mercredi 17 octobre 2012

Sainte MARGUERITE-MARIE ALACOQUE, vierge religieuse visitandine

Corrado Giaquinto  (1703–1766). Sainte Marguerite Marie Alacoque contemplant le Sacré Cœur de Jésus, 1765, 171 X 123


Sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque

Religieuse visitandine à Paray-le-Monial ( 1690)

Elle est née, le 22 juillet 1647, en Bourgogne  Elle devient orpheline alors qu'elle a douze ans et ses tantes qui gèrent la famille font d'elle un véritable souffre-douleur. A 24 ans, elle peut enfin réaliser sa vocation: répondre à l'amour intense de Dieu. Les grâces mystiques qui accompagnent ses épreuves culminent en 1673 dans plusieurs visions du Christ: Voici le cœur qui a tant aimé les hommes jusqu'à s'épuiser et se consumer pour leur témoigner son amour. Guidée par le Saint jésuite Claude de La Colombière, elle parviendra à promouvoir le culte du Sacré-Cœur d'abord dans son monastère de la Visitation, puis dans toute l'Église Catholique latine. Elle meurt le 16 octobre 1690.

Béatifiée d'abord par l'opinion populaire à cause de tous les miracles obtenus par son intercession, les pressions jansénistes puis la Révolution retarderont sa béatification jusqu'en 1864 puis sa canonisation en 1920. Les foules continuent d'affluer à Paray le Monial. Plusieurs Papes ont souligné l'importance de son message: l'immensité de l'Amour de Dieu révélé dans un cœur d'homme, et proposé à tous.
- vidéo de la webTV de la CEF, Chronique des saints: Marguerite-Marie Alacoque.

Mémoire de sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, vierge. Entrée à vingt-quatre ans au monastère de la Visitation à Paray-le-Monial en Bourgogne, elle avança de manière admirable sur le chemin de la perfection. Pourvue de dons mystiques, elle se préoccupa avant tout de la dévotion envers le Sacré-Cœur de Jésus, et fit beaucoup pour promouvoir son culte dans l'Église. Elle mourut le 17 octobre 1690.

Martyrologe romain

En vous oubliant de vous-même, vous le posséderez. En vous abandonnant à lui, il vous possédera. Allez donc, pleine de foi et d'une amoureuse confiance, vous livrer à la merci de sa Providence, pour lui être un fonds qu'il puisse cultiver à son gré et sans résistance de votre part, demeurant dans une humble et paisible adhérence à son bon plaisir.

Lettre à une religieuse

SOURCE : https://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/2028/Sainte-Marguerite-Marie-Alacoque.html


National Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Solemnly Consecrated June 15, 1985, on July 2, 2000, Dedication of New Altar Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila Sacred Heart Street List of barangays of Metro ManilaLegislative districts of Makati, Barangay San Antonio, Makati City.


Sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque

Confidente du Sacré-Coeur

(1648-1690)

C'est pour instituer et propager le culte de Son Sacré Coeur que Jésus-Christ Se choisit, au monastère de la Visitation de Paray-le-Monial, une servante dévouée en Marguerite-Marie Alacoque: une des gloires de la France est de lui avoir donné naissance.

Prévenue par la grâce divine dès ses premières années, elle conçut de la laideur du péché une idée si vive, que la moindre faute lui était insupportable; pour l'arrêter dans les vivacités de son âge, il suffisait de lui dire: "Tu offenses Dieu!" Elle fit le voeu de virginité à un âge où elle n'en comprenait pas encore la portée.

On raconte qu'elle aimait, tout enfant, à réciter le Rosaire, en baisant la terre à chaque Ave Maria. Après sa Première Communion, elle se sentit complètement dégoûtée du monde; Dieu, pour la purifier, l'affligea d'une maladie qui l'empêcha de marcher pendant quatre ans, et elle dut sa guérison à la Sainte Vierge, en échange du voeu qu'elle fit d'entrer dans un Ordre qui Lui fût consacré. Revenue à la santé, elle oublia son voeu, et, gaie d'humeur, expansive, aimante, elle se livra, non au péché, mais à une dissipation exagérée avec ses compagnes.

De nouvelles épreuves vinrent la détacher des vanités mondaines; les bonnes oeuvres, le soin des pauvres, la communion, faisaient sa consolation. Enfin elle entra à la Visitation de Paray-le-Monial. C'est là que Jésus l'attendait pour la préparer à sa grande mission.

Le divin Époux la forma à Son image dans le sacrifice, les rebuts, l'humiliation; Il la soutenait dans ses angoisses, Il lui faisait sentir qu'elle ne pouvait rien sans Lui, mais tout avec Lui. "Vaincre ou mourir!" tel était le cri de guerre de cette grande âme.

Quand la victime fut complètement pure, Jésus lui apparut à plusieurs reprises, lui montra Son Coeur Sacré dans Sa poitrine ouverte: "Voilà, lui dit-Il, ce Coeur qui a tant aimé les hommes et qui en est si peu aimé!" On sait l'immense expansion de dévotion au Sacré Coeur qui est sortie de ces Révélations. La canonisation de la Sainte a eu lieu le 13 mai 1920.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950

SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/sainte_marguerite-marie_alacoque.html

Le Sacré-Coeur de Jésus et Marguerite-Marie Alacoque. Vitrail datant de 1916. Maitre-verrier : Charles Champigneulle, Eglises d'Ivry sur Seine


16 octobre

Sainte Marguerite Marie Alacoque

 Quelques dates

22 juillet 1648 : Naissance de sainte Marguerite-Marie.

20 juin 1671 : Sainte Marguerite-Marie entre au monastère de la Visitation de Paray-le-Monial.

25 août 1671 : Prise d'habit de sainte Marguerite-Marie.

6 novembre 1672 : Profession religieuse de sainte Marguerite-Marie.

27 décembre 1673 : Première révélation du Sacré-Coeur à sainte Marguerite-Marie

21 juin 1686 : La fête du Sacré-Coeur est célébrée pour la première fois à la Visitation de Paray.

17 octobre 1690 : Mort de sainte Marguerite-Marie

18 septembre 1864 : Béatification de sainte Marguerite-Marie

13 mai 1920 : Canonisation de sainte Marguerite-Marie

 

Armand Cambon, Vision de Margaruerite Marie Alacoque, sœur de la Visitation, 1863, 

Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption de Montauban

Extraits

Ce divin Coeur est un abîme de bien où les pauvres doivent abîmer leurs nécessités ; un abîme de joie où il faut abîmer toutes nos tristesses ; un abîme d'humiliation pour notre orgueil, un abîme de miséricorde pour les misérables, et un abîme d'amour où il nous faut abîmer toutes nos misères.

Dites dans chacune de vos actions : " Mon Dieu, je vais faire ou souffrir cela dans le Sacré Coeur de votre divin Fils et selon ses saintes intentions que je vous offre pour réparer tout ce qu'il y a d'impur ou d'imparfait dans les miennes. " Et ainsi de tout le reste.

Ne nous troublons pas, car les troubles ne servent qu'à augmenter notre mal. L'Esprit de Dieu fait tout en paix. Recourons à Lui avec amour et confiance, et il nous recevra entre les bras de sa miséricorde.

Vous demandez quelque courte prière pour lui témoigner votre amour ; pour moi je n'en connais point d'autre et n'en trouve point de meilleur que ce même amour, car tout parle quand on aime, et même les plus grandes préoccupation sont des preuves de notre amour.

A la vérité, je crois que tout se change en amour, et une âme qui est une fois embrasée de ce feu sacré, n'a plus d'autre exercice ni d'autre emploi que d'aimer en souffrant.

Le Seigneur ne fait sa demeure que dans la paix d'une âme qui aime fortement de se voir anéantie, pour demeurer comme toute perdue dans l'amour à son abjection.

Vous ne trouverez de paix ni de repos que lorsque vous aurez tout sacrifié à Dieu.

Ne nous troublons pas, car les troubles ne servent qu'à augmenter notre mal. L'Esprit de Dieu fait tout en paix. Recourons à Lui avec amour et confiance, et il nous recevra entre les bras de sa miséricorde.

La sainteté d'amour donne à l'âme un désir si ardent d'être unie à Dieu qu'elle n'a de repos ni jour ni nuit ... Dieu se faisant voir à l'âme et lui découvrant les trésors dont il l'enrichit et l'ardent amour qu'il a pour elle.

Sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque

SOURCE : http://missel.free.fr/Sanctoral/10/16.php


Morte le 17 octobre 1690. Canonisée en 1920, fête en 1929

Leçons des Matines (avant 1960)

Quatrième leçon. Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, née d’une famille honorable dans un bourg du diocèse d’Autun, donna dès son enfance des signes de sa sainteté future. Brûlant d’amour pour la Vierge Mère de Dieu et pour l’auguste sacrement de l’Eucharistie, la jeune adolescente voua à Dieu sa virginité ; Avant toute chose, elle s’efforce de réaliser dans sa vie l’exercice des vertus chrétiennes. Elle a le plaisir de dépenser des heures dans les prières et dans la méditation sur les choses du ciel. Elle était humble et patiente dans l’adversité. Elle a exercé la pénitence physique. Elle a montré sa charité envers son prochain, en particulier les pauvres. Par tous les moyens dans les limites de son pouvoir, elle s’employa avec diligence à imiter les plus saints exemple a laissé par notre divin Rédempteur.

Cinquième leçon.Entrée dans l’Ordre de la Visitation, elle commença aussitôt à resplendir du rayonnement de la vie religieuse. Elle fut gratifiée par Dieu d’un don d’oraison très élevée, d’autres faveurs spirituelles et de visions fréquentes. La plus célèbre fut celle où, tandis qu’elle priait devant le Saint-Sacrement, Jésus se présenta lui-même à sa vue, lui montra, sur sa poitrine ouverte, son Divin Cœur tout embrasé et entouré d’épines et lui ordonna de faire en sorte, en raison d’un tel amour et pour réparer les outrages des hommes ingrats, qu’un culte public fût institué en l’honneur de son Cœur ; il promettait en retour de grandes récompenses puisées dans le trésor céleste. Lorsque, par l’humilité, elle a hésité d’entreprendre une telle tâche, son Sauveur très aimant l’a encouragé. En même temps, il a désigné Claude de la Colombière, un homme de grande sainteté, comme celui qui pourrait la guider et l’aider. Notre Seigneur l’a également conforté avec l’assurance qu’une très grande bénédiction s’étendrait sur l’Eglise grâce au culte de son divin Coeur.

Sixième leçon.Marguerite s’est ardemment dépensée à accomplir l’ordre du Rédempteur. Vexations, insultes ne lui manquèrent pas de la part de certains qui maintenaient qu’elle faisait l’objet d’aberrations mentales. Elle a non seulement porté ces souffrances patiemment, elle a même tiré profit, s’offrant elle-même dans l’angoisse et les douleurs comme une victime agréable à Dieu, supportant toute ces choses comme un moyen plus sûr de réaliser son but. Très estimée pour la perfection de sa vie religieuse et chaque jour plus unie au céleste Époux par la contemplation des réalités éternelles, elle s’envola vers lui, en la quarante-troisième année de son âge, l’an 1690 de la Rédemption. Elle fut glorifiée par des miracles ; Benoît XV l’inscrivit parmi les saints et Pie XI étendit son Office à l’Église universelle.

SOURCE : http://www.introibo.fr/17-10-Ste-Marguerite-Marie

Sainte Marguerite Marie, église Saint Augustin de Paris


Sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque (1647-1690)

Sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque (1647-1690) est née à Verosvre en Charolais et elle se fit visitandine à Paray le Monial (1672) et y fut maîtresse des novices.

Elle fut canonisée le 13 mai 1920.

Sainte Marguerite Marie Alacoque et la Vierge Marie.

Durant son enfance, Marguerite fut guérie après quatre années de grave maladie par l'intercession de Marie. En remerciement, le jour de sa confirmation, elle ajouta alors le nom de « Marie » à « Marguerite ».

« J'allais à elle avec tant de confiance qu'il me semblait n'avoir rien à craindre sous sa protection maternelle. Je me consacrai à Elle pour être à jamais son esclave, la suppliant de ne pas me refuser en cette qualité. Je lui parlais comme une enfant, avec simplicité, tout comme à ma bonne Mère pour laquelle je me sentais pressé dès lors d'un amour tendre. Si je suis entrée à la Visitation, c'est que j'étais attirée par le nom tout aimable de Marie. Je sentais que c'était là ce que je cherchais. »[1]

Religieuse, elle tombe malade, et c'est encore la Vierge Marie qui la guérit : la sainte Vierge apparut à Marguerite-Marie, lui « fit de grandes caresses, » l'entretint longtemps et lui dit : « Prends courage, ma chère fille, dans la santé que je te donne de la part de mon divin [Fils], car [tu as] encore un long et pénible chemin à faire, toujours dessus la croix, percée de clous et d'épines, et déchirée de fouets ; mais ne crains rien, je ne t'abandonnerai et te promets ma protection. »[2]

La dévotion au Sacré-Cœur existait déjà[3].

La dévotion au Sacré Cœur était déjà chère au XII° siècle à saint Antoine de Padoue, saint Bonaventure, saint Claire d'Assise, ou encore, au XVII° siècle, à Bérulle et à saint Jean Eudes. Au milieu du XVII° siècle existent déjà des images du Christ montrant son cœur dans son corps entrouvert.

L'idée centrale de la dévotion au Sacré Cœur se résume ainsi : « Quel bonheur d'être uni à Jésus-Christ dans le Sacré Cœur qui a été continuellement uni à Dieu ».

Chez certaines personnes (dont Marguerite-Marie), la dévotion au Sacré-Cœur devient une prière pour les pécheurs ou une prière de réparation.

Un nouvel élan pour la dévotion au Sacré-Cœur.

Sœur Marguerite-Marie évoque plusieurs apparitions du Christ.

- C'était le 27 décembre 1673, fête de saint Jean l'Évangéliste. Sœur Marguerite-Marie, ayant un peu plus de loisir qu'à l'ordinaire, priait devant le saint Sacrement.

« Il me dit : - Mon divin Cœur est si passionné d'amour pour les hommes, et pour toi en particulier, que, ne pouvant plus contenir en lui-même les flammes de son ardente charité, il faut qu'il les répande par ton moyen, et qu'il se manifeste à eux, pour les enrichir de ses précieux trésors que je te découvre, et qui contiennent les grâces sanctifiantes et salutaires nécessaires pour les retirer de l'abîme de perdition ; et je t'ai choisie comme un abîme d'indignité et d'ignorance pour l'accomplissement de ce grand dessein, afin que tout soit fait par moi. »

Après, il me demanda mon cœur, lequel je le suppliai de prendre, ce qu'il fit, et le mit dans le sien adorable, dans lequel il me le fit voir comme un petit atome, qui se consommait dans cette ardente fournaise, d'où le retirant comme une flamme ardente en forme de coeur, il [le] remit dans le lieu où il l'avait pris, en me disant : 

« Voilà, ma bien-aimée, un précieux gage de mon amour, qui renferme dans ton côté une petite étincelle de ses plais vives flammes, pour te servir de cœur et te consommer jusqu'au dernier moment [...] »

« J'ai une soif ardente d'être honoré des hommes dans le saint Sacrement, et je ne trouve presque personne qui s'efforce, selon mon désir, de me désaltérer, usant envers moi de quelque retour. » [4]

- Un premier vendredi d'un mois de 1674, le Christ demande la réparation des offenses envers le Saint Sacrement par l'heure sainte (le jeudi de 23h à minuit) et la communion du premier vendredi du mois.

- Un jour de l'octave du Saint Sacrement 1675, le Christ demande la fête annuelle du Sacré-Cœur. [5]

- Un jour de l'année 1689, le Christ lui dit qu'il désire du roi (Louis XIV) une consécration à son Sacré-Cœur, la représentation du Sacré-Cœur sur le drapeau français et un sanctuaire national dédié au Sacré-Cœur dans lequel il consacrerait la France Sacré-Cœur. Mais Louis XIV n'en fera rien et la basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre ne sera inaugurée qu'en 1919...

[1] Marquis de la Franquerie, La Vierge Marie dans l'Histoire de France, Editions saint Rémi, p. 174

[2] Cf. http://www.abbaye-saint-benoit.ch/saints/margueritemarie.

[3] Cf. E.Préclin et E.Jarry, Histoire de l'Eglise, tome 19 , Bloud & Gay, Paris 1955, p. 288-289. Lire aussi : H. De Barenton, La dévotion au Sacré-Coeur. Ce qu'elle est et comment les saints la pratiquèrent, Paris 1914. L. Garriguet, Le Sacré-coeur de Jésus. Exposé historique et dogmatique de la dévotion au Sacré Coeur de Jésus, Paris 1920.

[4] Cf. http://www.abbaye-saint-benoit.ch/saints/margueritemarie. Citation de l'Autobiographie, p. 75.

[5] Cf. E.Préclin et E.Jarry, Histoire de l'Eglise, tome 19 , Bloud & Gay, Paris 1955, p. 288-289

Synthèse Françoise Breynaert



Église du Couvent des Augustins (XIVe-XVe-XVIIIe), Ribeauvillé,  3 rue de l'Abbé-Louis-Kremp.  
Maître-autel (XIXe): Statues de l'aile droite: Sainte Julienne du Mont-Cornillon, sainte Catherine d'Alexandrie avec l'épée et la roue, sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque portant un reliquaire contenant le coeur ardent couronné d'épines, sainte Gertrude avec une fleur de lys.

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

Also known as

Margarita Mary Alacoque

Margherita Mary Alacoque

Marguerite Mary Alacoque

Memorial

17 October

Profile

Healed from a crippling disorder by a vision of the Blessed Virgin, which prompted her to give her life to God. After receiving a vision of Christ fresh from the Scourging, she was moved to join the Order of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial in 1671.

Received a revelation from Our Lord in 1675, which included 12 promises to her and to those who practiced a true to devotion to His Sacred Heart, whose crown of thorns represent his sacrifices. The devotion encountered violent opposition, especially in Jansenist areas, but has become widespread and popular.

Born

22 July 1647 at L’Hautecourt, BurgundyFrance

Died

17 October 1690 of natural causes

body incorrupt

Beatified

18 September 1864 by Pope Blessed Pius IX

Canonized

13 May 1920 by Pope Benedict XV

Patronage

against polio

against the death of parents

devotees of the Sacred Heart

polio patients

Represetation

woman wearing the habit of the Order of the Visitation and holding a flaming heart

woman wearing the habit of the Order of the Visitation and kneeling before Jesus who exposes His heart to her

Readings

What a weakness it is to love Jesus Christ only when He Caresses us, and to be cold immediately once He afflicts us. This is not true love. Thouse who love thus, love themselves too much to love God with all their heart. – Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

The Twelve Promises of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary for those devoted to His Sacred Heart

I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

I will establish peace in their families.

I will console them in all their troubles.

They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.

I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.

Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.

Tepid souls shall become fervent.

Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.

I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.

Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.

The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

– from Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque’s vision of Jesus

Look at this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth.” – from Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque’s vision of Jesus

The sacred heart of Christ is an inexhaustible fountain and its sole desire is to pour itself out into the hearts of the humble so as to free them and prepare them to lead lives according to his good pleasure. From this divine heart three streams flow endlessly. The first is the stream of mercy for sinners; it pours into their hearts sentiments of contrition and repentance. The second is the stream of charity which helps all in need and especially aids those seeking perfection in order to find the means of surmounting their difficulties. From the third stream flow love and light for the benefit of his friends who have attained perfection; these he wishes to unit to himself so that they may share his knowledge and commandments and, in their individual ways, devote themselves wholly to advancing his glory. This divine heart is an abyss filled with all blessings, and into the poor should submerge all their needs. It is an abyss of joy in which all of us can immerse our sorrows. It is an abyss of lowliness to counteract our foolishness, an abyss of mercy for the wretched, an abyss of love to meet our every need. Are you making no progress in prayer? The you need only offer God the prayers which the Savior has poured out for us in the sacrament of the altar. Offer God his fervent love in reparation for your sluggishness. In the course of every activity pray as follows: “My God, I do this or I endure that in the heart of your Son and according to his holy counsels. I offer it to you in reparation for anything blameworthy or imperfect in my actions.” Continue to do this in every circumstance of life. But above all preserve peace of heart. This is more valuable than any treasure. In order to preserve it there is nothing more useful than renouncing your own will and substituting for it the will of the divine heart. In this way his will can carry out for us whatever contributes to his glory, and we will be happy to be his subjects and to trust entirely in him. – from a letter by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

MLA Citation

“Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque“. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 August 2020. Web. 16 October 2020. <https://catholicsaints.info/saint-margaret-mary-alacoque/>

SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/saint-margaret-mary-alacoque/

Monument of the Sacred Heart, Cerro de los Ángeles, Getafe, Madrid, Spain: "The church in triumph"

Monumento al Sacro Cuore, Cerro de los Ángeles, Getafe, Madrid, Spagna: "La Chiesa trionfante"

Monumento al Sagrado Corazón, Cerro de los Ángeles, Getafe, Madrid, Spain: "Iglesia triunfante". 

Están representados: San AgustínSan Francisco de AsísSanta Margarita María de AlacoqueSanta Teresa de JesúsSanta Gertrudis y el Venerable Padre Bernardo de Hoyos



St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque – Religious of the Visitation Order. Apostle of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, born at Lhautecour, France, 22 July, 1647; died at Paray-le-Monial, 17 October, 1690.

Her parents, Claude Alacoque and Philiberte Lamyn, were distinguished less for temporal possessions than for their virtue, which gave them an honourable position. From early childhood Margaret showed intense love for the Blessed Sacrament, and preferred silence and prayer to childish amusements. After her first communion at the age of nine, she practised in secret severe corporal mortifications, until paralysis confined her to bed for four years. At the end of this period, having made a vow to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate herself to religious life, she was instantly restored to perfect health. The death of her father and the injustice of a relative plunged the family in poverty and humiliation, after which more than ever Margaret found consolation in the Blessed Sacrament, and Christ made her sensible of His presence and protection. He usually appeared to her as the Crucified or the Ecce Homo, and this did not surprise her, as she thought others had the same Divine assistance. When Margaret was seventeen, the family property was recovered, and her mother besought her to establish herself in the world. Her filial tenderness made her believe that the vow of childhood was not binding, and that she could serve God at home by penance and charity to the poor. Then, still bleeding from her self-imposed austerities, she began to take part in the pleasures of the world. One night upon her return from a ball, she had a vision of Christ as He was during the scourging, reproaching her for infidelity after He had given her so many proofs of His love. During her entire life Margaret mourned over two faults committed at this time–the wearing of some superfluous ornaments and a mask at the carnival to please her brothers.

On 25 May, 1671, she entered the Visitation Convent at Paray, where she was subjected to many trials to prove her vocation, and in November, 1672, pronounced her final vows. She had a delicate constitution, but was gifted with intelligence and good judgement, and in the cloister she chose for herself what was most repugnant to her nature, making her life one of inconceivable sufferings, which were often relieved or instantly cured by our Lord, Who acted as her Director, appeared to her frequently and conversed with her, confiding to her the mission to establish the devotion to His Sacred Heart. These extraordinary occurrences drew upon her the adverse criticism of the community, who treated her as a visionary, and her superior commanded her to live the common life. But her obedience, her humility, and invariable charity towards those who persecuted her, finally prevailed, and her mission, accomplished in the crucible of suffering, was recognized even by those who had shown her the most bitter opposition.

Margaret Mary was inspired by Christ to establish the Holy Hour and to pray lying prostrate with her face to the ground from eleven till midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, to share in the mortal sadness He endured when abandoned by His Apostles in His Agony, and to receive holy Communion on the first Friday of every month. In the first great revelation, He made known to her His ardent desire to be loved by men and His design of manifesting His Heart with all Its treasures of love and mercy, of sanctification and salvation. He appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart; He called her “the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart”, and the heiress of all Its treasures. The love of the Sacred Heart was the fire which consumed her, and devotion to the Sacred Heart is the refrain of all her writings. In her last illness she refused all alleviation, repeating frequently: “What have I in heaven and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God”, and died pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus.

The discussion of the mission and virtues of Margaret Mary continued for years. All her actions, her revelations, her spiritual maxims, her teachings regarding the devotion to the Sacred Heart, of which she was the chief exponent as well as the apostle, were subjected to the most severe and minute examination, and finally the Sacred Congregation of rites passed a favourable vote on the heroic virtues of this servant of God. In March, 1824, Leo XII pronounced her Venerable, and on 18 September, 1864, Pius IX declared her Blessed. When her tomb was canonically opened in July, 1830, two instantaneous cures took place. Her body rests under the altar in the chapel at Paray, and many striking favours have been obtained by pilgrims attracted thither from all parts of the world. St. Margaret Mary was canonized by Benedict XV in 1920. Her feast is celebrated on 17 October.

SOURCE : http://www.ucatholic.com/saints/st-margaret-mary-alacoque/

Revelation of the Sacred Heart to Marguerite Marie Alacoque, 

Ballylooby Church of Our Lady and St. Kieran South Transept South Window 


St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Religious of the Visitation Order. Apostle of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, born at Lhautecour, France, 22 July, 1647; died at Paray-le-Monial, 17 October, 1690.

Her parents, Claude Alacoque and Philiberte Lamyn, were distinguished less for temporal possessions than for their virtue, which gave them an honourable position. From early childhood Margaret showed intense love for the Blessed Sacrament, and preferred silence and prayer to childish amusements. After her first communion at the age of nine, she practised in secret severe corporal mortifications, until paralysis confined her to bed for four years. At the end of this period, having made a vow to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate herself to religious life, she was instantly restored to perfect health. The death of her father and the injustice of a relative plunged the family in poverty and humiliation, after which more than ever Margaret found consolation in the Blessed Sacrament, and Christ made her sensible of His presence and protection. He usually appeared to her as the Crucified or the Ecce Homo, and this did not surprise her, as she thought others had the same Divine assistance. When Margaret was seventeen, the family property was recovered, and her mother besought her to establish herself in the world. Her filial tenderness made her believe that the vow of childhood was not binding, and that she could serve God at home by penance and charity to the poor. Then, still bleeding from her self-imposed austerities, she began to take part in the pleasures of the world. One night upon her return from a ball, she had a vision of Christ as He was during the scourging, reproaching her for infidelity after He had given her so many proofs of His love. During her entire life Margaret mourned over two faults committed at this time--the wearing of some superfluous ornaments and a mask at the carnival to please her brothers.

On 25 May, 1671, she entered the Visitation Convent at Paray, where she was subjected to many trials to prove her vocation, and in November, 1672, pronounced her final vows. She had a delicate constitution, but was gifted with intelligence and good judgement, and in the cloister she chose for herself what was most repugnant to her nature, making her life one of inconceivable sufferings, which were often relieved or instantly cured by our Lord, Who acted as her Director, appeared to her frequently and conversed with her, confiding to her the mission to establish the devotion to His Sacred Heart. These extraordinary occurrences drew upon her the adverse criticism of the community, who treated her as a visionary, and her superior commanded her to live the common life. But her obedience, her humility, and invariable charity towards those who persecuted her, finally prevailed, and her mission, accomplished in the crucible of suffering, was recognized even by those who had shown her the most bitter opposition.

Margaret Mary was inspired by Christ to establish the Holy Hour and to pray lying prostrate with her face to the ground from eleven till midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, to share in the mortal sadness He endured when abandoned by His Apostles in His Agony, and to receive holy Communion on the first Friday of every month. In the first great revelation, He made known to her His ardent desire to be loved by men and His design of manifesting His Heart with all Its treasures of love and mercy, of sanctification and salvation. He appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart; He called her "the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart", and the heiress of all Its treasures. The love of the Sacred Heart was the fire which consumed her, and devotion to the Sacred Heart is the refrain of all her writings. In her last illness she refused all alleviation, repeating frequently: "What have I in heaven and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God", and died pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus.

The discussion of the mission and virtues of Margaret Mary continued for years. All her actions, her revelations, her spiritual maxims, her teachings regarding the devotion to the Sacred Heart, of which she was the chief exponent as well as the apostle, were subjected to the most severe and minute examination, and finally the Sacred Congregation of rites passed a favourable vote on the heroic virtues of this servant of God. In March, 1824, Leo XII pronounced her Venerable, and on 18 September, 1864, Pius IX declared her Blessed. When her tomb was canonically opened in July, 1830, two instantaneous cures took place. Her body rests under the altar in the chapel at Paray, and many striking favours have been obtained by pilgrims attracted thither from all parts of the world. Her feast is celebrated on 17 October. [Editor's Note: St. Margaret Mary was canonized by Benedict XV in 1920. Her feast is now 16 October.]

Doll, Sister Mary Bernard. "St. Margaret Mary Alacoque." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 16 Oct. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09653a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Paul T. Crowley. Dedicated to Mrs. Margaret McHugh and Mrs. Margaret Crowley.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Copyright © 2020 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.



Le Sacré-Coeur et sainte Marguerite-Marie. Vitrail de Notre-Dame de Clignancourt, Paris XVIIIe


Margaret Mary Alacoque V (RM)

Born July 22, 1647, at L'Hautecourt, Burgundy; died at Paray-le- Monial, 1690; canonized 1920.

"Love triumphs, love enjoys, the love of the Sacred Heart rejoices!"

Saint Margaret Mary is nearly the antithesis of yesterday's saint, Teresa of Ávila. As joyful as Teresa was; Margaret Mary was dour and humorless. Teresa was gregarious; Margaret Mary self- contained. Both were sickly, but dealt with it differently. Both were visionaries. This proves once again that no personality precludes sanctity.

Margaret Mary was the daughter of the respected notary Claude Alacoque and Philiberte Lamyn. Her father died when she was around eight, leaving her family in a precarious financial situation, so that for several years they were at the mercy of some domineering and rapacious relatives.

She was sent to school with the Poor Clares at Charolles. She fell ill with a painful rheumatic condition at 12 and was bedridden until she was 15. The family home had been taken over by her sister, and her mother and she were treated with undeserved severity and almost like servants. Her sister often refused her permission to attend church. "At that time," she wrote later, "all my desire was to seek happiness and comfort in the Blessed Sacrament.

At 20, she was pressed to marry but after a long struggle with herself decided to fulfill the vow she had made earlier to the Virgin and entered the Order of the Visitation. She was confirmed at 22 and took the name Mary. Her brother furnished her dowry and she joined the convent at Paray-le-Monial. During her retreat before her profession, which she made on November 6, 1672, she had a vision of Jesus in which he said, "Behold the wound in my side, wherein you are to make your abode, now and forever."

She worked in the infirmary, and the slow-moving, awkward Margaret Mary suffered much under the active and efficient infirmarian, Sister Catherine Marest.

On December 27, 1673, the feast of Saint John the Evangelist, as she knelt at the grill before the exposed Blessed Sacrament, she experienced a vision in which the Lord told her to take the place that Saint John had occupied at the Last Supper, and that she would act as His instrument. Jesus revealed His Sacred Heart as a symbol of His love for mankind, saying:

"My divine Heart is so inflamed with love for mankind . . . that it can no longer contain within itself the flames of its burning charity and must spread them abroad by your means."

Then it was as if He took her heart and placed it next to his own, and then returned it burning with divine love into her breast.

She had three more visions over the next year and a half in which he instructed her in a devotion that was to become known as the Nine Fridays and the Holy Hour, and in the final revelation, the Lord asked that a feast of reparation be instituted for the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi.

The Wisdom of God also told her, "Do nothing without the approval of those who guide you, so that, having the authority of obedience, you may not be misled by Satan, who has no power over those who are obedient."

She told her superior, Mother de Saumaise, about the visions, was treated contemptuously and was forbidden to carry out any of the religious devotions that had been requested of her in her visions. She became ill from the strain, and the superior, searching for a divine sign of what to do, vowed to believe the visions if Margaret Mary was cured. Margaret Mary prayed and recovered, and her superior kept her promise.

A group within the convent remained skeptical of her experiences, especially when, in 1677, she told them that Jesus had twice asked her to be a willing victim to expiate their shortcomings. The superior ordered Margaret Mary to present her experiences to theologians. They were judged to be delusions, and it was recommended that Margaret Mary eat more.

Blessed Claude La Colombière, a holy and experienced Jesuit, arrived as confessor to the nuns, and in him Margaret Mary recognized the understanding guide that had been promised to her in the visions. He became convinced that her experiences were genuine and adopted the teaching of the Sacred Heart the visions had communicated to her. He departed not long after for England.

During the next years, Margaret Mary experienced periods of both despair and vanity, and she was ill a great deal. In 1681 Claude returned; in 1682 he died. In 1684 Mother Melin became superior and elected Margaret Mary her assistant, silencing any further opposition.

Her revelations were made known to the community when they were read aloud in the refectory in the course of a book written by Blessed Claude. Margaret Mary became novice mistress and was very successful.

Her revelations in the open now, she encouraged devotion to the Sacred Heart, especially among her novices, who observed the feast in 1685. The family of an expelled novice accused her of being unorthodox, and bad feelings were revived, but this passed and the entire house celebrated the feast that year.
A chapel was built in 1687 at Paray in honor of the Sacred Heart, and devotion began to spread in the other convents of the Visitidines, as well as throughout France.

Margaret Mary became ill while serving a second term as assistant to the superior and died during the fourth anointing step of the last rites. As she received the Last Sacrament, she said, "I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus."

(She actually died on October 17, but the Church celebrates her today.) She, Saint John Eudes, and Blessed Claude are called "saints of the Sacred Heart."

Margaret Mary's patience and trust during her trials within the convent contributed to her canonization in 1920. The devotion was officially recognized and approved by Pope Clement XIII in 1765, 75 years after her death. Her visions and teachings have had considerable influence on the devotional life of Catholics, especially since the inauguration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Roman calendar in 1856 (Attwater, Delaney, Kerns, White).

Depicted as a nun in the Visitation habit holding a flaming heart; or kneeling before Jesus, who exposed his heart to her (White).

In art, Saint Margaret Mary is portrayed as a nun to whom Christ offers His Sacred Heart (Roeder). 



Illustrated Catholic Family Annual – Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque

Article

The Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque was born at Terrau, in the province of Burgundy, France, on the 22d of July, 1647. Her family was highly respectable; her father having held the office of judge for Terrau, as well as for several of the neighboring towns. From an early age little Margaret showed great devotion towards the Blessed Virgin. When eight years old she lost her father, and, as she was the only daughter living, she was placed at school with the Dames Urbanistes, a title given the Religious of Saint Clare who followed the mitigated rule sanctioned by Pope Urban VIII. At the end of two years her mother had to remove her, as she was visited with a severe illness which lasted four years. The bones pierced her skin, and she almost lost the use of her limbs. She says, in her own Life, that a promise was made that, if she was cured, she would belong to the Blessed Virgin and be one of her daughters. She had no sooner made the vow than she was cured.

In her twenty-third year she entered the little convent of the Order of the Visitation at Paray, on 25 May 1671. It contained at that time thirty-three choir sisters, three lay sisters, and three novices. To go into the details of her convent life would take up too much space. A valuable biography has been written by Father Tickell, S.J. Her whole life was devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion founded by her. All through her life she was particularly favored by our divine Lord. She died in the odor of sanctity, on 17 October 1690, in the forty-fourth year of her age, in the arms of the two sisters to whom she had herself predicted this several years before. Her body was deposited in the burial-place of the community, but in 1703 the coffin was opened, and the precious bones collected and placed in an oak case near the same spot, where they remained until the expulsion of the Sisters by the Revolutionists of 1792.

Paray-le-Monial has lately attracted much attention in consequence of pilgrimages being made to the Blessed Margaret Mary’s shrine. On 16 June 1823, the present monastery was dedicated, and the relics of the Blessed Margaret Mary placed in an oratory adjoining the choir, but were afterwards put in a tomb, where they remained until her beatification. The decree establishing her heroic character was prepared in May 1S46, by the present Pope, Pius IX, who visited the monastery in August of the same year, Orders were given for the prose cution of the cause in April 1864, and on 24 June the decree of beatification was published; on 6 September 1866 His Holiness signed the order for resuming the cause of canonization. A pilgrimage from England, under the lead of the Duke of Norfolk, and with the sanction of the hierarchy of England, to Paray-le-Monial, took place in September 1873, and attracted special attention everywhere.

MLA Citation

“Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque”. Illustrated Catholic Family Annual1874. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 January 2017. Web. 16 October 2020. <https://catholicsaints.info/illustrated-catholic-family-annual-blessed-margaret-mary-alacoque/>

SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/illustrated-catholic-family-annual-blessed-margaret-mary-alacoque/

Christ appearing to Saint Margaret Mary, Church of the Sacred Heart, Coshocton, Ohio, stained glass


Pictorial Lives of the Saints – Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque

Margaret Mary was born at Terreau in Burgundy, on the 22nd July, 1647. During her infancy she showed a wonderfully sensitive horror of the very idea of sin. In 1671 she entered the Order of the Visitation, at Paray-le-Monial, and was professed the following year. After purifying her by many trials, Jesus appeared to her in numerous visions, displaying to her His Sacred Heart, sometimes burning as a furnace, and sometimes torn and bleeding on account of the coldness and sins of men. In 1675 the great revelation was made to her that she, in union with Father de la Colombiere, of the Society of Jesus, was to be the chief instrument for instituting the feast of the Sacred Heart, and for spreading that devotion throughout the world. She died on the 17th October, 1690.

Reflection – Love for the Sacred Heart especially honors the Incarnation, and makes the soul grow rapidly in humility, generosity, patience, and union with its Beloved.

SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/pictorial-lives-of-the-saints-blessed-margaret-mary-alacoque/


Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, by Father Henry A. Johnston, S.J.

In the baptismal register of the parish of Verosyres can still be read the following entry: ‘Margaret, daughter of Monsieur Claude Alacoque, royal notary, and his wife, Philiberte Lemain, was baptized by me, the undersigned Cure of Verosyres, Thursday, 25th of July, 1847.’ – This is the beginning of the story of a wonderful life of grace. The child’s birth had taken place three days previously, on July 22nd. It was in the pleasant land of Burgundy, in the small town of Lautecour, that Margaret Alacoque was born and grew up. She had four brothers and two sisters, one brother and one sister being younger than herself. Two sisters died young, so she was left an only sister among four brothers. We have very few of those details about her home, her early years and later, about her surroundings when she was a religious, which gave such a human interest to the life of Saint Therese of Lisieux, for instance. In the account of her life, which she wrote when she was 38, at the command of Pere Rolin, S.J., her director, she confined herself almost entirely to the relations between her soul and God.

CHILDHOOD’S HAPPY HOURS

She was a happy and lively child. But God early showed that He had special designs in her regard. Our Lord, when on earth, had special affection for little children, and He remains the same always. Children seem often to be in close touch with God and the supernatural. So it was with little Margaret. Sin appeared to her something horrible, as indeed it really is. An ebullition of natural high spirits on the part of the child could always be checked by telling her that she would offend God. When she was quite small, she repeated one day at Mass the words, ‘My God, I consecrate to You my purity, and I make a vow to You of perpetual chastity.’ Where the child got the idea, we do not know. She tells us herself that she did not know the meaning of ‘vow’ or ‘chastity’ at the time. It may have been the result of some pious conversation which she listened to in the family circle, or an echo of her catechism; but, more likely still, God was speaking to her heart in secret.

Her godmother, a great lady who lived in the castle of Corcheval, four miles away, often had Margaret with her between her fourth and eighth year. The pine-clad hills, the rocky gorges, the music-making streams about Corcheval, must all have had an effect on the child’s bright intelligence. The castle contained a chapel, and the facilities this gave for prayer tended to strengthen the bonds, which were being woven between her soul and God. ‘O my only Love,’ she wrote twenty-five years later, ‘how much I owe You for having granted me Your benedictions from my most tender years, making Yourself the master and owner of my heart.’

When she was eight and a half years of age, her father died. He had been a thoroughly good Christian man; even today, we can see a cross traced at the head of all the documents written by him as judge and Royal Notary. His death necessitated a change in the family. The mother could not look after the property and give proper attention to her five surviving children. Margaret was sent to school to the Urbanists at Charolles. Her close contact with religious naturally strengthened the ideals of piety when she already possessed. She was found sufficiently developed spiritually to make her First Communion at the then early age of nine. Like many another little girl, she begins to plan to be a nun. But she does not lose her gaiety. She is full of fun and fond of amusement. Then God begins to work out His plans in her. She is good; more, she is holy. But unless God intervenes in a special way, she is not likely to love Him with her whole heart and her whole soul. And He wants the whole of her heart. When she is eleven she falls ill, and for four years, she is unable to walk. She is worn away nearly to a skeleton.

This was a hard cross for one of her years. Suffering later became a joy to her, but it was not so at the age of eleven. It is only through the virtues of later years that we can estimate the change it worked in her soul.

Margaret had during her early years a real child’s love for Mary, Mother of God. She tells us that Mary saved her from ‘very great dangers’ during her girlhood. When her illness persisted in spite of all remedies, a vow was made that if the child recovered she would be ‘one of Mary’s daughters.’ This brought about her cure, and gave Our Blessed Lady an even more important place in her life. ‘She made herself so entirely mistress of my heart that she took upon herself the absolute government of me; she reproved me for my faults, and taught me to do the will of God.’

The restoration of her health had another effect, however, on Margaret. At fourteen, the memory of pain is soon effaced, and the girl’s natural vivacity and love of enjoyment quickly asserted themselves. She felt the attraction of pleasant things around her, and the affection, which her mother and brothers had for her, encouraged her in giving herself a good time (her own. words: A me donner du bon temps). In later life, she reproached herself bitterly for levity and especially for once, in company with some of her young friends, appearing disguised during the time of carnival. It was not a great crime, but it was resistance to the urging of grace. God was not yet master of the heart He had made for Himself. Bodily suffering had not succeeded; suffering of mind and spirit was to follow.

THE HAND OF GOD

Some of the property of Monsieur Alacoque had not passed entirely to his widow. His mother, who lived with the family, and a married sister had an interest in it. This sister and her husband, Toussaint Delaroche, were hostile to the Alacoques, and seem to have been of a coarse and bitter disposition. They usurped all authority in the Alacoque household, and the life of mother and daughter became a misery. The Saint’s own words portray it clearly enough. ‘My mother and I were soon reduced to hard captivity. . . . We had no longer any power in the house, and we dare not do anything without permission. It was a state of continual war. Everything was kept under lock and key, so that I could not even dress myself in order to go to Holy Mass. . . . I acknowledge that I felt keenly this state of slavery. . . .

‘I should have thought myself happy to go and beg my bread rather than live as I was living.’ Continual nagging went on in the house, and it was not easy to escape. She could not leave the house without permission of three persons, and when she wanted to go to the church to Mass or Benediction and was refused, the tears, which sometimes followed, were attributed to vexation at not being able to keep some secret appointment. She was not given enough to eat; she worked like a servant. And God’s design in it all? ‘Jesus Christ gave me to understand when I was in this state that He wished to make Himself the absolute Master of my heart.’ Such suffering would have embittered many a young girl. But earnest prayer and constant meditation on the sufferings, which Our Lord had to endure for her enabled Margaret Alacoque to drive every unkind thought from her mind. – In the end, she came to look upon her persecutors as real benefactors.

Gradually things changed. Her brothers grew up and acquired more authority. Margaret herself was eighteen, her mother looked forward to a good marriage for her, which would help still further towards their emancipation. It was a new trial of a different kind. The love of pleasure, so long suppressed, revealed itself once more. – The world began to smile on Margaret, and she quickly responded. She began to pay more attention to dress. She mixed more in society. Eligible young men were encouraged to come to the Alacoque house. The girl felt she was being unfaithful to God’s call and a struggle raged in her soul. She had made a vow of chastity; but then she had not understood what she was doing. She had decided to become a nun but now she felt that she could not persevere. True, she had made a promise to the Blessed Virgin during her illness, but her mother was ill now and wanted her to settle in the world. Could she break her mother’s heart?

Then she tried to compromise. She increased her mortifications, but at the same time, she did not give up the round of pleasure. She inflicted cruel sufferings on herself, but she would not give Our Lord what He wanted. His grace pursued her, however, and just when she seemed likely to yield to her mother’s wishes, and agree to be married, He spoke so strongly to her one day after Communion, representing how unworthy it would be if, after all His favours, she would turn her back on Him and give herself to another, that she was finally conquered. It was like the snapping of a chain, like the dawning of the day after a troubled night.

The story of the struggle between God and the world in the heart of Saint Margaret Mary during the early part of her life has its counterpart in the heart of many a young girl at the present day here in our own country. God is near her in childhood, and she gives her young heart to Him. She passes to a convent school, and opportunities for frequent Communion lead to more intimate friendship with Our Lord. Vacations sometimes bring forgetfulness and carelessness, but Our Lord wins her heart once more to Himself. Fifteen or sixteen comes, and the beauty and worth of religious life make a strong appeal. She becomes conscious, with a little surprise and perhaps fear, that she has a vocation, that Our Lord is calling her to follow Him. But the dangerous years are at hand. She begins to feel more strongly the attraction of pleasure and amusement. Admiration and flattery bring new and exhilarating sensations. The Voice of God is not heard so clearly. Perhaps, she thinks, she was mistaken in thinking she had a vocation.

If she ventures to mention the idea, her friends pooh-pooh it. At any rate, she must wait for a few years and enjoy herself first. Intercourse with the world does the rest and often, very often, Our Lord has lost a friend, the Church an apostle, and a soul the grandest opportunity in this life, and a crown of wondrous beauty in life everlasting.

THE SNARE IS BROKEN

Margaret Alacoque was not twenty years of age. Her mind was fully made up, and she began to live as devoted a life as she could in preparation for her entry into religion. She prayed much, knowing her own weakness; she gave herself to works of charity; she went to extremes, having no one to guide her in the matter of mortification. Not that her troubles were over.

Four years were to pass before she could give herself to God in religious life. Her mother, and still more her brother, Chrysostom, opposed her wish. The Delaroche family resumed their rough treatment. Her relative and godfather, the cure of the parish, who seems to have been infected with Jansenism, was a further obstacle to her, instead of being a help, in the way of God. Then pressure was brought to bear on her to force her against her judgement and God’s wish into a convent where she had a cousin. ‘I am going to be a religious solely for love of God,’ she said. She prayed earnestly that God would send her help. ‘Is it possible,’ was the reply, ‘that a child so fondly loved as you are should be lost in the arms of an all-powerful Father?’

In 1669, when she was twenty-two, she was confirmed and took the name of Mary. The following year, God sent a Franciscan Father to Verosyres, and Margaret Mary opened her heart to him. He checked her extravagances, as, for instance, when she naively transcribed whole pages of sins from manuals of the examinations of conscience and accused herself of them all; but with regard to her vocation, he took her side at once, and spoke strongly to her brother Chrysostom. So the path was cleared at last, and she entered the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial in June, 1671. She was then 24 years of age.

She tells us herself of the joy with which she left her home. Even her mother’s tears did not sadden her. But when she was on the point of entering the convent, sadness and fear assailed her, and she felt as if she would die. It had often been thus, before and since, with those who were giving themselves completely to God. The great Saint Teresa, writing later in life, says: ‘I can remember, as if it were today, how, as I was leaving my father’s house, I felt in such a state that I think if I had been at the point of death I could not have felt greater pain.’ But the pain soon passed, and the joy which followed was lasting.

A NOVICE

Emphasis has been laid on the difficulties Saint Margaret Mary had to contend with, in order to correct the common opinion that saints are turned out as if ready-made. Through the sufferings and trials to which she had been subjected, she had already reached high sanctity. Her spirit of prayer, her union with God, and her love of suffering, were remarkable. God had already conferred very special marks of His favour upon her. Naturally, therefore, she began her religious life with great fervour. There were things she found hard at first, but these were a small price to pay for so great a treasure. She made the mistakes of a beginner, as when she thought she could please God by doing penance for which she had no permission. (This is intelligible in a postulant; but it is surprising to find her love of suffering leading her into this same mistake even after her profession. ‘That was for Me.’ Our Lord said to her once, when she prolonged ‘an act of penance’ beyond the time for which leave had been given, ‘What you are doing now is for the devil.’)

She had not always the courage to ask for explanations when she did not understand the instructions of her novice-mistress.

About two months after her entrance into the convent, she received the habit. This event brought to Sister Margaret Mary intense joy and consolation. God drew her to Himself at first by sweetness, but only in order that she might be strengthened for the perfect sacrifice of self which He desired of her. . . . Naturally enough, she became a little attached to this interior consolation for its own sake, and complained at its withdrawal. Out Lord pointed out her mistake to her. Sanctity does not consist in pious feeling or interior consolation, but in giving up self-love and in loving God for His own sake. ‘Everyone that does not renounce all that he possesses cannot be My disciple.’ Sister Margaret Mary, then, had to learn to give up all seeking for her own interest, her own convenience, her own honour, her own will. This did not come easy to her. The young religious on her entrance does not leave human nature at the convent gate.

The new novice, prompted by God, asked for humiliations from her novice-mistress. She was refused those she asked, but received others she felt much more keenly. When she had entered the convent, her brother, Chrysostom, had stipulated that she was never to be asked to eat cheese. One day it happened, probably by accident, that cheese was served to her along with the others at table. She felt impelled to make the sacrifice of her dislike. She could not. Her novice-mistress coldly told her she was not worthy to make the sacrifice. Three days of prayer and tears followed, and she succeeded in overcoming herself. Another struggle went on for a long time. Naturally of an affectionate disposition, she became unduly attached to another Sister. Our Lord let her know that this displeased Him, but still she could not give up the satisfaction the attachment yielded her. She tried to love God and indulge herself at the same time. After some months, Our Lord delivered an ultimatum, we might say. He let her understand that He did not want a divided heart. If she did not give up creatures, He would leave her. Then her good will asserted itself, and she gave herself entirely to God.

Through her superiors and her companions could not but be struck by the fervour of Sister Margaret Mary, her charity, her ready obedience, her joyfulness under humiliation, still the extraordinary union with God which even now she enjoyed during her prayer, and the special graces she received, which she could not hide, seemed to make her unsuitable for the Visitation Order. The year of her novice-ship passed, and she was not allowed to take her vows. She was told she would not be useful to the Congregation; her ways were too extraordinary. The novice complained to Our Lord, and was assured she would be more useful than anyone imagined. ‘Tell your superior that I will answer for you.’ So, after further tests of her obedience and humility, she was told to prepare for her profession.

CONSECRATED TO GOD

During her retreat before profession, she may be said to have lived in heaven. She was a little too anxious about her General Confession, and Our Lord said to her: ‘Why are you worried? Do what is in your power and I will supply for what is wanting. I require nothing so much in the Sacrament as a contrite and humble heart which, with a sincere wish never to offend Me, accuses itself without pretence.’ After that, wonderful joy in God took possession of her soul. But then she was shown all she had to suffer during life, and she shuddered at the thought of it. She was told not to fear, however, and Our Lord conferred on her the great grace of being always conscious of His presence. Sometimes this presence of God was to lift her up in transports of love, and she would cry; ‘O my Love, my Life, my All; You are all mine, and I am all Yours.’ At other times, it was to make her sink down into her own nothingness, and to feel confusion at the thoughts of her own unworthiness in God’s sight.

Her sentiments at the end of the retreat before her profession may be best understood from what she wrote herself: ‘I, poor, miserable nothing, protest to God that I will offer and sacrifice myself in all that He asks of me, offering my heart wholly to the accomplishment of His will without any other desire than that of His greater glory and His pure love to which I consecrate my whole being and every moment of my life. I belong forever to my Beloved as His slave, His handmaid, His creature, since He is everything to me and I am His unworthy spouse, Sister Margaret Mary, dead to the world. All from God, and nothing from myself; all in God and nothing in myself; all for God and nothing for myself.’ In those dispositions, she consecrated herself to God by the three vows of chastity, obedience, and poverty, on the 6th November, 1672.

The period which followed her profession was still a time for probation, and Our Lord still kept preparing her for the work to which He had called her.

Through her, He was to spread the fire of His love; her own heart must, therefore, be wholly set on fire. Her daily prayer drew her even closer to God. ‘I often present myself before Him,’ she wrote, ‘as a sick person before an all-powerful Physician. I place myself before Him as a living victim, whose only desire is to be offered as a holocaust in the pure flames of His love.’ She was more and more drawn by the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and in her hours of adoration, His love took fuller possession of her heart. At the same time, she was tried by humiliations and contradictions, lest spiritual joys should beget selfishness. She was still told that she was not walking the safe road of the daughters of Saint Francis de Sales. She was sent to do household tasks during the hour of prayer. On Easter Sunday, a feeling of discontent rose in her mind on this account, but Our Lord reproved her and said: ‘The prayer of submission and sacrifice is more agreeable to Me than contemplation and every other kind of meditation, however holy it may appear.’ Her sanctity was to be solidly built from the foundations.

Sister Margaret Mary, like the other nuns of the convent, was given different offices or charges at different times. First, she was assistant infirmarian, and was not a great success outwardly. She was awkward and timid, apparently, quite unlike the active and competent infirmarian, and frequently fell and broke things. She twice had charge of the children, an office for which she felt a great repugnance. But the difficulties and the apparent want of success were doing their work of making her more useful. When she fell into faults of vanity or self-seeking, Our Lord did not allow her to have peace in them. He would be gentle to weakness, but severe to infidelity. He made known to her how much He suffered through the sins of men, and He told her He wanted her, by her unselfish love, to atone for them. Thus Our Lord led her on, step by step, till she could write: ‘My Beloved has consumed in me every desire but that of receiving His divine love, and has left me without fear of anything except sin.’ The preparation was complete, and Our Lord could now go on to the accomplishment of His wonderful designs.

GOD’S WAY

If an observer had cast his eye around France towards the end of the year 1673 and considered what events of the day were most likely to have permanent effects on later history, his attention might have fastened on the figure of Louis XIV playing the grand part of Grand Monarque (the Great Monarch) to such perfection; or on Conde and Turenne, winning brilliant victories on the eastern frontier; or on the poets and litterateurs of the time, La Fontaine, Racine, Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux; or on the pulpits where Bossuet and Bourdaloue moved vast congregations by their eloquence. But he would have known nothing of a Visitation Convent in Paray-le-Monial, or an insignificant member of its community; or if by chance he had known, his thoughts would not have rested there. It is the old story of the diversity between God’s ways and thoughts and man’s ways. The devotion to the Sacred Heart has had an immense influence in the Church. From it sinners have drawn hope and grace of repentance, while the just have found in it a source of fervour. It has brought countless numbers to the confessional and the altar rail, and has given to the Blessed Sacrament the position in the hearts of Catholics, which is Its due. All this can be traced back to Saint Margaret Mary. It is true she had her forerunners; but if devotion to the Sacred Heart and the treasure of grace it contains are no longer the possession of a few privileged souls, but of all the faithful, this is due to the revelations made by Our Lord to the Visitation nun of Paray-le-Monial.

It was most appropriate that on the feast of Saint John the Evangelist, December 27, 1673, Our Lord began His great revelations. When Sister Margaret Mary was before the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lord appeared to her. (Footnote: Whether these appearances were exterior, perceived by the external senses, or interior and intellectual, we have no means of determining.)

Our Lord, having given her remarkable proofs of His love and tenderness, He made known to her, she writes, the marvels of His love and inexplicable secrets of His Sacred Heart which He had hidden until then.

‘My Divine Heart,’ He said, ‘is so inflamed with love for men, and for you in particular, that, not being able to restrain within itself any longer the flames of its ardent charity, it must spread them everywhere by means of you and manifest itself to men that they may be enriched with its precious treasures.’

‘Behold the designs for which I have chosen you.’

THE SACRED HEART

Little by little, during the course of the next two years, 1674 and 1675, Our Lord unfolded the full meaning of devotion to His Sacred Heart. At the next appearance of Our Lord, Sister Margaret Mary saw the divine heart ‘as if on a throne of flame, more radiant than a sun and transparent as crystal, with its adorable wound. It was surrounded by a crown of thorns, which signified the pain which our sins inflicted on it, and was surmounted by a cross, which signified that from the first moment of His Incarnation, when the Sacred Heart was formed, the cross was planted there, and His Heart felt all the bitterness which would be caused by the humiliations, poverty, grief, and dishonour which the Sacred Humanity would suffer through the course of His life and during His Passion. He made me see that the ardent desire which He had of being loved by men, and of rescuing them from the path of perdition along which Satan drives them in crowds, had made Him form this design of manifesting His Heart to me, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and of salvation which it contains.’ He asked that He should be honoured under the figure of this heart of flesh, and promised that He would scatter His graces and blessings wherever that holy image should be exposed and honoured. ‘This devotion was, as it were, a last effort of His love for men in these latter ages.’

Some time later the Saint again saw Our Lord, this time with His five wounds shining like five suns, and flames bursting forth from His Sacred Person, but especially from His Heart. Again He made known to her ‘the inexplicable wonder of His pure love, and to what an excess He had carried His love for men.’ But now He added that the ingratitude and forgetfulness, which He had met with in return for His burning love, caused Him more pain than all the sufferings of His Passion. He asked that Margaret Mary should make up for this ingratitude as much as she could. What was she to do? First, she was to receive Him in Holy Communion as often as she was permitted. Secondly, she was in particular to receive Holy Communion as an act of reparation on the First Friday of each month. Thirdly, she was to spend the hour from eleven to twelve every Thursday night in His company, sharing with Him the sorrow by which He was crushed at Gethsemane.

FEAST OF LOVE

The last of the great revelations came on a day within the octave of Corpus Christi, 1675. The Saint knelt again before the Blessed Sacrament, and as she expressed her desire to make some return to Our Lord for His wonderful love for her, He told her she could do nothing greater than what He already often asked of her. Showing His Heart, He said: ‘Behold this Heart which has so loved men, which has spared nothing, even to being exhausted and consumed, in order to testify to them Its love, And the greater number of them make Me no other return than ingratitude, by their coldness and forgetfulness of Me in this Sacrament of love. But what is still more painful to Me is that it is hearts who are consecrated to Me that treat Me thus.’ After this Our Lord went on to ask for something new, for the establishment of a public feast in honour of His Sacred Heart on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi: ‘I promise you that My Heart will pour out in abundance the effects of its divine love on all those who will render It this honour or cause It to be so honoured.’ When Margaret Mary very naturally put forward her powerlessness, Our Lord first reminded her that it was customary with Him to make use of little ones that were poor in spirit for His greatest works that His power might shine forth more clearly. Then He told her to have recourse to His servant, Father Claude de la Colombiere, S.J., [canonized in 1992] who would assist her.

Thus did Our Lord give to the world this treasure of devotion to His Sacred Heart. In a sense, the devotion was not new. Even in the Old Law, God said of His erring children: ‘I will draw them with the cords of Adam [of kindly humanity], with the bands of love.’ (Hosea 11:4) In the Incarnation, the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour were made manifest to men. But even then ‘His own received Him not.’ His benefits were met by injury. ‘Many good works have I showed you from My Father,’ Our Lord said to the Jews, ‘for which of those works do you stone Me?’ ‘Watch and pray with Me,’ was the request to the Apostles on Mount Olivet. All the elements of devotion to the Sacred Heart were thus in the Church from the beginning. Saint John, the beloved disciple, had expressed its spirit when he wrote, ‘God is love.’ In His revelations, then, to Saint Margaret Mary, Our Lord was only making a fresh effort to secure the object for which He had come among men, ‘to cast fire on the earth.’

‘The great desire Our Lord has that His Sacred Heart should be honoured by some particular devotion,’ we read in one of Margaret Mary’s letters, ‘is in order to renew in souls the effect of His Redemption.’

SO AS BY FIRE

We are always inclined to pay too much attention to the favours the Saints received from God, and to overlook the price, which they paid for them. Sister Margaret Mary had to pay very highly for the great graces she received. ‘He taught me first,’ she writes, ‘that His special graces would always be accompanied by some humiliation, contradiction or contempt on the part of creatures.’ We have seen how she was looked upon with suspicion while she was a novice. Matters did not improve after her profession in November, 1672. As the workings of God’s grace grew manifest, she attracted more attention. Joking grew into mockery; she was called a visionary and a hypocrite. Even the children in the Convent noted and wondered at the unkind things that were said and done to her. And all the time, she herself was haunted by a terrible dread that she was being deceived. Her superior told her to consult several learned directors; and they were unanimous in their opinion that she was deluded. The great revelations of the Sacred Heart, which began about a year after her profession, only increased her trials. Our Lord had told her to keep nothing concealed from her superior. Though, as she says herself, she would have preferred to read out her general confession in the refectory, she told everything to Mother de Saumaise. The Reverend Mother treated with contempt all she told her, and refused to allow her to carry out any of the things she believed Our Lord had asked of her. A little later, a miraculous recovery from illness, which had been asked for as a sign from God, convinced Mother de Saumaise that Margaret Mary was led by the Spirit of God. Nonetheless, she continued to try her by her snubs and contradictions.

The community of Paray-le-Monial was on the whole a fervent one, but Our Lord had cause for complaint with not a few of its members on account of their love of esteem and their want of charity. In fact, His words about the deliberate faults of these religious are terrifying. Margaret was called upon to make herself a victim for them. In November 1677, she was asked for what was the greatest sacrifice of her life. At first, she could not bring herself to yield, but Our Lord persuaded her, and at last, on the eve of the Presentation of Our Lady, she was literally forced to do what He asked of her. When the Sisters were assembled in the evening Margaret Mary, having obtained her superior’s leave, knelt in the midst of them, and made known Our Lords message, that He was angry with the community on account of certain faults, and that He had chosen her as the victim of His injured love. We can imagine the feelings this declaration would arouse. Sister Margaret Mary was only a few years professed; she had excited adverse comment by her ways of acting; and now she publicly censures the whole community. The Saint herself felt the situation keenly. ‘I never suffered so much,’ she states simply in her account of the incident. Matters were made worse when the superior gave orders for an act of mortification to be performed that night by all in order to appease the anger of God. Some of the less fervent nuns sought out Sister Margaret Mary, questioned her, insulted her, and treated her as mad and possessed by the devil.

THE FLESH IS WEAK

In the following year, 1678, Mother de Saumaise left Paray-le-Monial. In her, Margaret lost a superior who had come to understand and sympathize with her, and one for whom she herself admits, she had a special affection. ‘I have felt our separation,’ the Saint wrote soon after, ‘although it is only in body, more than I can tell you.’ The next superior was a Mother Greyfie. At her coming Mother Greyfie writes, ‘I found opinion very much divided about this true Spouse of Jesus Crucified.’ That is a good description of her.

Margaret Mary says herself: ‘When I think of Our Lord on the Cross, life without suffering becomes insupportable to me.’ This does not mean that she found suffering easy to bear. When Our Lord offered her a choice between ‘the happiest life imaginable for a religious: a life of peace, of interior and exterior consolation, and of perfect health,’ and ‘a poor, an abject life; crucified, despised, contradicted, always suffering both in body and soul’, she accepted the latter: but her whole nature revolted.

‘Crosses were a real joy to her,’ wrote Mother de Saumaise, ‘but she felt them keenly.’ She had a constant struggle with herself, with her ‘own weakness and inconsistency,’ as she put it. ‘I am not faithful, and I fail often,’ she sorrowfully confesses. In order to overcome herself, as we have seen, she had to take a vow to accept any employment given to her, to answer letters, and to go to the parlour as the rule prescribed (even when this led to further public ridicule by the convent’s guests). But these and other things never became easy. ‘My dislikes,’ she states in later life, ‘seem rather to increase than diminish.’

It is, therefore, one with human feelings and human weakness whom we must think of as bearing her cross so faithfully to the end. If we could trace her life step by step we should find it always, till just near the end, a life of suffering and self-sacrifice. We should find the trials which she underwent at the hands of others continuing. We should find her tempted to vanity and despair. We should see her going humbly to her superior when attacked by ravenous hunger, and sometimes being told to go to the dispenser for something to eat, at other times being coldly told to wait and satisfy her hunger with the rest of the community. Mother Greyfie did not spoil her. ‘I hardly ever let anyone see,’ she writes, ‘that I believed anything extraordinary about her. I never spoke to her either inside or outside the house. If she did anything that displeased others, even by my orders or permission, I allowed others to blame her, and blamed her myself if it were done in my presence.’

At the same time, Mother Greyfie was a great help to her, and encouraged her to bear her sufferings with meekness and humility. The following piece of advice which she wrote for Sister Margaret Mary is striking in its common-sense, and at the same time lets us see that the task of becoming a Saint is a very homely one after all: ‘Your most excellent practice of mortification and penance will be to adapt your humours and inclinations to each occasion as it comes, and not to show exteriorly what you suffer interiorly. Be happy at recreation, always amiable and kind to your Sisters, and to anybody you have to deal with; and be devout in all your duties to God.’

THE HIDDEN FIRE

And what of devotion to the Sacred Heart all this time? At first, we have seen Margaret Mary’s accounts of the messages she received from God were not credited. In January, 1675, before the last of the great revelations, Father Claude de la Colombiere was appointed Rector of the small Jesuit House at Paray. ‘A gifted man wasted in such a position,’ said those who overlooked God’s providence. Margaret Mary opened her heart to him, and, while receiving advice calculated to keep her firmly rooted in humility, she was told to follow without fear where God led her, always being careful about obedience. The ill-disposed declared that Margaret Mary was deceiving Father de la Colombiere, as she had already deceived many others. She made known to him what Our Lord had asked of her with regard to devotion to the Sacred Heart, and was greatly edified by the humility with which he received the message that he had been chosen by Our Lord to be the apostle of the new devotion. Father de la Colombiere spent only a year and a half at Paray, and then, to the sorrow of Margaret Mary, was sent to London in the middle of the year 1676. In his parting message, he reminded her that God asked of her everything and nothing; everything, because He wanted complete surrender to His Will; nothing, because the work should be all His and the glory all His.

Father de la Colombiere spent two years in England, the first apostle of the Sacred Heart. It was during these years that Saint Margaret Mary had her greatest trial, in 1677, as described already. At the beginning of 1679, Father de la Colombiere was driven out of England by anti-Catholic persecutions. He paid a passing visit to Paray-le-Monial, and was able to encourage Sister Margaret Mary in some of the painful temptations, already alluded to, which she was suffering. He also reassured the superior, Mother Greyfie, who had come to Paray in his absence.

‘Humility, simplicity, exact obedience, and mortification,’ he said, ‘are not the fruits of the spirit of darkness.’ In the autumn of 1681, Father de la Colombiere returned to Paray, this time to die. Sister Margaret Mary saw him twice, but he could speak only with difficulty. When he died in February, 1682, she spoke of him as a Saint, frequently asked his intercession, and asserted that his prayers in heaven would do much to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart. This devotion, Our Lord told Margaret Mary, was to be given in a special way to the Fathers of the Society of Jesus to propagate. The Venerable [now Saint] Claude de la Colombiere was a worthy pioneer.

In 1684, Mother Greyfie left Paray. She had been convinced of the true sanctity of Sister Margaret Mary, and, better still, had been imbued with her zeal for the interests of the Sacred Heart. Two of the Saint’s superiors, having kindled their lamps at the shrine of Paray, were now carrying the light of devotion to other communities. This was a consolation to Margaret Mary in her many trials.

She herself tried to do what she could to win others to the love of the Sacred Heart, but she met with such opposition that she was tempted to give up. She persevered, ‘for,’ as she wrote to Mother de Saumaise, ‘difficulties are an assurance that the work is God’s, and that He will be much glorified by it.’

APOSTOLATE

In January, 1685, the new superior appointed Sister Margaret Mary mistress of novices. The post brought both its consolations and its trials. On the one hand, she could speak freely to the novices and communicate to them some of her own burning love for Our Lord. ‘Our Mother,’ one of the novices said, ‘is like another Saint John, and can only speak the language of love.’ On the other hand, some of the older nuns were upset by her ‘new’ devotions and threatened to denounce her to the Bishop. She got into great trouble because she decided against the vocation of a postulant from a distinguished family. The old complaints broke out afresh. Father Rolin, S.J., who was now her director (it is to his orders that we owe Margaret Mary’s account of her life), bade her to be of good heart. ‘All the names people call you, humiliating as they are, ought only to make you thank God, and pray for those who say such things.’ On her feast day, July 20th, the novices determined to prepare a pleasant surprise for her. They rose in the middle of the night – let us hope with permission – and prepared an altar with a little picture of the Sacred Heart. Then, wishing to be free in the morning, they did their work in the refectory, but in their eagerness – novice-like – they made too much noise and drew forth complaints from the older Sisters, who were disturbed in their slumbers, and earned an admonition from the superior. In the morning, the mistress and her novices consecrated themselves to the Sacred Heart.

During the day, Margaret Mary sent a novice to invite some of the rest of the community to join in the devotion. ‘Go and tell your mistress,’ was the cold reply, ‘that the best devotion is the practice of our rules and constitutions.’ In point of fact, there was no lack of solidity in the training the novices were getting. Meekness, humility, charity, self-sacrifice – these, as we might expect, were the virtues the novice mistress laid most stress on. She did not lead these young religious by strange and dangerous ways. ‘The way of God for us,’ she told them, ‘is by our holy rules.’

HE MUST REIGN

But the hour of triumph was at hand. The very next year after the events just revealed, on the octave day of Corpus Christi, 1686, one of the Sisters who had been most opposed to the new devotion went to Margaret Mary and asked for the picture of the Sacred Heart. The next day, the very day Our Lord Himself had chosen as the feast of the Sacred Heart, to the surprise of all, an altar to the Sacred Heart was prepared in the nuns’ choir. Our Lord had conquered, and the change, which the adoption of the devotion wrought in the spirit of fervour of the community, was observed by all. Two years later, in 1688, a chapel erected in the garden of the convent in honour of the Sacred Heart was solemnly blessed.

Of the remaining two years of Margaret Mary’s life there is little to be told. ‘I can no longer occupy myself with anything but the Sacred Heart of Jesus,’ she confessed. She was now Mother Assistant and, though outward trials ceased, she suffered, if possible, still more interiorly. All the time she was working and praying for the spread of the devotion. In spite of her great repugnance, she wrote many letters. The published notes of the retreat of Father de la Colombiere were now in circulation, a source of joy to the Saint, and at the same time of ‘frightful shame and confusion,’ because of some references in them to herself. Various Visitation convents had taken up the devotion warmly. A Jesuit, Father Croisset, had published a little book on the subject. Margaret Mary said it was time for her to die. Indeed, she was worn out by suffering and love.

COME LORD JESUS

The year 1690 came, and with it the end of suffering. Margaret Mary could not understand the calm she experienced. The temple of God was finished, the noise of hammer and chisel ceased, and the scaffolding was cleared away. The love of Christ had overcome everything that could oppose it, and perfect peace ensued. The venturesome and perilous voyage was over, and the vessel had come under lee of the shore. On the 8th of October, the Saint was taken ill. Though the doctor said there was no danger, she knew the end was come.

Nine days of preparation were given her; then one last struggle, as the thought of God’s purity came over her, and finally peace again, never to be broken, as she gave up her soul to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. ‘How sweet it is to die,’ she had once written, ‘after having had a constant devotion to the Heart of Him who is to be our Judge!’ Her birthday into eternal life was October 17th, 1690. She was beatified by Pius IX in 1864 and canonized by Benedict XV in 1921.

THE TWELVE PROMISES of the Sacred Heart to Saint Margaret Mary concerning all who practise devotion to the Sacred Heart.

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

2. I will give peace in their families.

3. I will console them in all their troubles.

4. They will find in my Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.

5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.

6. Sinners will find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls will speedily rise to great perfection.

9. I will bless the homes in which the image of my Sacred Heart is exposed and honoured.

10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

11. Those who spread this devotion will have their name written in my Heart, never to be effaced.

12. The all-powerful love of my Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving the Sacraments; my Heart will be their assured refuge at that last hour.

– from the pamphlet Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, by Father Henry A. Johnston, S.J., Australian Catholic Truth Society, #458, 1948

SOURCE : https://catholicsaints.info/saint-margaret-mary-alacoque-by-father-henry-a-johnston-s-j/

Margaretha Maria Alacoque. Kath. Pfarrkirche St. Gordian und Epimachus, Merazhofen, Stadt Leutkirch im Allgäu, Landkreis Ravensburg. Chorgestühl, 1896, Bildhauer: Peter Paul Metz

Margaret Mary Alacoque. Catholic parish church of St. Gordian and Epimachus, Merazhofen. Sculptor: Peter Paul Metz, 1896

Małgorzata Maria Alacoque. Rzeźba z kościoła parafialnego pw. św. Gordona i Epimachusa w Merazhofen (Niemcy). Autor dzieła: Peter Paul Metz, 1896


Santa Margherita Maria Alacoque Vergine

16 ottobre (e 17 ottobre) - Memoria Facoltativa

Verosvres, Autun, Francia, 1647 - Paray-le-Monial, 17 ottobre 1690

Nata in Borgogna nel 1647, Margherita ebbe una giovinezza difficile, soprattutto perché dovette vincere la resistenza dei genitori per entrare, a ventiquattro anni, nell'Ordine della Visitazione, fondato da san Francesco di Sales. Margherita, diventata suor Maria, restò vent'anni tra le Visitandine, e fin dall'inizio si offrì «vittima al Cuore di Gesù». Fu incompresa dalle consorelle, malgiudicata dai superiori. Anche i direttori spirituali dapprima diffidarono di lei, giudicandola una fanatica visionaria. Il beato Claudio La Colombière divenne preziosa guida della mistica suora della Visitazione, ordinandole di narrare, nell'autobiografia, le sue esperienze ascetiche. Per ispirazione della santa, nacque la festa del Sacro Cuore, ed ebbe origine la pratica dei primi Nove Venerdì del mese. Morì il 17 ottobre 1690.

Etimologia: Margherita = perla, dal greco e latino

Emblema: Giglio

Martirologio Romano: Santa Margherita Maria Alacoque, vergine, che, entrata tra le monache dell’Ordine della Visitazione della beata Maria, corse in modo mirabile lungo la via della perfezione; dotata di mistici doni e particolarmente devota al Sacratissimo Cuore di Gesù, fece molto per promuoverne il culto nella Chiesa. A Paray-le-Monial nei pressi di Autun in Francia, il 17 ottobre, si addormentò nel Signore.

(17 ottobre: A Paray-le-Monial nel territorio di Autun in Francia, transito di santa Margherita Maria Alacoque, vergine, la cui memoria si celebra il giorno precedente a questo).

La memoria di Santa Margherita Maria Alacoque, francese, è legata alla diffusione della devozione del Sacro Cuore, una devozione tipica dei tempi moderni, e promossa infatti soltanto tre secoli fa, quando soffiò sulla Francia il vento gelido del Giansenismo, foriero della tormenta dell'Illuminismo.

All'origine della devozione al Cuore di Gesù si trovano due grandi Santi: Giovanni Eudes e Margherita Maria Alacoque. Del primo abbiamo già parlato il 19 agosto. dicendo come questo moschettiere dell'amore di Gesù e Maria fosse il primo e più fervido propagatore del nuovo culto.

Santa Margherita Maria Alacoque, da parte sua, fu colei che rivelò in tutta la loro mirabile profondità i doni d'amore dei cuore di Gesù, traendone grazie strepitose per la propria santità, e la promessa che i soprannaturali carismi sarebbero stati estesi a tutti i devoti del Sacro Cuore.

Nata in Borgogna nel 1647, Margherita ebbe una giovinezza difficile, soprattutto perché non le fu facile sottrarsi all'affetto dei genitori, e alle loro ambizioni mondane per la figlia, ed entrare, a ventiquattro anni, neII'Ordine della Visitazione, fondato da San Francesco di Sales. Margherita, diventata suor Maria, restò vent'anni tra le Visitandine, e fin dall'inizio si offrì " vittima al Cuore di Gesù ". In cambio ricevette grazie straordinarie, come fuor dell'ordinario furono le sue continue penitenze e mortificazioni sopportate con dolorosa gioia. Fu incompresa dalle consorelle, malgiudicata dai Superiori. Anche i direttori spirituali dapprima diffidarono di lei, giudicandola una fanatica visionaria. " Ha bisogno di minestra ", dicevano, non per scherno, ma per troppo umana prudenza.

Ci voleva un Santo, per avvertire il rombo della santità. E fu il Beato Claudio La Colombière, che divenne preziosa e autorevole guida della mistica suora della Visitazione, ordinandole di narrare, nella Autobiografia, le sue esperienze ascetiche, rendendo pubbliche le rivelazioni da lei avute.

"Ecco quel cuore che ha tanto amato gli uomini", le venne detto un giorno, nel rapimento di una visione: una frase restata quale luminoso motto della devozione al Sacro Cuore. E poi, le promesse: "Il mio cuore si dilaterà per spandere con abbondanza i frutti del suo amore su quelli che mi onorano". E ancora: "I preziosi tesori che a te discopro, contengono le grazie santificanti per trarre gli uomini dall'abisso di perdizione".

Per ispirazione della Santa, nacque così la festa del Sacro Cuore, ed ebbe origine la pratica pia dei primi Nove Venerdì del mese. Vinta la diffidenza, abbattuta l'ostilità, scossa la indifferenza, si diffuse nel mondo la devozione a quel Cuore che a Santa Margherita Alacoque era apparso "su di un trono di fiamme, raggiante come sole, con la piaga adorabile, circondato di spine e sormontato da una croce". E’ l'immagine che appare ancora in tante case, e che ancora protegge, in tutto il mondo, le famiglie cristiane.

Autore: Piero Bargellini

SOURCE : http://www.santiebeati.it/dettaglio/29650


Azulejos in Santuário Nossa Senhora da Paz, Ponte da Barca, Portugal.

VIE DE SAINTE MARGUERITE-MARIE ALACOQUE DE L'ORDRE DE LA VISITATION SAINTE-MARIE publiée par Le Monastère de Paray-le-Monial 12e Mille, Paris, Ancienne Librairie Poussielgue J. De Gigord, éditeur, Rue Cassette, 15, 1923 :



Les 12 promesses liées à la dévotion du SACRÉ-CŒUR de JÉSUS : http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/french_pdf/MIRACLE-FR-sacrecoeur.pdf

Jesus appearing to Marguerite Marie Alacoque .Relief polichromed wood sculpture by Johann Baptist Moroder-Lusenberg about 1910 in the Parish Church of Urtijëi

Erscheinung Jesu vor der Nonne Margareta Maria Alacoque in Holz geschnitzt von Johann Baptist Moroder um 1910 in der Pfarrkirche St. Ulrich in Gröden