Celebrating the Feast of the Sacred Heart through Social Justice

In 2021, the Feast of the Sacred Heart fell on Friday 11 June. Melbourne’s circuit breaker lockdown and short period of remote learning prevented us from acknowledging this important Feast Day, but it remains a day close to our hearts, particularly because of its significant for Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of St Joseph.

Sr Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph, shared the following reflection (excerpts):

This is a special feast day for the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart which calls us to give expression to a spirituality of the heart. It was a feast important to both our founders Julian Tenison Woods and Mary MacKillop and still held dear in the hearts of the Sisters today.

During May 2021, I had the opportunity to hear Cardinal Tagle speak to Congregational Leaders of Religious Institutes from around the world. I found a deep resonance with his sharing on the culture of encounter referred to in Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti and our celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. He began by referring to this passage from Exodus: I have witnessed to the affliction of my people. I have seen their misery, heard their pleas for help and I know their suffering. (Exodus 3:7)

This is a God who knows the heart of the people, a God who loves us with great tenderness. A God who binds up wounds, reaches down to feed the hungry and who fills our hearts with that same love in order that we too become the heartbeat of God flowing through our world.

Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti calls us to open our hearts to the world and to be a compassionate presence so that life might flourish in its fullness for Earth and its peoples. Each day offers the opportunity to open our eyes to see those who struggle, to open our ears to hear the cry of Earth and the cry of children, to touch the pain of another through simple acts of kindness.

This might mean spending a few minutes speaking to a homeless person, joining a knitting group to make blankets and scarves for those who cannot find shelter, or writing a letter to a lonely person.

This feast day calls us to honour through our encounters the sacredness of the other and to live centred in the heart of God.

Drawing on the spirituality of the heart and the invitation of Pope Francis and Sr Monica, the MSJ community is running two key events in support of Sacred Heart Mission. We ask families to consider ways in which they may be able to support these endeavours.

Food Drive

In line with the Feast of the Sacred Heart and upcoming JJAMM Week (August), we are asking for donations of non-perishable food items which can be collated and sent to Sacred Heart Mission, a Melbourne-based charity.

This collection of items will begin in Term 3.

The following items will be of particular focus for this drive:

  • Plain flour
  • Rice (white long grain preferred)
  • Honey
  • Cereal (muesli)
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Chicken, beef, or vegetable stock (powdered or liquid)
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Laundry detergent
  • Mugs (old and well washed, or new)

Opportunity Shop

In line with our learning and teaching on ethical fashion and its links to human trafficking, we are also requesting families to clean out their wardrobes over the holidays to donate any clean, wearable, appropriate clothing to the school.

Any donated items will be sorted and priced by our Year 11 RE Ministry class before being made available for purchase in an MSJ Op Shop later in Term 3. All proceeds and remaining items will be donated to Sacred Heart Mission.

To investigate your own ethical fashion purchases, see here: https://baptistworldaid.org.au...

For a guide on clearing out your wardrobe, see here: https://www.cnet.com/home/smar...

Wishing all members of the MSJ Community a safe and restful holiday break. May the spirit of God’s love and compassion keep our hearts warm this winter.

Andrea Grant - Director of Catholic Identity

Darcy Robinson - Faith Leader – Social Justice

Robert Herrera - Faith Leader – Ministry