The family circle

This year it feels as though Lent has been especially bloody and violent. In the last few weeks alone there have been terrorist attacks in Yemen, Ivory Coast, Iraq and Turkey... and then yesterday it was the turn of Belgium, home to several RSCJ communities and schools.

As my Facebook and Twitter feeds filled with reactions, posts began to appear from Sacred Heart schools and alumni in various countries, sending prayers and hoping "the family" were safe. I told one that it was too early to say, the family being so big and widespread; and then I began to think - how can we ever even try to quantify or define the Sacred Heart family? In any one country there are the RSCJ themselves, and their relatives and friends. There are the staff and students in our schools, and our employees and co-workers elsewhere. There are the people with and for whom we work in parishes and projects, chaplaincies and retreat centres; and our alumni, associates, neighbours, friends, benefactors and beneficiaries. How could we draw an embracing circle around some of these and not others? No: all are included, all are family; all are part of ever-increasing circles almost as wide as the Heart which embraces us all.

Of course, every good family needs a matriarch - and ours has Sophie. In 1904, as the Society was being expelled from France and the motherhouse relocated to Brussels, her body was exhumed and taken to Belgium. I'm sure she is joining her prayer to ours, not just for the family but for the entire country which gave her refuge and rest for just over a century.

And every family also has a common name and identity - and ours is Love; is the Heart of Jesus, open, tender and compassionate. May we never forget that: now, more than ever, we need to be that Love, be that Heart, in a world in danger of being torn apart through fear and division. And may we continue to deepen and strengthen our union in love and prayer, rooting ourselves, individually and collectively, in this Love whose power, working within us, can and will be stronger than hate.

You might also want to read this reflection on our Province website, and the Easter Triduum reflection on our international website.


  1. Just found your blog and love it Silvana. I try to be "love in the world" too, as St Therese said. I have a large family so much of my energies is taken up with them.
    But I like to write too and would really like to do some more spiritual writing.
    I see you live in Oxford. I have some children living there too, one a nurse in the John Radcliffe.

  2. Thank you Marian. I see you have a blog of your own - I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy mine!


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