Thursday, May 25, 2006

Saint of the Day: St. Madeleine Sophie Barat


St. Madeleine Sophie was born in Joigny, France on December 12, 1779. She was the third child of a Burgundy vine-grower and barrel - maker.

As a young child, Madeleine Sophie showed exuberance, optomism, good judgment and common sense as well as a strong dedication to God. Louis, her older brother and a priest, was responsible for her early education. At an early age, Madeleine became proficient in Latin, Greek, Spanish and Italian.

Through her brother, she met Father Varin who desired to found a female counterpart of the Jesuits which should do for girls' education what they did for boys' education.

On November 21st, 1800, Madeleine with three companions dedicated herself to the Sacred Heart and so the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was begun. From the first house at Amiens it was to spread in the lifetime of its foundress all over Europe and to Africa and America, and its boarding schools have become famous.

Madeleine's energy in extending the work was seconded by her reliance on God which enabled her to succeed in times of great difficulty. 'Too much work is a danger to an imperfect soul,' she said, 'but for one who loves our Lord it is an abundant harvest.'

Madeleine Sophie Barat was a courageous visionary who fought fiercely for the education of girls at a time when the education of females was almost wholly ignored. In fact, during the early 1800's, it was basically unheard of for a girl to receive a sound education. St. Madeleine Sophie Barat believed that all girls, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, should have the right to an education. She envisioned communities of learning, stretching around the world, which would provide girls with a complete and well-rounded education.

n May 25, 1865, the Feast of the Ascension, Madeleine Sophie Barat died at the age of 85. Her body, incorrupt, is in Jette, Belgium. She was beatified in 1908 and canonized in 1925.

Quotes:

"Let us attach ourselves to God alone, and turn our eyes and our hopes to Him."

"To suffer myself, and not to make others suffer."

"Our Lord who saved the world through the Cross will only work for the good of souls through the Cross."

"God does not ask of us the perfection of tomorrow, nor even of tonight, but only of the present moment."

"Your example, more than words, will be an eloquent lesson to the world."

~ St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

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