Good News From the Apostles

There are many exciting things happening in our vibrant and growing congregation! We’ve included all the latest news and our most recent publications here. Visit our News page often to stay updated.

Profession of First and Perpetual Vows

Sr. Catherine Ann Phillips, ASCJ and Sr. Christine Marie Rattini, ASCJ pose togetherSr. Catherine Ann Phillips, ASCJ, and Sr. Christine Marie Rattini, ASCJ, recently celebrated milestones in their individual journeys as Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

In a Mass celebrated on July 26 by Rev. John Murray of Fairfield University, Sr. Catherine Ann professed her first vows as an Apostle and received the traditional veil and crucifix of a professed Sister. 

A native of St. Louis, Mo., Sr. Catherine Ann is the daughter of Robert and Susan Phillips.View more photos of First VowsShe is a 2009 graduate of Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis, a ministry of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership Studies and Spanish from Rockhurst University. Sr. Catherine entered the Congregation in August 2016. This fall, she will begin her ministry as a teacher’s aide at the Santa Maria early childhood program in the Bronx. 

At the same Eucharistic liturgy, five junior professed Sisters renewed their vows: Sr. Catherine Frances Brodersen, ASCJ; Sr. Elizabeth Doyle, ASCJ; Sr. Allison Lorraine Masserano, ASCJ; Sr. Kelsey Ann Shaver, ASCJ; and Sr. Christina Skelley, ASCJ.

View photos of Perpetual VowsOn July 27, Sr. Christine Marie professed her perpetual vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience in a Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Juan Miguel Betancourt, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford. 

The daughter of Margaret and the late Robert Rattini of Troy, Mo., Sr. Christine Marie is a 2001 graduate of St. Dominic High School in O’Fallon, Mo. She entered the Apostles in August 2010 and holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from the College of New Rochelle. She will begin teaching at Sacred Heart Villa, an early childhood center in St. Louis founded by the Apostles, in the fall. 

Both vow Masses were held at Mount Sacred Heart Chapel in Hamden. 

Jubilarians Celebrate 780 Years of Service

The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus recently celebrated the anniversary of religious profession for 14 Sisters, who together hold 780 years of service. 

Of the 14 jubilarians, six celebrated 60 or more years as vowed Apostles in a Mass held June 29, at Sacred Heart Manor in Hamden. Celebrating 60 years were Srs. Eleanor Perfetto, ASCJ, and John Martin Sullivan, ASCJ. Celebrating 65 years were Srs. Maria Battaglia, ASCJ, and Anthony Novara, ASCJ. Sr. Theodore Bollati, ASCJ, celebrated 75 years and Sr. Dolorita Colianni, ASCJ, marked her 80th year. 

On July 20, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport celebrated Mass at St. Rita Church in Hamden for the Golden and Silver jubilarians. Celebrating 50 years were Srs. Marialice Ackermann, ASCJ; Cora Lombardo, ASCJ; Deborah Lopez, ASCJ; Maureen Martin, ASCJ; Benjamin Merlotti, ASCJ; Jude Ruggeri, ASCJ; and Nancy Strillacci, ASCJ. Sr. Diane Mastroianni celebrated 25 years. 

Group of women pose together in front of a framed picture of Mother Clelia MerloniSix women pose together
New Leadership Appointed for the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sr. Barbara Thomas, Sr. Mary Lee, Sr. Angela Gertsema, Sr. Diane Mastroianni, Sr. Mary Grace Walsh, & Sr. Sharon KalertThe Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus recently welcomed Sr. Barbara Thomas, ASCJ, as the newly appointed provincial superior for their United States province located in Hamden.

While Sr. Barbara spent the past 12 years as president of Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis, she calls the greater New Haven area home. She grew up in the Hamden area, attended St. Rita School, and graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in 1971. Upon graduation, Sr. Barbara entered the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and made her perpetual vows as a sister in 1979.

“It is a privilege to follow in the footsteps of the many great leaders who have come before me,” Sr. Barbara said. “I joyfully look forward to serving my community in this capacity.”

With a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven and a master of arts in liberal studies in mathematics from Wesleyan University, Sr. Barbara enjoyed teaching math at several Catholic high schools across the country, including Sacred Heart Academy, her alma mater.

She later went on to earn a master of arts in educational administration from St. Louis University and transitioned into the ministry of educational administration, serving as principal of schools in St. Louis and locally at St. Rita School in Hamden from 2004 through 2007. 

In her most recent role as president of Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis, Sr. Barbara led extraordinary expansion efforts that doubled the size of the school’s campus. This included spearheading a $10 million dollar capital campaign. 

Sr. Barbara’s appointment as provincial superior of the United States Province of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, effective on July 14, 2019, came from the congregation’s superior general and the general council in Rome after months of prayerful discernment. She succeeds Sr. Ritamary Schulz, ASCJ, also a native of Connecticut, who served as provincial superior of the United States province since 2016. 

Collaborating with Sr. Barbara Thomas as the new provincial leadership are Sr. Mary Lee, ASCJ, vice provincial/treasurer; Sr. Angela Gertsema, ASCJ, provincial councilor; Sr. Diane Mastroianni, ASCJ, provincial councilor; Sr. Mary Grace Walsh, ASCJ, provincial councilor; and Sr. Sharon Kalert, ASCJ, secretary.

Apostle Legacy Exhibit Opens at Provincialate

Main hallway featuring the opportunity to learn about the role prayer, ministry, and community play in the life of an apostleAn historical exhibit dedicated to the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the congregation’s newly beatified foundress, Blessed Clelia Merloni, was unveiled to the public during a dedication ceremony on June 28, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Featuring interactive audio/visual displays, artifacts, and replicas, the Apostle Legacy Exhibit tells the story of who the apostles are, both past and present, and how the congregation came to be founded. The exhibit’s main attractions include three thematic rooms: The Mission Room, which provides a history of Apostle ministries in the United States; the Founder’s Room, which focuses on the life of Blessed Clelia and her founding the congregation; and a replica of Blessed Clelia’s bedroom in Rome, where she spent the last two-and-a-half years of her life. 

As visitors travel down the main hallway from room to room they have the opportunity to learn about the role prayer, ministry, and community play in the life of an apostle. 

“This exhibit is a true tribute to the legacy the sisters have left here in the United States,” said Sr. Virginia Herbers, ASCJ, who spearheaded the creation and design of the exhibit. “It is also our way of honoring the beatification of Blessed Clelia and allowing her legacy of holiness to bless all those who can benefit from her example of love, mercy, and reparation.”

Housed on the ground floor of Sacred Heart Manor at the United States provincialate in Hamden, Connecticut, the Apostle Legacy Exhibit was made possible through the generosity of the Knights of Columbus Museum, who donated several museum-quality display furnishings, and numerous benefactors. 

The Apostle Legacy Exhibit is open to the public every Sunday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and by appointment. To schedule an appointment, call (203) 248.4031. The exhibit entrance is located near the Clelian Center entrance at the rear of 261 Benham Street, Hamden, Connecticut 06514.

Honoring Blessed Clelia

Click to view photos of Honoring Blessed Clelia

The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus joyfully celebrated the beatification of our foundress, Blessed Clelia Merloni, with commemorative liturgies in six dioceses where our U.S. Sisters minister. 

Held from February through April, masses were celebrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, NY; Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg, PA; Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Pensacola, FL; Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, MO; Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, CT; and Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Waterford, Ireland.

The Apostles would like to thank our principal celebrants: Timothy Cardinal Dolan (Archdiocese of New York), Bishop Ed Malesic (Diocese of Greensburg), Bishop William Wack (Diocese of Pensacola–Tallahassee), Archbishop Robert Carlson (Archdiocese of St. Louis), Archbishop Leonard P. Blair (Archdiocese of Hartford), and Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan (Diocese of Waterford & Lismore); as well as all the concelebrants, clergy, men and women religious, and lay faithful who joined us for these joyous occasions.