Who we are

We are called to be contemplative in spirit, generous and educative in mission and passionate for justice, peace and the integrity of creation.

The Society of the Sacred Heart is an international order of women in the Catholic Church, founded in 1800 by a French woman, Madeleine Sophie Barat. Her desire was to heal the pain and division in her country in the aftermath of the French revolution, by helping others to discover the love of God's Heart. She chose to do this primarily through education and spirituality.

Today there are approx. 1,600 religious, in 43 countries around the world. Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) are called to discover and reveal God's love for all, whose source is in the Open Heart of Jesus.

We are called to be contemplative in spirit, generous and educative in mission and passionate for justice, peace and the integrity of creation. We are contemplatives in action, rooted in prayer and reflection, and by looking deeply at the world around us, we try to see it as God sees it, so that we can better love and serve others.

After about three years of initial formation, all RSCJ make vows of poverty, obedience and chastity, and we also commit ourselves to the service of education. The Church asks all religious to initially make their vows temporarily, even if their deepest desire is to say "forever" right from the start, and so we make ‘first vows’ for six years, before beginning the process of preparation for perpetual vows.

By these vows we hand over all that we are to God in the Society, promising to live simply, open-heartedly and non-possessively, to put our liberty, gifts and potential at the service of the Society's mission and to love freely, generously and whole-heartedly.

‘In all the circumstances of our life,
wherever our mission leads us
our sole purpose in living is to glorify the Heart of Jesus,
to discover and make known His Love.’

Constitutions, para 179

Where we live and what we do

RSCJ live in diverse settings in England and Wales, and in diverse configurations of community. Some members of our Province also serve in other countries. We all share our desire to make known God's love, with the many people with whom we work.

We aim to serve with the heart of an educator, and within this, we have a variety of ministries. We work in schools, parishes, dioceses, retreat centres, chaplaincies, community centres, universities and many other places.

We work as, counsellors, spiritual directors, chaplains, befrienders; others as writers or in workshops for sacred dance; others again in local projects, administration, social outreach.  There are around 40 RSCJ in the Province of England and Wales.

Take a look at some of the work we do below.

Today we are:

1,600+ sisters

In 43 countries

Meet our founder

Madeleine Sophie Barat worked to heal French society in the aftermath of war and revolution through a movement devoted to the love of Jesus and the education of girls.

A history of remarkable women

Our history is a true story of remarkable women who brought God’s love to a divided world.

‘This little Society is entirely consecrated to the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to the spread of His worship: such is the end which all those who become members must propose to themselves.’ St Madeleine Sophie Barat