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.
    • One of the RSCJ presiding over the All School Mass
Campus Life

Faith and Service

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Great hearts, generous hearts are required in the family of God's heart, because the difficulties in the way of doing good increase day by day.
From the earliest days of the Sacred Heart schools, a commitment to live a life of faith and to serve others has been deeply ingrained in the mission and practice of a Sacred Heart education.

Two centuries later, the world’s need for caring individuals who are confident in their own purpose, compassionate in their outlook, and committed to humane service is even greater. With this understanding at heart, a Sacred Heart experience provides ample opportunity for students to explore their own sense and practice of faith, develop and exercise personal core values, and take part in a depth and breadth of charitable activities throughout their years on campus.

Faith & Spiritual Activities

List of 5 items.

  • Liturgies & Prayer Services

    All-School Masses - the entire SHS community comes together at the beginning of the school year to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit, and at the end of the academic year for the feast of our founder, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat.

    Special Feast Days - Throughout the school year, a number of prayer services or Eucharistic liturgies are held - such as the Feast of Mater and Feast of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne - in which students participate by being readers, gift bearers, musicians, choral singers, and altar servers. Class participation is greatly appreciated, showing the interest and importance of being part of the spiritual growth of both the individual and our Sacred Heart community.

    Monthly Masses - in recent years, the grade 1-8  community - students, faculty, ands staff - have regularly come together to celebrate the Eucharastic Liturgy, sometimes tied to Holy Days of Obligation or other special times in the Catholic liturgical calendar, such as Advent and Lent. During these events, multiple faiths, cultures, and languages are represented, emphasizing the universality of our origins and focus on each student cultivating an active and personal faith.

    Class Mass - In the high school, each grade annually takes part in a "Class Mass" as part of a community-building ritual.

    Graduation Mass - Both the graduating eighth grade and 12th grade each partcipates in a graduation Mass connected to their respective Commencement Day.

    Prayer Services - Planned or spontaneous prayer services during the school day may be held in response to an unfolding national or local crisis, or other impactful world event, bringing together our community of faith to pray for any victims, for the restoration and fulfillment of justice, for the leaders in charge, and for the healing of all. 

    Cultural Celebrations of Faith - Across the grades, assemblies, espacios, and/or classroom presentations may be held connected to the celebration of different religious holidays and holy seasons. During these special events, prayers, history, and personal context is shared. Recent celebrations have included Diwali, Ramadan, Yom Kippur, Kwaanza, Channukah, and other faith traditions.
  • Daily Prayers & Meditation

    Across grades on campus, the day begins with either shared prayer or personal meditation.

    In grades 1-8, our Student Council, the Commissioners of Religious Affairs, share daily with our faith community morning prayers over the PA system.

    In grades 9-12, students and faculty share prayers from Catholic and other faith traditions during the first period of each academic day.
  • Espacios

    The high school community comes together regularly for "Espacio" - a time of community prayer and spiritual reflection which is led by students and/or faculty.

    Intentional, thoughtful, and inclusive in topic and theme, Espacios provide time to appreciate and learn about and from each other. In a wide variety of ways, Espacio offers the opportunity for our community to connect our lives to something deeper -to open ourselves to the transforming power of God. 
  • Retreats & Kairos

    Retreats are regularly held for students in grades 6-12, providing them time away from daily studies to nurture their spiritual lives and deepen their relationship with God and to one another. During the course of a retreat, students are able to more fully and authentically connect with their classmates, to reflect upon their own unique purpose in life, and to immerse without distraction in the essence of our Sacred Heart mission.

    For students in GR 6-8, a one-day retreat is held around a specified, age-appropriate theme. Sample topics include:
    • GR 6: What Does It Mean to Be A Child of the Sacred Heart?
    • GR 7: Who Is Christ For You? Where Do You Find Christ? How Do You Share Your Faith With Others?
    • GR 8: Time of Transition and Change
    GR 9-11 RETREATS
    In grades 9 and 10, students participate in one-day retreats that are designed to develop community and faith-sharing. Grade 11 students are offered the opportunity to participate in overnight retreats that invite them to a deeper level of community-building, self-reflection, and prayer.

    GR 12 KAIROS
    Seniors have the opportunity to attend the popular Kairos, an optional activity which many graduates consider a culminating experience of their spiritual journey at SHP.  Designed as a three-day, two-night activity and held at a location off-campus, Kairos is offered 3-4 times during the school year, and concludes with a welcome home celebration with participants and their parents/guardians.

    Additionally, the SHP Retreat Ambassador Program trains students to take on leadership in retreats as early as their sophomore year, and provides a community of growth and support for those students most passionate about retreats.
  • Sacred Heart Society (GR 12 Only)

    Annually, the Sacred Heart Society inducts a select group of high school seniors - approximately 35 each fall - to support the charism of the RSCJ through directed service projects, fundraising, advocacy, as well as 1:1 mentorship and community-building with the retired Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) residing at the campus’ Oakwood Retirement Center. The relationships forged with the Sisters are meaningful and lasting, and often the devotion students develop for their RSCJ mentor transcends time and distance, as they continue to visit and keep in contact.

    Members of the Sacred Heart Society undertake a special emphasis on support of sister institutions in Uganda and India, and have spearheaded a number of efforts to raise funds, host guest speakers, and promote campus awareness for ongoing challenges in the schools and students there.

Service Projects & Programs

List of 5 items.

  • Annual Campus Projects (GR P - 12)

    From the high school football program’s annual “Fun in the Swamp” event working with local athletes with Down’s Syndrome, to the lower school’s “Sandwiches on Sunday” program to feed the hungry, to the middle school involvement in “Street Church,” working with the region’s homeless population, Sacred Heart students are learning the context and meaning of social justice and broadening their awareness of individual responsibility.

    While service activity is integrated with the regular curricular program across grades, students also have multiple opportunities to contribute their time and talent to a variety of advocacy and/or direct service projects throughout the school year.

    A sample of regular SHS service programs include:
    • Campus Kitchens (national)
    • Coastal Cleanup (regional)
    • Valpo Fun Run (with Menlo School)
    • HeArt Exchange
    • Peninsula Bridge Tutoring
    • Warm Items & Toiletries Collection
    • Holiday Food Baskets Drive
    • Street Life Ministries
    • Special Olympics 
    • Bridge Walk for Uganda
    • Bicycle Drive for Siena Youth Center
    • Alumni Service @ Ronald McDonald House
  • Service Immersion & Advocacy Trips (GR 9-12)

    Open to students in grades 9-12, service immersion programs and advocacy projects are another way students are deepening their environmental and ethical perspective and exercising their potential to act for positive change.

    Annually, high school students can travel to help in the rebuilding of hurricane-stricken New Orleans, work with and learn from former gang members at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, alleviate the suffering of immigrant populations on the U.S.-Mexico border, lobby for humane immigrant rights and programs in Washington, D.C., and engage in missionary work supporting local populations in Puerto Rico, to name a few.
  • HeArt Exchange (GR 9-12)

    Begun as a collaboration between the Service Learning and Fine Arts departments at SHP, the HeArt Exchange provides enrichment programs for underserved students from the Siena Youth Center in Redwood City.

    With the support of SHP faculty and students who lead each session, the program meets weekly during the school year, providing lessons in everything from instrumental music to robotics, from physics to photo editing. An example of a true reciprocal partnership, Siena students benefit from our campus and students while SHP students gain valuable social awareness and concrete mentorship skills.
  • Legacy Summer Nonprofit Internship (GR 11 Only)

    Through a funded program, rising SHP seniors have an exclusive opportunity to self-design and carry out a service project with a nonprofit organization of their choosing.

    Students complete an application process and if selected for a Legacy Internship, will work with SHP Service Learning staff to define and outline program goals, coordinate outreach, and secure of a benefiting organization. Legacy Interns will be given a stipend for summer work and travel connected to the project’s execution. Interns will present a formal paper, project deliverable, and will give a formal presentation to the SHP community at the conclusion of the internship.
  • Sacred Heart Network Summer Service Program

    In solidarity and mutuality with the poor and marginalized, students are asked to leave behind the materialism and commercialism of today’s world. In addition, it is hoped that the students experience a personal transformation by living in a communal setting, practicing simply living, and maintaining a positive and open attitude.

    One of the great benefits of every service project is the opportunity to develop new friendships with students from across the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, U.S. - Canada Province who come from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. 

    The projects, now in their 31st year, offer students a unique experience of service and community. Project locations are held in conjunction with Network school site locations; the nature and scope of each project is individually developed and operated by our community of Sacred Heart educators.

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