empowerment and love.   Yet, can we hear anew the call to go out to the periphery, to seek out those in need?  Where in our current situation are there people on the margin who need a tender presence or concrete assistance?  Are there peripheries in our region, in our countries, in our communities, physical peripheries or those edges of human experience where the piercing of the heart takes place?  Francis asks us to go there, to approach realities which may at first be uncomfortable but which, as we take on their smells and live God’s love, becomes places of renewal and newness of life.

Much of shepherding involves a great deal of patient tending, encouraging, guiding to new opportunities, watching and waiting.  In the daily-ness of life, the shepherdess comes to know her sheep personally, calls them by name and knows their story from the time they were newborn lambs.  It is through her faithful presence and attentive caring that she takes on the scents of her sheep.  Let us renew the habits of heart which enable us to know the sheep God has entrusted to us, to guide their paths and foster their growth.  As their scents and journeys mark and shape our own lives, may we become more and more the heart of God in our world.  

As we celebrate this Feast of the Sacred Heart, let us commit to renewing our hearts in tender love. Let us reach out anew to those on the margins, letting their scents, their joys and struggles, shape our concerns and choices. Let us live into this new moment in the church, taking our responsibility to shape her life, her concerns and her ways of living God’s love among God’s people.

United in love and prayer,

Kathleen Conan rscj
Superior General

[1] Letter from the International Formation Meeting - 3 August, 2013
[2] Beginning of the Petrine Ministry, Homily of Pope Francis, 19 March 2013
[3]  Chrism Mass, Homily of Pope Francis, 28 March 2013
[4]  Ibid