March 6 – THE SACRED HEART
THE SACRED HEART
The devotion to the Sacred Heart was one of the characteristics of French devotion in the 19th century. It was very much encouraged for the Brothers by the Superiors General. On Thursday 13 June 1858, eve of the feast of the Sacred Heart, Br. Simeon, on the occasion of the first procession of Corpus Christi feast-day at the Mother House, consecrated the Institute to the Sacred Heart using a very long formula. Br. Eugene-Marie who renewed this consecration just after his first election, ended almost all his letters with formulas like this: “In this Heart do I hide with you”. In June 1873, joining one hundred French Parliamentarians, he undertook his first pilgrimage to
Paray-le-Monial, the place of apparitions to St Marguerite Mary, and there he consecrated all his Brothers of the Congregation to the Sacred Heart. He once again went to Paray in June 1875. His successor, Very Dear Brother Hubert Marie, in Council, voted on 6 March 1886 a donation of FF 1000 for the construction of the Sacred Heart basilica at Montmartre, at Paris. He also had the coat of arms of the Congregation engraved in its crypt at the right between the 7th and 8th windows.
On 26 January 1901, a confraternity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was established in the chapel of the Brothers at Saint-Laurent and it was affiliated the following 31 January to the arch-confraternity of the Sacred Heart established in the basilica of Montmru:tre. All the faithful, and-net just the Brothers, could-enrol themselves. Its goal
was very typical of the time: not only to propagate the cult to the Sacred Heart in families and in the society, but also to combat impiety, to obtain the Pope’s freedom, and to invoke the Sacred Heart’s protection on the fatherland. Though akin to the apostolate of prayer (See 15 December), it was an association in its own right. Br. Martial highly recommended it through a circular of 28 pages.
All the Brothers were in tune with their Superiors. For example, Br. Bernard, Director of the Institution for the deaf in Toulouse, wrote to Br. Hubert on 4 October 1886 that he had just received FF 300 and that he wished it could be used in the erection of three statues to the Sacred Heart in three places where he had remained the longest: the Mother House and the schools for the deaf and dumb in the North and in Poitou.
The novitiate in Clermont-Ferrand (France), established in December 1873, was called Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and that of Ronchin (France) dating to December 1899 was under the patronage of the Sacred Heart. During the 1914-1918 war; the house in Peruwelz (Belgium) was entrusted thrice over (on 11 October 1914 for the juniorate, on 8 January 1915 and on 5 January 1917 for the scholasticate) to the Sacred Heart through a vow: it was never occupied by the Germans.
Another version of the confraternity of the Sacred Heart was the arch confraternity of the agonising Heart of Jesus for the conversion of those in agony. Br. Antoine de Padoue, who died in 1925, was one of its zealous propagandists.