The Apostles of the Sacred Heart arrived in Pinellas Park on the west coast of Florida in 1959. Those first sisters had to deal with the heat in their long habits, as well as the baby boomers in the new elementary school at Sacred Heart Parish. Since then, the sisters have founded a school for children with learning disabilities and have continued their education apostolate in the elementary and secondary levels in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee. In that diocese and in the Diocese of Palm Beach, Apostle service has included: assisting the ordinary and vicar for religious, offering after-school and day care for the children of migrant agricultural workers in Pahokee, vocation work with seminarians, youth ministry, campus ministry, and directing laity faith formation.
Today the Apostles' service in Florida includes the following ministries:
Sacred Heart, Tallahassee
The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus began our ministry in Tallahassee, Florida, in July 2001. Sr. Susan Emmerich and Sr. Susan Marie Krupp were part of the founding faculty of John Paul II Catholic High School, Tallahassee's first Catholic High School. Our educational ministry continues as Sr. Lisa Retort and Sr. Veronica Marinari teach religion to students in grades 9-12 and Sr. Sheila O'Neill serves as John Paul II's assistant principal.
(L-R) Sr. Lisa Retort and Sr. Veronica Marinari
Sacred Heart, West Palm Beach
The Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus began our ministry in Palm Beach County, Florida in 1992. Of the six sisters who first arrived, 3 served in the migrant community of Pahokee and 3 served in Palm Beach Gardens.
In 1999, we closed our mission in Pahokee while continuing to serve the diocese in Youth and Young Adult Ministry and in the Bishop's Office. We served in a small parish in Lake Worth as Pastoral Associate and Youth Ministry coordinator. In 2002, Sr. Helen Francis Kilijanski, ASCJ assumed the role as Associate Director of Vocations for the diocese.
Sr. Jude Ruggeri serves as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, a position she has held since 1992. Sr. Helen Francis continues as Associate Director of Vocations.
- (L-R) Sr. Helen Francis Kilijanski and Sr. Jude Ruggeri.
Queen of Peace, Pensacola
The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus have ministered to the Church of Pensacola-Tallahassee in the City of Pensacola since 1985. They began their ministry at St. Paul Parish where, from 1985 to 2003, they served in pastoral ministry, as teachers in the elementary school, as school administrator, and as the Director of Religious Education. The outreach of the Apostles in Pensacola expanded as the sisters assumed other ministries beyond St. Paul Parish. In 1987, Sr. Kierstin Martin arrived to teach at Pensacola Catholic High School and later to assume the position of principal. In 1993, Sr. Elizabeth Mary Knight accepted the position of principal of Sacred Heart Cathedral School and in 1998 Sr. Margaret Kuntz becamef Director of the Office of Christian Formation at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. In 2006 Sr. Barbara Zipoli was named principal of Little Flower Catholic School. The deep faith, zeal, and dedication to the Church of the people of Pensacola, coupled with their warm Southern charm and hospitality, have greatly endeared them to the sisters.
- The Queen of Peace community, (L-R) Sr. Barbara Zipoli, Sr. Kierstin Martin, Sr. Elizabeth Mary Knight, and Sr. Margaret Kuntz.