+ Marie was born in Nivelles, Belgium. A serious, pious child, she was married at the age of 14. A short time later, she succeeded in persuading her husband to convert their home into a hospital for lepers. The young couple cared for the sick with their own hands, sometimes sitting up all night.
+ As a young woman, Marie developed habits of prayer and devotion that stayed with her throughout her life. She was blessed with the “gift of tears,” frequently weeping when she prayed or meditated on divine things. She had a particular devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, Saint John the Evangelist and her Guardian Angel.
+ In time, many came to her seeking counsel and prayers. Near the end of her life, she felt the need for solitude and, with her husband’s consent, she began to live in a small cell near the Augustinian monastery in Oignies.
+ As a woman of her time, she was limited in how she could teach others about God, but she was aided by a priest—who later became a cardinal—Jacques de Vitry, who acted as her special preacher.
+ Marie of Oignies died on June 23, 1213.
This year, on June 23, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. This important celebration is inspired by the visions of Saint Margaret Mary Alocoque and the writings of her spiritual director, Saint Claude La Columbiere. It was made a celebration of the Universal Church in 1856.
“Behold a wise woman who has built her house. She feared the Lord and walked in the right path.”—Proverbs 14:1-2
O God, the exaltation of the lowly, who willed that blessed Mary should excel in the beauty of her charity and patience, grant, through her merits and intercession, that, carrying our cross each day, we may always persevere in love for you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For a Holy Woman)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.