I am honored to present this statement from the Director of Schools for the RSCJ (Sacred Heart) to the Lake Forest Preservation Board this evening.
When the St. Madeliene Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart on November 21, 1800, she meant to develop educational institutions that would continue the tradition of intellectual development combined with a strong liturgical and spiritual connection to the Catholic Church.
The Barat Chapel is a built representation of Mother Barat's vision of connecting academic discipline and worship to help recover tradition and practices lost in the French Revolution. You see, many religious orders and their institutions were totally destroyed or driven abroad by radical decisions made during the revoultionary times. However, there was an upside to all this. The Society of The Sacred Heart began its mission in Chicago building and operating 2 schools near Holy Name Cathedral then
At Barat College in Lake Forest and Woodland Academy
At the Academy of the Sacred Heart on Sheridan Road in Chicago
These institutions are the direct result of the dedication of Saints such as Madeleine Sophie Barat to extending the mission of the Sacred Heart Sisters to the new world.
Today, we are able to discuss matters in a much more polite manner. We can evaluate the historical significance of a building versus the pressures of the real estate market. Yet, buildings such as the Chapel represent more than just wood, stone and terra cotta. They represent a connection to our past and an example to a future well worth maintaining, preserving and honoring our traditions, our Sacred Heart alumni, and our religious and architectural heritage.
As many of you know, Sacred Heart Schools on Sheridan Rd. is restoring its chapel. We would be interested in items from the Barat Chapel because of the strong connections between and among Sacred Heart schools around the world. Of particular interest to us is the window depicting St. Madeleine Sophie across from the entrance to the chapel. We would welcome other items and would honor them for their present and past significance to Sacred Heart students, families and alumnae." Sincerely,
Religious of the Sacred Heart Sacred Heart SchoolsDirector of Schools
Let us pray that the gentle people of Lake Forest are less viscious than the French Revoultionaries towards Holy Mother Church.