Born on July 22, 1647, in Verosvres, in the diocese of Autun, Margaret Mary Alacoque consecrated herself to Christ at a very young age.
She was only 5 years old when, hearing of her godmother’s religious vows, she made an offering of herself, pronouncing these words that would remain engraved in her memory and that she would later repeat: “O my God, I consecrate to Thee my purity and I make a vow of perpetual chastity.”
At the age of 13, after being bed-ridden due to paralysis for several years, she was miraculously cured by the Blessed Virgin the moment she promised to consecrate herself to God in the religious life. After many vicissitudes and vexations from several members of her family, she entered the Visitandine convent of Paray-le-Monial, in Burgundy, on May 25, 1671, at the age of 23.
Chosen by Our Lord to be the messenger of His merciful love, she received three great revelations that would be the origin of the devotion to the Sacred Heart.
The most important one was the revelation received in June 1675, when Christ showed her His Heart, saying,
Behold this Heart which has so loved men, that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself in order to testify to its love. In return, I have received from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and their sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this sacrament of Love.
Christ asked for a special feast to be established in honor of His Heart, on which men would receive Holy Communion and make reparation by making honorable amends. In return, He explained to His confidente,
I promise thee that My Heart shall expand Itself to shed in abundance the influence of Its divine love upon those who shall thus honor It and cause It to be honored.
After becoming Novice Mistress, St. Margaret Mary worked to communicate this love for the Sacred Heart to the souls entrusted to her. She died in the odor of sanctity on October 17, 1690, at the age of 43, with the name of Jesus on her lips.
It would take over a century for the Church to declare her venerable in 1824, and another 40 years for her to be beatified by Pope Pius IX, in 1864, the year of the Syllabus. She was canonized on May 13, 1920, by Pope Benedict XV.
We have shared, O Lord Jesus, in the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood: do Thou, in answer to the prayers of the blessed virgin Margaret Mary, make us renounce the proud vanities of the world,and be made worthy to be clothed with the meekness and humility of Thine own Heart.