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Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque
Paray le Monial is a beautiful, quiet town nestled in the center of France. But the power that emanates from this town is pure Holy Spirit. You can still feel the presence of our Lord Jesus. For it is here that our Lord appeared to a nun over a period of seventeen years. He brought His faithful message of Love to an unfaithful people who had grown cold. Here, He once again spoke of that tremendous Love of His to become man and suffer death, even death on the cross.
Margaret Mary was a Visitation nun from 1671 to 1690. Our Lord appeared to her many times, in the Chapel of the Visitation in Paray le Monial. Not only have these revelations from our Lord Jesus been accepted by the Church, but because of the virtuous, selfless life of this nun, she was raised to the Communion of Saints in 1920.
Over a period of seventeen years, our Lord Jesus shared this mandate with her: He desired the faithful to come to the foot of the altar. He promised that great graces would be poured out from His Sacred Heart. He told her that from the moment the Angels proclaimed His incarnation to His triumph of the Cross, His heart suffered constantly because of the sins of men, those that had been committed from the beginning of time and would be until the end of time.
His greatest wound He said, was apathy, the lack of respect for the Blessed Sacrament, His Body and Blood. For that reason, He wanted a devotion to His Sacred Heart which He directed Saint Margaret Mary to have instituted.
Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in Charolles, twenty miles outside of Paray le Monial on July 25, 1647. Little did her family know when she was born how powerfully the Lord would use her, one day, nor did they have any idea that she would be the instrument He would use to bring about devotion to His Sacred Heart and the nine first Fridays.
Margaret Mary was devoted to our Lord Jesus, all of her life. She spent much time under the influence of her godmother who taught her about her faith. At four and a half years old she made a vow of perpetual virginity, in front of a statue of our Lady, in her godmother's garden. Her parish church, too far to visit each day, she would spend long hours in the woods, on her knees adoring our Lord Jesus Who was present in the Blessed Sacrament in her church.
Our Lord Jesus was not easy on Margaret Mary. He did not hesitate to discipline her when the occasion would arise. Those He loves, He chastises. She was to know that with the gifts, comes the price. To whom much is given, much is required. Once, when she was a teenager, she took part in a masquerade, during a carnival. Jesus appeared to her scourged from head to toe, ropes painfully rubbing against His Hands. He told her that her vanity was the reason He suffered those wounds.
Her family was unflinchingly opposed to her joining a religious community. Therefore, she had to teach catechism secretly. Her brother ridiculed her, in public, whenever he caught her teaching. After much struggle, she finally walked through the doors of the convent of the Visitation sisters of Paray le Monial on June the 20th, 1671 to begin her life as a religious.
She took her vows a year later on November the 6, 1672. During her ten day retreat, in preparation for the ceremony, Margaret Mary was praying in the garden of the convent when our Lord Jesus appeared to her. He spoke gently, softly, revealing to her the mystery of His Passion. It was the beginning of a very intimate relationship between Margaret Mary and her Lord Jesus. He was preparing her for what He had in store for her.
On the vigil of the Feast of the Visitation, Margaret Mary was in choir with the rest of the nuns. They were singing Te Deum ("to You, God"-one of the most famous hymns in our Church-one of thanksgiving to our Lord, a solemn invocation for a blessing and a profession of faith) Margaret Mary had lost her voice and couldn't sing with them. All at once, the baby Jesus appeared in her arms; her voice returned and she sang with the rest of the Nuns, in glory of our Lord.
Jesus asked Margaret Mary to make a holy hour. One Thursday evening, as she prostrated herself on the floor from eleven to midnight, our Lord allowed her to share, with Him, His agony in the garden of Gethsemane.
In the life of every Saint, you will find the Blessed Mother. Once when Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque was seriously ill, her superior ordered her to pray to the Blessed Virgin to intercede with the Lord for a healing. Our Lady, accompanied by Angels, appeared to Margaret Mary and she was healed of
her illness, immediately.
Minibook on the Life of Saint Margaret
On another occasion, with other Nuns present in the convent garden, Margaret Mary had a vision of the Sacred Heart of Jesus surrounded by Seraphic Angels. The Angels made a pact with Margaret Mary at that time: they would suffer in her, she in turn would rejoice in them. To remember this, the garden was renamed Yard of the Seraphim.
With the Miracle of the Eucharist of Lanciano, the Host turned into a Human Heart. Therefore, it is only fitting that, one day, at the very moment Margaret Mary received Holy Communion from Father Claude Colombiere, the Sacred Heart of Jesus united itself forever with her own heart and that of Father Claude. Father Claude later became her spiritual director and confessor. He has been beatified and his shrine is in a church a few blocks from the church of the Visitation.
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Journey toParay-le-Monial to the Convent of the Visitation where
her His Sacred Heart, and gave her the promises of the Sacred Heart.
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