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All About Mary

Origins of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

– Answered by Father Johann Roten, S.M.

Q: What is the origin of the title of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart?

A: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is a title which originated with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart founded by Fr. J Chevalier in 1854 at Issoudun/France. This religious congregation was founded to revive and regenerate the Christian faith, thanks to a special devotion to the Sacred Heart and to Our Lady. The spirituality of this group is based on a strong faith in the love of God the Father which revealed itself in the Heart of Jesus. This Christocentric orientation is linked with a lively devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady?of the Sacred Heart. It is said in the Rule of Life of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart: "Since Mary was so intimately related to the mystery of her Son's heart, we pray to her as did Fr. Chevalier, and we invoke her under the title of Our Lady?of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. She knew of the inexhaustible riches of Christ; she was totally filled with his love. She leads us to him and directs us to his heart, which is the source of love, accepting all and everybody, and the source from which a new world will arise." (12/8/1984 #18)

The Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Heart of Jesus (Hiltrup), founded in 1900, share a similar spirituality and also use the title of Our Lady?of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (see Rule of Life, 3/25/1984 #66). These missionary congregations promoted the title of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and were instrumental for its worldwide dissemination. Maybe even more important for the rapid and worldwide expansion of this title was the 1864 founded archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. Established first in the diocese of Bourges, the archconfraternity was successively erected in Rome(1873 for the whole church), New York (Watertown, 1877), Holland (Sittard, 1873), Belgium (Averbode, 1885), Colombia (Bogota, 1912), and Canada (Quebec, 1912). Over time, hundreds of other confraternities and archconfraternities were affiliated with the archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and even today several million people claim membership in this organization whose goal it is to extol the Heart of Jesus through Mary.

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Mary belongs to the more generic veneration given to the heart of Mary which originated in the ninth century and culminated with St. John Eudes (1601-1680), and Catherine Labour?(Miraculous Medal, 1830), and more recently with the Fatima message regarding the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Here are two prayers to honor and invoke Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the latter being a link to a litany:

Prayer to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Remember, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, what ineffable power thy divine Son hath given thee over His own adorable Heart. Full of trust in thy merits, we come before thee and beg thy protection. O heavenly Treasurer of the Heart of Jesus, that Heart which is the inexhaustible source of all graces, which thou mayest open to us at thy good pleasure, in order that from it may flow forth upon mankind the riches of love and mercy, light and salvation, that are contained therein; grant unto us, we beseech thee, the favors which we seek . . . We can never, never be refused by thee, and since thou art our Mother, O our Lady of the Sacred Heart, graciously hear our prayers and grant our request. Amen.

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