The Feast of Mater Admirabilis

Isabel Singletary
For Sacred Heart students the Fall semester in the academic year is filled with special celebrations and remembrances. In October the Sacred Heart family celebrates the Feast of Mater Admirabilis, a fresco which has captured the hearts and imagination of generations of students. The story of how an unappealing fresco by a young novice came to be known and praised is well known. What might be less repeated is that Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat insisted a rendering of that image be placed in every school around the world with the intent that no matter where one found ourselves in our life’s journey, once one entered a Sacred Heart School, Mater would welcome one home.
When we see her image, with a mantle on her shoulders, at rest from her chores and eyes downcast, we see a hope filled countenance which comes from her faith in and relationship with her God. She is a wonderful example of the hope that should permeate our daily lives. Students, alumnae and educators alike have benefitted from her daily presence in our lives as her serenity, wisdom, holiness and fealty emanates from her countenance. As we come to understand her knowledge of being God’s Beloved, our relationship to Mater takes a deeper meaning. An intimate bond with Our Lady is a life-long gift we receive as members of the Sacred Heart community.
The Superior General of the Society in the mid-20th century, Marie-Thérèse de Lescure, RSCJ, wrote this prayer to Mater. May devotion to our Mater support us through all our days.
Prayer to Mater
Under the pressure of over-activity
which at times consumes us, disturbs us, or
scatters our energies in doing what is visible and accidential, let us
come to our Mater.
She is the Mother of the Invisible and
the Mother of the Essential.
Let us ask her to detach us, to free us
from all that is not important,
to lead us on, and to fix our gaze upon the invisible
which her own eyes look upon.
The Invisible Presence, the Invisible Life,
the Invisible Action, the Invisible Love,
all those things which are eternal values in us
and the great realities of faith.
May she keep us throughout our busy and
overcrowded days
in the radiance of things that are not seen
and firm as if we beheld the Invisible.
In the midst of non-essentials
which invite and often distract us,
we run the risk of encumbering our beings
and confusing our values.
May she give us the right understanding of the Essential
and a hunger for it.
One thing alone is necessary
the will of God and the work of God’s love.
May Mater give us this singleness of vision
so that we, too, may see
the Invisible and the Essential in all.
"For the sake of one child, I would have founded the Society."
-Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat