Celebrated on the feast day of October 17th, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in 1647 AD at Janots, a small town in Burgundy. The Saint was the fifth of seven children, to Claude and Philiberte Alacoque.
From her early childhood, Margaret showed extraordinary love for the Blessed Sacrament, and preferred silence and prayer to the other activities children often engaged in.
Her father died of pneumonia when she was around eight years old, and it came as a huge shock to her, after also losing her neighbor and godmother, the Countess of Corcheval, with whom she had spent a lot of time with.
Saint Margaret Mary would also go on to suffer more with illness, becoming abused household servants with her mother, and her mother’s agonizing illness, which impacted her greatly.
On 27th December 1673, after having been a nun for 3 years, Saint Margaret Mary received the first of a series of revelations. On the feast of St. John, while she was kneeling at the grille in the chapel, she felt overcome by the Divine Presence, and heard the Lord inviting her to take the place which St. John had occupied at the Last Supper.
Jesus appeared to her, and requested that his love for mankind be made evident through her, and his divine heart should enrich them with its precious treasures.
Throughout the 18 months that followed, Jesus appeared to the Saint at random intervals. His human heart was to become the symbol of his divine-human love. But Margaret’s own love, was to make up for the coldness and ingratitude of the world—by frequent and loving Holy Communion, especially on the first Friday of each month, and by taking part in an hour’s prayer every Thursday night, in memory of his agony and isolation in Gethsemane. Christ had also requested that a feast of reparation be established.
“Look at this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth.”– From Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque’s Vision of Jesus
Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret for the third time in 1675, when he opened his robe and exposed a human 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 its love. In return, I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrileges, and by the coldness and contempt they have for me in this sacrament of love…. I come into the heart I have given you in order that through your fervor you may atone for the offenses which I have received from lukewarm and slothful hearts that dishonor me in the Blessed Sacrament.”
The Doubters and Supporters
Theologians were brought in by her Mother Superior, to try and find truth in her experiences, but they declared that her visions had been delusions. Even the parents of the children she was teaching, labelled her as an imposter.
A new confessor was to arrive though. A Jesuit by the name of Claude de la Colombière, who was to recognize in her a genuineness, and become a great supporter.
With the ongoing doubt among her fellow nuns and theologians, Christ called her to be a sacrificial victim for the shortcomings of her own sisters.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque died at the age of 43, and has become a renowned Saint around the world. She has become attributed to many miracles within the Church, and continues to be called upon to intercede to this day. Her writings are well read, and are well worth a read!