Friday, July 1, 2011


This month by way of exception, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated on the first day of July. It is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on this ancient and very meaningful devotion.

Much of Mother Franziska’s years as foundress and superior general occurred during the pontificate of Leo XIII. It was he who consecrated the Church and world to the Sacred Heart. This occurred five years after the death of Mother Franziska but during her lifetime there was increasing devotion and responding calls in local dioceses throughout the world culminating in the action of the Holy Father in 1899.

Mother Franziska was so devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that she chose it as the emblem on the medal worn by the professed sisters. She also had the names of all the sisters inscribed in a book in the Basilica of the Gesu in Rome as members of the Apostleship of Prayer. This was repeated a century later by the Superior General Sister Nicholina Hendges in the presence of sisters from all our provinces. In 1932, Pope Pius XI, citing the miseries of the time: economic hardship, unemployment, threatening wars, millions falling away from the faith, called for devotion to the Sacred Heart in the Encyclical CARITATE CHRISTI COMPULSI . He proposed prayer and imitation of the love of Jesus in practical service to those less fortunate both near and far. He promised that only prayer could be the answer to the problems of the time. A reading of that encyclical motivates us to look down at the date because the evils described are so similar to the ones we experience today. The solution is also the same. A church at prayer will bring many souls back to Christ and to their own earthly and eternal happiness.