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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sacred Heart: Educating Young Girls in the Congo and Beyond

Sacred Heart student  (photo from flickr

Today I read a twitter post by @FLOTUS, First Lady Michelle Obama that was featured in the Financial Times entitled "Throw the school gates open to girls everywhere".  The article is about partnerships that will remove barriers to education, stating that this week Mrs. Obama will meet with Prime Minister David Cameron in London and afterwards "announce a series of new partnerships between the US and UK to educate adolescent girls in developing countries around the world".   

A program recently introduced in America is called Let Girls Learn which includes volunteers from the US Peace Corps to help communities in developing countries create solutions that will empower young girls to become future leaders.  Mrs. Obama states, "Our new partnerships build on these efforts, bringing new focus to reach even more adolescent girls across the globe.  Among them is an effort of up to $180m over five years in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which will benefit more than 750,000 girls."

Knowing that Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat had opened schools all over the world and that the Congo was one of the 44 countries where the Society has a presence, I decided to do a little research to learn more about the schools in the Congo that the Society of the Sacred Heart had opened.  I also recalled that Sr. Mary Frohlich, RSCJ who lives near me in Chicago and is an Associate Professor of Spirituality at Catholic Theological Union had been to the Congo a few years ago. I found two wonderful articles written by Sr. Frohlich that describe her five-month international experience living in community with her Congolese sisters; "Sorrow and Hope in the Congo"  (CTU November 2011) and "Spirituality: Serving the Children of the Congo"Heart Magazine - Winter 2011).

Below is a brief historical overview of the presence that the Society of the Sacred Heart has had since 1927 when the first Sacred Heart school was opened in The Democratic Republic of the Congo.  

The presence of the Sacré-Coeur in the Congo goes back to November 1926 when five religious of the Sacred Heart accompanied by Mother Vicar Symon  left the port of Anvers in Belgium on 3 November 1926.   After a three week trip, they arrived in the then Belgian Congo, on 17 November 1926 to establish the presence of the Sacré-Coeur in the Congo by founding successively Kalina/Gombe in Kinshasa in (1927);  Kipako (1930), Mbanza-Mboma (1946);  Kimwenza (1956); a more recent addition in Livulu (1988).

Ecole du Sacré-Coeur de Livulu (1988)
Ecole Primaire De Livulu
571 Girls /Boys/Day
      : 317 Girls
      : 254 Boys
Ecole Maternelle De Livulu
306 Boys/Girls/Day
      : 142 Girls
      : 164 Boys

Lycée du Sacré-Coeur de Kimwenza (1956)
Lycee De Kimwenza
Total 820: 373 boarders
Ecole Primaire De Kimwenza
Total: 950
553 Girls
397 Boys

Lycée du Sacré-Coeur de Mbansa-Mboma (1946)
203 boarders/48 day
PRIMARIES : Girls and Boys
150 Girls
     3 Boarders
     147 Day
138 Boys/Day
Serving: Girls and Boys

Lycée du Sacré-Coeur de Kipako (1930)
173 Students
145 Girls/28 Boys
91 Boarders

Serving: Girls and Boys

Le Complexe Scolaire du Sacré-Coeur de la Gombe (1927)
Serving: 971 Girls (day)
The information above was taken from the International Network of Sacred Heart Schools  

If I were a young Sacred Heart alum (AMASC Young Alums), I think the experience of working with Let Girls Learn would be very enriching.  Perhaps some of the younger alums reading this blog post will agree? 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Feast of the Sacred Heart

Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat
The Sacred Heart School of Montreal

Novena of confidence to Jesus' Sacred Heart through the intercession of St Madeleine Sophie
(composed 100 years ago by a Religious of the Sacred Heart)

Lord Jesus!

Through the intercession of
Saint Madeleine Sophie

To your Sacred Heart I confide
(this intention)

only look…
Then do what your Heart inspires
I count on it…
I trust in it…
I throw myself on its mercy.
Lord Jesus!
You will not fail me.

Feast of the Sacred Heart: Prayer by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Sacred Heart of Jesus 
originally in front of Old Main - Barat College Campus
Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart - Lake Forest, IL

Prayer to the Sacred Heart

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I come to Thee because Thou art my only refuge, my only but certain hope.  Thou art the comfort for all my sufferings, the remedy for all my miseries, the reparation for all my losses, the expiation for all my faults, the supplement for all that is wanting to me, the certainty for all my demands, the infallible source, for me and for all, of light, strength, benediction, constancy and peace.  I am sure that Thou wilt not weary of me, that Thou wilt not cease to love me, to aid and protect me, because Thou lovest me with an infinite love.  Have mercy on me, then, according to Thy great mercy, and do with me, and in me, whatsoever Thou wilt.  I abandon myself to Thee, with full confidence that Thou wilt never abandon me.  Amen

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