THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS
The Visions of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
The most significant source for the devotion to the Sacred Heart in the form it is known today was Visitandine Nun (Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary) Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690), who claimed to have received visions of Jesus Christ. The revelations were numerous, and the following apparitions are particularly noted:
1. On December 27, c.1673, on the feast of St. John, Margaret Mary reported that Jesus permitted her, as he had formerly allowed St. Gertrude, to rest her head upon his heart, and then disclosed to her the wonders of his love, telling her that he desired to make them known to all mankind and to diffuse the treasures of his goodness, and that he had chosen her for this work.
3. During the octave of Corpus Christi, 1675, c.June 16, the vision known as the "great apparition" reportedly took place, where Jesus said, "Behold the Heart that has so loved men ... instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part (of mankind) only ingratitude ...", and asked Margaret Mary for a feast of reparation of the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, bidding her consult her confessor Father Claude de la Colombière, then superior of the small Jesuit house at Paray. The new devotion was confided to the religious of the Visitation and to the priests of the Society of Jesus.
A few days after the "great apparition", Margaret Mary reported everything she saw to Father de la Colombière, and he directed her to write an account of the apparition. Upon his death on
1682, there was found
in his journal the
account and an "offering" to the Sacred Heart, in which the devotion
was well explained and went on to be published. Margaret Mary finally approved of the book
for the spreading of her devotion. Outside of the Visitandines,
priests, religious, and laymen promoted the devotion, particularly the Capuchins,
and some Jesuits. From this the Jesuit Fr. Croiset also wrote The
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.