HAMDEN – Pope Francis has approved a miracle that clears the path to beatification for Mother Clelia Merloni, foundress of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The order announced in a press release that Congregation for the Causes of Saints had voted unanimously on January 9 to affirm the miracle attributed to Mother Clelia and that on January 27, Pope Francis cleared the path to her beatification by approving that miracle.
The United State Province of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is located in Hamden.
Sister Clare Millea, former superior general for the worldwide congregation, said, “For 12 years, I visited all of the communities and ministries of the Apostles in many countries throughout the world and I was always impressed by the many people who were speaking about Mother Clelia, and not just sisters but lay people, priests and so on. It was wonderful to see the love and inspiration she brought to so many with her story. So I was overjoyed to find out that she will now belong to the universal Church and can stand as an example of a beautiful way of holiness by expressing the heart of Jesus to others.”
The approval by Pope Francis was the final phase of the process recognizing the miracle under examination by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The miracle took place in Brazil in 1951 when Brazilian doctor, Pedro Ângelo de Oliveira Filho, was stricken suddenly by a progressive form of paralysis known as Guillain-Barré syndrome. The Holy See originally opened Mother Clelia’s cause for canonization in 1988. Pope Francis declared her Venerable Clelia Merloni on December 21, 2016.
Clelia Merloni was born in Forli, Italy on March 10, 1861. Although she came from an elite and wealthy family, she was attracted to prayer and solitude at an early age. She responded generously to God’s call by choosing consecrated religous life. On May 30, 1894.
Mother Clelia 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, Mother Clelia sustained 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.
Mother Clelia died in Rome on November 21, 1930. Her remains were placed in the generalte chapel after her body was exhumed in 1945 and found to be incorrupt.