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Feast of Mater Admirabilis

"There are special days at a Sacred Heart School on which our community celebrates God's goodness. The Feast of Mater celebrates the place that Mary has in your life. The Feast of Mater has united Sacred Heart students from around the globe since 1846 when St. Madeleine Sophie Barat named her the patroness of Sacred Heart students" —from The Dawn of becoming...Mater at Your Age by Lisa Bucher, RSCJ

Each Sacred Heart School has a painting of Mater Admirabilis, in tribute to the original fresco at the Trinità dei Monti in Rome. Stuart's painting,located in the front hall directly opposite the main entrance, depicts Mary as a young girl.

Fresco of Mater Admirabilis

Our Mater Window

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 she 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.