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The beginning of the devotion – Reverend Father Jules Chevalier
From humble origins, Jules Chevalier was born on March 15, 1824, at Richelieu (in the region of Touraine, France). Apprenticed to a cobbler, he desired to become a priest, but his dream seemed unattainable due to his family’s scanty income. Jules Chevalier entered the major seminary of Bourges in 1846 and was ordained on June 16, 1851.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart and responses from heaven
The origin of the devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is attached in a certain manner to the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God on December 8, 1854.
It must be said that this devotion has at its source neither an apparition nor a miracle in the strict sense of the word. Rather, it is the fruit of the gratitude and love of a priestly soul completely devoted to the Heart of Jesus and consumed by the desire to glorify the Immaculate Virgin.
Even if a miracle did not prepare the beginnings of the homage given to the Mother of God under this title, the devotion toward Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is no less a gift from heaven, a devotion desired by God and blessed by innumerable favors of the very holy Mother of Jesus and Our Mother.
In 1854, while the last preparations for the solemnity of December 8 were being urgently finished up in Rome and bishops from all over the world and numerous pilgrims were pouring into the Eternal City to glorify the Immaculate Conception of Mary, two young priests [one of them Father Jules Chevalier], both assistant priests of the parish of Issoudun, France, cherished in their hearts the project of founding in their parish a missionary congregation. They were convinced that from this foundation would stem a great deal of good for souls and that the spiritual renewal of their parish and the surrounding parishes would be the first fruits.
However, before making any resolutions, they thought it necessary to pray first. “After all,” they said, “we want nothing but the will of God. In order to know what He desires, we shall make a novena to Mary. The circumstances couldn’t be more favorable. Soon the Church will proclaim Her immaculate. Let’s ask Her to obtain the foundation of this congregation from the Heart of Jesus as the first fruit of the glory that will crown Her. She can obtain anything from the Divine Heart, for Her prayer is all-powerful. If She grants our petition, we promise to have Her honored in a special way. If, on the other hand, heaven remains deaf to our wishes, we will conclude that this work is not desired by Divine Providence and we won’t consider it further.”
Their novena ended on December 8th when Pope Pius IX was to promulgate the solemn decree proclaiming the Immaculate Conception of Mary as an article of Faith.
So as to leave nothing to chance, the two priests wrote a sort of pact in which they clearly expressed the grace they were soliciting, the promises they were making, and the sign they were awaiting from the Immaculate Virgin’s bounty as proof of the Divine Will.
They were asking the Queen of Heaven to provide them, on the day of Her feast, a sum of money sufficient to begin their work: this was the sign agreed upon.
They had promised Her that if their prayers were answered, they would consecrate themselves to the Heart of Jesus and give their new Congregation the beautiful name of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart; and, in addition, to honor and to have others honor the Divine Mother with a special title.
They made the novena together in front of a small painting, a sort of primitively designed watercolor depicting the two priests at prayer in front of a statue of the Virgin whose Heart was visible. The painting was the work of the younger of the two priests. It was not a work of art; it was much more: an act of lively faith.
The morning of the 8th, after they had said the last of the novena prayers and each offered his Mass, a man from the city asked to speak to the young priests. One of them presented himself to the visitor. “Father,” said the man, “I have come to give you some good news. A stranger who wishes to remain anonymous offers 20,000 francs for the foundation of a good work in Issoudun.”
“Whichever seems the most helpful. However, a missionary establishment would please
This was Mary’s response to Her pious servants. On the very day that they had requested, they discovered the will of God: the desired sign had been given. As a result, they could devote themselves without hesitation to the holy foundation. The day passed in rejoicing.
A house was purchased.
On the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, Sunday, September 9, 1855, a small chapel was blessed by a prominent vicar of the Cardinal-Archbishop of Bourges. It was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the same day, the new missionaries officially received the name of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The first promise made to Mary was accomplished. The Congregation was named the Congregation of Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. It took as its motto “May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere”. On September 8, 1860, Pius IX accorded an indulgence of 100 days to those who piously recited this invocation.
In September 1860, Fr. Jules Chevalier met with Pius IX in Rome, who encouraged him in the pursuit of the foundation of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, saying: “This work seems to respond to the needs of our times. Therefore, I am praying for its prosperity. I bless it with all my heart. I would like all priests to belong to it. Increase and multiply: Crescite et multiplicamini (Gen. 1:22). The only hope for the Church and society is in the Sacred Heart of Jesus; that is what will cure all our woes. Preach devotion to the Sacred Heart everywhere.This
devotion will be the salvation of the world. Hurry and get established. I will be happy to approve you and give you the canonical existence that you need.” (Rev. Fr. Jules Chevalier The Sacred Heart of Jesus, Issoudun, 1900, 4th edition).
But what would the newly-founded Congregation do to honor the Immaculate Virgin and to have Her honored? The pious founder often asked himself this question. Each day he asked his powerful Protectress to make known to him the way to accomplish his promise. In the meantime, the zealous missionaries celebrated with great pomp all the feasts of the Virgin, preaching Her grandeur and doing all in their power to glorify Her and to make Her more loved.
Was it all that Mary wished of them? Was it enough to pay the debt of gratitude they owed the august Mother of God? Reverend Father Chevalier did not think so. An interior voice told him that the Holy Virgin wanted more.
Mary could not resist the pressing supplications of Her servant whose only desire was to please Her. She inspired him to call upon Her under a title that would forever be hallowed – Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
In reality, this name came to him on September 9, 1855. That day, he was praying before a painting of Our Lord manifesting His Divine Heart. From the holy wound in His Heart came forth a group of rays which focused on the Virgin standing near Her Divine Son. Mary took these rays, which symbolized graces, from the Heart of Jesus, and poured them out over the earth. In a flash, the name Our Lady of the Sacred Heart sprang forth in Fr. Chevalier’s mind.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart! . . . How this name, unheard of until now, made the heart of this valiant missionary leap with gladness! From the first moment, an inner light revealed to him its strong charms. He could fathom the profound and glorious sense of it for his Divine Mother. Hence, he had accomplished his promise: in the new Congregation, Mary would be honored “in a special manner!”
Before revealing this title to others, even to his brothers in religion, he wanted to meditate on it and fathom its riches. He resolved to study the legitimacy and orthodoxy of the new title and of the sense he had given it. With great care, he began to consult Sacred Scripture, the doctrine of the Fathers and doctors of the Church, and Christian Tradition.
It was not until after two years of study (in 1857) that he decided to reveal the new name to his intimate circle in regard to the image of the Virgin which would be placed in the newly constructed church.
He published the fruit of his patient and laborious research in two volumes, one on the devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the other on the Sacred Heart. Each of these volumes is a monument of Catholic knowledge and vast erudition.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
It was therefore in 1857, during a community recreation, that Reverend Father Chevalier unveiled his secret to his religious brothers. He had been quiet and dreamy for several moments before asking the religious: “Under what title will we place the altar of the Virgin in our new sanctuary?” Each answered somewhat randomly and according to his particular inclination.
“No, no: you have not guessed it,” replied Father smilingly,” in our future church, Mary’s altar will be dedicated to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart…”
“Our Lady of the Sacred Heart,” some exclaimed, “that’s new! It isn’t right to make up devotions.”
“New, perhaps,” continued the Reverend Father, “but not in the way you think!”
He then recalled in very heartfelt words the numerous graces that the little community owed to the august Virgin beginning with their foundation until the present moment: “We owe Her everything,” Father added, “we have also promised to honor Her and to make Her honored in a special way. The title Our Lady of the Sacred Heart seems to respond to our wishes. It will speak unceasingly to our Divine Mother of our gratitude for Her many favors, as well as of our faithfulness to the vow that we made to Her.
“Through that title we shall thank and glorify God for having chosen Mary, above all other creatures, to form in Her virginal womb of Her most pure substance, the adorable Heart of Jesus.
“We particularly honor the sentiments of love, humble submission, and filial respect that
Jesus fostered in His Heart for His Most Holy Mother.
“Through a special title that includes, so to speak, all Her other titles, we recognize the ineffable power that our sweet Savior gave Her over His adorable Heart.
“We shall beg this tender Virgin to lead us Herself to the Heart of Jesus, to reveal to us the mysteries of mercy and love enclosed therein, to open to us the treasure of graces of which It is the source, so that She may distribute them with Her maternal hands to all those who invoke Her, or to those confided to Her powerful intercession.
“We shall also unite ourselves to our Mother in order to glorify the Heart of Jesus and make reparation with Her for all the outrages to which the Divine Heart is subjected by sinners.
“Finally, because Mary’s power surpasses the limits of our feeble reason, and Jesus always hears the humble supplications and desires of His Mother, we shall confide to Her the success of any difficult cases however urgent or hopeless, both spiritual and temporal.
“All of this, believe me, is contained in the suave and gracious supplication: ‘Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, pray for us’. After some time of study and reflection, it seems easy to justify all that I just told you through the teachings of doctors and theologians on the grandeur of the august Virgin Mary.
“I am also convinced that our good Mother wants to be invoked and honored by this new title in our future sanctuary. We shall therefore dedicate an altar to Her under this name.
“Thus, it will be through Her and with Her that we shall glorify the Heart of Jesus and propagate, according to our desire, the love and devotion of His Heart. We shall go to the Heart of Jesus through Mary: ‘To Jesus through Mary’!”
The Confraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
Father Chevalier continued his study of texts, and it was not until a few years later, in 1861, that the title of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was revealed to the public.
Pictures and pamphlets were quickly distributed, so as to carry far and wide the new name and to invite the faithful to invoke Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. Our Lady herself helped in this wonderful work by multiplying Her favors to those who invoked Her under this holy title.
From everywhere came requests for information on this new and attractive devotion. There were prayer intentions given, as well as messages of thanksgiving for favors that had been obtained. Many people wanted to be enrolled in the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. In 1862, Fr. Chevalier published a pamphlet, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, which provided the information requested.
As for the Confraternity, it did not yet exist.
After learning of the enthusiastic welcome given to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and seeing with astonishment its rapid and wide growth, and being thoroughly convinced by the numerous requests for admission to the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, his Excellency the Archbishop of Bourges said to Father Chevalier: “My dear Father, the hand of God is in it all. You must, without further delay, write the statutes of a confraternity in honor of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.” Father Chevalier obeyed, and on January 29, 1864, the Archbishop
approved his statutes.
In April of the same year, after the ceremony of Confirmation, the Archbishop promulgated the statutes of the Confraternity and expressed a desire: “Dear Father, I would like you to enroll, after my own name, 100,000 members so as to counterbalance the 100,000 readers of the Siècle ( a most impious newspaper of the time, boasting almost daily of having that many readers).
This number, though greatly desired, seemed to the elderly prelate almost impossible to obtain, for 100,000 seemed enormous to him.
Three months later, the Archbishop was once again at Issoudun, this time to consecrate the church of the Sacred Heart. He delivered to Fr. Chevalier a brief from Pius IX approving the Congregation and bestowing indulgences upon it: a precious favor which consecrated the newly-founded work and gave it place amongst the other Catholic associations.
“So, how many members do you have now?” asked His Excellency.
“Fifty thousand, your Excellency, and every day the mail brings many more.” With that, the register of enrollments was presented to him.
“Fifty thousand in three months,” exclaimed the pious Archbishop,” that’s amazing! Let us thank the Immaculate who has worked this wonder.”
Before the end of the year, the 100,000 members desired by the prelate were surpassed! In 1869, when Pope Pius IX enrolled himself in the Confraternity, the number was over two million.
On December 8, 1864, Pius IX published the encyclical Quanta Cura accompanied by the Syllabus, or catalogue of the principal errors of the time, which condemned liberalism of any kind: political, economic, or religious. “We are living in difficult times. Everything is in danger, in the spiritual realm as well as in the temporal. In the midst of such great calamities which weigh upon the world and of which we are victims, it is absolutely necessary that we enliven our piety and that we go all together with confidence to the Throne of grace, in order to beg Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who redeemed us with His Holy Blood, to have pity on us. Let us invoke His Divine Heart inflamed with love to protect us, to draw us to Him with ties of the most ardent charity, to set all men on fire with the sacred flame which consumes Him, to inspire them with His own sentiments, and finally to make them agreeable to God by a life of good works and merit.”(Pius IX, extract from the encyclical, Quanta Cura).
In January 1866, with the collaboration of Father Victor Jouët (1839–1912), who had joined the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart the year before, Fr. Jules Chevalier created the periodical Annals of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, which served as a link for all those who had chosen to let themselves be guided to the Heart of Jesus through Mary.
Devotion Approved by Rome and the French Bishops
In the month of February 1869, having learned of the numerous graces already obtained through the intercession of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Pius IX wanted to give the members of the Confraternity striking proof of his support. He decreed that the first statue of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart would be solemnly crowned, and he himself became a member of the Confraternity, putting at the bottom of his request of inscription these beautiful words, “Pius IX, who desires to love the Blessed Virgin Mary”. The celebration of the crowning took place on September 8 of that same year (1869), in the church of Issoudun.
Fifteen prelates, 800 priests and 25,000 pilgrims came from all parts of France, Belgiumand other countries to attend the ceremony. From that time on, Pius IX honored the Confraternity with several congratulatory briefs and enriched it with new indulgences.
On October 17, 1872, while on a pilgrimage to Issoudun, the Archbishop of Bourges, Monsignor de la Tour d’Auvergne (+1878) solemnly consecrated France to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, in the name of 63 bishops. On the September 8, 1873 pilgrimage, anniversary of the
crowning, not only France and Belgium, but many other countries were represented by 13 bishops, 700 priests and 30,000 pilgrims. Two hundred and forty banners of various nations were represented in the procession of that unforgettable day.
On January 11, 1874, Reverend Fr. Jules Chevalier was received in an audience by Pius IX, and the priest presented him with the 30 volumes containing the 3,000,000 signatures and 160 letters from cardinals, bishops and archbishops from the world over, requesting the solemn
consecration of the universal Church to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
On June 3, 1874, Pius IX approved by decree the constitutions of the Institute of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, founded by Fr. Chevalier in 1854, and responded favorably to Father’s request that His Holiness accept the double title of Founder and Superior of the Institute.
Pope Pius IX raised the church of Issoudun to the level of basilica on July 17, 1874.
The very next month, Fr. Chevalier founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. The beginnings were difficult, and it was not until 1882 that the foundation truly took root with the support of Mother Marie Louise Hartzer (+1908), who became a postulant on March 25th. The constitutions received their final approval on April 4, 1928. “Already in the very first days when we gave Mary the title of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, one couldn’t help thinking that the Divine Mother would soon form Herself a court of honor,
following Her example and under Her protection, which would consecrate itself entirely to the service of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” (Rev. Fr. Jules Chevalier, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, according to Holy Scripture, the Church Fathers, and Theology, 4th edition. p.485).
In short, during the eighteen years of the reign of Pius IX, from the beginning of the devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, one can count no fewer than 35 rescripts, letters, decrees, and briefs, along with other signs of the Pope’s approval of the devotion to Our Lady of
the Sacred Heart and the charitable organizations under Her patronage.
He enriched the first formulations of prayers with indulgences, raised the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart to the level of Archconfraternity, and accorded numerous privileges.
After having become a prisoner in the Vatican, it was a consolation for him to know that large numbers of pilgrims went to Issoudun to pray to Our Lady for both Church and country.
Pius IX decided to crown Our Lady of the Sacred Heart on September 8, 1869 and consecrated the title along with the devotion attached to it.
A large stained-glass window in the basilica of Issoudun is dedicated to this event. The Pope and the Archbishop of Bourges are represented kneeling on either side of the white statue of Our Lady. In his hands the Archbishop is holding a crown and the Pope, a parchment on which
is written, “Crown in my name [the Pope’s] Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.”
In one of the last letters of the pontiff to Monsignor de la Tour d'Auvergne, dated January 24, 1878, just two weeks before the Pope’s death, he expressed the great joy he experienced in seeing the spread of this devotion that he had watched over since its inception.
“How good Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is! There is hope for the Church and the world only in the Heart of Jesus; it is He Who will heal all.”
Leo XIII, who succeeded Pius IX upon the throne of Peter on February 20,1878, had not waited until that date to give his approval of the devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
As early as 1875, when he was bishop of Perouse, 11 years after the foundation of the Archconfraternity at Issoudun, he himself established one at St. Fortunat, a church in his episcopal see.
He expressed himself thus:
“Desiring to see the devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart established in this city and this diocese and wishing our own people to experience for themselves the numerous advantages which, thanks to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, we can rightfully expect from this pious institution, we have authorized the erection of a Confraternity in this city under the name of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart”.
The Bishop himself wished to be the first to sign up and receive his certificate and medal.
But it was not sufficient that Our Lady had claimed France as the cradle and hearth of her Archconfraternity. It was in Rome, near the vicar of Jesus Christ, that She desired to have a church. On September 16, 1878, Leo XIII allowed the Missionaries of Fr. Chevalier to dedicate the
old church of St. James of the Spanish to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and at the same time published the decree which declared this church to be the international headquarters for the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart whose charge was placed in the hands of the
same religious Congregation.
These favors accorded by the Pope soon spread outside of the limits of Rome and even Italy.
The Pope wrote numerous briefs and rescripts by which he enriched the privileges, indulgences and spiritual benefits connected to the practice of devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
In 1880, the anticlerical policy of Jules Ferry [...] sent all religious congregations not officially approved by the government of the Republic in France into exile.
At Issoudun, as in many other places, the expulsion was done with arms in hand. Large red seals blocked off the main door of the basilica, and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart became a prisoner in Her own church.
The door remained closed for fourteen years. The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart were either dispersed among diverse European countries or sent to missions around the world. Some of them even went to Papua New Guinea.
Saint Pius X
St. Pius X is one of the greatest glories of the Church at the beginning of the 20th century: he was the Pope of the condemnation of modernism and liberal democracy, the restoration of sacred music, frequent Communion, and of an earlier First Communion for children.
The name of St. Pius X is very much loved by the members of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
Even before his elevation to the sovereign pontificate, he manifested his devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
In 1876, on the inauguration day of a statue in the church of Piombine in the diocese of Treviso, Fr. Sarto [the future Pope Pius X] delivered a eulogy in which he proved in a very learned way that the title of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is very glorious for the Virgin, that it befits Mary perfectly and that the devotion it expresses is as old as the Church Herself.
Having been made the president of the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Treviso, he pronounced a discourse in which he exalted Mary and showed “that the devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is the most opportune for modern times.” He reiterated these words when he granted an audience [as Pope] to the Superior General of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart on May 31,1904.
As stated, once Pope, Pius X continued his pious devotion toward this title. He augmented the indulgence granted by his predecessor Pope Pius IX of 100 days to be gained each time the members would say, “Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.”
He also placed the statue of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart offered him by the Archconfraternity in a place of honor in his apartments and he liked to invoke this heavenly Queen and to confide the concerns of the Church to Her.
Benedict XV, Pius XI and Pius XII
Pope Benedict XV, by means of a magnificent letter dated August 11, 1919, wished to unite himself to the 50th anniversary of the crowning of the statue at Issoudun (1869) and he exhorted all the faithful to go to the Heart of Jesus through Mary.
Pope Pius XI approved the Mass and Divine Office proper to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart for May 31st. He granted an indulgence of 300 days to all the faithful each time they said, “Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, pray for us” (Sacred Penitentiary, Nov. 15, 1927).
Pius XII also gave multiple proofs of his interest in the Archconfraternity. On December 12, 1954, the statue of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, honored in Her Roman sanctuary, was crowned in the name of the Pope by Cardinal Micara, Vicar General of His Holiness.
In 1920, the Archconfraternity of Issoudun counted 18 million inscriptions in its registrars! (Piperon, The Power of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 1920 p.28)
The Confraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at Moulin du Pin, France
“Be so kind as to accept my request of inscription to the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and to send me the Booklet of Initiation which contains the devotions to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.”
“I often like to stop at Issoudun when I travel from Ecône to western France and visit the little Basilica which lies right in my path.
“There I confide to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart all of my prayers and the intentions of loved ones, and those of the Society (Saint Pius X).”
H.E. Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais
Between the years 1988 to 1992, several issues of The Combat for the Faith spoke of how the devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was implanted little by little at Moulin du Pin.
Here are some extracts:
“We would like Moulin du Pin to become a center of devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (while we wait for Issoudun to return to the traditional Mass, restore authentic fervor, piety and become once again the great center of this touching devotion).
“The devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart continues to be quite popular; it summarizes the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of God and Our Mother. Mary leads us to her Divine Son. Mother of Mercy, she obtains from Him
all the graces that we need: graces of piety, above all graces of confidence; doubtless it is this last virtue, confidence in Jesus through Mary, that constitutes the main theme of the devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.”
The Blessed Virgin is often thanked and invoked under this title for both difficult and hopeless cases. The most urgent intentions ascend to this maternal Heart; the Virgin is the treasurer of the Heart of Her Son.
Our role in this time of crisis is a temporary one; we give to the faithful that which they no longer find in the official Church. This is why we have instituted the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart as an echo, faithful to the Church, of the Archconfraternity of Issoudun.
We often receive prayer intentions for the healing of the sick, the settling of difficult and delicate situations, and for conversions. Our statue of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is honored by many candles, which are often placed on the floor because the candelabra is not large enough.
Do not hesitate to invoke Her; because Her Son’s Sacred Heart is included in this very title of His Mother, Her maternal Heart is surely moved in a particular way. We receive so many letters or phone calls expressing the gratitude of the faithful for prayers that have been granted.
As Father Coache has said, and very rightly so: “The crisis of the Church, which puts the world in the place where God belongs and causes the loss of true spiritual values, has led us to establish at the Moulin du Pin (SSPX retreat house in France), site of a chapel to Our Lady of the
Sacred Heart, a confraternity which continues in a certain fashion that of Issoudun.”
Reasons for the Devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
The goals of the Confraternity are:
1. To exalt the glory of Our Mother by this new title which brings out in an admirable way Her
2. To give to the Sacred Heart, through Mary, that cult of adoration, love, and especially of
reparation which He has requested.
3. To glorify the power of intercession of the Blessed Virgin over the Heart of Jesus, confiding in
Her the success of hopeless cases, in both the spiritual and temporal realms.
To glorify the Sacred Heart through Mary
“The members unite themselves to Our Lady in order to fulfill their duties to the Sacred Heart, especially those of adoration, praise, imitation, and reparation.” (Manual, 1955, p. 424)
There are three reasons for which we glorify the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and not solely through our own efforts. Firstly, it is in doing all things through Mary that one renounces himself, his intentions and works, in order to unite himself completely to those of the Blessed Virgin which are perfectly pure and agreeable to the Sacred Heart. Secondly, through this self-renouncement and total dependence on Mary, one practices humility, which greatly glorifies the Sacred Heart. Lastly, the Blessed Virgin receives the gift of our actions into Her virginal hands and She gives them an admirable beauty and splendor so that the Sacred Heart is more pleased and glorified than if He had received them directly from our sinful hands ( based on True Devotion which includes the consecration to Our Lady by St. Louis de Montfort, # 222-225).
This practice is especially important in order to understand the love of Jesus Christ, to imitate Him, and to repair the outrages inflicted upon Him.
There is no better way to know Jesus and His charity than through His Mother. In fact, “As She was the faithful companion of Jesus, from the house of Nazareth to the heights of Calvary, and thus being initiated more than any other to the secrets of His Heart, and as the dispenser of
His treasures and merits, which is Her right as His Mother, She is a very sure and efficacious help for obtaining a true knowledge and love of Jesus Christ”( Saint Pius X, Ad diem illum, Our Lady, Solesmes, #235).
Imitation consists primarily in the conforming of one’s will to that of God: “If true love alone has the power to unite different wills, it is absolutely necessary to unite our will to Mary in order to serve Jesus Christ Our Lord. The same recommendation of this most prudent Virgin to the servants at Cana is addressed to us: ‘Do whatever He tells you.’ There are also these words of Jesus Christ: ‘If thou hast a mind to enter into life, observe My Commandments’” (Matthew 19:17) (Saint Pius X, Ad diem illum, Our Lady, Solesmes, #237). In order to enter into the
perfection of charity and to render the Sacred Heart love for love, it is necessary to pass through Mary: “It is to Mary alone that God has given the keys of the cellars of Divine Love and the power to enter into the most sublime and secret ways of perfection, and the power likewise to make others enter in there also”(True Devotion by St. Louis de Montfort, # 45).
Next follows the reparation so insistently demanded by the Sacred Heart to Saint Margaret Mary and by Pope Pius XI to all the faithful. “Wherefore, even as consecration proclaims and confirms this union with Christ, so does expiation begin that same union by washing away faults and perfecting it by participating in the sufferings of Christ and consummating it by offering victims for the brethren. And this indeed was the purpose of the merciful Jesus, when He showed His Heart to us bearing about it the symbols of the Passion and displaying the flames of love, that from the one we might know the infinite malice of sin, and in the other we might admire the infinite Charity of Our Redeemer, and so might have a more vehement hatred of sin, and make a more ardent return of love for His love.”
He does not want us to neglect this reparation for outraged love: He asks us “to make up for the indifference, neglect, offenses, outrages, and injuries to which He is subjected” (Pius XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor, May 8, 1928). Who better than Mary will make everything agreeable
to the Sacred Heart?
Honoring Mary through union with the Sacred Heart
“The members unite themselves to the Sacred Heart to honor Our Lady” (Manual, 1955,p. 424).
To consecrate oneself to Jesus through Mary according to St. Louis de Montfort is to subject oneself to Her dominion. Nothing honors Mary more than to imitate Her Son in the dependence that He Himself practiced towards Her: “He found His glory and His Father’s in hiding His splendors from all creatures here below and revealing them to Mary alone. He glorified His independence and His majesty in depending on that sweet Virgin at the time of His conception, birth, presentation in the temple, hidden life of 30 years, and even at His death, where She was to be present in order that He might make with Her but one same sacrifice and to be offered to the Eternal Father by Her consent, just as Isaac of old was offered by Abraham’s consent to the will of God. It is She who nourished Him, supported Him, brought Him up, and then sacrificed Him for us” (True Devotion, # 18).
Honoring the Power given by Jesus Christ to His Mother over His Adorable Heart
In general: the power of intercession
“The members recognize and proclaim the sublime power which Our Lord accorded to HisMother over His adorable Heart, and it is through Mary that they solicit the favors of this Divine Heart. The Son made His Mother all-powerful, according to the learned and pious St. Bernard:
Ab omnipotente Filio omnipotens Mater jacta est (through the all-powerful Son, the Mother has become all-powerful) and this is why he lovingly calls the august Virgin ‘our all-powerful substitute’ (She offers our supplications to Her Son in our place, therefore rendering them more pleasing to Him). The holy doctor adds that there is nothing which we receive in the order of grace that we do not owe to Her sovereign intercession, and he concludes with these words: ‘Would you like to have an Advocate near Jesus? Go to Mary. Nothing can be refused Her. I say this without hesitation, in consideration of Her dignity: the Son will hear the Mother, and the Father will hear the Son.’
“Mary holds the key to the Heart of Her divine Son, that Heart which is the endless source of all graces: She can open it as She likes to pour out on the world all those treasures of love, mercy, light, and salvation which It contains. Thus, She is the treasurer of the Heart of Jesus; and
it is also for this reason that we call her Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, we address Her under this title with unlimited confidence, especially in the most difficult and delicate circumstances. “The devotion to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart has been approved by the Holy See, and
more than six hundred bishops united themselves to this supreme approbation” (Manual,1955, p. 424).
In detail: Hope of the hopeless
“Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is the advocate of difficult and hopeless cases: ‘to hope against all hope,’ as Saint Paul said in his Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 4:18).
“What is the signification of the title, Advocate of hopeless cases?
“It signifies the unlimited confidence which we bear Our Lady of the Sacred Heart… from the very beginning, the Confraternity, formed under Her patronage, has confided to Her the success of all difficult and hopeless cases, without exception, both spiritual and temporal.
“Mary is indeed the hope of people and cases which are humanly without hope: Spes desperandorum, says Saint Ephrem. We can therefore confide to Her the salvation of those most in danger of perdition, and the successful outcome of the most difficult matters.
“Mary is also the hope of those who despair: Spes desperantium. Therefore, in times of temptation and trial when our soul is on the point of losing courage, we must go to Her for help: and it is to Her that we must send souls who find themselves in an unfortunate situation.
“Lastly, She is the hope of those who have the misfortune, even over the course of many years, of living as criminals and hopeless cases: Spes desperatorum. There are so many of them today! There is hope for them, however, if one can revive in their hearts a certain piety towards
“The most hopeless, according to the doctors of the Church, are those who do not want to honor the Blessed Virgin, and who offend Her in turning others away from Her love. Even for such souls, we can, in praying to Mary, obtain the almost impossible grace of conversion, because Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is the hope of the most hopeless.
“How is it that Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is the hope of the hopeless?
“It is the very title of Mother of God that gives Her an ineffable power over the Heart of Jesus, the endless source of all graces; She can open it as She likes in order to bestow upon mankind all the treasures of love, mercy, light and salvation enclosed therein…
“Is there anything that we cannot ask of Her? Or anything that She cannot obtain? ‘What power!’ exclaimed Saint Bonaventure, as he contemplated the maternal influence of Our Lady over Jesus, ‘the Lord is with You: You are omnipotent in Him, all-powerful in Your proximity to Him.’
“Jesus will always be the Son of Mary… Mary will forever be the Mother of Jesus, and the holy Heart of the Divine Mother has eternal power over the Heart of Her Son, Who is all-good” (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Hope of the Hopeless, Fr.Victor Jouët, pp197-200).
“Who is worthier than you, oh Blessed Mary, to speak for us to the Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ?” (Saint Bernard).
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Academy
479 Beaver Road
Walton, KY 41094
479 Beaver Road
Walton, KY 41094