On November 18, 1875, the future, modern apostle of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SS.CC., was born in Arequipa, Peru, in South America.

After joining the religious Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Fr. Mateo as a young priest, due to ill health, got permission to make a pilgrimage to Rome, and then to Paray-le-Monial in France to prepare for an early death. He was then 32 years old.

In Rome, in a private audience with Pope St. Pius X, Father Mateo begged for his blessing, for permission to devote the remaining days of his life to the promotion of a greater devotion to the Sacred Heart in the homes... Kneeling at the feet of His Holiness, Fr. Mateo pleaded: "Holy Father, permit me to be the apostle of the Sacred Heart, to go and work to conquer for Him the entire world, home by home, family by family." What a surprise Fr. Mateo got when Pope St. Pius X replied: "NO!" Looking up at the Pope, Fr. Mateo pleaded his request. Again came the answer: "NO, my son! ... You ask permission, and I say: "NO! For, not only do I permit you; rather I COMMAND you to give your life for this work of social salvation!"

Proceeding to Paray-le-Monial in France, Fr. Mateo went to pray at the altar where the Sacred Heart had appeared to St. Margaret Mary. As he knelt there during the night of August 24, 1907, Fr. Mateo himself later related what happened to him.

"I saw that altar, the most beautiful, the most holy after that of Calvary. There I prayed and suddenly, I felt within myself a strange shock. I was struck by a blow of grace, at the same time very strong, yet infinitely gentle. When I arose, I was completely cured. "

Eucharistic Heart Anthology
Fr. Albert Kretschmer, S.V.D.