Feast Day: 16 October
Margaret Mary was born in the small Burgundian town of L’Hautecour in France, the fifth of seven children of Claude Alacoque, a notary, and his wife, Philliberte Lamyn.
Her father died when she was eight and she was sent to school with the Poor Clares. She was immediately attracted to their way of life and so exemplary was her piety that she was allowed to make her First Communion at the age of nine – an unusual privilege at the time.
Struck by a very painful rheumatic illness, which confined her to bed until the age of fifteen, the young girl returned to L’Hautecour only to find her family home occupied by several relatives who proceeded to treat her mother and herself almost like servants.
By the age of twenty, she was being pressured by these relatives to marry. Strengthened and supported by a vision of Our Lord, she refused.
Margaret did not receive Confirmation until she was twenty-two, but once she was fortified by the sacrament, she bravely confronted and decisively overcame her family’s remaining opposition to her religious vocation, and entered the Monastery of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial in 1671.
Deeply devoted to the Passion of Our Lord and to the Holy Eucharist, Margaret felt sensibly the presence of Our Lord.
On December 27, 1673, while praying before the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the convent chapel, she felt Our Lord inviting her to step into the place taken by St. John the Beloved at the Last Supper near His Heart.
This first communication was followed by several others during a period of eighteen months in which Our Lord Jesus revealed and expanded to her the devotion to His Most Sacred Heart in which He wished His Heart to be honoured under the form of a heart of flesh. He also asked for the Communion of Reparation on the nine First Fridays of the month, and an hour vigil on Thursdays.
Margaret Mary suffered misunderstanding and persecution from within her religious community as she attempted to reveal Our Lord’s wishes. Falling ill under the strain, her superior promised to heed her if she was healed, both of which came to pass.
Further supported by the spiritual guidance of the Jesuit, St. Claude de la Colombière, who while visiting Paray-le-Monial recognized both Margaret’s sanctity and her message, the new devotion began to gradually spread throughout France and the world.
Margaret Mary Alacoque died in October of 1690 and was canonized in 1920.