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).
In 2018, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart coincides with the day on which the Church remembers Blessed Maria of the Sacred Heart, a Sister of the Good Shepherd who spent her life serving in Portugal. Like Saint Margaret Mary, she had several mystical experiences focused on the Heart of Jesus and she is credited with convincing Pope Leo XIII to consecrate the world the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1899. Blessed Maria of the Sacred Heart died 1899 (three days before the consecration took place) and was beatified in 1975.
“The blood and water which poured out at that moment were the price of our salvation. Flowing from the secret abyss of our Lord’s heart as from a fountain, this stream gave the sacraments of the Church the power to confer the life of grace, while for those already living in Christ it became a spring of living water welling up to life everlasting.”—Saint Bonaventure
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
O Heart all lovable and all loving of my Savior, be the Heart of my heart, the soul of my soul, the spirit of my spirit, the life of my life and the sole principle of all my thoughts, words and actions, of all the faculties of my soul, and of all my senses, both interior and exterior. Amen.
(A prayer composed by Saint John Eudes)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.