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The following is a circular letter of St Daniel from the Nuba Mountains, Sudan, soon after he was appointed Bishop of Central Africa. The Saint created a new title for his beloved Madonna and joined imagination, passion and devotion.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Who can open the mysterious scroll of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ? What will be this blessed Key which will open the door for us?... Ah! Let us wipe away our tears, O beloved Children, let us dry our eyes, and be consoled... Here is the beautiful Daughter of King David, Mary, Immaculate Virgin, who has this precious Key in her hands, indeed She herself is the mystical Key of the adorable Heart of her Son Jesus. Yes, Mary opens this Heart and no one can close it; she closes it and no one can open it. She unlocks this Divine Heart to anyone who wants it, as he wants it and when he wants it. She disposes of the infinite treasures of that divine Heart as she wishes and for the benefit of those who are pleasing to her. But why can Mary have such influence on the most adorable Heart of Jesus? Because she is the fortunate Mother of Jesus and therefore she is Queen and Lady of the Heart of Jesus. O blessed Name! O adored Name! O most beautiful Name after that of Mother of God! Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus! This ineffable Name is honey in the mouth, music in the ears, joy in the heart: mel in ore, melos in aure, in corde iubilus.

It is a Name that has made the goodness of the Heart of Jesus Christ shine forth in these calamitous times to illumine and console everyone, to comfort the just, to encourage sinners to repentance, to enrich with graces all those who have recourse to her. Hence she is comforted to be invoked by her Children as
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; with this title she is proclaimed the Generous Dispenser of all the immense treasures and graces of the Most Sacred Heart of her divine Son Jesus. She is proclaimed the most tender and most loving Mother of all mothers; the most eloquent Advocate of all the Angels and Saints; Hope of sinners; Comfort of the afflicted; Light of wanderers; Haven for those in danger. She is greeted as the Woman without blemish, Seat of Wisdom, Wonder of the infinite Love of God, the perpetual Panegyric of all ages, the universal Praise of all beings, the public and general Concert of all creatures, the Miracle of divine Omnipotence.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus!!! Oh! How many glories are contained in this August Name! How many qualities, what greatness does it contain in itself! And this is why this blessed Name resounds on the lips of many millions of faithful. She is invoked in all the corners of the earth by the righteous and sinners, Priests and laity, princes and servants, great and small. Yes, all who have been reached by this sweetest Name, all greet it, call upon it, invoke it and all feel its salutary effects, obtaining the most abundant spiritual and temporal graces from this most merciful Mother! Thus every day from all the parts of the Catholic world a heavenly melody of so many voices rises from earth to Heaven, praising Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for all the graces she has implored.

And the Heart of Jesus, oh! how glad he is to see Her whom he so greatly loves, so honoured and glorified here on earth! Thus from Heaven he continues to shower his blessings upon these adorers of his and of his Most Holy Mother. And Jesus says to all: If you want to enter my Heart and share in grace and in my blessings, have recourse to Mary and through her you will have access to me. Invoke her as Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that she will comfort you. Yes, come, O beloved and see the works of the Lord. Come and contemplate this wonder of God's grace, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart who has full power over the adorable Heart of her Son Jesus. She can do so much that she is called par excellence "the Advocate of the most difficult and desperate causes". And by St Ephrem, "the hope of the despairing". And by St Bernard, "The Almighty through her intercession".

Now is not this new title with which in these times the Great Mother of God appears glorious amongst us, a great sign of salvation and grace for Our Most beloved Vicariate of Central Africa? If Our Lady is the mystical Key to the Heart of Jesus, will she not desire to reveal the infinite treasures of that adorable Heart to these neglected souls of Ham's descendants? If Mary invoked as such cannot deny graces to anyone, would she and could she ever not want to come to our aid in our great distress, in our most arduous and difficult apostolate and in all our needs?

No, no, no... until now no one has ever been seen to invoke Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in his needs without her hearing him. Let us revive our Faith, 0 beloved children; the divine Mother prophesied that all peoples would call her:
ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes (Lk.1). And do not Ethiopia and Central Africa join in the symphony of Blessings to the Great Woman unstained by sin? Yes, they will enter, and through her will find their Saviour God and adore him: coram illo procident Aethiopes, says another Prophet (Ps.71).

Yes, let us follow this bright Star of Jacob, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and soon Central Africa will find its Saviour Jesus:
Lumen requiramus lumine et inveniemus Jesum. And this is why We turn to her, full of filial trust. To her we intend to offer and consecrate Ourselves, You, most devout Children, and all the souls of Our immense Vicariate. From Her, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we hope for help, means and graces, in order to be able to establish and implant in this torrid land of Central Africa the glorious standard of the adored Cross of Jesus Christ.

And when these people, who still live today in the pitiful darkness of idolatry or fetishism are converted and take refuge in the Heart of Jesus Christ, when the Name of Jesus resounds on the lips of the children of Ham, then a hymn of joy and gratitude will rise from all hearts, and all will exclaim: Praise, Glory and eternal Blessings to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through her we entered into the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus; through her we know Jesus Christ; through her we participate in the Redemption, in the graces, merits and inheritance of Jesus Christ Our Saviour, and through her we hope one day to enter the Kingdom of Heaven promised us by Jesus Christ, to whom may be glory with the Father and with the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

In order to complete and perfect the Act of Consecration of the Vicariate to the Sacred Heart of Jesus… we have established that on the next Feast of the Immaculate Conception in all the Parishes of Our Vicariate after solemn Mass and the Litany of Loreto, that the following Act of the Consecration of Central Africa to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus be recited before the Blessed Sacrament…

Given in Delen (Uarco) Our temporary Residence in Jebel Nuba, Sudan, on the Feast of the Holy Apostles Simon and Jude, 28th October 1875.
Daniel Comboni
Pro-Vicar Apostolic of Central Africa

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