Sophie dreamed of restoring religious values to post revolutionary France. She wanted young people to know the love of the Heart of Jesus and to make reparation for the sacrileges committed during the Revolution. She saw Christian education as a way of renewing the social order. Years later, she recounted her original vision in this way:
“My original idea of our little Society of the Sacred Heart was to gather young girls together and establish a little community which night and day would adore the Heart of Jesus whose love had been desecrated in the Eucharist. But I said to myself, when we are twenty-four religious, able to replace one another on a prie-dieu for perpetual adoration, that will be something, and yet little enough for such a noble goal. If we had young pupils whom we formed in the spirit of adoration and reparation, now that would be different! And I saw hundreds, thousands of adorers before a perfect universal monstrance raised above the Church. ‘That is it’ I said to myself, as I was praying before a lonely tabernacle: ‘we must dedicate ourselves to the education of the youth’.”
12 December 1779, Madeleine Sophie Barat is born in Joigny, France.
21 November 1800, Sophie makes her first religious consecration.
1802, Sophie becomes superior of the community at Amiens.
1806, Sophie is elected Superior General for life.
25 May 1865, Sophie dies in Paris.
24 May 1908, Sophie is beatified by Pope Pius X.
24 May 1925, Sophie is canonized by Pope Pius XI.
Find out More About St Madeleine Sophie Barat
You can read Sophie’s Story, a short and engaging introduction to the life of St Madeleine Sophie Barat by Mary Shanahan RSCJ and Kylie Swanson here.