Friday, May 20, 2022
Friday, May 20, 2022

St Margaret Mary Alacoque – Feast Day – October 16

St Margaret Mary Alacoque was a Catholic nun who advocated for the devotion of Sacred Heart of Jesus. She was born on July 22 1647 in L’Hautecour, Burgundy, France, and died on October 17 1690 at the age of aged 43 years in Paray-le-Monial, Burgundy, France. We celebrate her feast day on October 16 every year in the Catholic Church.

St Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin Biography
St Margaret Mary Alacoque - Feast Day - October 16
St Margaret Mary Alacoque – Feast Day – October 16
Date of Birth July 22 1647
Place of Birth L’Hautecour, Burgundy, France
Profession Catholic Nun
Place of Work France
Date of Death October 17 1690
Place of Death Paray-le-Monial, Burgundy, France
Feast Day October 16
Beatification Beatified by Pope Blessed Pius IX on September 18 1864
Canonization Canonized by Pope Benedict XV on May 13 1920
Patron Saint of
  • Against polio
  • Against the death of parents
  • Devotees of the Sacred Heart
  • Polio patients

St Margaret Mary Alacoque Life History

St Margaret Mary Alacoque’s parents were Claude and Philiberte Lamyn Alacoque who lived in L’Hautecour, Burgundy, France. 

Margaret Mary Alacoque was the only daughter and had several brothers. She was so committed to the Blessed Sacrament and wanted so much to be in isolation and prayer instead of playing with her friends.

She started practicing self-flagellation at the age of 9 years after her first Holy Communion. This severe corporal mortification made her contract rheumatic fever which rendered her bed-ridden for almost four years.

During her convalescence period, Margaret Mary Alacoque made a vow to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would offer herself to religious life and she instantly made a full recovery. Due to this favour from the Blessed Virgin Mary, Alacoque added the name Mary to Margaret, her Baptismal name.

When her father died, a relative withheld their family assets and wealth and they were pushed to poverty. She consoled herself by her persistent visits to her local Church to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

The family’s wealth was restored when she was 17 years. Her mother, with the hope that she would get a husband, encouraged her to socialize a lot. Out of obedience, Alacoque started going out for social events and dances with her brothers.

After returning from a party one night, Alacoque experienced a vision of Jesus Christ. Jesus reprimanded her for forgetting Him and also forgetting the vow she made to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus, however, reassured her of the immense love he had for her.

With remorse for her forgetfulness, at the age of 24 years, she felt a strong urge to become a nun in order to fulfill her earlier vow. She, therefore, on May 25 1671, entered the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial.

Margaret Mary Alacoque was described by a fellow novice as simple, humble, frank, and mostly, kind and patient especially when subjected to sharp criticism and correction.

After much trials and tests to determine whether she was genuine in her vocation, she was allowed on August 25 1671 to wear the religious habit. In the following year, she did not make her religious profession as it was the case with others but on November 6 1672, she was finally admitted to the profession and assigned to the infirmary. 

In the convent, Alacoque continued to receive revelations of the Sacred Heart. The first one was on December 27 1673 and the other one was in 1675.

In these visions, she was shown the form in which the devotion will take which is.

  1. Receiving the Holy Communion on the first Friday of each month
  2. Adoration of the Holy Eucharist on Thursday’s during the Holy Hour
  3. The celebration of the feast of The Sacred Heart.

Alacoque stated that in her vision, Jesus instructed her to meditate on Jesus’ Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane for one hour every Thursday night. This one hour became the Holy Hour that many Catholic faithful came to practice later on.

On the same vision during the feast of St John on December 27 1673, Alacoque disclosed that Jesus had allowed her to rest her head on His Heart and told her the many wonders of His love. He told her that He had chosen her to make these wonders and treasures of His goodness known to all people.

Alacoque tried many times without success to convince her Mother Superior about her visions but eventually, she was successful. Her superior, Mother de Saumaise was unable to convince members of her religious community and other theologians elsewhere of the authenticity and validity of Alacoque’s visions. They despised and made fun of them.

However, the community’s confessor, St Claude de la Colombière, a Jesuit, was the only one who supported and validated the visions. 

Better days began in 1683 when a new superior, Mother Melin was elected and made Margaret Mary Alacoque her assistant. Alacoque became the Novice Mistress and from 1686, spearheaded the private observance of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. A Chapel was thereafter built two years later at the convent to honor the Sacred Heart.

Alacoque urged King Louis XIV of France to consecrate the nation to the Sacred Heart in 1689, in order to make Holy Church triumphant over its enemies but he declined. The consecutive Kings also declined the request.

After the death of Alacoque, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was advanced gradually by the Jesuits until after 75 years when the practice was officially recognized.

Alacoque’s mission was extensively analyzed over the years to determine its authenticity. All her actions, revelations, postulates, teachings, and tenets regarding the devotion to the Sacred Heart were examined severely and ultimately they were sanctioned as genuine and factual.

Alacoque’s writing on the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was published in 1698 and has been used extensively by many Catholics.

In 1928 Pope Pius XI affirmed the credibility of Alacoque’s visions of Jesus and the promise from Jesus Christ that to all those who honoured His Sacred Heart, the abundance of heavenly graces will be endowed unto them.

Death

St Margaret Mary Alacoque died at the age of 43 on October 17 1690 while being anointed. Among her last words were, “I do not need anything else but God. And I need to lose myself in the heart of Jesus.”

Beatification

After her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was accepted by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, St Margaret Mary Alacoque was declared a Servant of God. In March 1824, she was declared Venerable by Pope Leo XII and was finally beatified by Pope Pius IX on September 18 1864 in Rome, Papal States

Canonization

St Margaret Mary Alacoque was canonized by Pope Benedict XV on May 13 1920 in Vatican City.

Relics

Alacoque’s tomb was opened in July 1830 and two people were cured of their diseases as a result of this.

Her incorrupt body is preserved in the Chapel of the Apparitions inside the Visitation Monastery in Paray-le-Monial, France where many miracles have been reported by pilgrims from all over the world.

St Margaret Mary Alacoque Feast Day

Her feast day was added in the General Roman calendar in 1929 to be commemorated on October 17 (her date of death)  but after the 1969 liturgical reforms, the feast day was changed to October 16.

St Margaret Mary Alacoque is the Patron Saint of

  • Against polio
  • Against the death of parents
  • Devotees of the Sacred Heart
  • Polio patients

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