By Joseph Albino
Sun contributing writer
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus had its beginnings when on a Friday in 1674, Our Lord appeared to Sister, now Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation Sister, at her Convent at Paray-le-Monial, France. The Visitation Order had been founded by St. Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, and co-founded by Saint Jane Francis de Chantel in 1610.
Our Lord showed Sister Margaret Mary a view of His Sacred Heart surrounded by flames with a crown of thorns and a cross above it and instructed her to promote devotion to His Most Sacred Heart. He requested her to draw an image of His heart that He exposed to her, and through this image he promised to draw souls to Himself.
However, the founding of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart would take place much later on August 24, 1907 when Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, a Peruvian priest of the Order of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (the same order as that of Blessed Damien of Molokai), experienced a miraculous healing of an illness.
The healing took place while Father Mateo was prostrated in prayer before the tabernacle in the same Visitation Chapel where Our Lord had appeared to Sister Margaret Mary. At the time of his healing, Father Mateo was also illuminated on how to carry out the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart.
During a subsequent meeting with Pope Pius X, Father Mateo asked for permission to promote the Sacred Heart Enthronement throughout the world. Pope Pius X, who had previously had the opportunity to review Father Mateo’s purpose and plan, replied, “Instead of my giving you permission, I command you to devote the rest of your life to this most important work of all: the sanctification of families.”
Until his death in 1960, Father Mateo Crawley-Bovey, on fire with love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, devoted his life to promoting the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in homes throughout the world.
In 1974, Jack and Gloria Anson, who reside in the Town of Camillus, were invited by a friend to have the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart carried out in their home. It was a positive, life-changing experience for the Anson household.
Subsequently, Jack and Gloria began to tell others about the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart. While making a presentation about the Enthronement to a group of women at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Syracuse, 40 women signed up to have the Enthronement made in their homes.
Gloria also began to speak about the importance of the Enthronement at religious conferences. She eventually became known at the Sacred Heart Lady. Gloria continues to promote the Enthronement and is in her 38th year of doing this work.
With Jack’s blessing, for the next twelve years Gloria joined the Rev. William Mitchell, National Director of the Sacred Heart Enthronement Apostolate, Fairhaven, Mass., in giving missions and workshops throughout the country to promote the Enthronement, home by home, family by family.
In 1996, the Rev. William Gaffney, a Redemptorist, was invited by Gloria to join her in carrying out parish missions of the Sacred Heart. They continue to work as a team in giving Enthronement Missions throughout the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.
In 1991, 1993, 1997, and, most recently, 2007, Gloria was the driving force behind holding in Syracuse, with the encouragement and permission of the bishop of the Syracuse Diocese, four Sacred Heart Congresses which drew laity and prominent clergy from throughout North America.
On June 12, 2007, Gloria met with her spiritual director, Msgr. John Esseff, and four other interested persons at Msgr. John Esseff’s then-parish, St. Paul’s Church in Scranton, Pa.
The participants were brainstorming and praying to the Holy Spirit for enlightment on how to further promote the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart. The overall sense was the call to go out to the five continents. They continued praying on how to accomplish such a mission.
Suddenly, one of the participants, the Rev. William Petrie, a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, suggested holding a series of Sacred Heart World Congresses on all five continents. Later, through prayer it was determined that the First Sacred Heart World Congress should be held at Paray-le-Monial, France.
Ironically, at about the same time bishops, priests and pilgrims were gathered together at Paray-le-Monial, France to celebrate the 100th anniversary (1907 to 2007) of the work of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart.
From the Visitation Chapel, crowds in a Eucharistic Procession proceeded into the cobblestone streets where five tables had been set up, with each table representing a continent.
The Rev. Richard McNally, Vicar General of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, carrying Our Lord in a monstrance, held high the Blessed Sacrament at each of the five tables, with the prayer that the Enthronement of the Sacred Heat would spread to all five continents.
When Gloria and her colleagues later learned what had taken place at Paray-le-Monial, they all became excited, for they saw it as confirmation from Heaven of Father Petrie’s idea. The World Congress was held from Oct. 6 through Oct. 11, 2011. A global team was chosen by Gloria to help plan the event.
During this First Sacred Heart World Congress, a catechesis workshop was held in order to explain the complete procedure for an Enthronement. Ultimately, Enthronement Packets (in several languages) were distributed to the participants to promote the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart at home.
Although Enthronements were initially made only in homes, they are now also made in colleges, dioceses, hospitals, parishes, prisons, seminaries, schools and work places.
At the First Sacred Heart World Congress, guest speaker Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, encouraged the Sacred Heart global team to continue in their work of building a civilization of love through the enthronement of the Sacred Heart.
Currently, Gloria and her colleagues are receiving email reports of Enthronements taking place around the world as a result of the First Sacred Heart World Congress. Requests also continue to be received for additional Enthronement Packets.
Plans have already been made to hold a Second World Sacred Heart Congress in 2013. It will be held in Lima, Peru, home of Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, the first promoter of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart.
Blessed John Paul II promoted the concept of a Civilization of Love as opposed to a Culture of Death. That has become the theme of the world-wide Enthronment, believing that there will be an increase of mutual love and understanding in all those places where the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart has been made.
For additional information, contact:
President of the Sacred Heart Enthronement Apostolate
Syracuse Diocesan Director of the Sacred Heart Apostolate
105 Stanton Avenue
Solvay, New York 13208
Editorial Note: Gloria’s new booklet, The History of the Sacred Heart Apostolate, is currently also available from the Global Headquarters. It is the first of several booklets about the Sacred Heart Enthronement Apostolate.