Alcoque (Properly Alacoque), Margaret Mary

Alcoque (Properly Alacoque), Margaret Mary, who instituted the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was born July 22,1647, at Lauthecourt, a village in the diocese of Autun. From her godmother, Madame de Saint-Amour, she received the name of Margaret.' At four years of age she is said to have vowed perpetual chastity. Her piety was such that at nine years of age she received her first communion. In consequence of a severe sickness, she consecrated herself to the Virgin Mary, and added to the name of Margaret that of Mary. On May 25,1671, she entered the convent De la Visitation de Paray-le-Monial, and in the year following she took her vows. From that time on she had frequent visions, and believed that the Saviour told her that the first Wednesday after the octave of the holy sacrament should be consecrated to a special feast in honor of his heart. The first festival was celebrated in 1685, in the convent at Paray. The severe austerities and macerations which she underwent in the convent finally ruined her health, and she died Oct. 17, 1690. On June 24,1864, pope Pius IX published a decree of her beatification. Of her smaller writings the best known is La Devotion au Cmeur de Jesus, first published by Croiset in 1698. See Languet, La Vie de la Venerable Mere Marguerite Marie (Paris, 1729); Daras, Vie de la Bienheureuse Marguerite Mlarie (ibid. 1875); Lichtenberger, Encyclopedie des Sciences Religieuses, s.v. (B. P.)

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