Society of the Sacred Heart
The United States – Canada Province is one of 28 provinces in the international Society of the Sacred Heart, with more than 230 members in a wide variety of ministries. Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) consider themselves members of the larger, international community. Founded in 1800 by Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, the Society of the Sacred Heart has more than 1,800 members in 41 countries.
The most recent General Chapter Guiding Calls outlined for the US-Canada Province showcase the power of the RSCJ community to listen, to learn, and to to make change.
We are aware of living in a historic time of change and uncertainty. The Spirit continues to transform us as a Society in order to respond to the cries and hopes of our world with the same daring trust and confidence with which Sophie and Philippine responded in their time. Like them, united in our searching and open to the gifts of the Spirit in this new moment, we are called:
1. To go out, to “set sail” as a Society and go with others to new geographic and existential peripheries to accompany the life that is emerging there, to defend justice, peace, and the integrity of creation in response to all of those who are searching for meaning in their lives, those who have been wounded, displaced, and excluded because of poverty, violence, and environmental degradation.
2. To live more humanly: In the radical style of Jesus of Nazareth, we wish to be in closer relationship as sisters with one another and with others; we wish to be simpler, more human and closer to people and their experience, in order to show forth the joyful and compassionate face of God and to be at the service of Life, wherever we are sent.
3. To create silence: To deepen our interior life, our capacity for contemplation and for listening to the heartbeat of God in ourselves and in our world; to discern in silence and welcome the action of the Spirit that transforms us, energizes us, and calls us to live our prophetic and educational mission.
4. To be and to act as one Body: To revitalize our unity in diversity and to act as one Body, dynamic, interconnected, linked with other bodies, in the world and as Church, in order to share, collaborate, and be in solidarity among ourselves and with others.
In 2016, the US and Canadian province of the Society of the Sacred Heart convened a Committee on Slavery, Accountability and Reconciliation to "recover the story of slavery in our early days in this country" and to "commit to truth, healing and reconciliation for a better future."
At a high level, from the time of Philippine until the Civil War, the communities of the Religious of the Sacred Heart owned, bought and sold enslaved persons in the slave states of Missouri and Louisiana. According to the Society, enslaved persons built the buildings, made the bricks and sustained the foundations. They also worked alongside the sisters to take care of the children, cooking, washing and gardening.
The Committee was formed to recover the story of slavery in our early days in this country, share this historical facts, assist in the attempt to locate the descendants of enslaved persons who lived on property owned by the Society of the Sacred Heart, and take appropriate steps to address this painful chapter in the Society's history while also working to help transform on-going racists attitudes and behaviors. Learn about the next steps from the Society of the Sacred Heart.