Saint of the Day for October 16: Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Saint Margaret, history: was born into a wealthy family in 1647 Burgundy. Her parents are fervent Catholics, but not enough to allow one of their daughters to become a nun.
Yet Margaret as early as age five consecrated herself to the Lord with a vow of chastity, but it was not until she was 24, overcoming her parents’ resistance, that she was able to enter the Order of the Visitation founded by St. Francis de Sales.
Among the Visitandine Sisters, but with Jesus
Among her fellow sisters Margaret-who taking her vows added the name Mary to her own-does not get along well: she has always had visions of Our Lady, but never talks about them.
Rumors, however, go around, and many among the sisters and her superiors do not believe her or even make fun of her, suggesting that she is sick or crazy.
Among the Visitandine, however, she will remain over twenty years, experiencing extraordinary graces but also enormous penances and mortifications that she will always face with a smile.
Saint Margaret: An Autobiography for Truth
It will be her spiritual father, the Jesuit Claude de la Colombière, who will recognize in her the charisma of the Saints and order her to recount her mystical experiences in what will become her autobiography, which has come down to us.
She at first resists, then out of obedience agrees, but as she writes she remains convinced that she is doing it only for herself, not realizing the value of what she is recounting in those pages.
From 1673 Margaret Mary also begins to receive visits from Jesus, who asks her to have special devotion to His Sacred Heart, which appears to her “radiant as a sun, with an adorable wound, surrounded with thorns and surmounted by a cross, lying on a throne of thorns.”
From her account would come the iconography we know today, and from her efforts the institution of the liturgical feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, set on the eighth day after Corpus Christi.
“The Great Promise”
Jesus appears to Margaret Mary for 17 years, until the day of her death, when He will again come to take her by the hand.
He calls her the “beloved disciple,” communicates to her the secrets of His heart and makes her a participant in the science of love.
From Jesus the nun also receives a great promise: those who received communion for nine consecutive months on the first Friday of the month would be given the gift of final penance, that is, to die receiving the sacraments and in the absence of sin.
Jesus also asked her to appeal to France’s King Louis XIV to consecrate the country to the Sacred Heart, but the saint did not get a response from the ruler.
Saint Margaret: Death and worship
Died on October 17, 1690; thanks to her in the Montmartre district of Paris between 1875 and 1914 a shrine dedicated specifically to the Sacre Coeur was built and consecrated in 1919.
Beatified by Pius IX in 1864, she was canonized by Benedict XV in 1920.
This is the prayer of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that the Saint recited:
I give and consecrate to the adorable Heart of Jesus my person and my life, my actions, pains and sufferings so that I no longer make use of any part of my being except to honor, love and glorify Him.
This is my irrevocable will: to be all His and to do everything for His sake, renouncing everything that may displease Him.
I choose you, Sacred Heart of Jesus, as the sole object of my love, the guardian of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation of all the faults of my life and a safe refuge at the hour of my death.
Be, O Heart of goodness and mercy, my justification before God the Father and turn away from me his righteous indignation.
Loving Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you, for I fear everything from my malice and weakness, but I hope everything from your goodness.
Destroy in me all that may displease thee. Let your pure love be deeply imprinted in my heart so that I can no longer forget you or be separated from you.
I ask by Your goodness that my name be written in You, for I want to live and die as Your true devotee.
Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in you!