Early Life
Saint Margaret Mary (Marguerite Marie Alacoque) was born on July 22, 1647 at Lhautecour, France.  
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 practiced in secret severe corporal mortification (including carving the name "Jesus" into her chest as an
adolescent [1]) until paralysis 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.[2]

Margaret 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.  On May 25, 1671 she entered,
when almost 24 years of age, the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial intending to become a nun.[2]

She was subjected to many trials to prove the genuineness of her vocation.  She was admitted to wearing the religious
habit on August 25, 1671, but was not allowed to make her religious profession on the same date of the following year,
which would have been normal.[3]   Finally, she was admitted to profession on November 6, 1672.   She changed her
baptismal name of Marguerite (Margaret) to her religious name of Marguerite-Marie (Margaret Mary).

In the convent she received several revelations of the Sacred Heart, the first on December 27, 1673, and the final one 18 months later.
The visions revealed to her the form of the devotion, the chief features being Holy Communion on the First Friday of each month, the
Holy Hour on Thursdays, and the Feast of the Sacred Heart.[4]

Rebuffed by her superior, Mother de Saumaise, in her efforts to follow the instruction she had received in the visions, she eventually won
her over but was unable 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 Colombiere, 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.[5]

After Margaret Mary's death, on October 17, 1690, the devotion to the Sacred Heart, fostered by the Jesuits and the subject of
controversies within the Church.  It was not officially recognized till 75 years after her death.[4]

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 favorable 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 canonized sainthood).  When her tomb was
canonically opened in July 1830, two instantaneous cures were recorded to have taken place.  On September 18, 1864 Pope Pius IX
declared her Blessed.

She was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920, and in 1929 her liturgical commemoration was included in the Roman Catholic calendar
of saints for celebration on October 17, 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 of October 16.

In 1928, Pope Pius XI issued the Papal encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor affirmed the Church's position regarding the credibility of
Saint Margaret Mary’s 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 honor to His Heart would be endowed with an abundance of heavenly graces".[6]

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.  

Her body rests under the altar in the chapel at Paray, France, and many striking blessings have been claimed by pilgrims attracted there
from all parts of the world.[2]

The Twelve Promises of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary [7]
For those devoted to His Sacred Heart:
(1) I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
(2) I will establish peace in their families.
(3) I will console them in all their troubles.
(4) They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.
(5) I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
(6) Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
(7) Tepid souls shall become fervent.
(8) Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
(9) I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
(10) I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
(11) Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
(12) The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of
nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving
their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

From a letter by Saint Margaret Mary [7]
The sacred heart of Christ is an inexhaustible fountain and its sole desire is to pour itself out into the hearts of the humble
so as to free them and prepare them to lead lives according to his good pleasure.

From this divine heart three streams flow endlessly. The first is the stream of mercy for sinners; it pours into their hearts sentiments
of contrition and repentance. The second is the stream of charity which helps all in need and especially aids those seeking perfection
in order to find the means of surmounting their difficulties. From the third stream flow love and light for the benefit of his friends who
have attained perfection; these he wishes to unit to himself so that they may share his knowledge and commandments and, in their
individual ways, devote themselves wholly to advancing his glory.

This divine heart is an abyss filled with all blessings, and into the poor should submerge all their needs. It is an abyss of joy in which all
of us can immerse our sorrows. It is an abyss of lowliness to counteract our foolishness, an abyss of mercy for the wretched, an abyss
of love to meet our every need.

Are you making no progress in prayer?  The you need only offer God the prayers which the Savior has poured out for us in the sacrament
of the altar. Offer God his fervent love in reparation for your sluggishness. In the course of every activity pray as follows: “My God, I do
this or I endure  that in the heart of your Son and according to his holy counsels. I offer it to you in reparation for anything blame worthy or
imperfect in my actions.”; Continue to do this in every circumstance of life.  

But above all preserve peace of heart. This is more valuable than any treasure. In order to preserve it there is nothing more useful than
renouncing your own will and substituting for it the will of the divine heart. In this way his will can carry out for us whatever contributes to
his glory, and we will be happy to be his subjects and to trust entirely in him.

"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 honor 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.

Additional Information
-  Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
-  Catholic Encyclopedia, by Sister Mary Bernard Doll
-  For All The Saints, by Katherine Rabenstein
-  Lives of the Saints, by John Crawley
-  New Catholic Dictionary
-  Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints, by Matthew Bunson,Margaret Bunson, and Stephen Bunson
-  The Secret of Saint Margaret Mary, by Henry Gheon

The majority of this article was taken from Wikipedia a free internet encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Alacoque#cite_note-0)
The Longman Anthology of British Literature: The Twentieth Century Vol. 2C, 2439
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque,Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
The Life of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque by Émile Bougaud (TAN Books 1990 ISBN 0-89555-297-3), pp. 94-102.
Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, article Margaret Mary Alacoque, St (Oxford University Press 2005
ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3).
5.  Catholic Online: St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor of Pope Pius XI
7.  http://saints.sqpn.com/saintm14.htm
The Recognitions by Gaddis, William, Penguin Classics, New York, New York. 1993, pp.66-67.
9.  This article incorporates text from the
Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque 1647
- 1690 Memorial - 16 October
The Twelve Promises of Jesus to
those devoted to His Sacred Heart
(Prayer Card)

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