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margaret mary.jpg

Born: July 22nd, 1647
Died: Oct. 17th, 1690
FEast: oct. 16th
Patron of:  devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Polio and other viruses, loss of parents, heart Health

margaret mary.jpg

St. Margaret 
Mary Alacoque



     Margaret was born in 1647 in what is now France. She lost her father when she was very young, and when his relative refused to hand over his remaining money to her family, she, her mother, and brothers all were forced into poverty. To make matters worse, Margaret, with a case of Rheumatic fever, became paralyzed and bedridden for four years. When she decided to declare herself consecrated for the religious life, her fever left and she was healed immediately. Because of this consecration to St. Mary, she added the name Mary on to her name.

When the family inheritance was finally handed over, Margaret Mary's mother encouraged her and her brothers to use the money freely and go to balls to find partners for themselves. Margaret did go, buying fancy new outfits, until one night when she returned and saw a vision of Jesus on the cross. he asked her if she had forgotten her promise to enter religious life. At age 24, Margaret Mary fulfilled her promise and made her vows as a sister.

Margaret's difficulties were only beginning, however. She was firstly barred from fully becoming a nun her first year, though everyone else was able to do so. There was no reason given as to why, but she was described as not very skillful or intelligent.

Not long after her entrance to the convent, however, Margaret Mary had the first of several visions of Jesus. In them, he asked her to popularize a devotion to his sacred heart. He also asked her to perform several other ritualistic prayers and sacraments, as well as establish a feast day for the Sacred Heart. For 13 months he appeared to her, asking her to share with the world how much he loves it, and that he hopes it may also love him.

Margaret's Mother Superior discredited her visions and denied her requests. Other sisters were also hostile towards her, thinking she was just hoping for attention. Theologians were even called in to question her about her visions and ideas. They dismissed her as well, telling her she simply needed to "eat more".

Finally, a new priest was brought into Margaret Mary's community named Claude la Colombiere. He believed Margaret Mary, giving her some hope and power. When a new Mother Superior was elected who also supported Margaret Mary, her community's opposition finally ended, and the first feast of the Sacred Heart was held in 1686. A chapel was built in dedication to the devotion two years later, and it had begun to spread throughout the area.

Though Margaret passed away in 1690, the devotion was only officially recognized 75 years later.



Though you chose a life  of consecrated singleness, you knew so well how it is to be in love. You loved Jesus so intently, and realized his love for you in the image of his burning heart. Be with those of  us in love; through our trials, joys, and sorrows, and keep our hearts strong and burning.


Art Reflection


In this icon, I most of all wanted Margaret to seem overwhelmed. Not only was she overwhelmed by the controversy she caused and the hostile ways her sister reacted, she also dealt with poverty, loss, and serious illness when growing up. Most importantly, though, she was entirely overwhelmed by Jesus' radical love for her - an ordinary woman - and for the whole world.


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