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Apostles Celebrate 125 Years of Love, Service, and Reparation

Published: May 2019

Our History

The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are thrilled to celebrate the 125th anniversary of our founding. After being miraculously cured through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Blessed Clelia Merloni journeyed to Viareggio, Italy and on May 30, 1894, founded the Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1900, the Congregation was canonically established by Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini in Piacenza and received definitive approval from the Church in 1931, just four months after the death of Mother Clelia.

In 1900, the first missionary Apostles set sail for Brazil, and in 1902, more Sisters arrived in the United States, on the shores of Boston. These early missionaries were guided by a deep faith, an undaunted zeal, and encouraged by Mother Clelia who wrote to her daughters: “Once we have abandoned ourselves into the arms of our good God, what will we have to fear?” (Letters 9, 19). The sisters, inspired by Mother Clelia’s charism, ministered to the poor, to orphans, to children and to the elderly. 

In 1906, the Apostles arrived in Archdiocese of Hartford and established the Provincial House in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1953, the Apostles moved their Provincial House to a 125-acre property known as “Cherry Hill” in Hamden, Connecticut. Now Mount Sacred Heart is the provincial house for the 115 sisters who minister in the United States Province. The Apostles currently serve in the dioceses of Hartford, Bridgeport, Norwich, New York, Greensburg, St. Louis, and Pensacola/Tallahassee.

Throughout the world, the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus continue to give life to the charism of Blessed Clelia by responding to the needs of the Church in a spirit of love, service, and reparation. Today, the Apostles are present in 15 countries: Italy, Brazil, the United States, Switzerland, Argentina, Chile, Albania, Mozambique, Uruguay, Paraguay, Benin, Philippines, Haiti, Ireland, and Portugal.

Our Charism

As daughters of Blessed Clelia, Apostles are called to be in the world and for the world the presence of the tender and merciful Heart of Jesus. Like Mother Clelia, our life of prayer is centered on the Eucharist. Captivated by the love of Christ, poured out from His wounded side on the cross, the Apostles are first women of the heart.

Called to be Apostles of Love we are impelled to bring God’s merciful love to a wounded world. The motto of the Congregation, “The love of Christ impels us” (2 Cor 5:14), motivates the Sisters to give a human face to the heart of God, particularly to the poor, the marginalized and those most in need. 

Called to be Apostles, like the first Apostles, we go to all parts of the world answering the needs of the Church in order to evangelize and give witness to the power of God’s love. Through education, pastoral ministry, healthcare, social services and missionary work, Apostles strive to give witness to God’s compassionate love, following Jesus’ mandate: “You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Called to be Apostles of Reparation, the Apostles seek to repair and bring God’s healing touch to those whose dignity has been wounded. The Apostles are called to journey with those who are broken hearted, offering them God’s tender mercy and love and praying in reparation for the injustices that wound the family of God.

As the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus celebrate the gift of Blessed Clelia’s charism and 125 years of service to the Church, we invite you to pray with us in thanksgiving for the charism entrusted to us. Through God’s grace the Apostles have touched countless lives, educating thousands, providing healing, comfort, and counsel to many. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus continue to prosper our ministries and enable us to be His tender Heart in our world for centuries to come!

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