Customs, traditions, and feast days that make up our “Life at the Sacred Heart”
The Society of the Sacred Heart is consecrated to the Heart of Jesus; therefore, giving special love to Our Lord on the First Friday of every month has always been a devotion close to the hearts of Religious and children of the Sacred Heart. All come together to celebrate the liturgy and to express love of Jesus and love for each other. In addition, Eucharistic Adoration takes place in the Shrine.
MASS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Sometime during the first weeks of school, the Mass of the Holy Spirit is celebrated as a formal opening of the school year. At this liturgy all the activities of the year are offered to God, and the children ask Him to bless their work and keep them close to Him.
FEAST OF MATER ADMIRABILIS
This feast of our Blessed Mother is especially dear to Sacred Heart children. Mater Admirabilis is the name given to the statue of Our Lady which you will find in a place of honor in every Sacred Heart school. “Mater Admirabilis” is Latin, meaning “Mother Most Admirable.” This feast is celebrated on October 20. As on other solemn feast days, both girls and boys wear dress uniforms. A liturgy is celebrated, and the story of this beautiful picture is retold in many ways.
FEAST OF SAINT PHILIPPINE DUCHESNE
St. Philippine Duchesne founded our school—the first Sacred Heart school in North America —in 1818. Her feast is celebrated on November 18, the date on which she died. She is honored for her saintly and courageous life on the American frontier. The children at St. Charles are especially proud of the close ties to Mother Duchesne. Her feast day denotes one of the most special celebrations of the year.
FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Traditionally, Children of the Sacred Heart, carrying lilies and candles, have honored Mary on this feast with a procession and a prayer of dedication said by children all over the world throughout many generations: “O Mary, I give you the lily of my heart. Be its guardian forever.”
CHRISTMAS BASKET LITURGY
This event occurs on the last day before the Christmas holidays, and participation is considered both an honor and a serious responsibility. A special liturgy highlights the value of personal sacrifice in order to bring Christ’s joy to others, as each family provides a basket of food to be given to the poor.
A Congé is a “play day” at school. It comes when it is least expected! On this day the Eighth Class have an opportunity to exercise skills of planning and organizing “fun activities” for the younger ones. All enjoy Congé when studies are put aside so suddenly and all energy is channeled to “having fun.”
When Academy students have goûter, they’re taking part in a long-standing Sacred Heart tradition. Goûter is a snack or treat provided on special feast days. For example, students often enjoy a pink snack in honor of Mater on her Feast Day.
Students in the older grades organize games, activities and treats for the entire school. Face-painting, candy grams, cake walk, mini-golf and barbecue are perennial favorites. Proceeds benefit charitable organizations and are allocated by the Social Justice Leadership Council.
In keeping with the tradition of honoring Mary, the Mother of God, during the month of May the Rosary is said frequently by the children before the start of the school day. The culminating act of this month’s dedication to our Blessed Mother is the formal May Crowning ceremony.
The Maypole is the traditional dance performed by the Eighth Class girls, accompanied by the Second Class girls. It is performed twice, once after the May Crowning with the entire school in attendance and again after the Graduation ceremony.
FEAST OF ST. MADELEINE SOPHIE BARAT
St. Madeleine Sophie is the foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart. Her feast day, May 25, is often celebrated at an earlier time in spring in order to avoid multiple year-end activities. Mass is celebrated in solemnity and joy.
DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES
This is a formal assembly on the last day of the school year. In Middle School students are recognized for outstanding academic and artistic achievements and character development. In Lower School students are recognized for successful completion of the school year. The children express their gratitude to the administration, faculty and staff for the school year.