Getting to Know the Apostles - Week 74
Posted September 19, 2010
When did you enter the Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
I entered the Congregation in 1966 after I graduated from Sacred Heart Academy (Hamden, CT).
How did you come to know the sisters?
While I was a student at Sacred Heart Academy, I worked closely with the Sisters who taught me. Helping the Sisters to clean the school on Friday afternoons really helped me to get to know them. They were just as joyful and caring when they were cleaning as when they were teaching us.
What have been your ministries and where have you served?
I have taught every grade from Pre-K 3 year olds to seniors in high school. When teaching at Sacred Heart Academy I taught Religion, Math, and History. I taught elementary school at Santa Maria School and Sacred Heart Private School in the Bronx, and Our Lady of Mount Virgin School in NJ. I have been principal at St. Joseph School in Chinatown and Our Lady of Pompeii School in Greenwich Village in Manhattan and St. Rose of Lima School in New Haven, CT. I have also been treasurer of the Province and of Sacred Heart Academy.
What type of ministry are you involved in at this moment?
Presently I am at Sacred Heart Learning Center in the Bronx which houses the Santa Maria School Early Childhood Program. We will have over 120 three and four year olds this year in our programs. I am doing Mission Advancement and taking care of the finances.
What has been a special blessing that you have received in this or any of your ministries?
I have loved all of my ministries. The people I have worked with and ministered to and their families have all been wonderful blessings to me. I have really been blessed by working with so many immigrants and their families throughout the years. They really help you to know what the word sacrifice means.
Would you like to share a “joyful moment” or a special grace that you have received in any of your mission assignments?
There have been “joyful moments” in every mission I have served in throughout the years. I think one of the “joyful moments” that stands out was during this past school year when I was teaching three year olds. A little girl who was living with her grandparents in Haiti when the earthquake struck came to the Bronx to live with her Mom. She came into our 3 year old program, was very shy, and her whole body shook at the slightest noise as she re-lived the earthquake noises. She spent a lot of time sitting on my lap until she became more comfortable with her surroundings and the cold weather. One day someone donated some toys and stuffed animals and the little girl lit-up when she saw Barney and held on to him for dear life. She had obviously lost her Barney in the earthquake. Barney was her security blanket and she gradually became more comfortable. When the program ended for the summer in June, the little girl was speaking English fluently, participating in all activities, and teasing and interacting with all of the children. She was no longer the frightened, shaking little three year-old that had come to our class 5 months before.
What hobbies or interests do you have when you are not working in your ministry?
I love to bake, sew, and do counted cross stitch.
What has been the grace of living in community with other sisters?
Living with other Sisters is a real grace to me. Living in community with my Sisters enables me to daily see the joy and compassion that we have for each other as well as the dedication that each Sister has toward her ministry and the people she serves.
Have there been any challenges in living out your call as a religious sister?
All of the challenges I have had as a religious sister have been overcome with the graces and blessings that have be given to me by the Sacred Heart as I put all my trust in Him.
How do you spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
I spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by telling my students about the devotion. I also try to spread the love and devotion to the Sacred Heart by being kind, gentle, and caring with all those I meet.
Do you have any other special devotions? How did this (these) devotion(s) come to be?
Besides being devoted to the Sacred Heart, I have always been very devoted to the Blessed Mother. My devotion to Mary began as a little girl and has deepened throughout the years.
If Mother Clelia were alive today what would you like to say to her?
I would like to thank her for her perseverance and the sacrifices she made in founding our Congregation.