"Let us kneel often before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament"
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.
The mission of Cor Jesu has impacted my life in the simplest and most unexpected ways. During my time at CJ, I had the opportunity to organize many liturgies with Sr. Christine Hoffner, ASCJ. I remember one specific afternoon in which we were gathering items in the sacristy and she was telling me about one of her favorite songs, “Hosanna” by Hillsong Worship. She loved the lyric that stated, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours.” Prior to our conversation, I had never noticed that lyric before. Now, over eight years later, I think back on those words quite often and what they have meant for my life. I see those words from the perspective of me speaking to God. It is a humbling reminder that my life is not meant for me, but for Him. However, I have also felt those words from the perspective of God during times of trial, uncertainty and change in my life. It is during our weakest moments that God calls us to Him. He invites us to hand over our hearts, weighed down by our fears, pain and the human condition. He desires to share some of our most messy and uncomfortable moments with us firsthand. “My child, break My heart for what breaks yours.” Our God is strong, but His strength comes in the form of love and compassion. That love is personal and intentional to each one of us. As He hung on the cross, His Sacred Heart was thinking of us by name. As we go about our days, let us call upon Christ often and invite Him into our relationships with others. God’s love is personal, so a simple conversation about music with someone may just be life changing.