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.

Celebration of Vows

View more photos of Celebration of VowsThe Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus joyfully celebrated the Perpetual Profession of three Sisters on August 1 and the renewal of vows of four Sisters on July 31 at the Provincialate in Hamden, Conn. 

Sr. Elizabeth Doyle, ASCJ; Sr Clara Mahilia Roache, ASCJ; and Sr. Christina Skelley, ASCJ professed their final vows in a small, socially-distanced Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Peter A. Rosazza, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Hartford. Rev. Jaime Maldonado-Avilés concelebrated and Rev. Matthew Gworek served as Master of Ceremonies.

Originally from St. Louis, Sr. Elizabeth Doyle, 30, ministers at Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden as a teacher and Director of Campus Ministry. She is an alumna of Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis, the sister school of Sacred Heart Academy. Sr. Elizabeth earned a Bachelor of Art in Spanish and Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Missouri, and a master’s in Spanish from St. Louis University. She also studied theology both Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut and Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

Sr. Mahilia, 40, was born and raised on the island nation of St. Lucia. As of August 2020, Sr. Mahilia ministers at Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis. She has also ministered at Santa Maria School in the Bronx and Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children, a school for special needs individuals in Pennsylvania founded by the Apostles. Sr. Mahilia holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Central Connecticut State University and a master’s in international trade policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California. She also earned a four-year biblical studies certificate from the Catholic Biblical School of the Archdiocese of Hartford. 

A native of Aurora, Ill., Sr. Christina, 35, is a convert to the faith. She was received into the Catholic Church in 2006 while she was a student at Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned a bachelor’s in humanities. She also holds a master’s in education from St. Louis University. Sr. Christina teaches 5th grade and music at St. Joseph School in Imperial, Mo. She’s been in ministry at St. Joseph since 2017.  

In a Mass celebrated by Rev. Thomas Kelly, Sr. Catherine Francis Brodersen, ASCJ; Sr. Allison Lorraine Masserano, ASCJ; Sr. Catherine Ann Phillips, ASCJ; and Sr. Kelsey Ann Shaver, ASCJ renewed their temporary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These vows are renewed annually until Perpetual Profession.

Grant Funding Helps Retired Sister Stay Connected
Two sisters using an iPad device

Through a generous grant from Support Our Aging Religious, Inc. (SOAR!), the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus recently purchased 10 new iPads for use at Sacred Heart Manor, the Apostles’ home for retired Sisters. 

In this new age of social distancing due to Covid-19, the community of 28 retired and infirm Apostles residing at Sacred Heart Manor in Connecticut have been largely cut off from the outside world. The iPads will allow these Sisters to stay better connected to family, friends and other Sisters through the use of FaceTime or other video chat platforms—supporting their social and emotional wellbeing during this unprecedented time. 

“We are so grateful to have this technology available,” said Sacred Heart Manor Superior Sr. Barbara Matazzaro, ASCJ. “Since we are not welcoming visitors as we had prior to the pandemic, it’s nice to offer our Sisters the opportunity to touch base with their loved ones in a more personal and interactive manner.”

Aside from helping Sisters combat social isolation, the iPads will allow a greater number of Sisters to participate in telemedical appointments with their doctors. The Manor nursing staff will be able to use the devices for more convenient and accurate reporting of medical information.

The iPads will also be used to improve Sisters’ cognition. Games and apps designed to stimulate cognitive skills, such Scrabble and Sudoku, will be downloaded onto the devices. 

“Having these iPads will truly enhance the lives and care of our retired Sisters in many ways,” said Sr. Barbara. “We are excited to see what opportunities they create.”

Sharing the Heart of Christ Amidst COVID-19

Two women wearing masks pose with a woman wearing an apronDuring this time of global pandemic, the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are finding creative ways to give back and share the Love of the Heart of Christ outside of their day-to-day ministries.

At Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden, Conn., Sisters have taken on a special project sewing surgical caps for nurses at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn. 

Sisters of the Provincial community at Mount Sacred Heart in Hamden have been praying each day for the town’s first responders and their families by name. This includes the town’s firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians.

Each week, they also prepare bagged peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Sunrise Café in New Haven, which provides free daily breakfast to the city's homeless and hungry.

“Our foundress, Mother Clelia, was deeply devoted to serving the poor and most vulnerable members of society,” said Sr. Estelle Barelli, who initiated the service project. “Participating in the wonderful work of Sunrise Café is one way of carrying on her legacy of love, and it is such an enriching experience.”

making sandwiches

Members of the postulate community have willingly been living in isolation in order to minister to the 27 retired Apostles living at Sacred Heart Manor, which went into lockdown on March 10. Following a 14-day quarantine that began on March 17, Postulant Directress Sr. Angela Gertsema, Sr. Kelsey Shaver, Sr. Reina Praxedes and postulants Clara Johnson, Patricia Young and Allison Zink were cleared to begin work at the Manor. Since then, they’ve been doing whatever they can to help: sewing masks for the Manor’s staff and Sisters, serving meals, spending quality time with the Sisters, and helping Sisters with various projects.

three sisters wearing masksAlthough serving at the Manor has meant isolating themselves from other Sisters living at the Provincialate and not leaving the property, even for groceries, the group is embracing the experience.

“The Manor Sisters are teaching us how to let go, to adapt and the importance of a positive attitude,” said Sr. Angela. “These are lessons that are not often taught by words but by example.

High School Named After Mother Clelia Set To Open

Mother Clelia MerloniA Catholic high school in Pensacola, Florida is set to become the first school in the United States named after our foundress, Mother Clelia Merloni.

The Mother Clelia Morning Star High School will provide a faith-filled Catholic education to students with special needs. The Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, where three of our Sisters minister, plans to open the school in August for the 2020–2021 academic year.

Mother Clelia Morning Star High School will be an independent institution located on the grounds of Pensacola Catholic High School, where Sr. Kierstin Martin, ASCJ, is principal. Both schools are working together to ensure students at Mother Clelia Morning Star High School are provided diverse opportunities for inclusion at Pensacola Catholic.

There are currently two schools in Pensacola that offer Morning Star programs for special needs students at the elementary and middle school level. Sr. Margaret Ann Calcutta, ASCJ, is the director of the Morning Star program at St. John the Evangelist School.

2020 Declared “Clelian Missionary Year”
A Sister with four teenagers wearing red aprons

The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are celebrating 2020 as the Clelian Missionary Year. Pondering the graces of the recent beatification of Mother Clelia, we are celebrating her charism alive today in our various missions. Ultimately, to love is our mission! Please pray with us and for us, that as Apostles of His Heart we may bring to everyone “a ray of that holy tenderness that the Heart of Jesus has infallibly communicated to [us].” (Dir Man. Art. 212).

In this Clelian Missionary Year, we look to Blessed Clelia, who teaches us: “When divine love is truly in the heart, it awakens in it a great desire to see God known, loved, and served” (Book 7, Letter 6). 

Having encountered the person of Jesus Christ and utterly convinced of His love for us, we consecrate ourselves to Jesus and to loving Him. Like the first Apostles, we have been sent in mission in order to help others know His love and His tender mercy.

The various missions of the Apostles span 15 countries and include education, healthcare, and pastoral ministry. We bring Christ’s compassionate love to countless children, the elderly, the immigrant, as well as to prisoners, victims of human trafficking and those who are victims of poverty. During this Missionary Year, we invite you to pray with us and for us as together we seek to make known to every person the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.