St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
was born in 1779 and was the daughter of Jacques Barat, a barrel maker in Joigny, France. Naturally bright, she was educated by her older brother Louis, who was a priest. When Sophie was only ten, the French Revolution closed all churches and convents in the country and suppressed all Christian schools. The education of the young, particularly young girls, was in a troubled state.
Let us leave acts, not words. Nobody will have time to read us.
–St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
As Madeleine grew older, her brother feared she would be exposed to too much of the world, and so he brought her to Paris with him. She wanted to be a Carmelite lay sister, but with Father Joseph Varin and three other postulants, she founded the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1801. The Society was devoted to the Sacred Heart, and dedicated to the teaching young girls. St. Madeleine Sophie became Superior General of the Society at the age 23 and held the position for 63 years. Receiving papal approval of the Society in 1826, she founded 105 houses in many countries; Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne and four companions brought the Society to the United States.
Mother Barat died in Paris. She was canonized on May 24, 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Her feast day is typically held on May 25th.
St. Madeleine Sophie, Pray for us.