St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in 1647, to virtuous parents. She grew up a serious, deeply religious child. Her father died when she was 8, and she suffered from a paralyzing illness from the ages of 9-13, and Margaret and her mother struggled for many years.
While she was ill, Margaret vowed to become a nun, but as a teenager, she changed her mind. She lived a normal life until she was in her early twenties, spending time with friends and thinking about marriage. But when she was 22, Margaret had a vision of Christ being scourged. She believed the vision was a message, telling her she had betrayed God by not following her vocation to enter religious life, and immediately joined a convent.
In 1673, Margaret experienced the presence of Christ during prayer. She heard him tell her that he wants to show humanity his love for them by encouraging a devotion to “the heart that so loved mankind.” She went on to receive a series of private revelations from Jesus, but her convent’s superior dismissed her as crazy.
This dismissal nearly killed Margaret, but the following year, Father Claude de la Colombiere (later made a saint) became her spiritual director. He believed her, and wrote down her accounts of her visions. Through his direction, even after he left the convent, Margaret reached a place of inner peace, and was no longer worried about anyone else’s opinions.
Eventually, the visions that St. Claude had written down about the Sacred Heart of Jesus were examined by the Church, but by then, Margaret was facing her final illness. She died on Oct. 17, 1690, and was canonized in 1920.