Today is the anniversary of the death of Mother Clelia Merloni (1861–1930), the foundress of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart. Mother Clelia’s life was marked by the betrayal of her confidence, by financial ruin, calumny, plotting, and the loss of her good name. In 1911 the Holy See removed Mother Clelia from the office of superior of the institute she had founded. She accepted the humiliation with quiet courage, never losing her confidence in the Heart of Jesus.
In 1916, after an agonizing struggle, she requested and obtained a dispensation from her vows, preferring to withdraw from her community rather than be an obstacle to its growth. In 1928, two years before her death, she was readmitted into the congregation she had founded and welcomed back at the house in Rome. She spent the time that remained in solitary prayer, in reparation, adoration, and silence. As a very young woman she had desired the cloistered life; in the end it was given her, not in a monastery, but in a simple “upper room” on the Via Germano Sommeiller in Rome. There Mother Clelia became a flame