Oil Dedicated to St Margaret Mary Alacoque
The St Margaret Mary Alacoque is dedicated to the French nun and mystic. She promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in its modern form.
All her life Margaret worked to prove the genuineness of her vocation. She was initially rebuffed by her mother superior. Also, she was unable to convince theologians of the validity of her visions. A noted exception was Jesuit Saint Claude de la Colombière. He supported her. The devotion to the Sacred Heart was officially recognized 75 years after Alacoque’s death. Pope Pius XI stated that Jesus Christ had “manifested Himself” to Saint Margaret. He referred to the conversation between Jesus and Saint Margaret several times.
Alacoque was born in 1647 in Burgundy, France. Margaret was described as showing intense love for the Blessed Sacrament. She preferred silence and prayer to childhood play.
Margaret received her First Communion at the age of nine. Subsequently, she practiced in secret severe corporal mortification. However, rheumatic fever confined her to bed for four years. She made a vow to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate herself to religious life. After this, she was instantly restored to perfect health. In recognition of this favor, she added the name Mary to her baptismal name of Margaret. According to her later account of her life, she had visions of Jesus Christ. She thought these were a normal part of the human experience. She continued to practice austerity.
Alacoque lost her father at a young age, plunging her family into poverty. When she was 17 however, the family regained their fortune. Her mother encouraged her to socialize. She hoped Margaret would find a suitable husband. She began to accompany her brothers in social events. They attended dances and balls. She did this out of obedience. She thought her childhood vow was no longer binding,
Returning home from a ball for Carnival, she experienced a vision of Christ. He was scourged and bloody. He reproached her for her forgetfulness of him. Also, he reassured her by demonstrating that his Heart was filled with love for her This was because of the childhood promise she had made to his Blessed Mother. As a result, she determined to fulfill her vow. She entered, when almost 24 years of age, the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial on 25 May 1671, intending to become a nun.
In this monastery, Alacoque received several private revelations of the Sacred Heart. Also, the visions revealed to her the form of her devotion. The chief features being reception of Holy Communion on the first Friday of each month. Also Eucharistic adoration during a “Holy hour” on Thursdays, and the celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. She stated that she was instructed to spend an hour every Thursday night to meditate on Jesus’ Passion. The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane was her focus. The Holy Hour practice later became widespread among Catholics.
On 27 December 1673, the feast of St. John, Margaret Mary reported that Jesus permitted her to rest her head upon his heart. He then disclosed to her the wonders of his love. Jesus told her that he desired to make them known to all mankind. He wanted to diffuse the treasures of his goodness. Jesus revealed that he had chosen her for this work.
Initially, she was discouraged. Alacoque was eventually able to convince her superior of the authenticity of her visions. However, she was unable to convince a group of theologians. Also, she was unsuccessful with many of the members of her own community. She suffered at their hands. Eventually, she received the support of St. Claude de la Colombière, the community’s confessor. People began to believe her. He declared that the visions were genuine. In 1683, opposition in the community ended when Mother Melin was elected Superior. She named Margaret Mary her assistant. She later became a Novice Mistress. Margaret saw the monastery observe the Feast of the Sacred Heart privately, beginning in 1686.
Alacoque died on 17 October 1690.
Tradition of oils
The tradition of anointing with sacred oil is very old indeed. It is used in sacraments and also as a devotional practice. The sick person applies the oil and blesses themselves. As they do so, they are asked to pray to whomever the oil is dedicated to. The Irish blessings oils do not have miraculous power. It is God who has the power to heal. Applying the oil while praying is an important way for us to express our faith in God’s power. Moreover, by doing so we place our trust in God.
The Irish Blessings oils are dedicated to the Holy Spirit, Our Lady, and the saints. The oils come through prayer. The oils are of therapeutic grade.
The bottles of oils going out are accompanied by a prayer card. In addition, they are personalized for the saint to whom the oil is dedicated to.