Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690)

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690)

Patron saint of devotees of the Sacred Heart, of polio patients, and against the death of parents

Feast day: October 16

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque lost her father at the tender age of eight years old. After his death, she was sent to the Poor Clares School. During this time, Saint Margaret Mary was afflicted with rheumatic fever and became confined to her bed.

When she was 15 years old, Saint Margaret Mary was given a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary and was miraculously healed of her illness. She also received a vision of Jesus Christ after his scourging. After this vision, she was motivated to join the Visitation convent at Paray-le-Monial in France. From the age of 20 onward, Saint Margaret Mary received numerous visions of Jesus Christ. She also received revelations from Jesus, including twelve promises for those devoted to his Sacred Heart. During her revelations, Saint Margaret Mary was taught about the observance of the Nine First Fridays, the Holy Hour, and the request from Our Lord that the Feast of the Sacred Heart be started in the Church.

Saint Margaret Mary’s visions were declared to be genuine by Claude La Colombiere, the confessor of the Visitation convent at the time. Saint Margaret Mary’s religious community began observing the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 1683. Two years later, a chapel was constructed at Paray-le-Monial to honor the Sacred Heart. Soon after, devotion to the Sacred Heart began to flourish within the Visitation convent. The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was formally recognized and approved by Pope Clement XIII.

(Image by Corrado Giaquinto, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)