ASCJ Tradition in Education

“Humility is the foundation of our spiritual life; without it there can be no true sanctity.”

-Blessed Clelia Merloni, foundress of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Education Infused with the Charism 
of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Drawn by devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that flourished in the Church of her time, Clelia Merloni made Jesus the King and Center of her heart. Like the first Apostles, she wanted to express in her own life and in her apostolate the deep faith in and love for Jesus that inflamed her and drew her to love Him, even to the cross.

Mother Clelia's spirituality was rooted in contemplation of the Paschal Mystery, symbolized by the pierced Heart, mystery of life and death, sign of love and salvation. It took form in an ardent search for God and for souls, in a constant desire to transcend self in order to conform to Christ, even to the total sacrifice of self. It manifested itself in an unquenchable fire of love and zeal to make the Heart of Jesus known and loved.

God alone was the motivating force of Mother Clelia's life. She felt drawn to make reparation for the ingratitude Jesus received from so many people. Her loving fidelity, especially through Eucharistic adoration, was the passionate expression of this reparation. Because of her own intimate union with God, she wanted to awaken in all people a deep desire for God and to help bring them to an understanding of His goodness, mercy, and compassion.

To a world torn by hatred and indifference toward God and His Church, a world in which people sought false images of salvation and happiness, Mother Clelia presented the Heart of Christ - "which has so loved us..." - as the fulfillment of all expectations, the fountain of life, the source of happiness and salvation. Mother Clelia entrusted this legacy to her daughters, the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, more than 100 years ago.

Through this charism, the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus seek to be increasingly what God intends each of us to be in the Church: witnesses of faith, signs of hope, evangelizers through service.

Ministries of the Apostles

Mother Clelia felt drawn to the urban poor who suffered greatly during the time of the Industrial Revolution in northern Italy. Requesting a blessing from the bishop of Como, Italy, Mother Clelia stated that she and the sisters wanted to "dedicate ourselves to the active religious life, gathering orphans and poor, abandoned and underprivileged girls."

Today's challenges are different from those of Clelia's time: the fast pace of life, the lack of supportive extended family, ethical questions in science and technology. Yet, some are strangely the same: bodily and spiritual hunger, the search for meaningful living, the need to be loved and appreciated.

Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus place themselves in the service of the Church and of the people of God. By virtue of their consecration, they are sent in mission. The power and creativity of their missionary zeal flow from the living out of the charism of profound love for God and for others as envisioned by Mother Clelia.

"Sharing the Love of the Heart of Christ"

Monthly Charism Reflection

November 2020

Five years old. Sitting with my family saying our prayers; looking at the wooden sculpture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus my grandfather made…

Ten years old.  Leaving the lunchroom, running fast; skidding to a halt as I say a quick prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue - Looking up to him as He looks down at me, hand to Heart-hand to heart…

Twenty years old.  Struggling at college; praying in the Newman Center Chapel, trying to find some consolation; remembering the prayers I prayed every First Friday…

Twenty-Five years old.  Starting my first “real” job with the Jesuits; walking into my office and seeing a portrait of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the wall…

Fifty-Five years old. Heading to my office in the Library at Cor Jesu; walking by the Sacred Heart of Jesus - a quick wink and prayer, as my hand brushes against His robes…

I don’t always get it right.  I take two steps forward and sometimes three steps back. I struggle with my prayer, and I don’t always hear what I want to hear. There are times when I am filled with confusion, sadness, and yes, even anger. But through it all, the Sacred Heart never stops inviting me closer. 

“Bring all of you to Me,” Jesus says. 
“Trust that you are safe in Me.” 
“Come get what you need, so you can share it with others.”

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotion that speaks to what we need in our world today.  Through all the strife, confusion, weariness and uncertainty, one thing is clear:  
Jesus showers us with His Mercy and offers us His Heart, that is on fire with love for all of us.

Why not take a moment today to stop running and take a look:  hand to heart, hand to Heart.
“Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You.”
“Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in Your love for me.” 

- Danielle Harrison, CJA Inclusion & Equity Coordinator