The book is about two hundred pages long so not challenging and could make a great transfer to television. I was enthralled. The characters and the setting are charming. If you like M C. Beaton you will enjoy this. I liked Sophie right from the start — what a lovely character. The story is great — different from the crime fiction I usually read, but I found it compelling. I am now off to get the second book in the series. A most enjoyable book with a warm, engaging central character and a beautiful village setting. Loved it. A really great read. Sophie is warm and engaging and the village setting is beautifully evoked.
A most enjoyable book. It is very much a cosy crime book, with an engaging heroine, an enigmatic secretive hero, and a cast of eccentric but mainly lovable characters peopling the village. Read her full review here. This is a great book and I cannot wait for the rest of the series. Highly recommend if you like a good story and a smile.
- The Cambridge Companion to Hegel and Nineteenth-Century Philosophy (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy).
- Tyranny and Resistance: The Magdeburg Confession and the Lutheran Tradition?
- Rock Torch.
- Wie pflege ich meinen Kinder Zähne sehen? 11 von 12 (German Edition).
- Sophie Turner Just Joked That Puppies Remind Her of Joe Jonas for a Hilarious Reason?
I loved this book. Sophie is such a likeable young woman. I live in a village and can relate to the characters and some of the situations in the book. I have never lived in a village but now — for the first time — I wish I did! The bad news is that every woman will now want a Hector in her life. The good news is that this is the first in a series, and I am heading straight to the second book to see what happens next to Sophie. Amusing and lighthearted read which I enjoyed from beginning to end — Jo. Endearing cottage characters with sunny warmth and gentle humour.
Village life in all its foibles and a nasty chance for a spot of murder! Amusing and lighthearted read which I enjoyed from beginning to end. Gentle humour, cosy mystery and a warm village community — The Bookbreather. Debbie Young writes beautifully and her characterisation is spot on. The murder mystery was gently intriguing and the ending very satisfying, for our heroine at least.
Recommended to all who love cosy crime. Love this book. I had no idea what to expect but I liked the characters and the story line. It was an easy read, perfect for my tired brain at the end of a day. I went on to read the rest of the series and hope there are more coming. This is actually 4. An enjoyable, fun read, with a marvelous cast of interesting and eccentric characters, this cozy murder mystery is a lovely escapist refuge from the mundanity of everyday life.
Beautifully observed, colourful and original writing brings this intriguing tale to life. A great view of village life. Great characters but the plot seemed to flounder in places, almost as if it was being expanded too much. Would have read better if some things had been more concisely written.
But nevertheless a good read. Floats, beheaded queens, murder and large egos all mixed into a very gentle cozy. Would love to read the whole series. I am more the Jack Higgins type so I ventured into it with an open mind. I am glad I did…. I feel I know this village quite well now. The ending was a surprise and well crafted.
I would never have guessed it in a million years. I think it was Laurie Lee who compared the Cotswolds to a great slab of butter, through which a giant has trailed his fingers. The plain, the tops can be bleak, windswept and featureless, but those finger-trailed valleys are delicious, tree-lined, stream-cleansed and wild flower-garlanded. And the tourists have found those valleys with names that resonate—-Little-Stick-in-the-Mud, Floundering-in-the-Water, and Mesmerising-in-the-Marsh. Why do we Brits love Whodunnits? It goes back a long way. Sophie Sayers has inherited a dear little cottage, the home of her travel writer aunt, now deceased, it transpires, naturally, thank Goodness!
The third character is the Village in all its human manifestations. Hector dresses as Homer to drive the Pendlebury Writers float in the show—-very appropriate for a Homersexual. The Hippocratic Oath becomes the Hippopotamus Oath—-no change there then. And the murders are as cultured as the Malopropisms. Will-He, Wont-He will surely permeate the remaining six books in the series. I cant wait! Very lovely to actually spend time in a real English village of the past, at least for this American. Will probably continue to read the series simply for the characters.
I enjoyed Sophie and most of the village residents.
Sophie's Turn (Rock Star Romance, #1) by Nicky Wells
I am anxious to read the next book in the series. There were so many interesting characters, the plot was well thought out and Debbie writes with such a sense of humour- I had a chuckle on every page! Like Wilt or Stonely Village without the coarse bits. This is one of those stories where I kept saying just one chapter more, as the hands on the clock crept toward midnight and then past it before I finally finished reading.
Fun and lighthearted, this is an entertaining read. As this is the first book in a series, there was a lot of time devoted to presenting the characters, which made the solving-crime bit be somewhat relegated to a second plane. As the background has now been dealt with, I have high hopes for the second in the series.
A fun, quirky story about a small village with very large characters! It certainly tickled my funny bone! Will look forward to reading more from this author. When the least-liked woman in Wendlebury Barrow collapses inside a headless Anne Boleyn costume while tied to the rail of a float in the village show, newcomer Sophie Sayers, like all the other villagers, accepts the verdict of death by natural causes. But I had to read on, regardless of meal times. By gifting us with Sophie Sayers and Wendlebury Barrow, Debbie Young entertains with barmy characters, blooming gardens, cliques within community groups, and dreams of romance in an apparently bachelor-free village.
But asking for them at your friendly local or village book shop would also be appropriate for a novel in which a very entrepreneurial book shop features prominently. Cosy crime is not a very familiar genre for me. However, that said, I liked the idea of this book and decided to give it a try, so glad I did.
There are a number of things I enjoyed about this book. The setting of an English village was very appealing and quite reminded me of some of the Midsomer Murders in the locations.
‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ Review: Céline Sciamma Unveils a Painterly Masterpiece — Cannes
But this is certainly no copy of anything. The story is original and I thought very witty. The main character is an aspiring author and so there is much information given within the text detailing life and experiences of being a writer, all of which are superbly accurate. The character are all well drawn and I felt pulled into their world. For me, there was just the right of humour and a recurring joke which had me chuckling out loud, not something which I do very often. I am looking forward to the next book in the series and hoping that it will be as good as this one. This was my first venture into the cosy mystery genre and I loved the story.
I liked the characters and the build up to the murder. All in all, a great light read. This cozy mystery is reminiscent of the drily humorous Miss Marple detective stories, with the added bonus of being bang up to date. Her imagination soon runs riot, as she begins to wonder if any of the colourful characters in the village might be cold-blooded killers. Is it any wonder her suspicions are proved correct?
I am not a village dweller, being addicted to the sprawling pollution that is London. Glos Wendlebury Players, the floats, the fancy dress, the garden paths, the home made bread, floral scents on evening air, the local PC plod, Land Rovers, romance, characters ever chatty, the village school, the sex starved heroine, and murder in the air — this book is very well written and a great read.
Read the full Bookmuse review here. Lovers of Agatha Christie will rejoice with the murder that occurs at a village fete, and the burgeoning romance included in the plot. The pace is nice and slow, yet you find yourself returning to the pages of this competently written novel any free moment you have! Debbie Young infuses her quirky sense of humour into this story of a young woman, returning to a typical small English village, having inherited a cottage from her celebrity author aunt.
She is confronted by the usual array of village people but no native Americans, and no YMCA and there is a suspicious death. The mystery is just one part of this lovely story about Sophie coming to terms with her new environment. An easy and very satisfying read. Sophie Sayers finds herself permanently living in a village, after inheriting a cottage from her great-aunt May who was a famous travel writer. She is also getting to know the villagers, with all their little quirks.
Oh yes, there is a dead body involved along the way as well, just to add to the excitement of life in the village. Best Murder in Show is a lovely, fun read. The village in which the book is set is full of quirky and engaging characters. For me the book came alive on the arrival of the charismatic Hector and it was then an enjoyable romp to the end. A perfect summer read. I was given a free copy of this book for the purposes of providing a review and look forward to more from Debbie Young and Sophie Sayers.
Curl up with Best Murder in Show and a mug of cocoa, and delight in the summery scenes of village life with a twist! The story opens with a sketch of the discovery of something untoward at the annual Village Show, on a hot, sunny, summer afternoon. The kind of afternoon which is set with blue sky, a few fluffy clouds, bright flowers, and the gentle buzzing of bees. In May, , Louis Barat was arrested in Paris and thrown into prison, where he remained, in imminent danger of his life, until the fall of Robespierre nearly two years later.
The grief of his mother well-nigh cost her her reason, if not her life, but the tender ness and tact of Sophie saved her. In her sorrow the poor mother persisted in refusing to take any food, and yielded only when Sophie declared her intention of following her example. Sophie traced back her devotion to the Sacred Heart to this time, when she and her mother prayed often for her brother s safety before pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which he had sent from Paris.
Sophie s love for her mother was at this time one of her strongest characteris tics, and it was the only obstacle which seemed insuperable when, on Louis Barat s release from prison, he urged his parents to allow his sister to live with him in Paris and continue her studies.
Finally the arrangement was made, on condition that Sophie should return to Joigny every year at vintage time. Blessed Madeleine Sophie Earat 9 Louis Barat was now a priest, and he said Mass daily, though in secret, in the little house in the Rue de Touraine where he and his sister lived, under the roof of a good lady named M" e Duval.
There Sophie continued her studies, but, as her brother s aim was now to train her soul rather than to cultivate her taste for literature, he substituted for the poets, whose influence on her he feared, the study of Scripture and the works of the Fathers of the Church.
Sophie had probably never seen a nun or been within convent walls, but the desire to consecrate herself to God had been with her from her childhood. Her humility made her desire the life of a Carmelite lay-sister, though already an other wish strove with this one the wish io Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at for an active, apostolic life, whereby souls might be saved. The sequel shows that both these desires were from God. Father Barat s direction was very austere, and, to teach his sister complete self-control and detachment, he constantly mortified her natural affections and desire for innocent amusement.
Sophie was an apt pupil, but it forced the tears even from her eyes to see a piece of needle work, which she had prepared in secret for her brother, burnt as soon as she had offered it to him, and a dress, which she had made for herself to replace the peasant costume she always wore, destroyed with out pity. The treatment was rough, but it bore fruit, and Sophie every day grew in love for that Lord to whom her life was to be consecrated. Their first Superior had been Father Leonor de Tournely, a priest of marvellous piety, and on his holy death at the age of thirty, Father Joseph Varin was elected Superior in his place.
This was a time when everything had to be constituted afresh after the social and religious overthrow of the Revolution, and Father de Tournely, not as it seemed without the sanction of inspiration, had fostered plans for the etablishment of a religious community of women, whose work should be the educa tion of girls both of the poorer and upper classes.
What to Read Next
One day, in conversation with the Abbe Barat, Father Varin asked him whether any tie bound him to the world. The Abbe Barat answered that he had " a little sister," and when, after further questions, Father Varin learned that she was nineteen years of age, that she was highly educated, and that her great desire was to become a Carmelite, it immediately flashed upon his mind that she was destined to be the foundation- stone he needed. The impression was confirmed when he made her acquaintance and found that so many gifts of mind and heart were united to great gentleness and even timidity of manner and profound diffidence of self.
Indeed, they were for him the visible goal to which Providence, by his means, had been leading her, and he made over to Father Varin the direction of her soul. It was not long before Sophie herself was convinced that God s will for her lay in the path that now presented itself. Thus, in humility and poverty, were laid the first founda- 14 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Ear at tions of the future Society of the Sacred Heart.
On the 2ist of November of the year , four postulants, one of whom was Sophie Barat, pronounced their consecra tion to the Sacred Heart. This date is still solemnized as that of the foundation of the Society. From the time of her consecration to the great work to which her life was devoted, the history of Sophie Barat, as far as exterior events are concerned, is merged in that of the Society of the Sacred Heart.
We must now see how this Society began its work. Early in Father Varin went to preach a mission at Amiens. In the course of the mission he made acquaintance with two ladies, Genevieve Deshayes and Blessed Madeleine Sophie Earat 1 5 Henriette Grosier, who, when he told them of the newly-founded Society, offered themselves as postulants.
Hen riette Grosier helped her aunt in the management of a school which was not at that time in a flourishing condition, and it was to the complete satisfaction of every one concerned that its manage ment passed by an agreement, signed October 15, , into the hands of the new Society, which thus became possessed of its first foundation. Its early beginnings were humble enough to satisfy those whose only desire was to imitate the poverty of Nazareth. The Sisters were extremely poor, every thing beyond the barest necessaries were wanting to them. The children were troublesome and often unmanageable, 1 6 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Earat many contradictions and trials from without tested their constancy, and M lle Loquet, their first Superior, had not the spirit which Father Varin wanted to see implanted amongst them.
During this trying time, Sophie s calm strength and deep union with God were the great support of her companions courage, and when in the following year, M lle Loquet, at Father Varin s suggestion, returned to Paris to resume there her life of good works, Sophie was appointed Superior at the age of twenty-three. Father Varin tells us how this nomina tion was made known to her.
I talked to them for a while, and then said I was going to ask them some Blessed Madeleine Sophie Ear at 1 7 questions to judge of their competence for teaching. After a few questions on various points of Christian Doctrine to the others, it came to sister Sophie s turn, and I said to her: As you are the youngest I must give you the easiest question Why did God make you? To know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him, she answered. What is serving God? I continued. To serve God she replied 4 is to do His holy will.
You wish to serve Him, I suppose? Yes, Father! Well, His will is that you should be Superior. It was a terrible blow. She fell on her knees, burst into tears, and implored to be let off; but we were inflexible. No one can say what it cost her : it nearly killed her. Mother Barat s humility was the only obstacle to be found in her, in the way of good. For ten years from that time it was a struggle between us, on her part to be released from the task of government, and on mine to make her understand that she held it from the will of God. The wisdom of the choice was soon made manifest.
In a few months the school had increased so much that removal else where was necessary. In 1 the commu nity took possession of the house in the Rue de 1 Oratoire which has always been looked on with special veneration as the " cradle of the Society. One of the first to arrive was Catherine de Charbonnel.
The Revolu tion had deprived her of almost all her near relations, whose singular attachment to their King and their faith had marked them out as victims of its fury. Her strong faith had inspired her with a courage in misfortune which, in spite of great natural timidity, won her the respect and admiration of all who saw her over and over again expose her life in the service of religion. Her character had acquired strength and maturity in minis tering, even from a very early age, to the Confessors for the Faith in the prisons of the Republic. Others, like Mother de Charbonnel, might be of more use in the work of education, but no one helped Mother Barat more than Mother Desmarquest in making the life of the Society of the Sacred Heart a faithful copy of that of the Holy House at Naza reth.
Mother de Charbonnel s practical good sense and knowledge of business matters made her invaluable in the work of foundations, whilst to Mother Desmar quest for many long years the formation of the novices was entrusted. A third vocation at this time proved to be of great importance to the future of Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at 2 1 the Society, that of Philippine Duchesne.
She was at this time a novice of the Visitation, sorely tried by the failure of her efforts to gather together the scat tered members of the community she had entered, and who had been dispersed by the Revolution. She was cast in heroic mould, and all the intensity of her will was set on serving God in religion. The deserted Visitation convent of Sainte- Marie-d en-Haut at Grenoble belonged to her, and when, through Father Varin, she made acquaintance with Mother Barat, she offered herself and all she had to the Society. In her new Superior she found all her heart could wish, and in the Society of the Sacred Heart a spirit that satisfied even her aspirations, and a field for work that gave full scope to all her burning zeal.
The convent of the Sacred Heart of Sainte-Marie-d en-Haut was therefore the second foundation which Mother Barat made, and the joy this addition to the Society caused her was only lessened by the sorrow of seeing herself shortly after wards elected Superior General.
Get A Copy
Here Mother Barat herself trained her novices in that humility and obedience of which she was so consummate a mistress. Amongst her novices at this time were Sisters Therese Maillucheau and Josephine Bigeu, model novices in this model noviceship, who afterwards carried with them into active life the spirit of prayer learnt at Poitiers. Poitiers was said to have been in some ways the "Manresa" of Mother Barat. Everything in the old monastic building favoured her love of solitude and silence, and during her sojourn there the Society of the Sacred Heart, still so small, was being formed within her heart.
In 1 the Emperor Napoleon gave the formal approval of the civil authority to 24 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Ear at the Society, and in this and the following years several foundations were made. As the work grew it became more and more necessary to consolidate its organi zation. The urgency of this need was made more manifest from a sad experience which, but for Mother Barat s courage and perseverance, might have had a disas trous ending.
When after four years of absence she, in 1 , returned to Amiens, she was painfully struck by a change in the spirit of the house. This was chiefly owing to the austere rule of the Superior, Madame Baudemont, and to the misguided zeal of the confessor, M. Esteve, who wished to usurp supreme authority not only over the convent at Amiens but over the whole Society. He had drawn up and imposed upon the community a Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at 2 5 rule compiled from those. The Mother General saw at once the state of the case, but she decided to accept the existing state of things as far as she conscientiously could.
She knew that it would be worse than useless at that time to act in opposition to the ruling spirit of the place, and she showed only unconquerable patience and gentleness. She knew that confidence must be won, not forced, and her deep contempt of self easily persuaded her that others were more deserving of confidence than she was. The school was prospering peace and union reigned at that time in the community. She feared to com promise all by trying then to set things right, and although her authority was 26 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at disregarded, although M.
Esteve claimed the title of Founder and was imposing Constitutions on the young Institute not in the spirit of St. Ignatius and without the devotion of the Sacred Heart which Father Varin had breathed into it, she waited God s time, and left the house where her authority was only nominal to foster the spirit of unity in the other houses, and maintain in them at least that devotion to the Sacred Heart which should make them worthy one day to bear its name. Several years passed before the crisis came and the wisdom of her conduct was justified.
In M. Esteve was arrested by the Imperial government, and the time seemed then come to put forward the true Constitutions of the Society. Those drawn up by M. Esteve had in the meantime been sent to all the houses then existing, and had been universally disapproved. All felt that the spirit of the Sacred Heart was not in them. Thither Mother Barat went, accompanied by Mother Deshayes, and there, in prayer and consultation, the Rules and Consti tutions were drawn up. But all trouble was not yet over. The fall of the Empire set M. Esteve at liberty, and on his release he went to Rome, whence he wrote to say that he had founded a convent there which was the only one the Holy Father recognized, that his rule had been approved, and that he was acknowledged 2 8 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at as Director and organizer of the Society.
Her letter was answered by an unknown secretary who, writing in the Provincial s name, informed Mother Barat that the Holy Father had recognized M. Esteve as sole Superior of the Society, that it would be impossible for her to withdraw without incurring excommu nication, and that the Pope had declared that in case any of the houses refused to submit, they would be suppressed to avoid scandal.
Father Varin and other friends advised unconditional submission, but it soon became apparent that the letter had been sent without any authority. Esteve himself, and in conse quence of his conduct he was obliged to leave Rome. His patrons disowned his acts, and his influence was at an end. In the early days of the troubles Father de Cloriviere had advised Mother Barat "to pray, to suffer, to wait and to hope" : to her fidelity in carrying out this advice the salvation of the Society was due.
They were received with delight by all the houses, and the diocesan Bishops gave them complete approbation. Mother Barat herself read them to the community at Amiens, and a perfect and lasting recon- 30 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Ear at dilation of all differences followed. After this, her Society developed rapidly. In a general noviceship was established in Paris, and about this time foundations were made at Lyons, Bor deaux and Chambery. The King granted a munificent subsidy by means of which the Hotel Biron in Paris was bought.
Its school soon became famous, and after awhile the noviceship was also established under the same roof. However, even when despoiled of its worldly ornaments, such as mirrors, gilding and pictures, the house was, in Mother Barat s eyes, far too magnificent for the spouses of the God of Nazareth. It was therefore made over entirely to the school, and the religious occupied only outbuildings which had formerly been the servants Blessed Madeleine Sophie Baral 3 1 quarters, the stables and the small low rooms in which they were lodged still bearing the names and marks of their former occupants, the cooks, scullions, and grooms.
Father Varin came to see the novices in their new abode, and when they told him that they had taken posses sion of it on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, he said with a smile, " This is rather a splendid house to come to on the feast of so poor a Saint ; " but he added, " If St. Francis saw the part of it you have chosen, he would acknowledge you for his sisters in Jesus Christ.
Father Varin impressed upon the Mothers present that the supreme end of education is the love and knowledge of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The chief aim of the plan of education pursued by the Society of the Sacred Heart is thoroughness as regards the religious, intellectual, and moral training of the pupils. The chil dren are to learn everything it is most important for them to know in view of the life they are to lead, and the society they are to mix in.
Their welfare was the constant solicitude of Mother Barat. She treated them with what has been well called a " royal respect," and she drew them to her by the irresistible force of her great love for them. When she was Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at 33 organizing the school in Paris she set herself to the work as though she had nothing else to attend to, and no detail was too small to come under her personal supervision.
Children whose character made school-life difficult to them, or those who were unmanageable and troublesome, were especially amenable to the influence of her gentle and loving kindness. She had a mother s true instinct of discerning good, and this very discernment in one so holy and so gifted gave her the power of developing the good seed often under lying many faults. The following extract from a letter written a few years later to the children in answer to their good wishes sent every year for her feast, on St.
The name you bear points out the impor tant mission entrusted to you. It is your task to continue, I would even say to complete, our mission, to devote your selves to the love of Jesus Christ and to the salvation of souls to whom He is unknown. More even than your words, your example in the world will speak eloquently of Him ; but that this may be so you must profit by the innumerable graces you now enjoy.
Your desire to do this is the offering that will give me most pleasure, and in return I will most heartily pray that Jesus Christ and your Blessed Madeleine Sophie Ear at 35 dear Mother Mary may bless you, and not suffer any one of you to be unworthy of the name you bear, nor to be wanting one day to the summons that will gather together Mother and children in the common centre of their love. Poor children were assuredly the best beloved of her large family, and she made every possible sacrifice to maintain poor schools and orphanages in connection with all her convents.
The year was marked by a great joy. Eight years previously a convent founded at Ghent had separated from the other houses, to Mother Barat s intense 36 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at grief ; but during this year a number of the community sought and obtained readmittance. Two amongst them after wards rendered great services to this Society : these were Mother Henriette Coppens, afterwards Mistress of novices, and Mother de Limminghe. The latter was appointed Superior at Turin, and when Mother Barat s love of subjection and humility made her wish to place herself under obedience to one of her daughters in all that concerned her per sonal conduct, it was on Mother de Limminghe that her choice fell.
During the seven years that this relation existed between them, Mother Barat and she were seldom separated, but when they were apart, a close and frequent correspondence maintained the bond in all its integrity. Blessed Madeleine Sophie Earat 3 7 The fourth General Congregation was held in Paris in , and various strict regulations concerning enclosure, poverty and simplicity were made ; and whilst it was still sitting, the long-desired brief of Approbation was signed by Pope Leo XII.
December 22, New foundations at Lille and at Lyons followed, and the convent of the Trinita dei Monti in Rome became the property of the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1 When the summer of began, all seemed full of hope and promise, but the revolution of July checked progress for the time. For some days the danger in Paris was imminent. Barricades had been raised just under the windows of the convent of the Sacred Heart.
At one moment the insurgents scaled the walls 3 8 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at and rushed into the garden, and a des perate fight ensued between them and the Swiss Guards. But the house stood unscathed, preserved by the unceasing prayers of its inmates. It was impossible for the nuns not to laugh, when on the following day they recognised Father Varin in secular dis guise, and wearing the indispensable knot of tricolor ribbon in the button-hole of his great coat.
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire Cannes Review: An Unforgettable Romance | IndieWire.
- Night and Day - Violin 2.
He came thus into the noviceship and began to speak with his favourite ejaculation of : " Ita Pater" "Courage and Confidence" was then the burden of his discourse, and he assured his hearers that " if they were faithful to God He would be faithful to them. Montet, near Fribourg in Switzer land, was fixed upon, and there the novices were gathered together again as soon as the necessary arrangements were made.
All hardships, and there were many, were cheerfully endured, and this noviceship has always been admired for its special spirit of mortifica tion and holy joy. Among the novices was an Alsatian named Josephine Gcetz, who even then gave promise of those great virtues which on Mother Barat s death led to her election as second Superior General. Six months before she entered, her vocation was undecided, and she was still at school : she had seen Mother Barat, and, writing at a later time, she thus 4O Blessed Madeleine Sophie Ear at described the interview : " I shall never forget the impression Mother Barat made upon me then.
A supernatural influence took hold of me, and entered into the very depths of my soul. I felt that I was in the presence of one who was clothed with the presence of God Himself. The day of Mother Goetz s clothing, a holy Sister also received the habit, who, under the name of Sister Elizabeth, and the life of a humble lay-sister, concealed a distin guished name, and many and varied talents.
This immolation, maintained till death, was undertaken to obtain from God the conversion of those near and dear to her. On leaving Montet, Mother Barat went to Turin. All her journeys were, Blessed Madeleine Sophie Ear at 4 1 at this time especially, sources of intense suffering from a severe injury to her foot, and the journey to Turin was full of difficulty.
It was necessary to cross the Col di Tenda, and the descent on the Italian side could only be made in sledges. The road was precipitous and the snow deep, and Mother Barat s helpless condi tion increased the peril. But nothing stopped her when God s work had to be done. At Turin her foot was miracu lously cured, and she was able to continue her journey to Rome, where an important work awaited her, the establishment of a Roman noviceship. She had scarcely arrived at the Trinita, when a great honour was paid to her. Pope Gregory XVI.
She tried to kneel, but the Pope raised her up, and made her sit by his side, saying, with great emphasis : " I have greatly at heart the prosperity of so useful, edifying and well-governed an Institute. The Roman novices, like those of Montet, counted at this time amongst their number a future Superior General, Adele Lehon, who governed the Society of the Sacred Heart for twenty years, until her holy death at Easter, 1 Passing through Lyons on her way to Rome in , Mother Barat instituted the Congregation of the Children of Mary, and the work of Retreats for ladies living in the world.
In she was again in Rome, and at this time the noviceshipwas removed from Santa Rufina to the Villa Lante. In dealing with those who sought admission into the Society, Mother Barat always united in a remarkable manner cordiality and discretion. Nothing could exceed the reserve with which she acted from the fear of interfering with grace, or the care she took to enlighten those who seemed prompted by mistaken motives to embrace religious life. Her heart used to ache for parents who generously gave up to God their dearest treasures, but when for worldly motives a child was refused the liberty of following her vocation, Mother Barat was known to feel and to speak with strong indignation.
Her "white flock," as she called her novices, engrossed a large share of her time and thoughts, and their spiritual education was one of her great preoccu pations, and as they gathered around her, Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at 45 whether in Rome or Paris, at Montet or later on at Conflans, she strove to inspire them with her own great love for the Sacred Heart, and for those great religious virtues by which even weak women become apostles. It was her constant endeavour to make them estimate at its full value the grace of their vocation.
We think we have done something for our Lord because we have left the world and suffer some things for His love, but it is nothing. Let us sacrifice ourselves wholly, and then He will make us the return of a hundredfold for what we have given up. Some members of the Society, wishing to make it more closely resemble the Society of Jesus, were anxious to remodel the Rule, and make it as nearly as possible like that of St.
Igna tius. Another proposed change was to fix the residence of the Superior General in Rome. At a general Congregation, held in Rome in , Decrees were framed, of which some of the most im portant were to fix upon Rome as the residence of the Superior General, and to divide the Society into Provinces, to be under the government of Mothers Pro- Blessed Madeleine Sophie Ear at 47 vincial.
With regard to many of the Decrees there were no dissentient voices, but the one relative to the Superior General s residence in Rome raised much opposition. Mother Barat had endeavoured to enlighten the Council on the dangers of these alterations, but she yielded to the opinions of the majority, and the Decrees were made known to the religious by a circular letter from the Mother General.
They were received with general regret and alarm, which was shared by friends of the Institute. Besides the fourteen houses in other countries there were at this time in France twenty-seven convents of the Sacred Heart, and the Bishops of the dioceses in which these convents were situated, with Mgr. The same diversity of opinion reigned in Rome, and Mother Barat s appeals to the Holy Father for a decision remained unanswered. Under these circumstances it was resolved to give the Decrees a trial for three years. Mother Barat informed the Society of this, and did all she could to facilitate the acceptance of the Decrees, giving on this occasion wonderful proofs of what can be effected by humility, prudence and gentleness.
She never had an obstinate adherence to her own opinion. I shall never doubt your love for your Mother and the Society. No one could persuade her to put down opposition with a high hand. Union of hearts remained intact through out this trial, and even the opposition on the part of the nuns arose from the filial affection which feared to lose her. Mother Barat passed the winter of 1 50 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at and the spring of in Rome, but the following year she spent some months in France.
After her return to Rome at the end of 1 , when in doubt as to her future residence, she was enlightened by Gregory XVL, who said that her habitual abode should be in France. A General Congregation was summoned to meet at Lyons in , but affairs had become even more complicated at that time, and the meeting was indefinitely postponed. The Government, privately informed of the changes proposed by the Decrees, gave notice that the removal of the Superior General to Rome was contrary to the Statutes approved of by the State in , and threatened the penalties of the law if the original Constitutions were not enforced.
AfFre, who had succeeded to the Archiepiscopal See of Paris, the Holy Father had the Decrees examined by a commission of Cardinals, who were unanimous in condemning them, and desired that the Society of the Sacred Heart should be governed as before. The decision was confirmed by the Holy Father, and was received everywhere as final. A trial such as this is never wanting in the history of great enterprises and of those who carry them through. Opposition and contradiction such as she now encoun tered must have overcome her and proved 52 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Ear at fatal to the Society had she met them with mere human energy and determina tion.
But she was in truth nothing in her own eyes, and God was all ; for the four years that this trial lasted, her intense hold of this truth enabled her to be in His hands the means, not only of keeping the Society in existence, but of strength ening and perfecting it. It was owing to her prudence at this crisis that she did not lose a single house or a single subject. In 1 the first foundation in England was made, and in Mother Barat visited her English community, established at that time in Berrymead Priory at Acton near London. As soon as the children saw her she completely won their hearts.
As eagerly as in any of the French houses they crowded round her in the garden, Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at 5 3 listening to all her words, and anxious to. Several years of tranquillity followed for France, but it was only a calm before the revolutionary outbreak of 1 The first effect of the storm was the loss of the house of Montet, as all religious Orders were expelled from Switzerland.
The house at Turin had to be abandoned, and soon afterwards all the other houses of the north of Italy. When the news of the closing of these five houses reached Mother Barat she did not for one instant lose her self-possession, though the work of twenty years was swept away. After calmly reading the letters, she said : "God s will, not ours, be done," and she received the members of her dispersed communities with a calm strength and 54 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at motherly kindness that touched them to the heart.
In June came the outbreak in Paris, during which Mgr. Afire fell a martyr to his self-devotion, and with his last breath sent assurances of esteem and affection to the Society of the Sacred Heart. One evening during the insurrection Mother Barat was told that the court of the Hotel Biron was filled by a band of insur gents, who had brought thither a wounded man upon a litter.
She lost no time in providing all that was necessary, sent for doctors, gave him up a room and a bed, and while the bullets were falling in the garden, and even striking the closed shutters of the room, she dressed his wound and prayed earnestly the while that the poor fellow might not die before Blessed Madeleine Sophie Barat 5 5 the priest could come. He recovered, went to his duties, and from that time never spoke of Mother Barat but as " My Mother General. She was growing old, but old age could never diminish her extraordinary energy and courage.
Each year, as it took from her the friends of a long lifetime, united her heart only more closely to that one Friend who never fails those who love Him as she did. In January, , Father Varin 56 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at paid his last visit to the novices at Con- flans, and his farewell to them was his favourite lesson, " Courage and Confi dence.
In the autumn of Mother Barat for the last time visited Rome and knelt at the feet of the Vicar of Christ. It was during this visit that important additions were made to the Constitutions, promulga ted by the Seventh General Congregation held at Lyons in the following year. The Society was divided into vicariates, under the charge of a Mother Vicar, who, besides the special charge of one house of which she is local Superior, has the supervision of the other houses comprised in her vicariate.
The sixty-five houses which the Society possessed were divided into ten vicariates, eight in Europe and Blessed Madeleine Sophie Earat 57 two in America. The Mothers assembled were deaf to her supplications, but she still hoped that the responsibility would be removed from her before her death. This was not to be, however, but for the last two years of her life the appointment of a Vicar General relieved her from the burden of some of the ever- increasing work of her office.
She continued still for many years to visit the houses in France, though longer journeys at her advanced age were beyond her strength. It was by meditating on the mysteries and truths of religion that her faith had always been so lively, her confidence so unshaken, and her love so ardent. Super natural favours were not wanting to her, but these were rarely manifested by their effects.
Mother Barat s humility kept them concealed as much as possible. What was always manifest was her habi tual union with our Lord. She saw Him in all his creatures, especially in His poor and little ones and in the suffering members of His mystical Body. Everything in nature raised her heart to God, and as she travelled she was always exciting her companions to praise the great Creator of the world. Everything to her, as to St. Francis of Assisi, was a step of the ladder whereby she ascended to the Supreme Perfection, and like him she looked upon each creature as a drop of the ocean of the Divine goodness.
The Tabernacle was her refuge and her home, her heaven upon earth. In the morning, when the Sister went to open the door of the chapel before five o clock, she generally found the Mother General in prayer before it, longing for the moment of entrance into our Lord s presence. For two or three hours she usually remained before the altar in humble adoration. Then she would leave her work and almost run to the chapel. Her thirst for the salvation of souls seemed to increase as her end approached. This would be my deep regret, if regret were possible, when the Master comes and calls for me.
At that time her thoughts and her heart were in Rome, where the heroic and saintly Pius IX. In 1 86 1 she wrote : "In the midst of our sorrows we are happy at following the bark of Peter and sharing the anguish of his Vicar. Let us try by our fidelity, by renewed fervour, to come forth like him 62 Blessed Madeleine Sophie Bar at from the storm, purified by what we have suffered and enriched with merit. She wished to see the Mothers for the last time, and give them her last instructions for continuing her work.
When the Congregation met, in June, , she presided at all its meet ings, breathing into it her spirit, whilst at the same time with delicate tact she partially withdrew from active participa tion, as though to accustom those who were to succeed her to her absence.