The Little Workers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary
United as a religious family through their special devotion to the Sacred Hearts and by their profession of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience, the Sisters, Little Workers, live, pray and work together. Their life of communion, grounded in the contemplation and imitation of Jesus and Mary, is the source and support of all they do.
The Little Workers' principal ministry embraces a wide range of catechetical activity in parishes, such as directing religious education programs, teaching religious education, and educating catechists to form others in the Faith.
The Little Workers, however, consider themselves catechists in all that they do for the people of God. They therefore, are involved in various charitable works determined by the needs of the people and place in which they are stationed. Some sisters care for the sick and elderly by working as nurses in hospitals and in the nursing homes, and by caring for shut-ins. Other sisters are dedicated to youth ministry, working to meet the spiritual needs of young women and men through youth group activities, retreats, and individual spiritual direction. Many sisters are involved in early childhood, middle and high school education, seeking to lead children and young people to God as they strive to prepare them academically.
Monsignor Francesco Maria Greco was the pastor of a poor but expanding parish in Acri, a town located in Calabria, Italy. In 1894, he petitioned several religious congregations to send Sisters to provide secular and religious education to the children of the town. When every religious community refused his request, Monsignor Greco approached a catechist named Raffaella DeVincenti and asked her assistance in starting a new congregation. Together, they founded the religious community now known as Le Piccole Operaie dei Sacri Cuori - The Sisters, Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
From its humble beginnings in Acri, the work of the congregation spreadrapidly throughout Calabria, to Rome and northern Italy. Founded in charity and with a particular devotion to the poor, the congregation became actively in several apostolates – education (nursery school through university and catechetics); the staffing of orphanages and parish ministries; social work; and the care of the aged and infirmed in hospitals and nursing homes. The congregation now numbers more than 400 Sisters.
Over the past 100 years, The Sisters, Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts have opened convents across Italy and have established missionary houses and novitiates in the United States, Argentina, Albania and India. Since 1948, the congregation has operated nursery schools in Stamford (CT), Washington DC, Philadelphia (PA) and Riverdale (MD). In addition to their own schools, several of the Sisters are involved in religious education programs in local parishes.
The EMBLEM was designed by our founder Father F. M. Greco while still a deacon in 1881: A crown of thorns, in the center of which are the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, one transfixed and mounted by a cross, the other pierced by a sword, both of them surrounded by flames with the words: "Taste and See". Outside, at the base of the crown, the words: "Thy Kingdom Come".
This emblem is then like a synthesis of the intuition which constitutes our charism.
TWO HEARTS: One love, the same will, both victims of love for all.
THE FLAMES: Flames of the love which creates, redeems, lifts up, makes divine.
THE CROWN OF THORNS: Intimately joins the Heart of the Son and the Heart of the Mother, regenerates humanity, in the divine economy, to supernatural life. Our founder Msgr. F. M. Greco alludes to the prophet David, at flight in the cave of Adullam to underline how sweet it is, admist the cutting thorns of this miserable life, to take refuge in the Sacred Hearts.
TASTE AND SEE: An invitation to contemplation to see and savor the marvelous richness and sweetness which are enclosed in the Sacred Hearts.
THY KINGDOM COME: The program which polarizes all intentions and with a spirit of heroic oblation concentrates energies in the life of the Little Worker.
In the emblem described above, we find joined together the theological, spiritual, and apostolic components of our identity as Little Workers of the Sacred Heart. In fact, it is in "The mystery of the Heart of Jesus, which in the heart of Mary was received and reproduced most faithfully and most lovingly, that the Little Worker finds the characteristic virtues. These virtues guide and model her apostolic choices and the style of her apostolate in the commitment to collaborate, within the common mission of the Church, in the restoration of all things in Christ: "Thy Kingdom Come".