Stuart’s mission is to prepare young women for lives of exceptional leadership and service within the framework of the Goals and Criteria of the Schools of the Sacred Heart.
Part of an international community of Sacred Heart schools, Stuart is an independent Catholic school that welcomes and embraces students of all faiths and backgrounds, helping them to become accomplished, committed women whose confidence, global perspective and passion for justice will transform the world in which they live.
Special Sacred Heart Feast Days
Feast of Mater Admirabilis – Every year on October 20, the Stuart Community celebrates her feast day along with all Sacred Heart schools around the world. In 1844, Pauline Perdreau, a young Frenchwoman, later a religious of the Sacred Heart, gave expression to a desire to have Our Lady in our midst by painting a picture of her on one of the cloister walls. The painting depicts a young Mary, with downcast eyes as she contemplates a life with God. Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, foundress of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, thought that copies of this fresco should be placed in all the Sacred Heart Schools as an inspiration to the many children of the Sacred Heart.’As you know, our Mater is the only depiction of Mary on glass. The picture was called the Madonna of the Lily until October 20, 1846. When Pope Pius IX while on a visit to the Trinita, was shown the fresco and exclaimed: "She is truly Mater Admirabilis." Stuart is the only Sacred Heart School to depict “Mater” on glass, in the large window facing the front entrance hall. There are many symbols in the painting - from Mary's purity and single-hearted quest for God to her diligence and love of work - allowing students to model these qualities in their own lives. In the midst of our busy lives, may we allow ourselves to be touched by the stillness of this image, asking Mary to show us in her interior life, the source of her total, true love.
Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat – St. Madeleine Sophie founded the Society of the Sacred Heart in France in 1800. Her feast day is May 25.
Feast of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne – St. Philippine, who brought the Society of the Sacred Heart to the United States in 1818, was declared a saint at St. Peter's in Rome on July 3, 1988. St. Philippine founded the first free school for girls west of the Mississippi and was also a pioneer in the education of Native Americans. Her feast day is November 18.
Feast of Janet Erskine Stuart – Reverend Mother Janet Erskine Stuart, Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart at the time of World War I, was chosen by the founders to be patroness of our school for very special reasons. Her lively personality, incisive mind and practical spirituality are pertinent examples for Stuart's young women. Her father's life as an Anglican clergyman and her own conversion to Catholicism reflect the diversity that Stuart prizes. Her eminent leadership as an educator and writer are an inspiration for our mission. Her feast day is November 11.
Mary's eyes are lowered, symbolizing that what is essential is invisible. The open book on her sewing basket suggests that she has stopped her work to pray. She is praying and reminds us to be peaceful in the difficulties of life because God gives us hard things just as he gave difficult things to his Mother. The lily and crown of twelve stars are symbols related Mary. The original painting gave a pink impression and so Sacred Heart Schools use the color pink to celebrate this feast.
The image at Stuart was designed by Stuart's architect, Jean Labatut and painted by Father Francis Prokes, a graduate student from the School of Architecture at Princeton. This rendition of Mater Admirabilis is unique in Sacred Heart Schools because Jean Labatut wanted everything at Stuart to be unique, original. Because Mary's dress is not filled in, the forest background makes the dress appear to change with the seasons. Mary's face was not painted because Labatut wanted each person to create her or his own image of Mater. Labatut added another layer of meaning to the painting. The glass wall on which it is painted points to the center of Princeton, and is oriented toward three distinct vistas: Holder Tower at the Graduate College of Princeton University, the steeple of Trinity Church, and the Princeton University Chapel. Labatut wanted to emphasize the common ground that is shared by those of the Christian faith. Mater leads us to many lessons and interpretations: our commitment to diversity, our openness to others and our welcoming attitude; all part of our Sacred Heart Spirituality and our experience here at Stuart.
Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat called on our Sacred Heart communities to model respect, compassion, forgiveness and generosity.
Therefore, Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart joins other schools in the Sacred Heart Network who are called to live our daily lives promoting universal respect, in which each person is honored, loved and cared for, and where young women are educated to an understanding of and deep respect for diversity.
We believe a diverse community challenges us to make God’s love visible in the world, improves our lives as we learn and grow together and affords each of us a deeper understanding of our collective humanity.
We expect all members of the Stuart community, being guided by a spirit of love, to accept individuals’ differences, which include, but are not limited to, ability, age, ethnicity, family structure, gender, learning style, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status.
We believe that all in our community should feel valued and respected, be able to share their knowledge and gifts and be given the opportunity to thrive as equal contributors in enriching life at Stuart.