Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in Burgundy in France. She experienced many difficulties in childhood—her father died when she was eight years old, she was in bed with rheumatic fever from ages 11 to 15, and there were conflicts among relatives and some difficulty for Margaret Mary in entering religious life because her family preferred that she marry. She persevered in her vocation and entered the visitation convent at the age of 22.
St. Margaret Mary experienced visions of Christ whose message to her was about his desire that devotion to his Sacred Heart be encouraged. This was during the time of Jansenism, a post-Reformation misinterpretation of Saint Augustine’s teachings about grace. Jansenism was a grim view of transcendent omnipotence of God in which there was little or no reflection on the reality of divine love. The message which Jesus gave to Margaret Mary challenged this gently “…See this heart which has loved so much and received so little love in return…tell everyone that I really love him or her and I want to be loved in return. If you love me, pray and sacrifice for those who do not believe in my love or do not care about my love.”
Saint Margaret Mary was not popular in her convent and encountered many obstacles to her efforts to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart. In our window she is pictured experiencing a vision of Christ who instructed her about devotion to his Sacred Heart for over 18 months. She persevered heroically and because of her dedication, devotion to Christ under the title of the Sacred Heart is universal throughout the Church. She is a model for all who labor in the face of obstacles. Her feast is on October 16.
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