BLESSED CLELIA MERLONI
This week we will celebrate the Feast Day of Blessed Clelia Merloni, foundress of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She holds a very special place in the hearts of the Sisters, staff and students at Sacred Heart Villa. Starting with our two-year old children, we teach the students to say: “Blessed Clelia, pray for us,” at the end of our prayers. Let’s look into her life at a glance.
Clelia Merloni was born in Italy on March 10, 1861. At an early age she experienced much loss with her mother dying and later her stepmother leaving the family. As she matured, she found herself more attracted to prayer and solitude than to the elite social life and administration of the family business that her father wanted for her. Intelligent, gifted, and enthusiastic, she responded generously to God’s call by choosing the way of religious life. She renounced everything, using instead the rich energies of her charismatic zeal and the sizeable inheritance from her father’s estate to minister to the needy and marginalized.
On May 30, 1894, she 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, Blessed 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. Blessed Mother Clelia died in Rome on November 21, 1930. Her body was placed in the Motherhouse chapel after her body was exhumed in 1945 and found to be incorrupt.
Nothing more appropriately describes this holy woman than the inscription on her tomb, which reads: “The Divine Heart of Jesus was the light of her existence. The poor, the oppressed, the unfortunate were her most tender concern. She lived in purity, simplicity and charity.”
On November 3, 2018, Mother Clelia Merloni's beatification was celebrated at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, Italy. Hundreds of priests and thousands of lay faithful came to celebrate this joyous event. We encourage all to pray through the intercession of Blessed Clelia Merloni. You can learn more about Blessed Clelia by going to: https://madreclelia.org/en/