SISTERS of the Sacred Heart tuned in from Indonesia and interstate to a livestream Mass celebrating the feast of St Madeleine Sophie Barat and the centenary of Stuartholme School, Toowong, on May 25.
Toowong parish priest Fr Wrex Woolnough celebrated the Mass joined by students, both boarders at their homes and day-students in classrooms, staff and Sacred Heart sisters.
Sacred Heart Sister Rita Carroll said it seemed that St Madeleine Sophie wanted to gather her family around her again as any mother did on her feast day.
“We are not yet permitted to be together in the chapel as a whole assembly,” Sister Carroll said.
“Most of us are at home again in our classrooms while the majority of our boarders are still scattered, but we are all forming one community again at Stuartholme linked in cyberspace.”
Dean of mission Justin Golding said it was a fantastic celebration and particularly important to include the whole school community, near and far.
The Mass had originally been planned to be celebrated at St Stephen’s Cathedral with the archbishop but COVID-19 restrictions meant that was no longer viable.
But livestreaming posed its own challenges – Mr Golding said the school had to learn how to livestream a Mass.
“So, our IT department were instrumental in getting all the logistical dimensions ready,” Mr Golding said.
“Then, wondering how we look after the music and so our music department and the small group of girls – musicians and singers – put together beautiful music for the Mass with hymns that were a part of the tradition of the charism and the institute.
“That was fantastic.”
Mr Golding said St Madeleine Sophie’s life was a lesson in courage and was important to celebrate together.
St Madeleine Sophie had been born during the upheaval of the French Revolution, a time when the Church was persecuted, and the country was in the grip of mass violence.
She travelled to Paris at the height of the revolution to initially become a Carmelite, but her experience of revolutionary France called her to another path – to reveal the Sacred Heart.
“To (establish) a religious congregation that was about making known the Heart of Jesus on earth is something that’s very beautiful,” Mr Golding said.
“It’s just as relevant today as it was back then.”