A Century of Service

Each province within the congregation is guided by a Provincial Superior. In the early part of the 20th Century, however, the institute (as it was referred to at the time) known as the "Apostolic Sisters of the Sacred Heart," had not yet been divided into Provinces. So, in 1908 when Mother Marcelline Vigano came from Rome to serve as Superior of the New Haven, Connecticut house, she was Vicaress General of the Institute.

M. Marcelline Vigano

Mother MarcellineMother Marcelline was born in Brugherio, Italy in 1869. She was among the first members of the institute, following the Foundress Clelia Merloni and Elisa Pederzini. Mother Marcelline was instrumental in firmly establishing the Sisters in New Haven, overcoming the obstacles created by the purchase and renovation of two houses. Not long after laying the groundwork in New Haven, she was recalled to Rome to assume the position of Mother General of the institute, succeeding the foundress, Mother Clelia. Mother Marcelline died in Rome in 1942.

M. Celestine Rigo, 1919-1934 & 1937-1951

Mother CelestineMother Celestine Rigo was born in Recoaro, Italy in 1883. She entered the institute in 1901. In 1919, Mother Celestine sailed for the United States with Superior General Mother Marcelline Vigano, accompanying her on her visitation to the three exisiting U.S. Houses. Upon completion of the trip, Mother Celestine was named Vicaress General of the Institute and Superior of the Novitiate in New Haven. When the Institute was divided into Provinces in 1931, Mother Celestine became the first Provincial Mother of the U.S. Province. Much of the expansion of the United States Province, including the planning and early supervision of Mount Sacred Heart, was carried out under her direction.

M. Hildegarde Campodonico, 1934-1937

Mother HildegardeMother Hildegarde was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1879 and was the second applicant to the Novitiate in Boston, entering the institute in 1904. She arrived in New Haven, CT in 1909 where she served as Novice Mistress. Mother Hildegarde served as superior and principal of the first schools established in Missouri and Pennsylvania by the newly-renamed Missionary Zelatrices of the Sacred Heart. At the General Chapter in 1937, Mother Hildegarde was elected Superior General. Mother Hildegarde died in Rome in 1949.

M. Rosina Dassi, 1951-1960

Mother RosinaSr. Rosina was born in Italy in 1901, entered the congregation in 1921 and professed her Final Vows in 1928. After serving in New Haven, New York, and St. Louis over the course of 27 years, she was appointed Provincial Superior in 1951. During her 9-year term, the United States Province made great strides in expansion and development. The Mount Sacred Heart Provincialate and Novitiate were completed in Hamden, CT; Sacred Heart Academy relocated from New Haven to the Mount property, Cor Jesu Academy was established in St. Louis, MO; and negotiations for the first Apostle mission in California were begun.
Following her term as Provincial Superior, Sr. Rosina spent another 24 years in active ministry in Connecticut, Missouri, and California before retiring to Sacred Heart Manor in Hamden, CT in 1985. She spent her final years in prayerful simplicity, echoing the way she had lived her life. She died peacefully on September 7, 1995.

M. Rosalia Sosso, 1960-1968

Mother Rosalia A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Mother Rosalia entered the congregation in 1935 at Greene Street in New Haven, CT. She professed her first vows in 1938 and her final vows in 1944. Having taught and administered elementary schools for fourteen years in New York and Connecticut, she was named Aspirant Mistress in 1951 and also began teaching on the secondary level that year. In 1960, Mother Rosalia was appointed Provincial Superior, and the following year she oversaw the purchase of property in Greensburg, PA where the Apostles established Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children. During Mother Rosalia’s eight years in office, the Apostles continued their expansion in the United States by opening a second school in Illinois and their first mission in California. After eight years as Provincial Superior, Mother Rosalia was elected Superior General of the Congregation by the 9th General Chapter and began her thirty-one year sojourn in Rome. Please refer to the history of the worldwide congregation for Mother Rosalia’s achievements during her three terms of office. Having completed her service as Superior General in 1986, Mother Rosalia remained in Rome until 1999 when she returned to the United States and retired at Sacred Heart Manor in Hamden, CT. She resided at Sacred Heart Manor until her death on July 15, 2012.

M. Anita Marie Giampetro, 1968-1977

Sr. Anita MarieSr. Anita Marie was born in 1916 in Dunbar, Pennsylvania, entered the congregation in 1940 and professed final vows in 1947. After several years in teaching and administration in New Haven and Pennsylvania, Sr. Anita Marie was the founding principal of, Cor Jesu Academy begun in 1956 at Sacred Heart Villa on "The Hill." It wasn't long before Cor Jesu outgrew its first home and so Sr. Anita Marie took on the responsibility for the planning and construction of the new Cor Jesu Academy which opened in 1965 in Afton.
In 1968. Sr. Anita Marie was appointed Provincial Superior. One highlight of her term was the establishment of the Apostles' retirement home, Sacred Heart Manor, on the Mount Sacred Heart property. She also orchestrated the purchase of the Our Lady Queen of Apostles property in Imperial, MO in 1969.
After another 12 years as principal and superior, Sr. Anita Marie was assigned to Our Lady, Queen of Apostles in 1989. She died there in 1996 following a courageous two-year battle with cancer.

Sr. Maria Consilia Mantello, 1977-1986

Sr. ConsiliaSister Maria Consilia Mantello was born in New York City, New York and entered the community of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart in 1954. She made her First Vows in 1956 and began her apostolic life as one of the six Sisters who formed the community that started Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis, MO. She returned to the Mount to assume the responsibility of Aspirant Directress in 1960, and continued as Postulant Directress in 1965, then principal of the former Rev. Daniel J. Barry Jr. H.S. until she was appointed Provincial Superior in July, 1977. Previous to and during her first term as Provincial she was involved in directing the efforts of the United States Province in revising the Constitutions and Directory of the Congregation including putting the two volumes together in Italian and then translating them into English.
Sr. Consilia’s efforts were focused in two primary areas during her three terms as Provincial Superior:

  • to foster the personal growth of the Sisters by
    • initiating a Continuing Formation Program for various age groups during the summer months
    • allowing Sisters personal higher educational choices in fields of theology, medicine and law;
  • to restructure and diversify ministries in order to more effectively utilize the abilities and talents of our Sisters and so better serve the Church.

During the nine years new leadership also was fostered and developed in the province and ASCJ service was initiated in a southern home mission diocese of the United States.
Following her nine years in Province leadership, Sr. Consilia accepted the position of vice-Chancellor and Administrative Assistant to the Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, where she remained for six years. In 1992 the Congregation established another two missions in Florida. Six Sisters were sent to the Diocese of Palm Beach to serve there in four different ministries. Sr. Consilia once again accepted the position of Administrative Assistant to the Bishop, which she held serving three Bishops consecutively over a period of seven years. For the following five years Sister served as Co-Vicar for Religious in the same Diocese of Palm Beach. In 2004 she returned to the Provincial House to give a vision to and assist in founding the new Caritas Christi Center. Since 2008, Sr. Consilia has resided at Sacred Heart Manor in Hamden, CT.

Sr. Adrianne DiLonardo, 1986-1995

Sr. AdrianneA native of Pittsburgh, PA, Sr. Adrianne entered the congregation in 1950, professed her first vows in 1953 and her final vows in 1958. Following over 20 years of service as teacher and administrator in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania, she became part of the Formation team working with the postulants and novices from 1974-1983. In 1983 Sr. Adrianne moved from forming the youngest members of the Congregation to caring for the elders as she accepted the role of superior at Sacred Heart Manor. Appointed Provincial Superior in 1986, Sr. Adrianne was responsible for expanding the Apostle ministries in Florida, with expansion to Pensacola, Pahokee, and West Palm Beach. During her term, the Apostles opened the Clelian Adult Day Center at Sacred Heart Manor on the Mount Sacred Heart property in Hamden, CT. Within a few years, a large addition was built to expand the Clelian Center.
In 1990, Apostle ministry began in northern New Jersey with the assignment of Sisters to serve at Immaculate Heart Academy in Washington Township. In 1994, Sr. Adrianne united the sisters of the entire province in a Centennial Celebration of the congregation which was founded in Italy in 1894. The Friends of the Sacred Heart program was initiated during Sr. Adrianne's tenure. Sr. Adrianne is also responsible for the expansion of the Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children in Greensburg, PA, where new residential buildings were added in 1993. Since the completion of her three terms of leadership in 1995, Sr. Adrianne has resided at Clelian Heights where she serves at many levels and is an inspiration to all she meets.

Sr. Deborah Lopez, 1995-2001

Sr. DeborahSr. Deborah is a native of New York City. She entered the congregation in 1966, professed first vows in 1969 and her final vows in 1974. After 10 years in teaching and administration in elementary and secondary schools in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Missouri, Sr. Deborah served as Postulant Directress from 1980-1988. She resumed responsibilities as principal in New Jersey and Missouri until she was named Provincial Superior in 1995. Sr. Deborah continued the growth of Apostle ministry in the state of Florida with the assignment of Sisters to John Paul II High School in Tallahassee in 2001 . Expansion to Asia also was initiated with the assignment of a community to St. Paul's High School in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Peoples' Republic of China. Under Sr. Deborah's leadership, the province formed a restructuring committee to examine the missions and ministries of the United States Province. Sr. Deborah also assigned an Apostle to full-time vocation ministry, an important step in being able to promote the Apostles' charism and communicate with discerning women. The Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children in Greensburg, PA, was further expanded with the dedication of the Therapeutic and Recreational Center in 1996 . After completing her two terms of service in 2001, Sr. Deborah was principal of St. Joseph School in the Chinatown section of New York, NY. Please see Sr. Deborah's Perspective article about St. Joseph in the Fall, 2006 issue of Caritas, the newsletter of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Since March 2011, Sr. Deborah has been principal of St. Raphael’s School in Bridgeport, CT. In 2013, St. Raphael’s School joined with St. Augustine School to form the Cathedral Academy. Sr. Deborah will continue at Cathedral Academy as principal of the Lower School at St. Raphael Campus (Pre-K through 3rd Grade).

Sr. M. Clare Millea, 2001-2004

Sr. ClareSr. Clare is a native of Derby, Connecticut. She entered the congregation in 1965 and made her perpetual vows in 1973. The first seven years of Sr. Clare's ministry was spent at Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children in Greensburg, PA. From 1978-1980 she served as principal of St. Michael School in New Haven, CT, and then returned to Clelian Heights as Director until her election as a General Councillor in 1986. For the next 15 years she served at the Congregation's Motherhouse in Rome, Italy in various capacities including Councillor, Juniorate Directress, and Vicaress General. In 2001, she returned to the United States upon her appointment as Provincial Superior. After only 3 years in that position, during which time she undertook a significant renovation of the Provincial house, she was elected Superior General by the 15th General Chapter of the congregation and presently resides at the Motherhouse in Rome, Italy. For more information on Sr. Clare, please refer to the General Council page as well as the history of the worldwide congregation.

Sr. Maureen Martin, 2004-2013

Sr. MaureenSr. Maureen Martin, a native of St. Louis, MO, first came to know the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis, Mo. Sr. Maureen taught in elementary and secondary schools for 13 years and then served in elementary school administration for 20 years before her appointment as Provincial Superior of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 2004.
Sr. Maureen’s term as Provincial Superior was marked by increased numbers of new vocations along with restructuring for the revitalization of the province. She completed the in-process renovations at Mount Sacred Heart in Hamden, CT, which included provision for the Caritas Christi Center, restructured Queen of Apostles in Imperial, MO, as a Retreat and Spirituality Center, and opened new Apostle missions at Little Flower School in Pensacola, FL, and St. Joseph Parish in Shelton, CT. After closing Sacred Heart Private School in Bronx, NY, Sr. Maureen and the Council worked to restructure the ministry and reopen as Sacred Heart Learning Center, an early childhood center partnering with Santa Maria Parish and School and the New York City Board of Education UPK program. During her term the Apostles opened Apostle Immigrant Services, an outreach ministry to the Immigrant population of New Haven, CT, returning to the first neighborhood served by Apostles in the United States over 100 years ago.
Sr. Maureen worked with the Formation Team to formalize a pre-postulant program and collaborated with the team to tailor the formation program according to needs of new members. The bi-annual Full Province Meetings organized collaboratively have shaped common direction including the delineation of Core Values for community living. As part of Province restructuring to fulfill the objectives of the XV General Chapter, Sr. Maureen and Council established a full time Office of Mission Advancement and added lay business/personnel and technology directors to the provincial staff. She began a Province Advisory Board and Investment Committee whose advice, along with that of other consultants, helped reorganize administrative roles in several Apostle ministries. Utilizing best practices in finance and administration has also been a priority. To foster ongoing spiritual and personal growth of the sisters, on-going formation workshops were offered for all age groups, and in 2009 a Theological Updating program was initiated encouraging continuing theological studies for all the sisters. In 2005 Sr. Maureen was elected to the Board of the CMSWR (Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious). Sr. Maureen is now principal of John Paul II High School in Tallahassee, FL.

Sr. Anne T. Walsh, 2013-

Sr. Anne T. Walsh, a New Haven native, attended Sacred Heart Academy. She entered the congregation in 1985 and professed perpetual vows in 1993. She has a B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics from Southern Connecticut State University and has taught both subjects at the secondary level. Sr. Anne has an M.A. in Educational Technology from Fairfield University and an M.A. in Spirituality and Spiritual Direction from Fordham University. In 1998, Sr. Anne went to Taiwan to study Chinese and soon after opened the first Apostle mission in Asia in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She spent six years there teaching English and Religion. After returning from Taiwan, she began serving on the Apostles’ formation team. She has served in the position of postulant, novice, and juniorate directress and was appointed Vice Provincial of the U.S. Province in 2007. She lives at Mount Sacred Heart.