Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, an Australian community, in a worldwide religious congregation.
Jesus loved with a human heart: with him we proclaim his love to the world.
We work to discover through advocacy, healing and reconciliation, God's presence in our world.
We are to be on earth the heart of God. God has no other heart but ours.
- Published: Tuesday, 23 April 2013 16:38
In 1854, a French parish priest, Jules Chevalier, gathered a small group of like-minded priests and formed the MSC congregation under the protection of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
Their concern was global, but they began with efforts to restore the vitality of the faith in rural France. On September 1, 1881, the first missionaries left for Papua New Guinea, the fulfilment of a dream that Fr. Chevalier already had as a seminarian.
Jules Chevalier was a man of his time. His life spanned most of the nineteenth century, a century that saw radical changes in Western society often torn apart by war and revolution, especially in France. It was a world of empire and colonial powers.
Jules Chevalier was a priest who lived all of his life in central France, over fifty years of it in the small parish of Issoudun, about 200 kilometres to the south of Paris, where he died on October 21, 1907. Towards the end of his life, he was described by a close friend as someone who, "inspired confidence, a confidence that commanded respect. He was of medium height, well built, with an upright stance and plenty of hair, even in his old age. He had a pleasant appearance, a warm voice, and spoke rather slowly." In most respects, he was an ordinary man. But he was also a man of inner depth and vision.
"He inspired confidence, a confidence that commanded respect. He was of medium height, well built, with an upright stance and plenty of hair, even in his old age. He had a pleasant appearance, a warm voice, and spoke rather slowly."
Jean Jules Chevalier was born in 1824 in the small town of Richelieu, 200 kilometres or so southwest of Paris. His father was an educated man, but not very successful in either trade or business, and not a religious man at all. Jules' mother could neither read nor write, had never been to school, but was deeply religious. In this ambiguous atmosphere Jules grew up with competence in reading and writing from his father, and an awareness of God in his life from his mother. When he first let it be known that he wanted to be a priest, he was told immediately that this was quite impossible given the family's poor circumstances. He was needed to help support the family and was apprenticed to a shoemaker.
When Jules was seventeen years old, his father was given a job as "caretaker of forests" by a wealthy landowner near Vatan. Hearing that Jules was interested in becoming a priest, this man undertook to pay Jules' fees at the seminary. It was during his seminary days, that Jules Chevalier first dreamed of a group of people dedicated to the Heart of Jesus who would bring a message of love and hope to a world in which there was a complete indifference to God and an antagonism to any form of religion and a general feeling of hopelessness and despair.