Sophie and the Spirit

Two days ago we celebrated the feast of our foundress, St Madeleine Sophie Barat, a woman who declared that if she could live her life over again she would only seek to live it according to the Spirit. Among the many quotes and prayers posted by RSCJ that day on Facebook and websites, were several exhortations to give ourselves completely to the power and the transformative action of the Holy Spirit. On our province's website I posted this reflection by her, which was undoubtedly her dream for us...

If the happiness of the individual open to the Spirit is so great,
what would be the happiness of a group of people,
of a whole society,
which would allow itself to be completely guided by the Holy Spirit unreservedly.
Surely we will be capable of producing great union and also great good.
Today there might not be a single one of you who refuses anything to the Holy Spirit.
Open your hearts to the Spirit who longs to be desired because the Spirit answers the prayers of those whose hearts are sincere and who give themselves in truth.
Open yourselves that you may be filled with the gifts of the Spirit.

Something of Sophie's dream must have permeated down the ages, I'm sure. Over a hundred years after her death, when the Society was engaged in re-writing its Constitutions, the transformative power of the Spirit was to be a recurrent theme, second only to the Heart of Jesus and the love of God. So it seems entirely appropriate to quote from them for today's post, in honour of the Feast of Pentecost. Although these words, from the section on prayer, were written by and for RSCJ, they can be lived by anyone who desires to be filled with the gifts of the Spirit...

The Spirit dwelling within us
gradually transforms us, enabling us
through His power to remove whatever
hinders His action.
The Spirit unites and conforms us to Jesus
and makes us sensitive to His presence
within ourselves, in others and in all that happens.
Thus we learn to contemplate reality
and to experience it with His Heart,
to commit ourselves to the service of the Kingdom
and to grow in love:
"Have this mind among yourselves
which was in Christ Jesus." (Phil 2.5)


  1. I have only just caught up with this blog, but yes, transformation by the Spirit is key for Sophie, and in the Constitutions.

    This year the second reading for the Feast ot the Sacred Heart is St. Paul...."may he give you power through his spirit for your hidden self to grow strong,so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love, and built on love,you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God." Ephesians 3. 14 - 29.

    As we get nearer to next Friday's feast may we pray this for each of us, and for those whose lives wee touch.

    Marion Charley


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