Pope Francis Visits the Handmaids

A jubilant group of Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus received an unexpected guest at the house of XX Settember in Rome on January 2. Without notice, Pope Francis surprised the sisters and indicated that his intention was prompted by a desire to pray at the shrine of St. Raphaela Mary, to whom he is said to be deeply devoted. The sisters, many from the Province of Italy, the Sisters of the Preparatory Commission, the Sisters of Torricella, and the General Curia were obviously overjoyed by the Pope’s impromptu visit, and welcomed him with deep emotion. By chance, one…

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Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Post Election 2016 Statement

The Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, grounded in the gospel and the ACJ mission are committed, in this “Divided States of America” to uphold the dignity of every person, enshrined in the Constitution, and wish to work for the common good of our nation and to promote a living faith that works for justice. In our society deeply in need of mercy, the Handmaids, with our Eucharistic-reparative charism and our rich experience of multiculturality can be agents of reconciliation and dialogue. We will continue working to protect to the fullest extent of the law undocumented immigrants and will…

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Sister Jessica Kerber on Discerning Religious Life

“The draw to religious life is more than community, says Sr. Jessica Kerber, director of the retreat center of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: ‘It’s finding that at that deepest level of self, there is this desire to give fully to God one’s own being. . . . It’s a commitment to God and God’s project, the project of salvation.” Sister Jessica Kerber was recently interviewed by Dan Stockman for the November 29th publication of Global Sisters Report, a project of the National Catholic Reporter. To read what she has to say about the discernment experience, process,…

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St. Raphaela Center’s New Director!

Sr. Jessica Kerber is second from left. “The only thing constant is change.” Heraclitus Well, maybe not the only thing. Hope can be constant…desire for more can be constant (or at least we hope it is!). Yet that desire for more will demand change…in one form or another. The other way of thinking about this is this: in order for the good to remain good, it must develop…it must change. There is a lot of consistency at St. Raphaela Center that spans back across 60 years of Handmaid ministry: essentially, the desire to do everything possible so that others may…

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In Memoriam Sister Ruth Held

It is with a mixture of sadness and gratitude that we announce the death of Sister Ruth Held, acj. Sister Ruth, a member of the Handmaid community for more than seven decades, died peacefully on Tuesday, October 25th, with members of her Handmaid community present. Sister Ruth Jane Held, acj was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Barbara Waldenberger Held and Leonard Held on July 21,1920. Her close family were her beloved brother Robert (Bob) and her sister, Sally Held Sharkey, with whom she had a profound spiritual connection in the Catholic faith. After graduation from John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’…

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