November 4, 2018

Positivity: Mother Clelia Merloni, ‘a woman of pardon,’ to be beatified

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Vatican City:

Nov 2, 2018 / 05:00 pm

Mother Clelia Merloni, a 20th-century Italian religious sister and founder of the women’s institute of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, will be beatified in Rome on Saturday.

With her beatification at the Basilica of St. John Lateran Nov. 3, “the Church is recognizing this great woman, a woman of faith, a woman of courage and humility, and especially a woman of pardon,” Sr. Anne Walsh, vicar general of the Apostles, told CNA.

“How can I become holy?” Mother Clelia once wrote. “By doing as best as I can everything that will be asked of me each day.”

“Mother Clelia looked at her own suffering in her life and the suffering in the lives of so many around the world… and she was able to unite that with Christ’s suffering,” Fr. Geoffrey Brooke explained.

A devotee of Mother Clelia and a friend of her congregation, Brooke said Mother Clelia also played a role in his process of discernment to enter seminary and become a priest.

Clelia recognized, he told CNA, that from the unity of Christ’s suffering with one’s own suffering, comes the notion of “reparation;” that then one is motivated to use their suffering as reparation for “the wounds of the heart of Christ.”

“I think what Mother Clelia teaches me as a priest,” he said, “is a particular way of understanding and sharing the love of Christ.”

“Every Christian is called to share the love of Christ, but how we understand what that means and what that looks like – for me I’m able to do that better through a lens of reparation, particularly as explained by Mother Clelia.”

Life

Brooke said he believes everyone can learn from Mother Clelia’s willingness to unite her suffering to Christ, instead of trying to run from it.

Her life was not easy, beginning with the death of her mother in 1864, when Clelia was just three years old.

Her father, who came from humble beginnings as a servant to a count and countess, later experienced a financial turnaround, and become a wealthy industrialist and a Freemason. He remarried a few years after the death of Clelia’s mother and the girl’s stepmother cared for her as if she was her own daughter, teaching her the faith.

But when Clelia was just 22 years old, her stepmother died, shortly after she was driven from their home amid a dispute with husband’s mistress. Clelia’s maternal grandmother, who had helped to raise her, had also been sent away after a dispute with Clelia’s father.

Clelia was devastated to have lost the three women who had taught her about God and she continued to pray for the conversion of her father.

Soon after her stepmother’s death, Clelia entered the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Snows in Savona. Five years later, a severe earthquake destroyed the convent. Though Clelia had escaped unharmed, she soon became ill and her father took her home.

In 1892, she entered the Little House of Divine Providence in Como, where she was given care of the orphans. There she protracted tuberculosis, and doctors believed she would not be cured.

“In the face of her physical suffering she chose to dedicate herself to Christ and to the heart of Christ,” Brooke said.

Clelia had begun to sense a calling to establish a religious congregation dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and confided this to her confessor, who advised her to pray a novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for healing and to know God’s will. At the end of the novena, she was miraculously healed.

At the age of 33, Mother Clelia founded the Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Viareggio, Italy. The next year, her many prayers and sacrifices were rewarded, when her father had a conversion and asked to receive the sacraments, just five months before his death. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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