The indomitable bond between Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus shows itself in the life of Sister Margaret Mary Alcoque. Sister Margaret Mary was born in 1647 in France. She was a cripple, and rheumatic fever confined her to her bed for four years. After making a vow to the Blessed Virgin Mary to consecrate herself to religious life, Margaret instantly returned to perfect health. In recognition of this favor, Margaret added the name Mary to her baptismal name. In thanks for this miraculous cure, she gave her life to the Church. At age seventeen, Margaret Mary had a vision; Jesus appeared to her just as he was after He was scourged. Immediately, she entered the Order of the Visitation. St. Margaret Mary was admitted to wearing the religious habit in August 1671 but was not officially admitted to profession until November 1672. Although she was described as humble, simple, kind and patient, Margaret had to prove the authenticity of her vocation. Over a series of visits, between 1673-1675, Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary the importance of devotion to His Sacred Heart. He asked that His heart, wounded on the cross and continually wounded by ingratitude of men for his sacrifice for them, be venerated and adored as an embodiment of His Divine mercy and love. Jesus said to her; “Look at this Heart which has loved people so much, and yet they do not want to love me in return. Through you, My Divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth”. Margaret Mary convinced her superior, Mother de Saumaise, her visions were authentic. However, she struggled with convincing others of the validity of her apparitions, even those in her own community. A group of theologians declared her visions delusions and suggested she eat better. Even parents of children she instructed began calling her an imposter.
Margaret eventually gained the support from the community's confessor, St. Claude de la Colombiere, who declared her visions were genuine. Finally, all opposition from the community, regarding Margaret's visions, ended in 1683, when Margaret Mary became the assistant to the Superior. St. Margaret Mary, who later became known as Novice Mistress, led the monastery in observing the Feast of the Sacred Heart privately, and inspired the construction of a chapel built to honor the Sacred Heart.
Margaret Mary died a couple of years later, at the age of 43, on October 17, 1690, while being anointed. She spoke the words, "I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus." St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was officially canonized on May 13, 1920 by Pope Benedict XV and, in 1928, Pope Pius XI upheld the Church's position regarding the credibility behind her visions of Jesus Christ. He stated Jesus "manifested Himself" to Margaret and the chief features of devotion to the Sacred Heart are "reception of Holy Communion on the first Friday of each month, Eucharistic adoration during a 'Holy hour' on Thursdays, and the celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart." Her feast day is October 16.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque is the patron saint of devotees of the Sacred Heart, and those suffering with polio and from the loss of parents. Her feast day is celebrated on October 16. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a French Roman Catholic Visitation nun and mystic, is greatly recognized for her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Through His visits Jesus made 12 promises to Sister Margaret Mary for those who would honor His Sacred Heart.
1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
2. I will establish peace in their homes.
3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
6. Sinners will find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
9. I will bless every place in which an image of My Heart is exposed
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names
written in My Heart.
12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all -powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion
on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of
final perseverance; they shall not die in My disgrace, nor without
receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.