Monday, October 16, 2006
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): October 16
Double (1955 Calendar): October 17

Today the Church celebrates and remembers the life of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Born July 22, 1647, at L'Hautecourt, Burgundy, France, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was healed from rheumatic fever, a crippling disorder, at a young age by a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During her suffering, she developed an intimate relationship with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist. In the vision, Our Lady prompted St. Margaret to give her life to God. In 1671 after receiving a vision of Christ's Scourging, she entered the Order of the Visitation.

Beginning on December 27, 1673, through 1675, Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque asking her to receive Him in Holy Communion on the first Friday of every month and to meditate on His passion from 11:00 PM to 12:00 midnight each Thursday. He also revealed to her twelve promises for all who are devoted to His Sacred Heart; he asked for a Feast of the Sacred Heart to be instituted in the liturgical calendar of the Church.

Yet, St. Margaret Mary would suffer much for the sake of the Sacred Heart. She was immediately rebuffed by Mother de Saumaise, her superior. She finally won over Mother de Saumaise, but theologians and members of her community would not believe the validity of the apparitions.

In 1675, St. Margaret Mary met St. Claude la Colombière, a newly ordained priest who was the Superior of a group of Jesuits in Burgundy. St. Claude would serve as her confessor for many years. He would specifically assist St. Margaret Mary in spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart before he was sent to England to serve as the confessor to the Duchess of York.

Finally in 1683 Mother Melin was elected Superior of the Community, and Margaret Mary was made her assistant. St. Margaret Mary would even become the Novice Mistress. In 1686 the convent began to privately observe the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Two years later a chapel was built at the Paray-le-Monial in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Following this, several nearby convents would begin to observe the feast. It was not until after her death on October 17, 1690, that the Feast of the Sacred Heart was approved for specific dioceses by Pope Clement XIII in 1765. Pope Pius IX would extend the Feast of the Sacred Heart to the entire Church in 1856, and in 1899 Pope Leo XIII finally dedicated the whole world to the Sacred Heart.

St. Margaret Mary was finally canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920. In 1928, Pope Pius XI upheld the Church's position regarding the credibility behind her visions of Jesus Christ. 

Fr. Pierre Duverger in "Devotion to the Sacred Heart" summarizes the lasting importance of St. Margaret Mary:
What was lacking in the devotion to the Sacred Heart before the time of St. Margaret Mary? 
Before St. Margaret Mary, this devotion was practiced not only by a few privileged souls, such as St. Gertrude and St. Catherine of Siena, but also, thanks to St. John Eudes, by a large part of the Christian people. What, then, was lacking? 
First of all, the spirit of the devotion was perfected. Until this time those devoted to the Sacred Heart had chiefly rendered praise and thanksgiving to Him. 
There was no emphasis on reparation.  
It was, however, our Lord’s desire that we realize how unknown is His love and make reparation. Recognition of the infinite tenderness of the Divine Love is important, but it is of equal import to make reparation for the sins of the world. 
Of course fervent souls had already thought of this. But in a time where the Faith was weakening and the Divine Love was increasingly disregarded and insulted, it became important to emphasize reparation. It was Margaret Mary’s mission to draw the attention of loving souls toward this aspect of the devotion and to inspire souls to reparation, inviting them to turn to the forgotten and scorned Love.

Her body is incorruptible

For more information on the 12 promises and devotion to the Sacred Heart, see my post: Devotion to the Sacred Heart.


O Lord Jesus Christ, Who to the blessed virgin Margaret Mary didst in a wondrous manner reveal the unsearchable riches of Thy Heart: by her merits grant, that loving Thee after her example in all things and above all things, we may obtain an abode in Thy Heart forevermore. Who livest and reignest.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

1 comment(s):

del_button June 12, 2010 at 11:44 AM
Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing I love it.

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