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.

Memories from the Manor
Memories from the Manor - Sr. Adrianne DiLonardo

Memories from the Manor is a series that celebrates our beloved retired Sisters and their lives of dedicated service. It appears in our quarterly “Clelian Connection” e-newsletter. 

Sr. Adrianne DiLonardo has worn many hats throughout her 68 years as a professed Apostle. She served as a teacher, a school administrator, a member of the formation team, and as the Provincial Superior of the United States Province. Whether ministering to students or sister Apostles, she made a lasting impression on all those she served.

The child of Italian immigrants, Sr. Adrianne grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and can trace her roots to the Congregation back to Italy, where two cousins had been Apostles. While her family had an inherent appreciation for the Apostles, it was the Sisters who taught CCD classes at her parish who made a lasting impression on her.

“I enjoyed being around the Sisters,” she recalled. “I would go after school and work side-by-side with them. My Dad would often bring something down to the convent for the holidays and my mom would bake things here and there. They became our friends.”

Sr. Adrianne started her ministry in elementary education at St. Joseph School in New York’s Chinatown district, where over the course of nine years, she taught nearly every grade level. After more than 20 years of shaping young minds as a teacher and school administrator, Sr. Adrianne went on to form future Apostles as Postulant Directress and Novice Directress.

In 1986, Sr. Adrianne was appointed Provincial Superior of the U.S. Province. After leading the Province for nine years, she was appointed Executive Director of Clelian Heights, the Apostles' school for children and adults with developmental disabilities in Greensburg, PA. Even after her tenure as Executive Director ended in 2002, she remained at Clelian Heights until her retirement to Sacred Heart Manor in 2016.

“Clelian Heights is such a beautiful and special place,” she said. “What a gift it was to be able to spend 20 years there."

This article was originally published in the April 2021 edition of the “Clelian Connection” e-newsletter. To join our mailing list, click here

Happy Easter

The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus wish you and your loved ones a blessed and joyous Easter! May the power of the resurrection renew your heart with peace and hope. Be assured of our prayers for you throughout the Easter season!

Walking with the Lord: Lenten Reflections

We invite you to journey with us to the foot of the cross this Lent. Over the next six weeks, we will share short Lenten reflections from our Sisters based on weekly Gospel readings. Let us pray and grow together through this holy season.

Week Six: Supper at Bethany
Sr. Christine Kiley, ASCJ

Love often grasps the reality of our life situations, often without any words at all. Walking with the Lord: Lent 2021

Lent gives us a time to look inside our hearts, to search more intentionally for the love that is hidden deep within all of us. Topics that touch on matters of the heart have always tended to grab hold of me in the most refreshing, renewing, and life-giving ways. 

Probing and pondering of the heart’s whispers has, for generations, offered a pathway to God. The scene in John’s Gospel, taking place in Bethany at the home of Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazarus poses an opportunity for such pondering. With storm clouds looming around Jesus, despite danger in the air, he is able to settle into a quiet supper with gracious hospitality and warm conversation with his dear friends. At the table there is deep love and gratitude welling up within the heart of Lazarus. Martha and Mary, too, have always had a unique love for Jesus. All three know the love Jesus has for them. Unspoken yet powerful love, in the midst of this evening, is freely given and received amongst them. 

Hearts, while full, weighed heavily aware that Jesus would not be with them much longer. They were celebrating this meal for Christ; His Passover is at hand. Into this context of internal tranquility and external strife, Mary approaches Jesus with a jar of costly ointment and somewhat dramatically begins to anoint his feet. She tenderly and intimately dries them with her hair. Placing myself in this scene allows me to attune to the depth of her sensitivity and the breadth of her love. I can’t help but feel the sacred place that Jesus holds in her heart.

I wonder: can my Lenten-self hold this place in my own heart? I genuinely pray to make Christ the Center of my life, more and more each day. By sinking into my own depths and taking time for heart pondering, it’s striking to see what happens. Memories, longings, hopes, fears, and deeply held truths all begin to surface.

In the midst of Mary’s overwhelming gesture of love for Jesus, Judas the Iscariot said: “Why was this oil not sold?” Jesus responded: “Leave her alone - let her keep it for the day of my burial.” He sees the beauty and truth of her perceptive understanding of His anticipated death. Heart has spoken to heart. Love often grasps the reality of our life situations, often without any words at all.

This simple scene, at a simple house in Bethany, offers far more in rich reflection than first meets the eye. A table with friends, the gift of human vulnerability, love given and received, inspires my heart to renew, refresh, and recommit my own deep love for Jesus. I pray unceasingly this Holy Week for the grace to fully love my Crucified Lord with an open, desiring, grateful, and generous heart.

Sr. Christine is the Director of Campus Ministry at Greensburg Central Catholic High School in Greensburg, PA.

Week Five: Don’t Settle for Sin
Sr. Allison Masserano, ASCJ

Do not settle for sin. You are made for more. Walking wth the Lord - Lent 2021

When I read Monday’s gospel story of the woman caught in adultery, I noticed something I had never paid attention to before: Jesus’ posture.

At the start of the passage, Jesus is seated: the posture of teachers in his day. He sits with authority, the authority of one who doesn’t just know the truth, but who is the Truth.

After he is approached by the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus bends: the posture of humility. The One who is Truth does not lord it over anyone. He offers the truth, offers Himself, humbly. 

Before he addresses the scribes, and before he addresses the woman, Jesus stands: he meets them where they are. And from this level ground, he challenges them. Although worded differently, he says essentially the same thing both times: be better.

The scribes and Pharisees were motivated by a desire to trap Jesus rather than a desire for justice. Had their motives been pure and fair, they would have also brought the adulterous man to Jesus, for he, too, had violated the law. Jesus sees their hearts and tells them: you’re better than this. Similarly, he recognizes the woman’s sin and chooses compassion and challenge over condemnation: you’re better than this; go and sin no more.

The One who is Truth tells them, tells us: you are capable of more. Don’t settle for petty games, or dishonesty, or labels. Don’t settle for sin. You are made for more.

You and I are made to sit in the authority of the Truth. We are made to bend in humility. We are made to stand face-to-face and side-by-side one another, humbly, faithfully, and courageously striving to be better - striving to go and sin no more.

Sr. Allison is a junior professed Sister currently ministering in the Vocations office. 

Week Four: The Light of the World
Sr. Clare Millea, ASCJ

Ask Him to remove from our heart all that impedes the light of His grace from penetrating it

In this Sunday’s reading from the Gospel of St. John, Jesus healed the physical disability of a man born blind. He did so, not only to save him from blindness and the humiliation of begging for his livelihood, but to awaken in him the ability to recognize “the Son of Man” as the true light of the world by proclaiming: “I do believe, Lord!” and worshipping Him (Jn 9:38). 

The Gospel is also filled with dialogue: we witness Jesus teaching His disciples, graciously healing the man born blind, and sharply rebuking the Pharisees. While the miracle is life-changing for the man and a great joy for his parents, it causes the dramatic conflict surrounding the identity and authority of Jesus to grow more vicious among His enemies.

None of the opposition deterred Jesus from ministering to his beloved people, teaching them and healing their infirmities of soul and body. He continues to be present with us too as we journey through our own challenging times. During these Lenten weeks, let’s take some quiet time with Jesus – perhaps with a short, reflective Gospel reading – to relive anew the awesome drama of His passion and death for our salvation. We can ask Him to remove from our heart all that impedes the light of His grace from penetrating it. May we resolve once more to follow Him to His glorious victory over sin and death and enter into unending Easter joy.

Sr. Clare served as Superior General of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from 2004 to 2016. She is currently on mission in Waterford, Ireland.

Week Three: The Greatest Commandment
Sr. Susan Emmerich, ASCJ

Unless I love myself I can't love anyone else

A Scribe asked Jesus to identify the greatest commandment, and Jesus said: “The first is: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…the second is: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

There were no surprises for Israel nor are there any for us in this passage until the last two words. We know we owe absolute love to God and we are called to express that love in our dealings with our neighbor…but unless I love myself, I can’t love anyone else. Unless I really believe that I am a reflection, indeed an image of God—and treat myself as such—there can be no right relationships. Unless I see myself as a beloved son/daughter of God worth every drop of Jesus’ precious blood upon the cross, the Kingdom cannot come! 

Dare I own this? Can I fill in the blank with my name and hear the Father say, “This is _____, my beloved son/daughter in whom I am well pleased”?

Adapting the words of Pope Francis, each of us is a sinner—but a sinner who has been forgiven…a sinner who journeys not only through Lent but throughout our entire life upheld by the God who loves us, calls us to Himself, and invites us to share our journey with our neighbors—sometimes giving support, sometimes needing the strength of others, but worthy of both roles. As we hear so often in these pandemic days, “We are in this together.” 

Sr. Susan lives and ministers at Sacred Heart Manor in Hamden, CT.

Week Two: What is the Chalice That You've Been Given to Drink?
Sr. Patricia Kofron, ASCJ

What is the CHALICE that you’ve been GIVEN TO DRINK? Walking with the Lord: Lent 2021

Replying to the mother of the sons of Zebedee who asked that her sons sit next to Jesus, one on the right and one on the left, Jesus asked of the brothers, “Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” (Mt 20:17-28)

What is the chalice that you’ve been given to drink? Is it perhaps a broken relationship, a failed marriage, a physically or mentally sick spouse or loved one, a wayward son or daughter? Or maybe you’ve been faced with unemployment, financial struggles, or even homelessness. Whether it is worry, anxiety, depression, a lack of self-esteem, or the burden of caring for someone suffering from dementia, we all experience trials and difficulties.

We know from Jesus himself that in order to be his disciple, we must take up our cross when following him. In other words, we must drink from the bitter chalice of suffering.

What then sustains us as we take up our cups and drink? Is it not the hope that we gain from the example of Jesus who “did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many”?

Meditating on the crucified Jesus and uniting our sufferings with those of our Lord and Savior can assist us in our Lenten journeys; however, it is of utmost importance to remember that the Crucifixion is followed by the Resurrection! 

May our willingness to carry the crosses that have come our way enable us to joyfully proclaim on Easter “HE HAS RISEN”!

Sr. Patricia serves as Pastoral Associate at Seven Holy Founders Parish in Affton, MO.

Week One: Thy Will Be Done
Sr. Colleen Smith, ASCJ

May we pray with abandon...Thy Will Be Done Sr. Colleen Smith, ASCJ. Walking with the Lord: Lent 2021

Jesus said to his disciples, “This is how you are to pray. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done…” (see Mt. 6: 1-15).

As I think about the words of the prayer Jesus taught us, the central phrase “Thy will be done” catches my attention. No matter why we are brought to prayer, Jesus tells us to frame our prayer with an acceptance of the Father’s will.

I wonder, “What if I don’t want what God wants?” And my Heavenly Father seems to just smile at my foolishness. Jesus tells us in the Gospels that he has come so that we might have life and fullness of joy (Jn 10:10). 

Why would I not then pray with all my heart, “Thy will be done?”

My prayer changes me, and I realize what I want most deeply is what God wants. This Lent, let us pray for one another that we may have the courage to trust in our Heavenly Father who desires only that which is good for us and who promises fullness of joy. In the midst of trials, loneliness, or whatever uncertainty plagues our hearts, may we pray with abandon, “Thy will be done!”

Sr. Colleen is currently Director of the Office of Mission Advancement for the Mary, Queen of Apostles Province.

Check Out Our Newest Web Page!
Sisters Speak

We are excited to announce the launch of a new page on our website called Sisters Speak. Here we will share monthly reflections from our Sisters about various elements of religious life and discerning one’s vocation, along with some discernment resources.

If you have ever wondered what it is like to live in religious community, or if you have an interest in advice about discernment, we invite you to check out this new page!

NCEA Appoints Sr. Mary Grace Walsh to Board
Sr. Mary Grace Walsh, ASCJ, Ph.D.

The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) recently announced the appointment of Sr. Mary Grace Walsh, ASCJ, Ph.D., a Provincial Councilor for the Mary Queen of Apostles Province of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to its Board of Directors. 

As the largest private professional education association in the world, NCEA works with Catholic educators across the country to support ongoing faith formation and the teaching mission of the Catholic Church.

“I am grateful to Bishop Kicanas and the Board of Directors of NCEA for inviting me to join in supporting the mission of this important organization,” said Sr. Mary Grace. “Our Catholic schools provide vital resources to our communities, and I look forward to working with NCEA to further enhance the opportunities available to students and educators.”

Born and raised in New Haven, Sr. Mary Grace is a 1975 graduate of Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden. Until July 2020, she served the Archdiocese of Hartford for four years as Provost for Education, Evangelization and Catechesis, and as the President of Saint Thomas Seminary. She is currently President of Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis, the sister school of Sacred Heart Academy.

Sr. Mary Grace is a dedicated champion of Catholic education. Prior to her work with the Archdiocese of Hartford, she was Superintendent and Secretary of Catholic Education and Faith Formation in the Diocese of Bridgeport from 2006 to 2015. She has also served as an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator in seven archdioceses/dioceses across the country.  

Sr. Mary Grace holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Albertus Magnus College, a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Saint Louis University, and a Ph.D. in educational administration/church leadership from Fordham University. She was appointed to the NCEA Board of Directors alongside Henry P. Fortier, secretary for education/superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Orlando. 

“NCEA is blessed to have the expertise of Sister Mary Grace and Henry as part of the NCEA Board of Directors. Their insight and contributions will be valuable to the mission of NCEA,” Kathy Mears, NCEA Interim President/CEO, said in a press release. 

New York Church Installs Shrine to Blessed Clelia
 Blessed Clelia Shrine blessing

A beautiful shrine dedicated to Blessed Clelia Merloni, foundress of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was installed at Immaculate Conception Church in Tuckahoe, New York, where Sr. Cora Lombardo, ASCJ, serves as Director of Religious Education. 

The shrine features a first-class relic from Blessed Clelia’s body, which is embedded in a wooden Mission Lamp, and a rendering of her portrait on Talavera tiles.

The shrine was unveiled and blessed on October 17, 2020. The Apostles are grateful to Rev. Anthony Sorgie, pastor of Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Our Lady parish, for encouraging devotion to Blessed Clelia and sharing her charism.

Read more about the shrine in Catholic New York, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of New York.

Meet Our Vocations Director

Meet Sr. Colleen Mattingly, our new Vocations Director! The role of Vocations Director is one that usually involves a lot of traveling—to college campuses, discernment events and Catholic conferences—to meet women who are discerning religious life. With Covid-19, however, these events have been cancelled or have gone virtual, requiring Sr. Colleen to think outside in her approach to meeting discerners. Watch her meet and greet video below!

A Florida native, Sr. Colleen entered the Apostles in 2005. Throughout the years, she has served in New York, NY; St. Louis, MO; Tallahassee, FL; and most recently, Waterford, Ireland. Sr. Colleen runs on coffee and her hobbies include singing, playing guitar, baking, running, and reading.

New Video Series Highlights Blessed Clelia’s Virtues

Our foundress, Blessed Clelia Merloni, was a woman of many virtues. Her life was anything but easy, yet the trials and suffering she endured only fueled her desire for holiness.

We invite you to get to know Blessed Clelia and her virtues in our newly launched video series called Broken & Blessed on our YouTube channel. Videos in this series will be posted twice a month. 

It is our hope that these video reflections from our Sisters will help you to embrace Blessed Clelia as a model of holiness.