Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, the father-of-Enthronement of the Sacred Heart, profound devotion to Jesus continues to inspire hearts around the globe even today. He was born on November 18, 1875, near the city of Arequipa in Peru. His father was a protestant, and his mother was a Catholic. He was raised separated from his family because his father and mother had to leave back for England when he was just a child, and on the way to the docks, he got very ill. In a last-minute decision, they left the child with the grandfather. His grandfather took him to daily Mass even as a baby. When Edward was nine years old, his family moved to Valparaiso in Chile, and his parents returned in 1884. Edward was sent to a school run by the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts. Here, he would discover his vocation to become a priest. As a child, he declared that his goal in life was to become a saint. Edward’s father converted to Catholicism on his deathbed, a true answer to his prayers.

Edward entered the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Valparaiso, Chile. The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts is characterized by the spirit of true family. The practice of the order is to propagate devotion to the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart of Mary and make reparation to these two Hearts by perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

On the night of his final profession of vows, his provincial wrote to the Superior General, “We have a young saint. Only angels are better and purer than this young man.” In August 1906, around eight o’clock in the evening, a large earthquake struck this region of Chile, toppling the law school he had founded and leaving it in ruins. Shortly after, Fr. Mateo aided victims of the earthquake day and night at the expense of his own health, which led to complete physical exhaustion, and he had health issues as well. Fr. Mateo’s superiors decided to send him to Europe to restore his health. This trip influenced him profoundly and was the decisive turning point of his life, in which Fr. Mateo received his mission from the Church. He would later say, “Were it not for that fact” (the earthquake destroying the school of law), I might never have become the ‘globetrotter’ of the Sacred Heart.”

One of the few things in the Sacred Heart College not damaged by the earthquake was the large oil painting of the Sacred Heart held in great reverence by the former President of Ecuador for the Consecration to the Sacred Heart. Later, this president would be assassinated after leaving a holy hour on the First Friday and, in his speech in his pocket, had his last words typed out, “God does not die.” Following Moreno’s death, a revolution broke out, and the image was sent for safekeeping with the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts from Chile. Twice, the image was even attempted to be burned. (Jesus_Christ_the_King_of_Ecuador.jpg ‎

On a pilgrimage to Paray-le-Monial in France, where Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1673, he was given a great gift. Fr. Matoe gained a clear vision to promote the reign of the Sacred Heart, by reaching families one at a time and enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the home. This would fulfill the promise given to St. Margaret Mary, “where my image is exposed and honored, you shall be blessed,” and it would be a powerful way to help families encounter the love of the Sacred Heart.

In an audience with Pope Saint Pius X, on sharing with him the idea of the apostolate, he was commanded to devote his life to the work of enthroning the Sacred Heart of Jesus, home-by-home, heart-by-heart. The pope told him, “To save the family is to save society. Consecrate your life to it.”

Fr. Mateo began his world tour of promoting this devotion:

  • From 1907 to 1914, he preached in South America.
  • From 1914 to 1935, his apostolate was mainly in European countries.
  • From 1935 to 1940, he was in the Far East and preached in China, Japan, Manchuria, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
  • From 1940 to 1944, he preached in the United States, then moved north to Canada, where he continued preaching until he fell ill and entered a hospital in Montreal.
  • In 1956, he returned to Chile and died on May 4, 1960.

The enthronement has been defined as the official and social recognition of the kingship of the Heart of Jesus in a Christian family. A family filled with a spirit of faith, love, and confidence publicly acknowledges that Jesus is Lord and God of the household. Homes, Schools, Businesses, and ministries have declared Jesus King, Lord, Savior, and Friend worldwide.

This acknowledgment or public recognition is shown by giving a statue or picture of the Sacred Heart the place of honor in the home. The members of the family then renew their commitment to Christ by an act of consecration. The family, in turn, is sanctified by this act of public recognition and strengthened in its resolve to be an instrument of transformation for society. Fr. Mateo sought to make the home a truly “domestic church.” Father Mateo’s faith journey was marked by a deep love for the Sacred Heart—a devotion that would become the hallmark of his life’s work.

Highlight:

One of the highlights of Father Mateo’s mission was his visit to the United States in 1940. During his time there, he consecrated the Diocese of Chicago to the Sacred Heart, with over 125,000 people gathered at Soldiers Field—a remarkable event even by today’s standards.

Throughout his life, Father Mateo remained unwavering in his commitment to promoting the Sacred Heart devotion as a source of strength, healing, and grace for all who embraced it. His beatification process, initiated in 1977, stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of his faith and the profound impact of his ministry on the lives of countless believers.

Beatification Prayer

In honor of Father Mateo’s devotion to the Sacred Heart, let’s pray his beatification prayer together—a powerful invocation of faith and trust in the boundless love of Jesus:

Beatification Prayer of Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey:

Sacred Heart of Jesus, King of Love, mindful of all Father Mateo accomplished during his life to make You known, loved, and served if it is Your adorable Will, deign to manifest the sanctity of Your faithful apostle by granting us the grace we humbly ask through his intercession. In return, we promise to become apostles of the family and social reign of Your Sacred Heart. Amen.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Your Kingdom come! (5 times)

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us! (3 times)

St. Joseph, Pray for us!

St. Margaret Mary, Pray for us!

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Pray for us!

(Fr. Mateo’s favorite aspirations)

As we reflect on the life and legacy of Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, may we be inspired to embrace the Sacred Heart of Jesus with renewed fervor and devotion. May his beatification prayer lead us ever closer to the heart of our loving Savior.

Resources:

Enthronement of the Sacred Heart. Fr. Francis Larkin. 1999. Sacred Heart Enthronement Center.

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