Sister Rita Petrarca, ASCJ
Sister Rita Petrarca, a member of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Hamden, Connecticut, shared the story of her life in ministry with SOAR!.
The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus have always been a part of my life. They were my teachers in both elementary and secondary school, and their warm, caring and joyful spirit attracted me to them from when I was very young. It was no surprise when I decided to join them and follow in their footsteps.
I entered the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1958 and professed Final Vows in 1966. During my more than 60 years as an Apostle, I have been missioned in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Connecticut, serving as elementary school teacher and principal, Vice Provincial, Provincial Secretary and parish pastoral associate. At the present time, I reside at Sacred Heart Manor, our home for retired sisters, where I serve as Archivist for the United States Province of Apostles.
Sharing in the life, the mission and ministries of our Congregation has always brought me much joy. I have been blessed to meet and work with so many wonderful people and to share in their journeys of faith. Sustained by God’s grace, I have also been supported and inspired by my sisters who show me the many and varied ways God acts in our lives. My sister Apostles continue to show me the rich tapestry that God creates when we come together not only with our differences and uniqueness, but especially because of our shared charism, vision and goals.
My life experience as an Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has shown me how powerfully God works when we entrust ourselves to His care. As our Foundress Blessed Clelia Merloni often said: “Trust God and you will see miracles.” When we learn to trust God’s Providential care in our lives, I truly believe we will find the key to real joy and peace of mind and heart, no matter where our life journey takes us or what the circumstances of our lives.
In the summer of 2022, the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus received an emergency grant for a new HVAC system after their air-conditioning stopped working. Your kindness allows religious communities to care for their aging members.