Margaret Mary was born into a French family in 1647. After her father’s death when she was eight, she was sent to a boarding school directed by the Poor Clares, who inspired her to dedicate her life to God. Although her relatives did not respect her desire for religious life, she finally entered the Visitation Monastery in Paray-le-Monial, shortly before she turned twenty-four. There, she was given a hidden calling to know the power of Christ’s love.
From 1673 to 1675, Christ appeared to her in a series of mystical visions. Like St. John the Beloved, she was allowed to rest her head on Jesus’ breast, and he revealed to her his passionate love for all humanity and his sorrow at the world’s indifference.
At first, her superiors questioned her mystical visions, until God sent her a gifted spiritual director, the Jesuit priest Blessed Claude la Colombiere. He recognized the authenticity of her extraordinary experience and helped her spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, teaching others to be grateful for Jesus and the Eucharist.
St. Margaret Mary’s experience of the eternal love of Christ helps us see that God’s love conquers all evil. In his unconditional love, revealed to us in Christ, we, too, can find the strength to accept the reality of our world and transform its darkness and pain into the love and joy of resurrection.
The Church has set aside October 16th to celebrate the holy life of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.