Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Claude la Colombière (1641–1682)

Saint Claude la Colombière (1641–1682)

Patron saint of toymakers and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Feast day: February 15

Saint Claude la Colombière heard God’s call early on to join religious life. He joined the Jesuits and was educated in Lyons, France, at a Jesuit college. Claude had a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Sacred Heart’s divine love for humanity helped Claude combat the Jansenists, who were popular heretics of the time.

He was assigned as rector (superior) of the Jesuit community at Paray-le-Monial and chaplain to the Visitation Monastery there. So, he became Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque’s spiritual director and confessor. Margaret Mary also shared in his devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Claude validated her visions and supported her mission to make God's love more widely known through devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Later Claude was sent to England to act as confessor to the Duchess of York, the future Queen of England by her marriage to King James II. Claude continued to direct and support Sister Margaret Mary through letters. Through his preaching and his exemplary holy life, Claude converted many English Protestants to Catholicism. Rumors of plots against the king circulated throughout England, turning many people against Claude and his fellow Catholics. He was incarcerated, and conditions in the English prison caused his health to deteriorate. As he was a subject of the French king, he was finally banished back to France instead of being martyred, but soon died due to his poor health.

His remains were placed in the Jesuit church around the corner from the Visitation Monastery at Paray-le-Monial. Saint Claude la Colombière was canonized in 1992.

(Image in public domain-70)