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Interview with Osvaldo Aparicio sscc, from the Iberian Province

"We have to thank Fr. Hilarion
for this important selection of phrases
that reflect the thoughts of the Founders"


Having translated from the original French into Spanish the Life of the Good Father written by Hilarion Lucas, you have now completed the translation of the Memoirs of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts compiled by the same author. What has this new work brought you personally?

The translation of Father Hilarion's Memoirs has been a journey back, above all, to those not so easy social and political times when the seed of the grain born in a barn was planted and grew in the mind of a young priest full of enthusiasm for the "work of God". I say "a journey back", for there is much resemblance between the Life of the Good Father written by Hilarion Lucas and the Memoirs of the Congregation. In fact, in the latter writing, especially at the beginning, large paragraphs have been taken directly from The Life of the Good Father.

Memoirs once again reflects the deep affection that not only Fr. Hilarion but all the members of the nascent family had for the Good Father and the Good Mother, and also the affectionate bonds that reigned among the members of the new family. It is not for nothing that the Good Father insisted again and again that they maintain mutual love, peace and unity: "Diligite invicem et hoc sufficit. Never lose sight of the fact that you are brothers and children of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary" (4 April 1834).


What struck you most in these Memoirs of Hilarion?

Fr. Hilarion is faithful to his "cut and paste" style. Throughout the ten books into which he divides his Memoirs, the events he narrates are always supported and confirmed by quotations either from the Founders or from writings, letters or testimonies of the brothers and, above all, of the sisters. I have the impression that at some point Hilarion asked all the members of the Congregation to send him letters, memories or testimonies about the Founders. These were always very laudatory materials, full of admiration and affection, which he arranged and used in his writings.

As the Memoirs are not simply a narrative account of events, I must confess that the translation, like that of the Founder's letters that I have been engaged with for some time, is often not at all easy. The language is colloquial with many familiar “taken for granted” expressions and idioms of the time, so that on more than one occasion I have had to turn to "experts", such as Sister Jeanne Cadiou sscc, to clarify the meaning.

Can you detail some of the elements that we can find in this book about the Founders.

We all know that the Founders did not leave us treatises on spirituality. The Good Father was a great orator or preacher, and he spoke abundantly from the heart. His preaching was not written down, except for the well-known sermons of his time as subdeacon and deacon. However, the Founders wrote a profusion of letters, as is reflected in Correspondence. Generally, they are family letters, destined above all to resolve domestic matters and any problems that arose; the Good Father always used to add some reflection or spiritual advice, which Fr. Hilarion represented to us in his collection of selected phrases, as, for example, at the end of the 10th book of the Memoirs he summarises the virtues of the Rev. Fr. Pierre (Marie Joseph), confirming them by means of quotations from the Founder; the same can be said of the 9th book, which he dedicates entirely to the Foundress. We have to thank Fr. Hilarion for this important selection of phrases that reflect the thoughts of the Founders, together with the various Memos which they addressed to the Holy See for the approval of the Congregation.

How would you go about recommending this reading to SSCC brothers, sisters and lay?

The Memoirs and other writings from the time of the Founders should be read with the same affection with which we read the memories of people dear to us who, in times far removed from our own, fought and gave everything to carry forward the "work of God". That "work of God" is our family. Moreover, they marked out for us the path of being "guardians" of the love of the Sacred Hearts. I expressly stress the name "guardians", although today this word is somewhat distorted, but for the Founders it undoubtedly had the profound meaning given to it in Psalm 69 and which the evangelist applies to Jesus: "Zeal for your house will consume me" (Jn 2:17).