This past Saturday was the celebration of the Feast of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, the foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart. I choose to believe she understands why I did not get out anything ahead of time this year. It was a crazy full May… I hope she would have delighted in how I did spend her Feast.
It began at the Farmer’s Market, down at the harbour…
Am at the market and it is stunning in here today. Full sun, blessed sun, warm, rainbow-casting sun…there are rainbows everywhere this morning—not sure why and why not important. I am delighting in their tumble and cascade over the stairs in the centre, over the cement “aisles,” and, especially smile-raising, bending around the contours of the radishes laid out like brickwork—stem to root, every other, at Acres of Peace. Augh! How the sunlight heals and cheers the soul and how it highlights texture and colour. The aesthetic aspect of being here is not to be underestimated at any time or season, but Augh, when the vegetables are fresh-bright and the morning is yet young and the sunlight is wrapping each one in kindly light that wants nothing more than to fill each bend, contour, knot, root, plane, crumb, and curve, with beauty and organic celebration of identity… I can’t help but wonder whether the sun does that for us too, in some way.
I was thinking of Sophie as I wandered the different stalls and also as I looked out over the waters…watching the tugs and the container ship, marveling at the illumination of the water—its ‘lightness,’ even with such lumbering transportation asking permission to cleave a way forward. She was a woman of commerce and prayer, nature and business, communication and contemplation. I believe she understood practical realities and also the grace of beauty. These things, all alive within her, had me thinking about the both/and of the Sacred Heart itself. Not human OR divine; instead, the twining of the two. Both and each, wholly and completely.
Creating space for drawing near to that heart is something each community is called to do…that is done in many ways…including how we treat one another and in tending to our surroundings themselves. Sometimes creating that space calls us away from where we live most of the time and invites us to relax in a different setting.
The province has a vacation house about an hour from here. It is new to us as of last September. On Saturday afternoon, thirteen RSCJ, Associates, family members, and friends, gathered to enjoy the space and relax together on Sophie’s Feast. We also used that time to bless the house, as it was the largest gathering to date and included so many circles of relationship. The prayer, in essence, was that the house be a place Sophie would recognize as a house of the Society, a place for discovery and revelation, prayer, conversation, transformation, and love…
Saint Madeleine Sophie,
You asked us to be humble and simple and reminded us to bring joy to others.
May this place provide a welcome of simple beauty, humble heart, and may it bring joy to all who cross its threshold.
When you sat with your sisters, a pin went into the candle and each one spoke until the flame burned down.
May this home be home to conversations and prayer among sisters and friends about things great and small, about the future, the past, and the now.
To our list of behaviors as people of faith, you stressed, Above all, get in the habit of thinking about God.
May this house at Martins River inspire those who visit to do just that and may those thoughts of God add layers to the warmth, to the good, to the grace, that is felt within these walls.
You wondered —And what is God? And you answered: Supreme happiness, that is all.
May the waters of the cove, the quiet of the nights, the company of the animals, and all that happens here help lead each one who comes here to that contentment and knowledge.
And when the time comes for us to leave this space for a while and return to the paths that led us here, may we too always remember to repay our God, love for love, heart for heart.
May this be so for us all, wherever we may live and work…discovering and revealing…making Love manifest in a world that is in such desperate need. Happy Continuing Feast, all…