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Alacoque, Margaret Mary, St.


Contemplative nun of the visitation order; b. Lauthecourt, France, July 22, 1647; d. Paray-le-Monial, Oct. 17, 1690. Margaret was the fifth of seven children of Claude Alacoque, a royal notary, and Philiberte Lamyn. The family was esteemed by members of the nobility, whose names appear frequently as sponsors on the Baptism register. Margaret's education was limited to the training received in the home of her godmother and, after the death of her father, to the two years spent at the boarding school of the Urbanists, where she made her first Communion. Illness required her withdrawal, and the next 15 years were spent with her mother in painful dependence on nearby relatives. During this period, her attraction to suffering and her grace of contemplative prayer were intensified. On July 20, 1671, Margaret Mary entered Paray-le-Monial, and was professed Nov. 6 of the next year. Between 1673 and 1675 she received the revelations. The first commissioned her to spread devotion to the sacred heart; the second requested Communion and the holy hour of reparation; the last expressed a wish for a special feast day in honor of the Sacred Heart. Margaret Mary lived the devotion, and amid contradiction and opposition worked for its recognition within her order. The exterior apostolate was confided to the Jesuits, among whom Saint Claude de la colombiÈre had been chosen to sanction the revelations. She was beatified by Pius IX, Sept. 18, 1864, and canonized by Benedict XV, May 13, 1920.

Feast: Oct. 16.

Bibliography: m. m. alacoque, Letters, tr. c. a. herbst (Chicago 1954); The Autobiography, tr. v. kerns (Westminster, Md. 1961); Vie et oeuvres de sainte Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, ed. r. darricau, 2 vols. (Paris 19901993). p. blanchard, Sainte Marguerite-Marie: Expérience et doctrine (Paris 1961). l. cristiani, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and the Promises of the Sacred Heart, tr. m. a. bouchard (Boston 1975). j. croiset, The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, tr. p. o'connell from the French of the final edition published at Lyons, 1694 (Milwaukee 1976). h. ghÉon, Secrets of the saints, tr. f. j. sheed and d. attwater (London 1973). a. hamon, Vie de Ste. Marguerite Marie (Paris 1924), with full bibliography. j. ladame, Doctrine et spiritualité de sainte Marguerite-Marie (Montsûrs 1979); Les faits de Paray-le-Monial (Paris 1970). h. montaigu, Paray-le-Monial, ou, Le Ciel intérieur (Paris 1979). a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 4:134138. j. bainvel, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique (Paris 190350) 3.1: 320351.

[m. l. lynn]

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