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Closer to Sainthood: Pope Francis Approves Miracle Attributed to Mother Clelia

Published: February 2018

The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus announce that at the Ordinary Session of Cardinals and Bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints held on January 9, 2018, the miracle attributed to the intercession of our Foundress, Mother Clelia Merloni, was recognized with a unanimous affirmative vote. On January 27, Pope Francis cleared the path to her beatification by approving the miracle attributed through her intercession. The only remaining step is the establishment of the date of the celebration by Pope Francis. 

Sr. Clare Millea, former Superior General for the worldwide congregation of the Apostles said, “For 12 years I visited all of the communities and ministries of the Apostles in many countries throughout the world and I was always impressed by the many people who were speaking about Mother Clelia, and not just Sisters but lay people, priests, and so on. It was wonderful to see the love and inspiration she brought to so many with her story. So I was overjoyed to find out that she will now belong to the universal Church and can stand as an example of a beautiful way of holiness by expressing the heart of Jesus to others.”

The approval by Pope Francis was the final phase of the process recognizing the miracle under examination by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The miracle took place in Brazil in 1951 when Brazilian doctor, Pedro ngelo de Oliveira Filho, was stricken suddenly by a progressive form of paralysis known as Guillain-Barré syndrome. The Holy See originally opened Mother Clelia Merloni’s cause for canonization in 1988 and she was declared Venerable Clelia Merloni on December 21, 2016, by Pope Francis.

Clelia Merloni was born in Forli, Italy on March 10, 1861. Although she came from an elite and wealthy family, she was attracted to prayer and solitude at an early age. She responded generously to God’s call by choosing consecrated religious life. On May 30, 1894, Mother Clelia founded the Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, sending sisters to the Americas at the turn of the last century. For the holiness needed to be able to fulfill God’s will and to lead the Sisters, Mother Clelia had to sustain many years of difficult trials, profound humiliations, and unspeakable sorrows. Her life was consumed in daily kindnesses and sacrifices for the needs of others and for the growth of the Congregation. Mother Clelia died in Rome on November 21, 1930. Her remains were placed in the Generalte chapel after her body was exhumed in 1945 and found to be incorrupt.

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