Lives of Saints

St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690)

Feast day: 17th October

St Margaret Mary Alacoque

I was born at Lhautecour, France, in 1647. From early childhood I showed intense love for the Blessed Sacrament, and preferred silence and prayer to childish amusements. After my first communion at the age of nine, I practised severe corporal mortifications. Paralysis confined me to bed for four years.

Having made a vow to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate myself to religious life, I was instantly restored to perfect health. The death of my father and the injustice of a relative plunged the family into poverty and humiliation. During this time, I found consolation in the Blessed Sacrament, and Christ made me experience His presence and protection. I saw Christ as the Crucified or the Ecce Homo. When I was seventeen, my mother believed that the vow which I had made as a child was not binding and that I could serve God at home by penance and charity to the poor. I began to take part in the pleasures of the world. One night upon my return from a ball, I had a vision of Christ in which I felt reproached for infidelity.

In 1671, I entered the Visitation Convent at Paray, where I was subjected to many trials, and in 1672, I pronounced my final vows. I had a delicate constitution, but was gifted with intelligence and good judgement. In the cloister I chose for myself what was most repugnant to my nature. Our Lord appeared to me frequently, confiding to me the mission to establish the devotion to His Sacred Heart. I was also inspired by Christ to establish the Holy Hour and to pray from eleven till midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, and to receive holy Communion on the first Friday of every month. These extraordinary occurrences drew upon me the adverse criticism of the community. My superior commanded me to live the common life. I remained obedient, humble, and charitable throughout.

I died in 1690, and was canonized by Benedict XV in 1920.

“What have I in heaven and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God.”

St Margaret Mary Alacoque

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