Carrollton unveiled its new Mater Admirabilis Chapel and Spirituality Center to the community, fittingly beginning with our celebration of the Feast of Mater.
The original fresco displayed in the Trinità dei Monti in Rome, Italy, and painted in 1846 by French novice of the Society, Pauline Perdrau, is a beautiful depiction of Mary, the Mother of God. Replicas of this fresco are featured in all Sacred Heart schools [in the Network of Sacred Heart Schools] and have captured the hearts of students, alumnae, educators, and Religious of the Sacred Heart for generations. To walk into a Sacred Heart school anywhere in the world and see Mater is to be welcomed home.
On Friday, October 20th, our Lower and Upper School communities were the first to celebrate Mass in the Mater Admirabilis Chapel. Mary's presence could instantly be felt in the sea of pink as students gathered in the chapel to honor our Mother Most Admirable on her feast day. Following mass, this historic moment was celebrated with the Sacred Heart tradition of goûter as our community enjoyed delicious pink cupcakes lovingly served by many of our alumnae.
On Saturday, October 21st, our celebrations continued as Sacred Heart alumnae residing in South Florida gathered for their annual Mater Admirabilis Alumnae Mass and Brunch. This year's event was extra special as so many alumnae experienced first-hand a Carrollton dream becoming a reality.
Finally, on Wednesday, October 25, the Most Reverend Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, presided over the Rite of Dedication of the chapel and altar. Ceremonial traditions, like the deposition of relics of St. Madeleine Sophie and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, the anointing of the altar and walls of the chapel, and the illumination of the chapel, were inspiring moments of the ceremony leaving an indelible mark on all who were present.
These events were made possible by the dreams and visions of many who came before us. Our community stands on the shoulders of giants; women whose life, love, and vision have led us to become the Carrollton we know today, the school of Christ's Heart in Miami.
Sister Ann Taylor, RSCJ is one of those visionary giants. She led our school for 20 years, from 1978 to 1998 - years that saw growth of the student body and the acquisition of the Duchesne campus. Since 1998, she has continued to accompany and support our school and the mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart. In December 2020, she wrote a letter to Carrollton's Board of Trustees, starting with the story recalling Reverend Mother Barry and the quote carved into the coquina of El Jardin that inspired her to pursue the Carrollton property. She then went on to envision how sixty years from today, people will also recall the most recent symbol in Carrollton's history that inspired the acquisition of the Mater Admirabilis Chapel. The story of the Christmas star, the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn, not seen for centuries, was visible at Carrollton, the day the Christian Science Church across Main Highway went up for sale.
The stars quite literally aligned for Carrollton that day, and that symbol of light and love will forever be represented in the chapel through the Murano glass chandelier, designed to be the Star of Bethlehem. May our star guide all of us at Carrollton - past, present, and future generations - as we continue to seek and share Jesus' love.