On the Feast of the Sacred Heart, the Cabrini Lay Missionaries (CLMs) renew their commitment to embrace the charism of St. Cabrini and to growth in the Cabrini Missionary Identity. This year, at The Cottage in Radnor, PA, CLM Melanie Paccillo renewed her commitment as a CLM for three more years. It was a joy and an honor to witness Melanie’s recommitment. Blessings and thanks, Melanie, for the ways in which you are ‘a bearer of the love of Christ in the world’.
Tomorrow, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, we pause to consider that within every religious tradition there is such a variety of ideas and images that individuals tend to gravitate towards those that attract them or provide particular meaning. For Frances Cabrini, it was the human heart of the suffering crucified Christ that resonated strongly within. She saw expressed in the image of ‘The Sacred Heart of Jesus’, the love and kindness of the unseen God, his passion for all creation, and his chosen capacity to share in and ultimately redeem the suffering in the world.
The significance of heart symbolism to Frances cannot be overestimated. The motivation and the energy welling up within her came from a passionate love for God and a deep compassion for those in great distress – something which led her to profound self-sacrifice. Above everything else, she was motivated by love and inspired by a vision of loving that knew no bounds. Seeing herself as a sacred offering in the service of others, she felt called to make up for, in some small way, the heartlessness of the world.
Mother Cabrini came to recognize, in the person of Jesus Christ what could only be described as ‘Love itself’. She had known from the very beginning that this would be the most important relationship of her life. She recognized that within the heart was the foundation of all meaningful activity and the place of ultimate decision about the orientation of a person’s life. ~ Mark Davis, A Passionate Life
The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a most hallowed and celebratory day for the Missionary Sisters and the Cabrini Lay Missionaries (CLMs). It is on this day that the Sisters renew their vows and the CLMs renew their commitment. Let us ask God’s blessing upon them, that they may be strengthened in their dedication to be “bearers of Christ’s love in the world.”
The Sacred Heart of Jesus was transformational in the life of Frances Cabrini. She experienced a powerful, personal experience of God’s love as it was lived and symbolized in the life and heart of Jesus. She was on fire with that love. She experienced Jesus not only as one who was loved by God and who loved her, but also as one who was missioned or sent to share that love. This experience created in her an intimate personal relationship with Jesus and, at the same time, sent Frances out to the ends of the earth as a missionary of the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
An unwavering hope in Jesus was the foundation of her life: confidence, trust, simplicity and security – not in her own powers, but in the one who loved her. I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13) was the central focus of her life.
Love, passionately expressed in her intimate, prayerful dialogue with Jesus, was made visible in concrete actions for others.
Her deep and abiding love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is Frances Cabrini’s legacy to us – a living interplay of faith, hope, and love that is a dynamic source of energy and power.
Feast Day celebrations took place throughout the Guadalupe Province as the Missionary Sisters renewed their vows and Cabrini Lay Missionaries renewed their commitments.
A Sacred Heart Feast Day Message
from Sr. Barbara Staley, MSC, Superior General
Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Centenary Year
Celebrating Mother Cabrini’s Entrance into Paradise
June 23, 2017
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
United together as Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, co-sharers of the charism and partners in mission, let us rejoice and give thanks to the Heart of Christ for the many blessings He is giving us.
God has gratuitously poured out His extravagant love and grace on us during this wonderful year of celebrating 100 years since Mother Cabrini’s death and going home to her beloved. All over the MSC world, sisters, laity, and the local Churches are commemorating the life of our Mother Foundress.
The Heart of Jesus unites us and gives us a common meaning and purpose. Conforming ourselves to the Heart of Christ, all that we do must spring from this Fountain of Love. Each day we journey together to become more human and more humanizing. Our love of God is a strong and courageous love that shares the anguish of God and urges us outside of ourselves to touch human misery, the suffering flesh of others. Mother Cabrini’s complete giving of herself to the Heart of Christ allowed her to trust “I can do all things in Christ Who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). Let us also give ourselves completely to Love.
With this deep security of being held within the very Heart of Christ, we continue to respond to the mandates of the XV General Chapter. Our personal lives, our apostolic missions, and our internal and external structures must all be transformed. The transformation to which we are called is radical and demands fearlessness. It is a transformation in service of bringing a new evangelization to the most needy in today’s world. This transformation will help us to more effectively bear the love of God to the world. We trust the grace emanating from the Chapter that, “now is the favorable time” for this transformation.
On this great Feast of Love, let us all, love, love, love, and love even more. Let us embrace each other and embrace those whom we serve. Let us together embrace the joys and consolations of our journey and also let us together embrace the challenges and hardships of our shared journey.
Wishing each of you many blessings and assurance of God’s love for you. I am also sending my gratitude for all the good that each of you do in everyday, mostly unnoticed and unacknowledged ways.
Happy Feast Day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Sr. Barbara Staley, MSC
Sr. Barbara Staley, MSC Superior General
A message from Sr. Pietrina Raccuglia, MSC, Provincial, Stella Maris Province:
Dear Sisters, CLMs and Collaborators,
Greetings on this most special day for us as Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As I reflect on this Heart of Christ, I often ask myself these questions:
Where is my heart directed in today’s world?
How do I express Christ’s love and mercy in what I do?
We are all called to be “bearers of Christ’s love in the world” no matter where we are or what our circumstances might be. Amidst the “busyness” of each, our challengs is to strive to put God’s love into action.
In all we face as a nation, a country, a community, we must continue to ask ourselves: What is my heart set on; where is it directed, what is the treasure that it seeks? For as Jesus says,
“Where you treasure is, there wil your heart be also” (Mt. 6:21).
Let us continue to Seek the Heart of Jesus in our own reality and be open to where this Heart of Christ will Lead Us.
With Joyful Hearts and Great Thanks to the Lord
On Saturday, December 3rd, at the Cabrini-on-Hudson House of Discernment and Formation in West Park, New York, Sr. Martha Lopez Prada, MSC made her first profession of vows with many Missionary Sisters and friends in attendance. Called forth by Sr. Lucy Panettieri, MSC, Novice Directress, Martha, a native of Colombia, responded with the words, “Here I am Lord, for you have called me” and thus began her request for vows.
Sr. Pietrina Raccuglia, MSC, Provincial, asked, “Martha, what do you ask of God and his Church?”
Sr. Martha replied, “I, Martha Lopez Prada, have by God’s loving kindness and your charity, lived among you as your sisters during the time of my novitiate; I now make my request to you, Sr. Pietrina, that I may be accepted to first profession of vows and to live my consecrated life, as lived by this community.
“I want to follow Jesus, the living of the evangelical counsels and by observing the Constitutions of our community. I shall fulfil my desire of preparing more perfectly for perpetual commitment, and of offering myself more fully to the service of God and of the Church.”
Thereupon, Sr. Pietrina responded, “May God in His loving kindness fulfill your hope, and may he enable us to help you, and work together for the Kingdom of God.”
In the presence of the Assembly, Martha made her first commitment to Christ through the Institute of the Church and the assembled community stated, “We welcome you with joy, Martha. We promise to support you in love, to be united with you in faith and to share with you the Spirit of the Sacred Heart all the days of your life.”
In presenting the MSC cross to Sr. Martha, Sr. Pietrina said, “ Sr. Martha, receive this Cross and know that on a Cross Christ’s compassion was shown for us unto the piercing of His Heart. May your own life in this community be a giving of yourself for the life of the world.”
It was an overwhelming celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus here at Cabrini Senior Housing, Seattle, WA. Before the start of the novena, I printed the novena prayers and gave a copy to all the residents who are members of the Catholic Guild that Sr. Renee started when she was here. Thanks, Sr. Renee!
I encouraged them to pray each day at their convenience. During that time, some residents came to me and shared their reflections. It was an opportunity for us to learn and share about Mother Cabrini’s reflections in relation to our experiences.
Before the novena, I was in contact with Fr. Lim William, a priest from St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Baguio City, Philippines. He knows the MSCs well and has gone to the former Casa Cabrini in Baguio City. He told me that he would be in Seattle for a day so I invited him to join our novena with the residents on June 10th. In spite of his very hectic schedule, he came and joined our novena prayer. He also gave a blessing to all of us present and blessed all the intentions the residents offered to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The feast culminated with the residents attending Mass together at St. James Cathedral.