The Sacred Heart Statue and the Stuff of Legends

This statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus ornamented the front porch of the Our Saviour Parish rectory in Jacksonville until 1903. In the late 1800s Sister Mary Agnes McGuire and several other Dominican Sisters of Springfield were invited by the pastor, Father Crowe, to tour the new rectory. The sisters admired the statue, so, for his amusement, Father Crowe told the sisters he’d give it to anyone who could move it.

As the story goes, one-by-one the sisters tried and failed to move the statue. Then Sister M. Agnes  said “Love renders everything light," wrapped her arms around the statue, and easily shifted it on the pedestal.

Presumably everyone had a good laugh and the sisters went home to Springfield.

In the spring of 1903 the sisters' new chapel (at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Convent) was ready for dedication. Just days before the ceremony a heavy crate arrived at the convent labeled “To Sister Mary Agnes from Father Crowe.” Only when the opened crate revealed the coveted statue from Jacksonville did Sister Mary Agnes recall the incident on the rectory porch years before.

The statue remained on its pedestal in front of the old Sacred Heart Chapel until the chapel was razed in 1993. It's been in the courtyard of the present-day motherhouse ever since. Though a bit weather-worn, it is still much-loved as a touch-stone to our earliest foundations.

Learn more about Catholic devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

5 thoughts on “The Sacred Heart Statue and the Stuff of Legends”

  1. Sister Anita Tapocik

    Thanks for this info on the statue of the Sacred Heart, Sr. Beth. I will appreciate it more and all who made it possible as I pass it almost daily in my courtyard walks My new ministry of prayer now allows me to do this and say a prayer of thanks for all.

  2. Sr. M. Angelene Biderbost

    After many years as a Springfield Dominican and a graduate of Sacred Heart Academy, I never knew the background of this statue of the Sacred Heart. I enjoyed the story as the statue was special to me as a student. My family and I had our picture taken close to it on the day I entered the convent. Seeing it in our present day courtyard and knowing its background will now bring even more meaning. Thank you.!

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