On 21 November 1800 Madeleine Sophie Barat took her first vows together with four companions. We mark this day as the birthday of the Society of the Sacred Heart. The painting of the Virgin Mary under which Sophie and her companions took their vows is sometimes known as the Virgin of the Society. It is reproduced in the header.
Here is the formula used by women taking their first vows within the Society of the Sacred Heart today:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
and to the greater glory of the Heart of Jesus
in the presence of Mary, Mother of the Church,
and of all of you who are here witnesses,
I …, wishing to follow Jesus Christ more closely,
promise to Almighty God
obedience, poverty and chastity
in the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus;
I commit myself to its mission
of manifesting the love of Christ
through the service of education, especially of youth,
according to our Constitutions.
Trusting in the fidelity of God
and in the love of my sisters,
I make these vows for six years
before you …, our Superior General.
Not all are called to the vocation of religious life, but God does call each one of us to a particular way of following Jesus Christ more closely. For many it is the vocation of married life. Others will express their vocation through a profession such as teaching. There are many ways of manifesting the love of the Heart of Jesus.
As we give thanks for the Society of the Sacred Heart today, let us pray that each person may discern and follow their vocation.