Marguerite Marie Alacoque

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

Painting by Corrado Giaquinto in 1765.
Virgin
Born(1647-07-22)22 July 1647
L'Hautecour, Burgundy, France
Died17 October 1690(1690-10-17) (aged 43)
Paray-le-Monial, Burgundy, France
Honored inRoman Catholic Church
Beatified18 September 1864, Rome by Pope Pius IX
Canonized13 May 1920, Rome by Benedict XV
FeastOctober 17
Patronagethose suffering with polio, devotees of the Sacred Heart, loss of parents
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

Painting by Corrado Giaquinto in 1765.
Virgin
Born(1647-07-22)22 July 1647
L'Hautecour, Burgundy, France
Died17 October 1690(1690-10-17) (aged 43)
Paray-le-Monial, Burgundy, France
Honored inRoman Catholic Church
Beatified18 September 1864, Rome by Pope Pius IX
Canonized13 May 1920, Rome by Benedict XV
FeastOctober 17
Patronagethose suffering with polio, devotees of the Sacred Heart, loss of parents

Marguerite Marie Alacoque or Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (22 July 1647, Verosvres – 17 October 1690) was a French Roman Catholic nun and mystic, who promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in its modern form.

Contents

Early life

She was born at Lhautecour, a village in the diocese of Autun, now part of the commune of Verosvres in 2005 . From early childhood, Margaret was described as showing intense love for the Blessed Sacrament (the Eucharist), and as preferring silence and prayer to childhood play. After her First Communion at the age of nine, she practised in secret severe corporal mortification until rheumatic fever confined her to bed for four years. At the end of this period, having made a vow to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate herself to religious life, she was instantly restored to perfect health.[1]

Visions

According to Catholic lore, she had visions of Jesus Christ, which she thought were a normal part of human experience and continued to practice austerity. However, in response to a vision of Christ, crucified but alive, that reproached her for forgetfulness of him, claiming his Heart was filled with love for her due to her promise, she entered, when almost 24 years of age, the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial on 25 May 1671, intending to become a nun.[1]

Painting of Jesus appearing to Saint Margaret Mary at the Church of San Michele, Cortemilia, in Italy.

She was subjected to many trials to prove the genuineness of her vocation. She was admitted to wearing the religious habit on 25 August 1671, but was not allowed to make her religious profession on the same date of the following year, which would have been normal.[2] Finally, she was admitted to profession on 6 November 1672. She changed her baptismal name of Marguerite (Margaret) to her religious name of Marguerite-Marie (Margaret Mary).

In this convent she received several revelations of the Sacred Heart, the first on 27 December 1673, and the final one 18 months later. The visions revealed to her the form of the devotion, the chief features being reception of Holy Communion on the First Friday Devotions of each month, the Eucharistic adoration during the Holy Hour on Thursdays, and the celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart.[3] She stated that in her vision she was instructed to spend an hour every Thursday night to meditate on the sufferings of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Holy Hour practice later became widespread among Catholics.[4][5][6]

Initially discouraged in her efforts to follow the instruction she had received in her visions, Marguerite-Marie was eventually able to convince her superior, Mother de Saumaise, of the authenticity of her visions. She was unable, however, to convince a group of theologians of the validity of her apparitions, nor was she any more successful with many of the members of her community. She received the support of Saint Claude de la Colombière, the community's confessor for a time, who declared that the visions were genuine. In 1683, opposition in the community ended when Mother Melin was elected Superior and named Margaret Mary her assistant. She later became Novice Mistress, saw the convent observe the Feast of the Sacred Heart privately beginning in 1686, and two years later, a chapel was built at the Paray-le-Monial to honour the Sacred Heart.[7]

Beatification

Painting of Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart and Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in adoration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

After Margaret Mary's death, on 17 October 1690, the devotion to the Sacred Heart was fostered by the Jesuits and the subject of controversies within the Church. The practice was not officially recognized until 75 years after her death.[3]

The discussion of her own mission and qualities continued for years. All her actions, her revelations, her spiritual maxims, her teachings regarding the devotion to the Sacred Heart, of which she was the chief exponent as well as the apostle, were subjected to the most severe and minute examination, and finally the Sacred Congregation of Rites passed a favourable vote on the heroic virtues of this "servant of God". In March 1824, Pope Leo XII pronounced her Venerable (the first step on the path to canonised sainthood), and on 18 September 1864 Pope Pius IX declared her Blessed. When her tomb was canonically opened in July 1830, two instantaneous cures were recorded to have taken place. Her incorrupt body rests under the altar in the chapel at Paray-le-Monial, and many striking blessings have been claimed by pilgrims attracted there from all parts of the world.[1]

She was canonised by Benedict XV in 1920, and in 1929 her liturgical commemoration was included in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints for celebration on 17 October, the day of her death. In 1969, this date was assigned to a saint of the Apostolic Age, Saint Ignatius of Antioch, and the memorial of Saint Margaret Mary was moved to the previous day, 16 October.

In his 1928 encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI affirmed the Church's position regarding the credibility of her visions of Jesus Christ by speaking of Jesus as having "manifested Himself" to Saint Margaret Mary and having "promised her that all those who rendered this honour to His Heart would be endowed with an abundance of heavenly graces".[8]

Her short devotional writing, La Devotion au Sacré-Coeur de Jesus (Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus), was published posthumously by J. Croiset in 1698, and has been popular among Catholics.

Quote

A series of articles on the

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacredheart.svg

Sacred Heart
Immaculate Heart
Alliance of Hearts

Prayers and feast
Act of Consecration
PrayerFeast
Scapular

People
John Eudes
Margaret Alacoque
Catherine Labouré
Mary of Divine Heart
Alexandrina da Costa

Encyclicals
Annum Sacrum
Haurietis Aquas

Churches
CathedralsChurches

"And He [Christ] showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure Him all the honour and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which His heart is the source." — from Revelations of Our Lord to St. Mary Margaret Alacoque

Popular culture

In James Joyce's short story "Eveline", part of his Dubliners, a "coloured print of the promises made to Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque" is mentioned as part of the decorations of an Irish home at the turn of the 20th Century, testifying to her enduring popularity among Irish Catholics.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "St. Margaret Mary Alacoque". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09653a.htm. 
  2. ^ Émile Bougaud: The Life of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (TAN Books 1990 ISBN 0-89555-297-3), pp. 94-102
  3. ^ a b Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3): article Margaret Mary Alacoque, St
  4. ^ Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 0-87973-910-X page 240
  5. ^ The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality by Gordon S. Wakefield 1983 ISBN 0-664-22170-X page 347
  6. ^ Catholic encyclopedia
  7. ^ Catholic Online: St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
  8. ^ Encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor of Pope Pius XI

External links