SAINT MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE
FEAST DAY – 16th OCTOBER
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in the Diocese of Autun (France) on July 22, 1647, the fifth of seven children. She had a deep love for Jesus from a tender age and always wanted to please him. She was very deeply devoted to Our Lady. While growing up, St. Margaret Mary had two years of formal learning from the Urbanist Nuns, yet her contributions to the Church have been significant.
At the age of 9, she received her First Holy Communion. In her words, “This Communion shed such bitterness over all my little pleasures and amusements that I was no longer able to enjoy any of them, although I sought them eagerly”. (The Letters of St. Margaret Mary of Alacoque, The Apostle of the Sacred Heart). She became extremely ill after that, and even lost her mobility, due to paralysis, for about four years, losing much weight.
St. Margaret Mary was cured, and in 1671, joined the Visitation order and she professed the following year. She experienced apparitions from Christ, who revealed his most Sacred Heart to her, while she was praying before the Blessed Sacrament or after receiving Holy Communion. Sometimes Jesus’ Sacred Heart was a blazing furnace, at other times it was torn and bleeding on the account of the coldness and sin of mankind. She saw Christ’s heart engulfed in flames and surrounded by thorns and heard his loving voice, pained by the sins of mankind.
St. Margaret Mary knew Christ had selected her and, with the help of St. Claude de la Colombiere, SJ, was instrumental in instituting the great feast of the Sacred Heart and spreading the devotion to the Sacred Heart throughout the world. She is a saintly role model on how to love as Christ taught her. She once wrote:
“True it is that one who loves does not think, even in the midst of the greatest sufferings, that he is suffering anything. But you will surely grant me that no one can love without suffering. The love of my God is a pitiless tyrant who never says “enough.” (The Letters of St. Margaret Mary of Alacoque, The Apostle of the Sacred Heart)
On her death bed, St. Margaret Mary showed an earnestness to die, and yet she was extraordinarily joyful, despite being in tremendous pain. During her final agony, she was filled with an all-consuming fear of God’s divine justice and her own final judgement. Yet, her immediate consolation came by holding a crucifix and saying the words, “Mercy, O my God, mercy.” After this moment her fear disappeared and her spirit was filled with a great calm and peace.
This saint shared the messages of Christ in a way that touched even the hardest of sinners, providing many with hope that miracles can happen when hearts unite with Christ. She died on Oct. 17, 1690, at the age of 42 and was canonized on May 13, 1920, by Pope Benedict XV. Her feast is celebrated on 16th October. She is known as the Apostle of the Sacred Heart. She is the patron saint of those suffering with polio, devotees of the Sacred Heart, and loss of parents.
Jesus, you desire that we learn to love others by first loving you. The Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion, started by your greatest devotee, St Margaret Mary Alacoque, is one where we allow you to renew us and transform our heart. You revealed to your worthy servant, the flames engulfing your Sacred Heart, with pain at our sins.
Love for your Sacred Heart especially honors the Incarnation, and makes our soul grow rapidly in humility, generosity, patience, and union with you. Help us to emulate the example set by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, to honor you with all our hearts and accept our sufferings as the cross of our love for you. Amen
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.