Sister Jeanne Shary’s conversation with Sister Mary Rose Mullervy
Sister Mary Rose: From early years, as children in our home, we always had a plaque with the Sacred Heart prayer in the foyer. In the bedroom, there was also lovely picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I grew up with and I still frequently pray, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in thee” when I’m in some kind of a situation or something’s happening. Even when I was driving, I would say the prayer, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, protect us. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I place all my trust in thee.” Growing up, I heard all these prayers from my mother and father. Holy water fonts, the recitation of the rosary, and prayers on our knees were all part of our family prayer life. And I had 16 Sparkill Dominicans as teachers; all these young Sisters in St. Teresa’s School in Woodside, NY, furthered my devotion.
Sister Jeanne: Can you tell me more about your family?
Sister Mary Rose: My mom and dad, immigrants from Longford, Ireland, had grown up with a great devotion to the Sacred Heart. In fact, my sister is named Margaret in honor of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, the French nun and mystic who promoted the modern devotion to the Sacred Heart. With so many new devotions these days, you don’t hear too much about Saint Margaret Mary anymore.
Sister Jeanne: What does dedication to the Sacred Heart mean—what’s it all about?
Sister Mary Rose: It’s a very visual devotion. Seeing the pictures of Christ as a young man is key. I find the prayer and vision of Jesus calming when irritating things happen in everyday life. Once you place your trust in Jesus there’s nothing else you can do, and you worry less.
I served as a teacher at Sacred Heart in Suffern, St. Martin of Tours in the Bronx, St. Theresa’s in the Bronx, and Holy Family in Hicksville. I was one of the “pioneers” opening and administering Precious Blood School in Walden as principal. My active ministry concluded with a 37-year stint as Director of Religious Education at St. Anastasia’s Parish in Harriman. I was frequently being asked to try new things, and then I placed it all in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Besides this, my mother and father were always praying for me. They were big pray-ers.
“Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in thee” is the exact prayer I say, and it is the whole gist of my devotion. And I can visualize the picture.
Sister Jeanne’s Post Conversation Musings:
Sister Mary Rose is a wonderful role model of a faith-filled woman who has accomplished much good through hard work and by trust in God through her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Following our conversation, I visited Google to learn more about the tradition of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I realized that it’s really all about God’s infinite love for humanity, expressed through the suffering and compassionate heart of Jesus. I think this explains the Sacred Heart devotion’s attraction and appeal. Don’t we all want to feel God’s love?
Maybe I should also place my trust in the Sacred Heart. If it was so powerful in the lives of Sister Mary Rose’s ancestors who lived on farms in Ireland and were immigrants in a new land, why wouldn’t it be grace-filled for me, too? We can’t avoid suffering. Jesus chose not to avoid suffering, but did what he had to do because of his love for us. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, putting our trust in the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a great way to trust more and worry less.
– Sister Mary Rose Mullervy, OP
Sister Mary Rose resides at Dominican Convent where she lives her Dominican vocation of contemplation and action. She is constantly praying to the Sacred Heart on behalf of all those in need.