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Barat, Madeleine Sophie, St.


Foundress of the sacred heart society; b. Joigny (Yonne), France, 12 Dec. 1779; d. Paris, 25 May 1865. She was the daughter of a Burgundy vine-grower and received her early education from her brother Louis, a priest. In 1800 her brother took her to Paris to continue her studies. There Joseph varin d'ainville persuaded her to join a group of women living under religious rule. She followed this group to Amiens, where she became (1802) their superior general and head of their school for

girls. In 1804 she founded the second house of the Society of the Sacred Heart in Grenoble, and there met Rose Philippine duchesne, who later introduced the congregation into the United States.

For the next 60 years Mother Barat labored to extend her institute, which numbered 86 houses by 1865. Although she never engaged in teaching after leaving Amiens, she retained an interest in the intellectual training of her nuns. She also shaped the society's constitutions to guard against the mores of the court circles from which many of the pupils came. This, and a desire to re-educate in Christian principles children reared in a post-revolutionary society, inspired her to resist successfully the efforts of a chaplain of the Amiens house to reshape the constitutions. A similar reaction occurred in 1839, when a group of members tried to make the congregation resemble more closely the jesuits. Although Mother Barat traveled much in order to establish and visit her foundations, her most fruitful years were spent at Grenoble with Philippine Duchesne; at Poitiers, where the first noviceship was founded; at Montet in Switzerland, where the novices were sent after the 1830 revolution; at Rome; and at Conflans, outside Paris, where the general noviceship of the society was situated at the time of her death. Her body reposes incorrupt in Jette, Belgium. She was beatified in 1908 and canonized in 1925.

Feast: May 25.

Bibliography: Journal: 18061808, ed. m.-t. virnot (Poitiers 1977). c. e. maguire, Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat (New York 1960). a. brou, Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, tr. j. w. saul (New York 1963). m. williams, St. Madeleine Sophie (New York 1965). p. kilroy, Madeleine Sophie Barat (Sterling, VA 2000).

[c. e. maguire]

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