This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies. For information please read our Privacy Policy.
    • Historic photo of students in the Otto Library

History and Heritage

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

For the sake of one child, I would have founded the Society.
Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) traces its heritage back to the year 1800, when St. Madeleine Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (RSCJ) in France. Eighteen years later, her good friend and follower St. Rose Philippine Duchesne brought the Society to North America and established the first Sacred Heart schools in St. Louis and New Orleans—the first of many to follow across the U.S., and worldwide.

Today, Schools of the Sacred Heart can be found in 41 countries across six continents, with the U.S. - Canada Province comprising a total of 25 schools. Under the guidance of the RSCJ and in collaboration with lay administration, Sacred Heart schools remain uniquely tied to founder St. Madeleine Sophie, and reflect a common ethos and values-system based on the attitudes of the Heart of Jesus, as well as a universal mission to educate the whole child toward a meaningful life of leadership, faith, purpose, and compassion.

Sacred Heart students and alumni have access to a number of national and international opportunities for exchange study, service projects, and other activities that enable cross-cultural connections and support among the worldwide network of schools. As noted by the RSCJ, “once a child of the Sacred Heart, always a child of the Sacred Heart.”

List of 2 items.

  • Our History in Atherton

    At the close of the 19th century, the RSCJ established  its 13th Sacred Heart school in the U.S. and second on the West Coast—the Academy of the Sacred Heart—a boarding school for girls located on the San Francisco Peninsula. Utilizing 40 acres of land purchased in 1894 from the Faxon Dean Atherton family, campus construction began with the iconic Main Building, housing both classroom and living space for student residents and RSCJ alike. Under the direction of founder and headmistress Rev. Mother Jane Fox, the school opened its doors in 1898 and began to flourish, adding a separate co-educational elementary school in 1906 (St. Joseph's), a college division for women in 1921 (sold to USF in 1978), and a preschool in the 1970s.
    Learn More
  • Sacred Heart Traditions

    Simple but important traditions which trace their roots back to Sacred Heart's beginnings in 19th century France reflect St. Madeleine Sophie Barat's vision for her schools - that they would be an extension of the home where children are loved and nurtured, where a sense of family reigns, and where each soul is respected, cultivated, and cared for in its own unique purpose under God. 

    A few of these traditions that annually occur on our campus include:
    • GOÛTER - a shared, delicious treat
    • FEAST OF MATER ADMIRABILIS - October 20, both a day of spiritual reflection and celebration, honoring the Holy Mother Mary. Reflecting the portrait of Mary created by Pauline Boudreau RSCJ, students wear the color pink and enjoy a goûter of pink cupcakes.
    • CONGÉ - a surprise holiday for students, where classes are suspended and fun activities are held
    • PRIZE DAY - the final school day for elementary grades each year, in which awards are given to students for achievement in academics, service, and/or character
    • BLUE RIBBONS - the highest honor awarded to a graduating high school senior, given at the final Convocation event. Light blue ribbons are given for outstanding practice of one of the five Sacred Heart Goals (faith, intellect, service, community, growth). Dark blue ribbons are given for extraordinary practice of all five Goals.
    • INTERNATIONAL PASSPORT - awarded at the conclusion of the high school program, this card identifies the bearer as a Sacred Heart graduate, which is recognized and allows entry to all Sacred Heart schools across the global network.

Sacred Heart Schools Atherton

Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton

150 Valparaiso Ave
Atherton, CA 94027
650 322 1866
Founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart, SHS is a Catholic, independent, co-ed day school for students in preschool through grade 12