St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was born of pious and honest parents in Verosvres, a small village of Burgundy in France, on the twenty-second of July, in the year 1647.
From her earliest years she was visited by God with extraordinary favors, from which it was apparent that she was destined to perform some great work for the Church. When she had barely come to the age of reason, she manifested a great horror of sin, and at the same time an ardent desire of solitude, to which was united a special love of holy purity. So great was her fear of offending God even by venial sin, that if she suspected this danger in any of her actions, she desisted from performing the same.
As Margaret Mary advanced in piety, she felt herself drawn in a very special way to honor the most holy Mother of God. In fact, she narrates this of herself: “I had recourse to Mary in my every want, and through her I was delivered from the greatest dangers. Not daring to address myself directly to her Divine Son, I had recourse to her and used to recite the Rosary in her honor, on bare knees, genuflecting at each Hail Mary and frequently kissing the ground.”
When Margaret Mary entered the monastery of Paray-le-Monial, she strove to become more united to her Divine Spouse, by the purity of her life and the endeavor to please Him in all things. Therefore Our Lord appeared to her several times, revealing to her how it was His will that devotion to His most Sacred Heart, should be spread throughout all the world, as a beneficent river to enliven the human race, withered with the leprosy of sin, and how she herself was chosen by Him for this great work. St. Margaret faithfully corresponded to the invitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and in a short time the monastery of the Visitation, where she lived, became the center of this Devotion, now so widespread and so dear to the hearts of all Christian people. St. Margaret Mary died on the seventeenth of October, 1690, and was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.
Text from Alexis M. Lepicier, The Fairest Flower of Paradise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1922).