Margaret was born on July 22, 1647 at L’Hautecour, in the province of Burgundy, France. She was the fifth of seven children of Claude and Philiberte Alacoque. Margaret was sent to the Poor Clares School at Charolles on the death of her father, when she was eight years old. She loved the peace and order of the convent life, and the nuns were so impressed by her devotion that she was allowed to make her First Communion at the age of nine. She was bedridden with rheumatic fever from the age of 11 to 15. At this time she was known as an ardent devotee of the Blessed Sacrament.

At the age of twenty, inspired by a vision, she resolved to enter a convent. At twenty-two she made her profession at the convent of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial. The nuns of the Order of Visitation, founded in the early years of the seventeenth century by St. Francis de Sales, were famed for their humility and selflessness. As a novice Margaret excelled in these virtues. When she made her profession, the name of Mary was added and she was called Margaret Mary.

Years passed quietly in the convent, and Margaret Mary began to have experiences which seemed to be of a supernatural origin. The first of these occurred on December 27, 1673, when she was kneeling at the grille in the chapel. This was the beginning of a series of revelations that were to continue over the next year and a half. In them Christ informed her that she was His chosen instrument to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart and asked that the feast of the Sacred Heart be established. Rebuffed by her superior, Mother de Saumaise, in her efforts to follow the instruction she had received in the visions, she eventually won her over but was unable to convince a group of theologians of the validity of her apparitions. She received the support of Blessed Claude La Colombriere, the community’s confessor for a time, who declared that the visions were genuine.

In 1683, opposition in the community ended when Mother Melin was elected Superior and named Margaret Mary her assistant. She later became Novice Mistress, saw the convent observe the feast of the Sacred Heart privately in 1686, and two years later a chapel was built at the Paray-le-Monial to honor the Sacred Heart. Soon observation of the feast of the Sacred Heart spread to other Visitation convents.

Saint Margaret Mary died at the Paray-le-Monial on October 17, 1690. The devotion that our Lord gave to the world through her was officially approved by Pope Clement XIII in 1765. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920. Her feast day is observed on October 16.

The Prayer of St. Margaret Mary

My God
I offer Thee Thy well-beloved Son
in thanksgiving for all the benefits
I have received from Thee.

I offer Him as my adoration
my petition
my oblation and my resolutions;
I offer Him as my love and my all.

Receive O Eternal Father
this offering for whatever
Thou willest of me
since I have nothing to offer
which is not unworthy of Thee
except Jesus, my Saviour
Whom Thou hast given me
with so much love.


(Thoughts and Sayings --- St. Margaret Mary, p. 120.)