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Saint Philomena School of the Sacred Heart is animated by the spirituality and charisms of the two woman of courage & confidence who founded our sponsoring Religious Orders - The Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ) and The Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ).  

Venerable Marie Madeleine d'Houet, fcJ, Foundress of the Faithful Companions of Jesus was born in Chatereaux, France in 1781.   St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, RSCJ, Foundress of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, was born in 1779, in Joigny, France.  Both women were contemporaries while coming of age and purpose during the French Revolution.  Their spirituality and charism serves as gift to our school community and animates a common mission to foster courage and confidence.  

St. Philomena School, Portsmouth RI
Commissioned in 2021 in honor of the school's transition to the Network of Sacred Heart Schools
Artist’s Statement by Brother Michael McGrath, OSFS

I am truly honored and delighted to have been commissioned by Principal Brian Cordeiro to create this image for St. Philomena School as it celebrates its membership in the Network of Sacred Heart Schools. As is always the case with commissions such as this, I learned so much and was deeply inspired by the research that went into it.

Since Confidence and Courage are cited as the chief virtues of St. Philomena School's Mission statement, I knew from the start that those words had to be front and center in some way. Placing them in a large Sacred Heart seemed the perfect way to do so, with St. Madeleine Sophie Barat and Venerable Marie Madeleine d’Houet holding up the heart on either side. Each of their community logos - the Religious of the Sacred Heart and the Faithful Companions of Jesus - are displayed in the upper corners, with the official seal of St. Philomena School printed on a balloon between their heads. The balloon is attached by a string to the Holy Spirit, who rises from the Sacred Heart. In the course of working on this image- just when I thought I was almost finished- I realized that it felt incomplete and needed children! As a result, to create a sense of wider community, two students dressed in St. Philomena uniforms hold up the “Sacred Heart of Courage and Confidence” in the bottom half of the image. They also represent the beautiful diversity and hospitality at the heart of St. Philomena’s mission.