The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the order of women religious who run Sacred Heart Academy, gathered Thursday at the Cascade to recognize those who aid them selflessly in their call to spread Christ’s love at their third annual Legacy Dinner.
The 2011 honorees contributions, not only to the sisters but to Sacred Heart Academy as well, is an expansive list of self-giving that exemplifies what foundress Mother Clelia Merloni taught at the root of her ministries, according to the sisters.
This year’s dinner recognized not just the people that keep the missions of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus alive, but also marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mother Merloni.
This moment was marked by Superior General Mother Clare Millea receiving the Mother Clelia Service Award. Millea, a member of Sacred Heart Academy's class of 1965, is internationally known, having taken part as an auditor in the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2008 at the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI.
On a day-to-day basis, she oversees the ministries of the more than 1,200 sisters located across Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America.
Mother Clare noted that her recognition, “…is a great honor, and I feel that I am receiving this award in the name of all the sisters.”
The sisters also recognized E. William Iovanne, along with Joseph and Mary Jo Lee, for their outstanding leadership. Amoungst his contributions, Iovanne spearheaded the project to build a regulation softball field for Sacred Heart Academy, whose 2011 team played in the CIAC finals Friday for their first ever state championship.
This, along with his years on the Academy’s advisory board and his willingness to bring laughter to the retired Sisters at Sacred Heart Manor on Halloween since 1970, has added to the joy that he has brought to the sisters, they said.
Joseph and Mary Jo Lee are much of the same breed, according to the sisters, bringing light to their lives.
Sr. Mary Jane Paolella, ASCJ captured the couple’s contribution as “the result of God’s abundant outpouring of his love for a countless number of years,” with the Lee family having ties with Sacred Heart Academy for nearly half a century.
“It [has been] a pleasure working with woman dedicated to meeting all the needs of those under their care," Mary Joe Lee said.
Ronald J. D’Andrea, DMD and Lawrence DiPalma received the Mother Clelia Merloni Charism Awards for what the sisters said is their inspiring and innovative services.
D’Andrea provides dental care to the elderly sisters at the Manor, on the provincial property in Hamden, as well as to the poor and underprivileged. His acceptance speech exuded his motivation behind his acts of charity,
“I want to thank the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus …I am humbled, and I am privileged," he said.
DiPalma, an educator for the past 38 years and the night’s final honoree, summed up his time with the sisters as a time to learn the “adaptation of letting-go and letting in God.”
Both men exemplify what it means to surpass standards with the kindness in their hearts, the sister's said, purely for the welfare of others.