St. Madeleine Catholic School was founded in 1964 and named after St. Madeleine Sophie Barat who was received into the religious life and founded the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Growing up in tumultuous times, Madeleine was educated by her brother. The counterpart of the Jesuits, in 1802, Madeleine and her three companions founded their first convent and institue to educate girls and Madeleine was appointed superior and would hold this position for sixty-three years. The Society spread throughout France, absorbed a community of Visitation nuns in 1804 and received the approval of Pope Leo XII in 1826. In 1830, the novitiate was closed by the French Revolution and Madeleine founded a new novitiate in Switzerland. By the time of her death in Paris on May 21, she had opened more than 100 houses and schools in twelve (12) countries. She was cannonized in 1925 and her feast day is celebrated on May 25.
In 1964, when St. Madeleine opened its doors to the children of the city of Pomona, it was directed by the Sisters of St. Joseph in Orange. The school embodied a spirit of charity, humility, generosity, joy and peace. The Sisters spirituality centered in the unity and reconciliation of humanity with Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
In the early years of the school, the sisters provided educaton for grades 1-5. In 1967, a junior high was added. In 1975, after over a decade of serving the community the Sisters of
St. Joseph of Orange resigned and the ministry of the lay principal and teachers began.
In 1991, the school opened its doors to its first Kindergarten class and in 2001 a preschool was added. In 2009 the Department of Catholic Schools with support from the pastor, introduced a new model of education with the jr high leaving St. Madeleine and moving to the Pomona Catholic Girls High School Campus. St. Madeleine would continue to serve preschool through 5th grade. In the Fall of 2009, Pomona Valley Middle School officially began classes.
St. Madeleine opened its doors for the 2014-2015 school year with two major changes: a multi-age model of education and welcoming back the jr. high as parents were committed to the traditional model of a Cathoic school. Today, St. Madeleine serves the community of Pomona with the majority of students of Latino heritage. With a multi-age model of education, small group instruction drives effective teaching, however, “Come Meet Jesus” is the commitment to a faith filled education with all we do dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
As the 2018-2019 school year dawns, the Catholic Family of Schools in Pomona (Pomona Catholic Middle School 6th-8th; St. Joseph TK4-5th Grade Dual Language and St. Madeleine) will serve the Pomona Valley. St. Madeleine will educate children TK3 – 5th Grade with the focus being Early Education and Literacy. We are faithfull to the mission of Church; to educate our children in the faith.
St. MADELEINE SOPHIE BARAT
Feast Day May 25
Madeleine Sophie was born 2 months premature; considered so fragile, she was baptized at 5am the morning of December 13. Since there was no time to call her godparents, a local woman on her way to mass and her older brother, Louis stood in as her godparents. Madeleine’s family was financially comfortable. Her father, Jacques, was a cooper and vine grower. The Barats were Jansenist Catholics, which shaped Sophie’s spirituality profoundly.
Sophie’s older brother Louis was a brilliant student. His parents encouraged his interest in studies and hired a tutor for him. After entering the College Saint-Jacques in Joigny at the age of 9, Louis decided to become a Catholic priest. In 1784, at the age of 16, he left Joigny for the seminary of Sens. He was ordained a deacon, but was to young to be ordained a priest so he returned home. Louis took on Sophie’s education. He taught her Latin, Greek, history, natural science, Spanish and Italian. He provided for Sophie with an education rarely available to girls.
In 1789, Louis became involved in the debate over the Civil Constitution of the Clergy passed in July 1789 which required all priest to swear allegiance to the new revolutionary state. Louis took his oath of loyalty, but when he learned the Pope had condemned the Constitution, he renounced his oath. He had to hide in his family’s attic then fled for Paris for the danger was to great for himself and his family. In Paris, he was arrested in May 1793, imprisoned for 2 years and barely escaped the guillotine.
When he was released in 1795, he returned home briefly then went back to Paris to seek ordination and execute his ministry in secret. He brought Sophie with him to further her education. They lived in a safe house and Sophie worked as a seamstress and embroidress. Louis continued to teach Sophie; Fathers of the Church, mathematics, Latin and the scriptures.
In 1790, at the age of 18 Sophie decided to become a Carmelite nun. This was impossible since the Carmelites and many other religious communities, has been abolished. For 5 years, Sophie lived in Paris, a life of prayer and study, and taught catechism in secret to children. In 1800, she returned to her family for one year to help with the vines. After this year, she returned to Paris.
In Paris, she was introduced to Joseph Varin, who wanted to create a women’s order devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and involved in the education of young women. On November 21, 1800 at the age of 21, Sophie gave up her dream of become a Carmelite and along with three other women, took her vows as one of the first members of a new religious congregation, the Society of the Sacred Heart. However, because the French authorities had prohibited devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the society was initially known as Dames de la Foi (“Women of Faith”). The first school was opened in Amiens in northern France in September 1801 and Sophie taught at this school
On June 7, 1802, Sophie made her vows. By December 1802, a school giving classes to the poor of the town opened. At the age of 21, Sophie became Superior of the Society of the Sacred Heart. By November 1804, Sophie travelled to France and opened three more schools. In January 1806, Madeleine Sophie was elected Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart. In 1820, she called all the superiors together in a council in Paris in order to establish a uniform course of studies for the Sacred Heart schools.
A network of schools began to be established in North America (1818), Italy (1828), Switzerland (1830), Belgium (1834), Algiers (1841), England (1842), Ireland (1842), Spain (1846), Holland (1848), Germany (1851), South America (1853) Austria (1853) and Poland (1857). The Sacred Heart schools were for students who were serious to cultivate the mind and to create young women who would also be devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and perform good deeds in God’s name. By 1826, the Society of the Sacred Heart had received its decree of approval from the Vatican. In 1832 she founded the “Congregation of the Children of Mary” for former pupils and other ladies.
Over the course of her 65 years as Superior General, Madeleine Sophie and her Society survived the regime of Napoleon, saw France undergo to more revolutions and witnessed Italy’s struggle to become a full fledged nation. Sacred Heart schools quickly earned an excellent reputation. Madeleine Sophie dreamed of educating all children regardless of their parents’ financial means. For almost every new school established, a corresponding “Free” school was opened to provide poorer children of the area with a high quality education. During her 65 years of leadership, the Society of the Sacred Heart grew to include more than 3,500 members educating women in Europe North Africa, North and South America. She died on May 25, 1865. St. Madeleine’s mortal remains are located in the church of St. Francis Xavier in Paris.
“We don’t live with angels; we have to put up with human nature and forgive it.”
“Before making any change, take counsel. Prudence and a wise slowness are necessary in the beginning.”
“More is gained by indulgence than by severity.”
“Be humble, be simple, bring joy to others.”
“Your example, even more than your words, will be an eloquent lesson to the world.”
“Give only good example to the children; never correct them when out of humor or impatient. We must win them by an appeal to their piety and to their hearts. Soften your reprimands with kind words; encourage and reward them. “
“Let us leave acts, not words. Nobody will have time to read us.”