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Saints of the Sacred Heart: St. Margaret Mary

This is the third talk in a 3-part series, Saints of the Sacred Heart, on St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. The video is a replay of a live talk on Crowdcast with the speaker’s notes provided below. The first two talks on Sister Josefa Menendez and St. Gertrude the Great are here on our site and on our YouTube Channel as well.


Biographical Info on St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

  • Born in July 22, 1647 in Verosvres, France
  • Visitation nun
  • After her First Communion (9 years old), the pleasures of the world no longer had any satisfaction for her; she tried to join the games of her friends, but felt called to go away to a quiet place where she could pray
    • She preferred to prostrate herself during prayer, or else kneel on the ground, and she hated being seen praying
    • “Esteem and praise were an intolerable martyrdom.”
  • She attended a convent school wanted to do what she saw the nuns doing
  • St. Margaret Mary got sick and was unable to walk for four years, preventing her from entering religious life.
    • She made a consecration to Mary, promising that if Our Lady cured her, Margaret Mary would one day be one of her daughters.
    • She was cured, but was so excited to rejoice in her health that she forgot her promise.
  • Unity with the Heart of Jesus in the midst of suffering
    • She lived with relatives in what she calls a “state of captivity,” but of that time, she says, “I do not wish to blame those persons by what I am about to say, nor do I think they did wrong in causing me to suffer. My God did not permit me to have this thought, but wished that I should regard them as instruments employed by Him for the accomplishment of His Holy Will.
      • Everything under lock and key
      • She couldn’t find anything to put on in order to go to Mass
      • She submitted everything to those who kept her under captivity, and did not even leave the house without their permission
      • When she cried at their not giving her permission to go to Mass or Adoration, they didn’t believe her devotion and accused her of lying and trying to sneak off to see some young men
        • “Yet I had such a horror in my heart for anything of the kind, that I would rather have consented to see my body torn into a thousand pieces than entertain such a thought.”
      • She turned the attention of her heart to the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus was her only consolation
      • As she prayed before the crucifix or an Ecce Homo image, she saw that “He desired to be the absolute master of my heart and render me conformable in all things to His suffering life. That was why He wished to constitute Himself my Master, making my soul feel His presence, in order to enable me to act as He did in the midst of His cruel sufferings, which He had borne for love of me.” 

Visions

  • She describes having a deep relationship with God, and an understanding of the hideousness of sin, from her earliest memory. If anything offended God, she didn’t want to do it.
    • Around this time, without understanding the meaning of the words, she consecrated to God her purity, and made a vow of perpetual chastity during the elevations at Mass.
  • When her mother was badly ill, she devoted herself to mental prayer, but she didn’t know how to do mental prayer except for a vague remembrance of the term.
    • Jesus taught her
    • “He then presented Himself to me in the mystery in which He desired me to consider Him, applied my mind so closely to it, and kept my soul and all my powers so absorbed in Him that I felt no distraction. My heart was consumed with the desire of loving Him, which gave me an insatiable longing for Holy Communion”
      • She sometimes was so absorbed in prayer that she went days without eating or drinking

Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary often; He was a continual companion, and she was always aware of His presence.

Caitlyn Pszonka
  • Pattern of visions
    • Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary often; He was a continual companion, and she was always aware of His presence.
    • Intensity of visions increases when she enters into her vocation; Jesus calls her to live out her vow to be His spouse in a more total way
      • “He deigned to converse with me sometimes as a friend, at other times as a spouse passionately in love, again as a father who dearly loves His only child, or under other titles.”
    • He wants His Heart to be known.
      • “My Divine Heart is so inflamed with love for men, and for thee in particular that, being unable any longer to contain within Itself the flames of Its burning Charity, It must needs spread them abroad by thy means, and manifest Itself to them (mankind) in order to enrich them with the precious treasures which I discover to thee, and which contain graces of sanctification and salvation necessary to withdraw them from the abyss of perdition.”
      • After telling her this, He asks for her heart, which He places in His own Heart and shows her that her heart is like a little atom being consumed in a great furnace. When He withdraws it, it’s a burning flame in the form of a heart, and He returns it to her.
    • One of the most famous visions is of Jesus on the cross. His five wounds are burning, “shining like so many suns. Flames issued from every part of His Sacred Humanity, especially from His Adorable Bosom, which resembled an open furnace and disclosed to me His Most loving and most amiable Heart, which was the living source of these flames.”
    • Most well known vision, she is praying before the Blessed Sacrament 
      • “Behold this Heart, Which has loved men so much, that It has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify to them Its love; and in return I receive from the greater number nothing but ingratitude by reason of their irreverence and sacrileges, and by the coldness and contempt which they show Me in this Sacrament of Love. But what I feel the most keenly is that it is hearts which are consecrated to me, that treat Me thus. Therefore, I ask of thee that the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi be set apart for a special feast to honor My Heart, by communicating on that day and making reparation to It by a solemn act…”
  • How others responded to her visions
    • She is looked upon as a visionary by some, and others see her as clinging to her delusions; she is horrified at the attention
    • Jesus grants her no consolation in this, but wants to unite her to His suffering
      • “In silence shall my suffering be, pure love from fear my soul doth free.
  • How she herself responded to Jesus in visions

About St. Margaret Mary

st margaret mary prayer
  • Three desires:
    • To suffer
    • To love Him and to receive Holy Communion
    • To die in order to be united to Him
  • Reluctance to write
    • “I have always taken every care and precaution to conceal all that I am now writing, so that naught might be known hereafter, even endeavoring not to retain any remembrance of it, in order to leave all to the memory of my Good Master.”
  • Awareness of sin
    • “But she herself, Margaret Mary—the Confidante of the Sacred Heart of Jesus—accustomed to live in the presence of the ‘Sanctity of love and of justice,’ sees such a distance between the relative purity of her soul and the absolute purity of the God Whom she loves, that she stigmatizes as imperfection an sin all that is not in accordance with this Divine Purity.”
  • Consciousness of meaning what she says
    • “My heart yearned… to love Him and to perform all my acions through obedience, though, as I knew not how to practice either the one or the other, I thought it was a sin to say that I loved, because my actions contradicted my words.”
  • Humility—she doesn’t want to write about herself. The first time she writes her account, she writes it out of obedience and then burns it afterwards, thinking that she completed her duty simply by writing it down.
  • Obedience—a characteristic of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, exemplified in those to whom He shows His Heart
    • “I love obedience, and without it no one can please me.”
  • Desire for nothing but Jesus after receiving First Communion
    • “This Communion shed such bitterness over all my little pleasures and amusements that I was no longer able to enjoy any of them, although I sought them eagerly.”

Summary of Saints of the Sacred Heart

  • Littleness, unworthiness ties them all together
    • It is precisely through our littleness, our emptiness, our nothingness that we become emptied enough for Him to take up His dwelling in our hearts.
About Author

Caitlyn Pszonka serves as our Editor. She is first and foremost a beloved daughter of God and uses her gifts as a co-creator for love of Him and His Body, the Church. With degrees in Creative Writing and Theology, she loves to get at deeper truths through telling stories in various forms, including novels, poems, plays, and songs. Caitlyn shares her visual art, in addition to reflections on diving ever deeper in love with God, at Heart to Sacred Heart.

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