The story behind of the celebration
+ Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus—as we understand it today—can be traced back to the late Middle Ages, particularly to the writings of Saint Gertrude the Great.
+ A feast of the Sacred Heart was first celebrated in France, under the direction of Saint John Eudes, founder of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (the Eudist Fathers), in 1670.
+ The saint most associated with this devotion is the Visitation nun Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, whose visions and mystical experiences were shared by her spiritual director, Saint Claude la Colombiere.
+ The liturgy for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart invites us to reflect on the love and mercy of God revealed in Christ who “gave himself up for us with a wonderful love / and poured out blood and water from his pierced side, / the wellspring of the Church’s Sacraments” (from the Preface for Masses of the Sacred Heart).
For prayer and reflection
“Jesus wanted to show us his heart as the heart that loved so deeply. This is why we have this commemoration today, especially of God’s love. God loved us, he loved us with such great love. I am thinking of what St Ignatius told us…. He pointed out two criteria on love. The first: love is expressed more clearly in actions than in words. The second: there is greater love in giving than in receiving.”—Pope Francis
To learn more about men’s religious communities dedicated to the Sacred Heart, visit:
The Priests of the Sacred Heart: www.sacredheartusa.org
The Brothers of the Sacred Heart: www.BrothersoftheSacredHeart.org
The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart: www.misacor-usa.org
To learn about the women’s religious communities dedicated to the Sacred Heart, visit:
The Religious of the Sacred Heart (founded by Saint Madeline Sophie Barat): www.rhsm.org
The Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart: www.missionhelpers.org
The Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery: www.yanktonbenedictines.org
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son
and recall the wonders of his love for us,
may be made worthy to receive
an overflowing measure of grace
from that fount of heavenly gifts.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.