My divine heart is so inflamed with love for humanity, and for you in particular, that it can no longer contain within itself the flames of its ardent love, and must spread them through you…
-Revelation by our Lord to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, December 1673
Dear Friends of the friars,
During the month of June, we celebrate several significant feast days, including the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on June 16th. Devotion to the Sacred Heart stretches back to the early Church, but the devotion, as many of us recognize it, was popularized by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, 1647-1690. This devotion spread and grew as more and more of the faithful were drawn to the message that the heart of Jesus yearns to be united with our hearts. St. Margaret Mary’s visions took place at the beginning of what we would now call “the Enlightenment,” when reason and science were seen as the distinguishing marks of human beings. In some ways, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus served as a counterbalance to this over-emphasis upon thinking and reason.
The heart of Christ continues to reveal itself through the many ministries of the Conventual Franciscan Friars: our work with young adults who grapple with the meaning of faith in their lives; the outreach that we have to migrants who are seeking safety and security for their families; the care of the many pilgrims who seek hope and comfort as they pray at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio and the parishioners who are a part of the parishes we care for.
The 20th-century French author, Antoine de Sainte Exupéry, wrote in his classic book, The Little Prince: “It is only with the heart that one sees rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Our friars, in the United States and in our foreign missions in Central America and Africa, have gazed upon their brothers and sisters with their hearts as they respond to the many needs of an emerging and exploding church.
Our three Centers of Spirituality: Mount Saint Francis Center for Spirituality (Mt St. Francis, IN), Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center (Prior Lake, MN), and Holy Cross Retreat Center (Mesilla Park, NM) show forth this divine heart in their welcome to all who cross their thresholds, especially those who live on the margins. During the Pandemic, Holy Cross Retreat opened its heart and its space to a woman battling cancer who had no place to stay. “It felt like I was receiving a great big hug from the friars and the staff here,” Terri said. Retreatants at our Prior Lake Center are taken with the fact that the preaching team welcomes them as soon as they enter and are there to see them off when they leave. Mt. St. Francis provides space for many high school students to experience the love of Christ; local friars are often surprised when young adults will say, “Mount Saint Francis? I made my Senior Retreat there!”
Mount Saint Francis Center for Spirituality
Franciscan Retreats & Spirituality Center
Holy Cross Retreat Center
The friars often minister to the wounded heart of Christ in their outreach to those who are battling serious illness (and their loved ones), as well as those who are mourning the loss of a loved one. Many of our friends take advantage of a Perpetual Membership in the Franciscan Mission Association during this time. Families remark how comforting it is to know that their loved one will be remembered in a daily Mass, a Mass every Tuesday in honor of St. Anthony, con-celebrated Masses on Christmas, Easter and the feasts of the Immaculate Conception, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua; a remembrance in all of the prayers and devotions of the Conventual Franciscans and a special Mass every month in every church and seminary chapel of the Order. Families receive a gold folder with a holy picture on one side of the folder and certificate of enrollment with the loved one’s name on it. In the photo I am holding a gold folder with the often request image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
As we reflect upon the divine love that radiates from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we are reminded of our calling to share this love with the world. The partnership between the friars and our supporters, through their unwavering commitment and outreach, are beacons of hope and love in a world that desperately needs it. You, too, can play an instrumental role in transforming lives and spreading the message of the Sacred Heart by supporting the friars in their mission and ministries. Your generous donation will directly impact the lives of those who need it most, enabling the friars to continue their vital work, touching hearts, and igniting the flame of divine love in countless souls.
Let us join hands and help the friars bring the divine love of the Sacred Heart to those who hunger for its warmth and solace. Donate today, and together, we can create a future where the essential, invisible beauty of the heart is recognized and cherished. Stand with us in embracing the message of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and help ensure that the love of the Sacred Heart continues to burn brightly for generations to come.
“Jesus, King and center of all hearts…have mercy on us”
From the Litany to the Sacred Heart
Fr. John Elmer, OFM Conv.
P.S. With your gift, please send us the names of those you would like for the friars to remember in prayer, along with any special intentions you may have. It continues to be our honor and joy to pray for you and with you!