In her opening presentation, Mary Clare Scalise ‘19 described the ceremony this way, “It marks a transition from a time as children to our emergence as young women who recognize that receiving a Sacred Heart education is a blessing in our lives that we treasure. The medals we will receive at this liturgy symbolize our transformation and call us to be resilient, innovative young women who base our lives on the values of the Sacred Heart.”
The next speaker, Sophie Kommers ‘19, began relating the history behind the ceremony, “According to a Sacred Heart legend, a young nun, Pauline Perdrau of the Trinita convent in Rome, asked her Reverend Mother for permission to paint a portrait of Our Lady on the convent's corridor wall. She created a picture of Mary seated with a Bible, a distaff and a lily with an open cloister in the background.”
Anna Kubiak ‘19 continued, “However, when the fresco was finished, it was hideous and not fit to look at. The colors seemed harsh and jarring. All agreed that the painting should be hidden. Following some debate on how to proceed, it was decided that a tapestry should be hung in front of the picture of Mary.”
Alyssa Rodriguez ‘19 concluded the story, “Two years later, on October 20, 1846, the Pope visited the convent. He noticed the tapestry, and asked to see the fresco. When the tapestry was removed, the pope exclaimed, ‘Mater Admirabilis!’ which means ‘Mother Most Admirable’. The harsh colors had mellowed, transforming the fresco into a magnificent portrait of Our Lady.”
Mary is portrayed wearing a pink gown rather than the traditional blue associated with her. On this day, in Sacred Heart schools around the world, students, faculty and staff exchange greetings, “Happy Feast,” and are reminded of the importance of taking risks in creating beauty in the world.
Also featured during the liturgy were various reflections from students – both spoken and musical.
Ariel Jamise Cooper ’19, Xitali Ochoa ’19 and Abigail Hurtgen ’19 cited experiences from their own lives as they reflected on Transformation, Being Lost and Then Found, and Being a Good Person, respectively.
Fangyue Chen ‘19 performed the liturgy’s Meditation Hymn, “Ave Maria,” on the violin.
All in attendance were encouraged to view the statue of Mater that graces the vestibule of Woodlands Academy’s 400 wing. It came from the Sacred Heart School in St. Joseph, Mo., 55 years ago this fall. The Missouri school had received the Mater statue at the time of its opening, undoubtedly in the middle 1800s as a gift from St. Madeline Sophie Barat.