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1 Outline of the Presentation
Biography of Janet Erskine Stuart, rscj Mother Stuart – Seeker Mother Stuart – Educator Mother Stuart – Animator..Spiritual Guide



4 Janet E. Stuart: A Life Unfolds
Born November 11, 1857; youngest of 13 Educated at home..math, philosophy, literature……trained by German and Swiss teachers with whom she learned fluent German and French. At 21 she converted to Catholicism (March 6th 1879) 1882 entered the Society of the Sacred Heart at Roehampton where she was named Mistress of Novices immediately after her profession 1891 became Superior Vicar in 1894. 1911, she was elected 6th Superior General October 21, 1914 Mother Stuart died.

5 Mother Stuart - Seeker

6 The Rev Hon. Andrew Godfrey Stuart (1812-1889); Janet’s father
Janet E. Stuart: A Life Unfolds Catherine Anne Wingfield m d 1845 8 children The Rev Hon. Andrew Godfrey Stuart ( ); Janet’s father The Reverend Honorable Andrew Godfrey Stuart, rector of Cottesmore, 4th son of the 2nd Earl Castle Stewart. his house was the family home known as Stuart Hall in Northern Ireland. This house is no longer there. The stately home had to be replaced and is now a more modern house. Janet as a child would have visited Stuart Hall as it had been her father’s childhood home. This house was the family home known as Stuart Hall in Northern Ireland. This house is no longer there. The stately home had to be replaced and is now a more modern house. Janet as a child would have visited Stuart Hall as it had been her father’s childhood home. Mary Penelope Noel (m d 1859) 5 children – Janet being the youngest

7 Janet E. Stuart: A Life Unfolds
Janet’s birthplace and childhood home The Rectory at Cottesmore, Rutland Her father became a Minister of the Church of England (we would call it Episcopalian) at Cottesmore in England and this is the Rectory where the family lived.

8 Janet E. Stuart: A Life Unfolds
Her search for God began early. When she was a small child, about the age of six, her brother Douglas turned to her and said, “Aristotle said we must have a last end…what is your last end, Janet?” She could not answer that question but the question haunted her, and she began an eager search for the answer. Also, when she was six years old, she heard the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead, and with all the faith in the world, she went to the cemetery where her mother was buried, stood before her grave, and said, “Mama, come forth!” And when her mother did not come forth, Janet was devastated, and this began a period of agnosticism in her life. Only when she came in contact with her Catholic relatives and the ‘penny catechism’ did she discover the answer to her brother’s question, ‘God made me to know him and love him and serve him in this world and to be happy with him in the next.’ An amazing peace overtook her. When Janet was 14, a highly educated German Protestant governess came to care for the children, and she brought with her many books on theology which she discussed with Janet. Her role as governesses was important also because she was an exceptionally well educated person. This governess awakened Janet’s interest in German thought and philosophy. Janet’s enthusiasm for writing and philosophy caused her to stay up at nights reading under the table so that she would not disturb the family. Janet aged Janet aged 14

9 Janet E. Stuart: A Life Unfolds
Events are sacraments of the will of God. (Mother Stuart) Jeremiah 1:13 The Word of the Lord came to me… Now a word to show how Janet felt the moment of being called to be a nun. The decisive moment was in May 1882 (three years after her conversion) and I quote her words: “I was thinking of a religious life and saying to God, ‘I should like it very much, but you see it is impossible to think of it at present and then and there, by my side was a bed of blue hyacinths – I saw it all, so I went to the convent chapel. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed, and a nun was on the prie-dieu” (that is a kneeling desk for prayer near the altar). “I asked God as a sign that, if the ‘word’ was from Him, He would put me on the prie-dieu instead of the nun. Almost immediately the nun left the prie-dieu and came to beg me to take it, saying she felt too ill to stay – so I did not doubt further.” She wrote once, “Events are the sacraments of the will of God.” And for her, events were those sacraments all of her life. “Everything will speak of God if you love it enough.”

10 Janet Erskine Stuart rscj the Educator

11 Education of the WHOLE person
character formation; methods of preparing the soil to enable students to become WHOLE persons; training for greatness; inculcating the awareness and love of sincerity as a means of training character; and, finally, the role of the teacher, as a person, in the educational process. Janet Reberdy rscj

12 The Training of the Teacher…
No one who has the good of children at heart, and the training of their characters, can leave the subject without some grave thoughts on the formation of their own character, which is first in order of importance, and in order of time must go before, and accompany their work to the very end. Janet Erskine Stuart RSCJ Children are very delicately sensitive to these influences, they respond unconsciously to what is expected of them, and instinctively they imitate the models set before them. They catch a tone, a gesture, a trick of manner with a quickness that is startling. The influence of mind and thought on mind and thought cannot be so quickly recognized, but tells with as much certainty, and enters more deeply into the character for life. The consideration of this is a great incentive to the acquirement of self-knowledge and self-discipline by those who have to do with children. Sincerity is not to be taken for granted. Sincerity requires the recognition that to be honestly oneself is more impressive for good than to be a very superior person by imitation. difficult virtue to practis Another quality to be desired in those who have to do with children is what may--for want of a better word--be called vitality, not the fatiguing artificial animation which is sometimes assumed professionally by teachers, but the keenness which shows forth a settled conviction that life is worth living. but a living grace of soul, coming from within, born of straight thinking and resolution, and so strongly confirmed by faith and hope that nothing can discourage it or make it let go. It is a bulwark against the faults which sink below the normal line of life, dullness, depression, timidity, procrastination, sloth and sadness, moodiness, unsociability--all these it tends to dispel, by its quiet and confident gift of encouragement.

13 ‘…the great and unchanging fact that the formation of heart and will and character is, and must be always, the very root of the education of a child; and it also shows forth the new fact that at no time has that formation been more needed than at the present day. (Introduction)

14 The essence of an Educator
…the responsibility lies all the more directly with the teacher who has to live the life, as well as to know the truth, and love both truth and life in order to make them loved. These are qualifications that are never attained, because they must always be in process of attainment, only one who is constantly growing in grace and love and knowledge can give the true appreciation of what that grace and love and knowledge are in their bearing on human life: to be rather than to know is therefore a primary qualification. Inseparably bound up with it is the thinking right thoughts concerning what is to be taught.

15 …Children like to find real people, not anxiously careful to improve them, but able to take life with a certain spontaneity as they like to take it themselves. They are frightened by those who take themselves too seriously, who are too acute, too convincing or too brilliant; they do not like people who appear to be always on the alert, nor those of extreme temperatures, very ardent or very frigid. The people whom they like and trust are usually quiet, simple people, who have not startling ways, and do not manifest those strenuous ideals which destroy all sense of leisure in life.

16 We labour to produce character, we must have it
We labour to produce character, we must have it. We look for courage and uprightness, we must bring them with us. We want honest work, we have to give proof of it ourselves. And so with the Christian qualities which we hope to build on these foundations. We care for the faith of the children, it must abound in us. We care for the innocence of their life, we must ourselves be heavenly minded, we want them to be unworldly and ready to make sacrifices for their religion, they must understand that it is more than all the world to us. We want to secure them as they grow up against the spirit of pessimism, our own imperturbable hope in God and confidence in the Church will be more convincing than our arguments. We want them to grow into the fullness of charity, we must make charity the most lovable and lovely thing in the world to them.

17 Plan of Studies Curriculum must be chosen with a view to allowing true instruction, in the etymological sense of the word: in-struere, that which aims not at accumulating knowledge, but at constructing solid foundation in the mind, that is to say, serious intellectual habits, steady and coherent personal thought We are professional nurturers of thought and ideally we encourage our students to develop an assertive, questioning attitude toward learning while enhancing the qualities of nurturing and caring.

18 Janet Erskine Stuart rscj the Animator Spiritual Guide


20 Limitless possibilities for sanctity
…all our spiritual life is unified into the one desire of union with God and His Will. It is for this union we were made.

21 …We should take our soul as our first and favorite pupil give it every advantage we can; make it stand on its feet, make it elastic, make it adaptable to circumstances, free in its movements ; that is to say, not held down to a groove, and not holding to anything. Mother Stuart

22 Dependence on God God must lead the soul Himself into this land, we cannot do so. It is His gift, coming sometimes at the end of a life of heroic struggle, sometimes in unspoiled souls at the dawn, but always a free gift. . . No one can put others on this road, nor know with certainty that they are meant to enter on it. Some who reach the border-land are artist souls, who may mistake it for what God is not offering them; others there are who meant to enter, delay on the border-land, and fearing the pain go no further.

23 The faithful daily preparation of meditation
... I advise you to follow the clue ; preparing, yes, you must not risk going unprepared, but if the presence of God takes hold of your soul, or if you can keep thus in His presence, do not force yourself to do anything else The best thing for you is to go on quite simply and not ask yourself whether the way is ordinary or extraordinary, there is so much border-land in these things, and really in practice and to you it does not matter much what one would call it. You have only to go on quite simply, preparing faithfully, keeping your head in the dust, for you know whatever grace God gives you is His gift and not your own deserving.

24 Mother Stuart… “We must remember that each one of our children is
destined for a mission in life. Neither we nor they can know what it is, but we must know and make them believe that each one has a mission in life and that she is bound to find out what it is, that there is some special work for God which will remain undone unless she does it, some place in life which no one else can fill… We must bring home to our children and to ourselves also, the responsibilities for our gifts. We must put our talents at interest, and not bury them in the earth, and the reason is sufficient, that they are God’s.”

25 Society’s ‘hunger and thirst for God…'
I am convinced now, that many of our young nuns could be more contemplative if we initiated them more into the secrets of the interior life. Our Lord calls those in the Society who have an understanding of their vocation to a degree of intimacy and friendship far above any that they can imagine or desire.

26 Final Conference We shall not fully know what it means to have been called to religious life until we get to heaven. God has called us to the fullest spiritual life of which we are capable. The stop will always be put by ourselves.

27 Janet Erskine Stuart, Educator Par Excellence
She was a woman of complexity – seemingly simple and yet quite simply profound. She was a shy, retiring person who had a telling impact on individuals in her own community and on the youth of more than a dozen nations. She was a semi-cloistered nun who traveled continents in a pre-World War I ambiance in which “ladies” seldom did such things. She was a traditionalist who, at the same time, looked to the future and became an innovator and a seminally productive thinker for her own and later generations. Janet Erskine Stuart, Educator Par Excellence Janet Reberdy, RSCJ

28 Structures of Relationships
…All the system converges to this- to give personal worth to each child, a worth of character, strength, principle, and anchorage in faith. Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ

29 Epochs of transition must keep us on the alert
Epochs of transition must keep us on the alert. They ask us to keep our eyes open upon the distant horizons, our minds listening to seize every indication that can enlighten us; reading, reflection, searching, must never stop; the mind must keep flexible in order to lose nothing, to acquire any knowledge that can aid our mission…. Immobility, arrested development bring decadence; a beauty, fully unfolded is ready to perish. So let us not rest on our beautiful past. Letter to the Society of the Sacred Heart, Janet Erskine Stuart, rscj August 13, 1912

30 From the Society in the UK
2013 LAUNCH OF THE CENTENARY YEAR CONFERENCE TRIDUUM WITH JANET STUART Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. CENTENARY EUCHARIST OFTHANKSGIVING Sunday 19th October 2014 Digby Stuart College From the Society in the UK Network of Sacred Heart Centenary Celebrations

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