St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on April 9, 2015

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St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
-Born in France
-Educated by her brother who later joined seminary
-Brother took her for higher studies in Paris
-Stayed with a good pious woman and some other girls
-They all prayed, worked and helped others together
-Later became part of new congregation of Nuns
-Mainly focused on educating poor girls and opening new convents
-Lived a holy life and opened hundreds of schools for poor

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Madeleine Sophie Barat was born in Burgundy, France, on December 12, 1779. Her father was a barrel maker, and she received her education from her older brother Louis. Louis was very strict, and taught Sophie to live a disciplined life. When Louis entered the seminary, he made sure that his sister had a share in what he himself was studying. Afterwards, Louis took her to Paris to continue her studies. She stayed with a good Catholic woman. With a group of other girls she studied, prayed, worked, and even taught classes for poor girls.  Sophie wanted to become a nun, but because of the French Revolution, all the convents had been closed. As years passed, the little group of young women who prayed, worked and taught together seemed more and more like a religious community. A priest named Father Varin wanted to begin a new religious order for women who would dedicate themselves to educating girls. Louis heard about this and recommended his sister. Sophie and three of her friends joyfully agreed and in 1800 they became the first sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The following year they opened their first convent and school, with Sophie, although the youngest at twenty-three, as the superior of the little community.   Mother Barat, as Sophie was now called, encouraged her sisters and students to love the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She rejoiced when there were twenty-four sisters in the community. Now they could take turns, hour by hour, to adore Jesus in the Eucharist day and night. The Society of the Sacred Heart grew, and convents and schools opened all over France. One of the sisters, Mother Rose Philippine Duchesne, who became a missionary to the United States, is also a canonized saint.

Mother Barat lovingly guided her sisters for sixty-three years. She experienced many difficulties in traveling to open new schools, establish new convents, and visit her sisters. By the time she died in 1865, her order had over a hundred houses and schools in twelve different countries. 

  God gave St. Madeleine Sophie the gift of being very good at teaching. God has given each of us special gifts and talents too. By developing our natural abilities, we can better serve God and our neighbor.

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