Madeleine Sophie Barat was the daughter of a wealthy winemaker in France (Madeleine in french and Madeline in english). Her brother was a priest. He was arrested by the revolutionary government of France in 1793 over his refusal to take an oath to the anti-clerical state. After his release, he exercised his ministry in secret while educating his younger sister Madeleine. For 5 years Madelaine lived a life of prayer and study while the Catholic Church suffered persecution.
When the persecution ended Madeleine desired to become a Carmelite. However, after a meeting with the priest Joseph Varin she resolved to work with him to create an order of women devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the education of young women. Thus the Society of the Sacred Heart was formed. The first school was opened at Amiens in 180. By her death in 1865 there were 3,500 members in Europe, North Africa, and the Americas. Her remains are in the church of St Francis Xavier in Paris. She is commemorated in the liturgy on May 25.