St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Born: 22 July 1647, L’Hautecour, France

Died: 17 Oct. 1690, Paray-le-Monial, France

Beatified by Pius IX in1864

Canonizedby Benedict XV in 1920

Feast Day:Oct. 16

Patronage: of polio patients, against loss of parents, of devotion to the Sacred Heart

As a youth she suffered a terrible illness, followed by a fifteen year period of emotional suffering.

At twenty-three, while in prayer, she saw Jesus as he had appeared after his scourging. She recalls, “He let me see that I would never find a lover like him – the richest, most attractive and powerful, most perfect and accomplished of all lovers.” She made up her mind to become a sister.

On the Apostle John’s feast day, Margaret—aged 26—found some free time and slipped into the chapel. God’s presence seemed to envelop her and she completely forgot where she was. Jesus appeared to her and had her rest her head on his chest—just as the Apostle John had done at the Last Supper. Then, he showed her his heart, saying, “My Divine Heart is so passionately fond of the human race and, of you in particular, that it cannot keep back the pent-up flames of its burning charity any longer. They must burst out through you and reveal My Heart to the world, so as to enrich mankind with my precious treasures.” Margaret shared her heart with Jesus and he gave her a new name: The Beloved Disciple of My Sacred Heart.

Following this revelation, on every first Friday of the month, she suffered burning pain in her side. In June, she received another revelation of Jesus, “flames issuing […] especially from his Divine Breast which was like a furnace, and which he opened to disclose his utterly affectionate and lovable Heart, the living source of all those flames.”  He asked her to receive Holy Eucharist as often as possible, especially the first Friday of each month, and to keep vigil with him Thursday night for an hour, “not only to allay God’s anger by asking mercy for sinners, but also to soothe in some way the heartache I felt when my apostles deserted me…” Thus began a now-common practice: the Holy Hour.

During that Octave of Corpus Christi, Margaret received the third revelation from Jesus, who asked this lowly nun to have the Church establish a liturgical feast for his Sacred Heart. She responded, “I do not know how to fulfill your wish.” Jesus had her speak to Fr. Claude, who encouraged Margaret Mary. He was convinced that her revelations had been real and gave her the confidence.

Margaret Mary’s short writing, La Devotion au Sacré-Coeur de Jesus(Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus),was published by Fr. John Croiset, SJ. in 1698. Pope Clement XIII instituted the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 1765.