The sisters of the Instituto del Sacro Cuore will leave Rome by August this year. The nuns in the French order housed at the top of the Spanish Steps since 1828 say that the reason they are leaving is because of a vocational crisis with less and less people taking up the habit.
When the convent was entrusted to the Sacred Heart Order, an agreement between Pope Leo XII and King Charles X of France stipulated that there should always be a majority of French-speaking nuns within the convent, which the order says has become increasingly difficult.
Founded by S. Maddalena Sofia Barat, the Sacred Heart is an order known for its active part in education. Indeed, the grounds of the Sacred Heart Institute comprises primary, secondary and high schools in which the sisters play an active role. Of the 13 sisters that are leaving (four to France and the others elsewhere in Italy) only three will continue to teach. Apart from loosing the didactic help of the nuns, the schools in the complex will not be affected by the orders move. In fact, the religious institute itself will not close but will be taken over by the Fraternita monastica di Gerusalemme.