O Lord Jesus Christ, Who wondrously revealed the unsearchable riches of Your Heart to blessed Margaret Mary, the Virgin, grant us, by her merits and through imitating her, to love You in all things and above all things, so that we may be found worthy to possess a lasting dwelling place in Your Heart itself.Collect for the Feast of Margaret Mary
Today we have a little round up re: the Saint of the Day, who happens to be Margaret Mary Alocoque.
October 17 is the Feast of St. Margaret Mary, in the calendar for the Extraordinary Form.
St. Margaret Mary Aloque was a member of the Sisters of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the religious order founded by St. Jane de Chantal and her spiritual director, St. Francis de Sales.
St. Jane died in 1649, and St. Margaret Mary was born in 1647. The devotion to the Sacred Heart grew in prominence with the revelations of Jesus to Margaret Mary
The Visitation Sisters have an authoritative write up on her as follows:
One good source of inspiration for all vocations and lifestyles is the Letters of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Saint Margaret Mary was a French Visitation nun who received revelations from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For most of us, this holy nun who lived from 1647—1690 seems a very distant and obscure figure, one of those hagiographical wonders that are so far removed from our present reality as to be almost imaginary. But reading the letters of anyone puts us in touch with a real-live person who existed in time and felt, thought, suffered, struggled, loved and enjoyed themselves just like we do. When we read the letters of this holy soul we begin to see her as a human being so much like ourselves and in some ways, so much beyond ourselves.
Her words for priests are especially notable (to priests at least.) The same article linked above has beautiful advice for the laity too.
In a letter to a Mademoiselle Chamberland at Moulin in 1684, Margaret Mary proposes that she offer to the Lord her heart and affection without reserve. Then she challenges her by asking if she has enough courage to put her words into practice. “Can you die continually to your own inclinations, passions, pleasures,” she asks, “in a word to everything that belongs to unmortified human nature, so as to make Jesus Christ live in you by His grace and love?” (letter 25) Then she firmly advocates seeking guidance from a spiritual director. Her constant instructions call for simplicity, straightforwardness and sincerity. She abhors subterfuge, dissimulation and exaggeration.
Letters to her brother who holds the office of town mayor are affectionate but always have a spiritual tone. Saint Margaret Mary takes an interest in the lives and activities of her brother and his family. She laments their trials, encourages their devotion to the Sacred Heart, promises them Our Lord’s blessings for all their efforts to love and honor his Sacred Heart, sympathizes with their griefs and illnesses. But the spiritual must come first and their submission to God’s will, whether it be sickness or business upheavals, must be endured with patience and trust. Assuring her brother of her prayers for his sick wife, she writes, “Do not lose courage. Your sufferings borne patiently are worth a thousand times more than any other austerity.” “Though God is willing to save us, He wants us on our part to contribute something, and without our cooperation He will do nothing” (letter 120).
The entry on Margaret Mary From the original Catholic Encyclopedia:
Known as the Apostle of the Sacred Heart, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to her frequently and conversed with her, confiding to her the mission to establish the devotion to His Sacred Heart.
Margaret Mary was inspired by Christ to establish the Holy Hour and to pray lying prostrate with her face to the ground from eleven till midnight on the eve of the first Friday of each month, to share in the mortal sadness He endured when abandoned by His Apostles in His Agony, and to receive holy Communion on the first Friday of every month. …
He appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart; He called her “the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart”, and the heiress of all Its treasures.Catholic Encyclopedia
And of course that perennial question, how do you pronounce her name?
The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a beautiful practice to undertake on this day.
St. Margaret Mary, ora pro nobis.