"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.
What does devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus teach us? It teaches us that pain and wounds need not be feared. It teaches us to face, not look away from, sin and suffering. When Jesus shows us his heart, he shows us the cross. He shows us the thorns. He shows us his wound. A wound created by an act of violence, inflicted on his heart after he had already breathed his last breath. A wound caused by our sin, which he does not ignore, but absorbs.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is broken and wounded, literally pierced through by our sins, both personal and societal. And the Sacred Heart of Jesus is also full of promises. Promises of peace and of comfort. Promises of fervor over tepidity. Today we celebrate Juneteenth, a moment in history full of promise. The promise of freedom and equality made on this day in 1865, and countless other times throughout our history, often seems like nothing more than empty words, a hope unfilled. And so we turn to the Sacred Heart, whose Feast Day we also celebrate today. We turn to this real and broken heart full of promises and we beg for the fervor he assures. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus transform our lukewarm souls of indifference into zealous hearts burning with his love for all people. May he strengthen us to acknowledge our sins and face the brokenness of the world. May we become his instruments of the promises fulfilled.