Head of School Blog
Susan Tyree Dempf, Ph.D.

Mission Day Reflection

Please enjoy Dr. Dempf’s Reflection on Mission Day which she shared with the children at the conclusion of the Mission Day Prayer Service. 

On May 25 we celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, the foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart. We honor her because we are recipients of Madeleine Sophie’s vision. Her understanding of the love present in the heart of Jesus and her unwavering trust and belief in the value of education form the foundation of all we do at the Academy of the Sacred Heart. She understood that through education her students would be better equipped to help those in France suffering in the aftermath of the revolution.

Sophie’s belief in rigorous education for all, and in her time that meant schooling for girls as well as boys, offered students the ability to think, discern and act. These were and remain the tools each of still needs to come to understand that we are God’s beloved and as such, we are the ones who must carry forward into the world hope- hope that comes from love.

One of Madeleine Sophie’s greatest gifts was her ability to build and sustain relationships- we here in Saint Charles know this well as our own Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne was one of Sophie’s truest friends. In many religious groups, also called religious orders, when the group expanded their reach to a new country or even a new continent the group actually split from the original and became a new organization. The fact that the Society of the Sacred Heart did not split and became the international organization it is today is very much thanks to that friendship.

Have you ever had a friend go on a trip away from you? Maybe in the summer their family goes to the beach, or your friend goes to a sleep-away summer camp? Maybe you have had a friend move away from your neighborhood? I have experienced that, I know that Mrs. Renken and Ms. Werton have as well. That is exactly what happened with Sophie and Philippine when she came here.

Back in 1818 when this was occurring, Philippine and Sophie did not have email, text messaging or Face Time. They had to wait, weeks, months for an exchange of letters. Philippine would ask Sophie a question and then she would have to sit and wait for an answer. Who here thinks it is sometimes hard to wait for something? We grow impatient waiting in line in a store, we are sometimes not patient when we have to wait our turn for Four-Square and we just wish that someone would get knocked out of the game so it would be our turn. Is it fair to say that might have happened to one or two of us here?

Imagine what it must have been like for these friends to wait to hear from each other! But their friendship survived- they were patient with each other and we are the beneficiaries of that patience, patience born out of their respect and love for each other.

So why am I sharing these thoughts with you today…let me pull it all together.

Sophie had a friend in Philippine, they shared a devotion to their work and an understanding that they were loved by God. They wanted others to know God’s love- and so they shared it with those they met.

Sophie knew how to be patient and to share- she supported Philippine’s desire to come to the frontier of North America, because she knew it was what Philippine desperately wanted to do.

Sophie was smart, she studied hard and learned the things she would need to know to make a difference in the world.

Sophie saw the challenges and problems being faced by others in the world and she wanted to help ease their pain and give them hope.

Mission Day connects to honoring Sophie by giving each of us the opportunity to share that which we have. We share our friendship with our classmates and God’s love comes to them by the manner that we treat them. When we are good to others we behave like Sophie. When we are patient we are like Sophie and like Philippine.

When, through our generosity, we support the various organizations that help others around the world, we demonstrate Sophie’s desire and understanding of the need to help others and to bring hope into their lives.

Mission Day is our chance to be like Sophie. To have fun, to share, to be patient and kind. AND to be persons of hope who meet the needs present in our world. It is not about being the best in the world- it is about being the best FOR the world.

Have a wonderful day- I will see you at the ticket booth!