On October 20 every year (unless a weekend), the Sacred Heart community celebrate the Feast of Mater Admirabilis, which translates to “Mother Most Admirable” and is the title of a representation of Our Lady as a young girl wearing pink. There is a statue and/or picture of Mater in each Sacred Heart school around the world today. At Kincoppal-Rose Bay, our painting is hung outside Mater’s Chapel in the Senior School.
We usually invite students and staff to bring flowers to a shrine of Mater, set up under or near to her painting. Due to COVID restrictions this year and a large number of students still learning remotely on Mater’s Feast Day, the School arranged for flowers to be presented to Mater at her shrine and inside her Chapel. A prayer card has also been made available for each student and staff member upon their return to school.
The Story of Mater
In 1844, a generation after the Society of the Sacred Heart was founded, Pauline Perdrau, a young novice, took it upon herself to produce a fresco of the Virgin Mary on a wall in a recreational area of the convent, Trinità dei Monti in Rome. As a child, Pauline had had a favourite pink dress, so she chose to paint Mary as a young woman in a rose-coloured dress rather than a matronly Madonna in blue. The lily at Mary’s side represented her purity; the distaff and spindle, her love of work; a book, her dedication to study. Unfortunately, although Pauline put herself wholeheartedly into her task, her inexperience with the technique of fresco did not produce the beautiful soft painting for which she had hoped. The too vivid colours had to be hidden behind a drape. Pope Pius IX, upon visiting the convent, requested that the curtain be removed. Seeing the fresco of our Lady, its colours inexplicably softened, he exclaimed, “Mater Admirabilis!” (Latin for “Mother Most Admirable”) Miracles soon began with the cure of a missionary priest who had completely lost the power of speech. Permission was given to offer Mass before the miraculous picture and to celebrate the feast of Mater Admirabilis on October 20.
(Reproduced from rscjinternational.org)