St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Margaret Mary Alacoque, was a French Roman Catholic Visitation nun and mystic, who promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in its modern form.
Born: July 22, 1647 in Verosvres, France
Died: October 17, 1690 in Paray-le-Monial, France
Patronage: those suffering with polio, devotees of the Sacred Heart, loss of parents.
Siblings: Chrysostome Alacoque, Jean Alacoque, Gilberte Alacoque, Catherine Alacoque, Caude-Philiobert Alacoque, Jacques Alacoque.
Parents: Claude Alacoque, Philiberte Lamyn Alacoque.
Canonization: May 13th, 1920 in Vatican City by Pope Benedict XV.
Feast Day: October 17th
A bit of history behind the statue on our altar of St. Margaret at the feet of Jesus
Our beautiful statue came from Saint Louis, Mo. It is over 100 years old. According to the owner of the restoration company who sold it, it came from Arcadia, which is about 90 miles South of Saint Louis. He thought that it once belonged to a seminary there that closed.
In my research, I discovered that there wasn’t a seminary in Arcadia but there was an Ursaline Academy for Girls. The original Academy was built in 1846 as a Methodist High School by Jerome Berryman, a Methodist preacher. During the civil war it served as a Union hospital from 1861-1863.
In 1877 the Ursuline nuns purchased the school and turned it into a girls’ school. The Sisters went right to work, and in 1878 graduated their first class of 17 boarders and some local girls. The school prospered. A 1902 photo shows 50 girls gathered around an artificial lake on the grounds. A beautiful St. Joseph’s Chapel was built in 1907. Most likely, the statue would have been a part of the Chapel.
The Academy operated as a school until 1971 which marked the last graduating class. It then served as a convent until the nuns were moved to St. Louis in 1985. Somewhere along the line, the statue, which originally was in full color was painted over in white and came into the possession of the restoration company. It then was restored for us in the marbleized effect that you can see.
What’s amazing or I should say, providential, is what happened next. In searching for pictures of Saint Margaret statues on the internet, I came across a priest from Ohio whose vacation south included pictures of his trip. One of the pictures is a statue that is the exact twin of ours. It is located in the Old Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France. It can be seen in the video tour of the Cathedral which has statues of French Saints.
A call to the Basilica provided me with the contact for the Archivist of the Archdiocese where I am hopeful to get more information on the origin of our beautiful statue. More to come…
History of Arcadia Academy
The Arcadia Valley Academy has been towering over the Acadia Valley for over 150 years. The original Academy was built in 1846 as a Methodist High School by Jerome C. Berryman. During the civil war it served as a Union hospital from 1861-1863. In 1877 the Ursuline nuns purchased the school and turned it into a girls school. The Academy operated as a school until 1971 which marked the last graduating class. The Academy served as a convent until the nuns were moved to St. Louis in 1985. Now under private ownership the Academy has become a living antique, currently on the historic register as an historic district. The architecture is some of the most beautiful in Missouri. The chapel has some of the most beautiful stained glass windows in the world. The gymnasium has a unique roof truss system designed in Germany. The entire complex has over two hundred rooms and forty-seven toilets. The auditorium seats up to 250 people and was used for recitals, plays, and other productions. A historical article on the Academy was printed by the Prime Time circulation which was published by Iron County Newspapers and circulated with the Mountain Echo. It reads as followed: When the Rev. Jerome Berryman came to the Arcadia Valley his brother was already there. They decided to start a school of higher learning. It was almost pure wilderness. In 1847 when they started the school there was no Iron County or Arcadia Valley. It was called Arcadia High School. Rev. Berryman was known all over as a Methodist circuit riding preacher. Families moved here so their children could attend Berryman’s school. By 1859 Berryman has moved on and Asbury Farnham was principal. There were 109 boys and 66 girls enrolled. At the beginning of the Civil War, the college was closed and the buildings were used as hospitals, as the Union forces occupied the area, in 1863 General Clinton Fisk insisted that the school be opened and the property reverted to Rev. Berryman. When he retired to Caledonia, Missouri, several tried to run the school, but were unsuccessful. The young men and women attending the school received a quality education. Most were local, but a glance at the roster of students shows home towns of Pocahontas, Arkansas and many others. Tuition was $10 – $16, board, washing, lodging and fuel, $80. In 1877 the college was sold to the Ursuline Order for $30,000. Father Hennessy of Iron Mountain pleaded with the church and they persuaded Mother Johanna to purchase the buildings and the grounds. There were two buildings in 1877 — one, the original 16 room building of which three rooms were habitable; the other an unfinished four story brick erected in 1870, of which three rooms were usable. However the Sisters went right to work, and in 1878 graduated their first class of 17 boarders and some local girls. They put on an ambitious program for more than 259 guests. The school prospered. A 1902 photo shows 50 girls gathered around an artificial lake on the grounds. The beautiful St. Joseph’s Chapel was built in 1907. A new four story wing was added in 1913, but the 1870 building burned in 1917, so immediately a three story wing was built. In 1922 another wing was added connecting to the Chaplains residence. The last building was the wonderful Gymnasium in 1930. During peak years more the 100 girls were bordered and educated there. They came from far and wide, including foreign countries. The Sisters were asked to take charge of parochial schools of surrounding towns including Graniteville. Pilot knob and Arcadia. Just getting there was no easy task. Even when the Sisters came there in 1877 there were few houses in Arcadia. The Sisters gradually increased their holdings, until by 1913 there was sufficient acreage for a Missouri Pacific Demonstration farm. Rules for the girls were very strict. They were asked to be silent except during recreation. The school was approved by the North Central Association, so the education offered was first rate. The music department was always available. The Auditorium was available for concerts, plays, etc. The school had a fine Library. The beautiful natural setting was enhanced by landscaping. The big spring has a lovely rock Springhouse.. Many local girls attended the school until it closed in 1971. Finally the enrollment dropped, and it was no longer possible to operate the school. However the Sisters operated a day care center and many children had the privilege of learning from the Sisters. During the past several years one of the Sisters taught in the public school. Through the years, retreats and guests were made welcome on the campus during the summer months. 1977 was a centennial year, and although the school had closed in 1971, there was a huge celebration. Alumnae and friends came from far and wide. Many of the furnishings and keepsakes were sold and some property sold for the Senior Citizen Complex. The property as a school has been in the Arcadia Valley longer than any town, most of the churches, and most of the homes. The campus is a concrete example of our fascinating progressive past. Information gathered from the Berrymen Archives at the Historic Society, and the 100th Anniversary edition of the Mountain Echo, 1977, and other papers also in the Historical Society Archives.
Chronology of Her Life
*1647, July 22: St. Margaret Mary born at Lhautecour.
1651: (approximately) Makes vow of chastity.
1666: Mother Hersant made superior at Paray.
1671, June 20: St. Margaret Mary enters the Monastery at Paray.
August 25: Receives the religious habit.
1672, June: Mother de Saumaise made superior at Paray.
November 6: St. Margaret Mary makes her profession as a religious of the Order of the Visitation.
1673, December 27: First great revelation of the Sacred Heart.
1674: Second great revelation of the Sacred Heart Third great revelation of the Sacred Heart.
1675, February or March: Bl. Claude de la Colombière arrives at Paray.
June: Last great revelation of the Sacred Heart.
June 21: St. Margaret Mary and Bl. Claude de la Colombière consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart.
1676, August: Bl. Claude leaves Paray for London.
1678, June: Mother Greyfié made superior at Paray.
December 31: St. Margaret Mary makes the solemn testament asked of her by Christ.
1679: Bl. Claude returns to Paray for a few days.
1682, February 15: Bl. Claude dies at Paray.
1684: May Mother Melin made superior at Paray.
1685, January 1: St. Margaret Mary made Mistress of Novices for a period of two years
July 20: The first public honor is rendered to the Sacred Heart in the novitiate at Paray.
1686, June 21: Sr. Madeleine des Escures places image of Sacred Heart in choir for whole community to honor.
October 31: St. Margaret Mary makes a vow of perfection.
1687: Elected assistant to Mother Melin.
1690: Mother de Chateaumorand made superior at Paray St. Margaret Mary elected assistant to Mother de Chateaumorand.
October 17: St. Margaret Mary dies at Paray.
Saint Margaret Mary's Vows
The following are the vows that St. Margaret Mary Alacoque professed as a nun on November 6, 1672:
1) “In the first place, O my only Love, I will endeavor to subject to Thee and to keep in submission to Thee all that is in me, always doing what I believe to be most perfect and most pleasing to Thy Sacred Heart. I promise Thee that I will spare nothing that is in my power, and that I will not refuse to do or suffer anything whatsoever that presents itself, which conduces to make Thee known, loved, honored and glorified.”
2) “I will not neglect or omit any of my exercises or the observance of any of my rules except for motives of charity or real necessity, or of obedience, to which I submit all my promises.”
3) “I will endeavor to make it my pleasure to see others elevated, loved and respected, thinking that this is due to them but not to me, who ought to be annihilated in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. I will place all my glory in bearing my cross, in living poor, unknown and despised, desiring never to appear except to be humiliated and opposed, whatever repugnance my proud nature may find therein.“
4) “I wish to suffer in silence without complaining, no matter how I may be treated. “
5) “I will not avoid any occasion of suffering whether it be bodily pain or humiliations, contempt or opposition. “
6) “I will not seek or procure for myself any satisfaction, pleasure or contentment except that of having none in this life; and when providence will present me with any which I cannot avoid, then I will accept them, renouncing interiorly every sentiment of pleasure, and not thinking whether I am satisfied or not, but rather applying myself only to love my Sovereign, and seeking in all things and on all occasions only to do what is pleasing to Him.“
7) “I will not procure any relief for myself but what necessity obliges me to seek, and I will ask for it simply according to my rule. That will deliver me from the constant pain caused by the fear I have of flattering this body and granting too much to this cruel enemy. “
8) “I will leave my superior entire liberty to dispose of me as seems best to her, accepting with humility and indifference the occupations which obedience will give me, showing most joy for the things for which I feel most repugnance.“
9) “Without henceforth troubling about myself, I will abandon myself totally to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, that He may console me or afflict me according to His good pleasure; contenting myself with adhering to all His holy operations and dispositions, regarding myself as a victim which ought always to be in the continual exercise of immolation and sacrifice according to His good pleasure, and being attached to nothing except to loving Him and pleasing Him, by acting and suffering in silence. “
10) “I will never inquire about the faults of others, and when I may be obliged to speak of them, I will do so in the charity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, thinking in myself that I would be very pleased to be treated in that way. And when I see anyone commit a fault, I will offer to the Eternal Father a virtue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus opposite to that fault to repair it in some way. “
11) “I will regard as my best friends all those who will afflict me or speak evil of me, and I will endeavor to render them all the services, and do them all the good I can. “
12) “I will endeavor not to speak of myself, or to speak of myself very little; and never, if possible, to praise myself or to justify myself. “
13) “I will not seek the friendship of any creature, except the Sacred Heart of Jesus inclines me to bring that creature to His love. “
14) “I will apply myself continually to conform and submit my will in everything to that of my Sovereign. “
15) “I will refrain from dwelling voluntarily, not only on any bad thoughts, but on thoughts that are useless. I will regard myself as a poor servant in the house of God, who ought to be submissive to all the people in the house, receiving as alms whatever is given to me, being persuaded that whatever people give me, they always give me too much. “
16) “I will, as far as possible, neither do nor omit anything through human respect, or through a vain desire of pleasing creatures; and as I have asked Our Lord not to allow any thing that is the effect of His extraordinary graces to appear in me except what will bring me some contempt and confusion or some humiliation before creatures, thus I will regard it as a great happiness when all that I say or do will be despised, censured or blamed, endeavoring to do or to suffer everything for the love and in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ Our Lord, and for His holy intentions, to which I unite myself in everything. “
17) “I will study to do or say nothing except in view of procuring some glory for God, edification for my neighbor, and increase in virtue, making myself faithful and constant in the practice of the good which my divine Master will show me that He desires of me, committing no voluntary fault or at least not pardoning myself for any, but taking vengeance on myself for all faults by some voluntary penance. “
18) “I will watch over myself in order not to grant human nature anything except what I cannot legitimately refuse it and without making myself singular, which I wish to avoid in everything.
19) “Finally I wish to live without any will of my own, being attached to nothing and saying at everything that happens ‘Thy will be done!’
12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Twelve Promises of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary for those Devoted to His Sacred Heart:
1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
2. I will establish peace in their families.
3. I will console them in all their troubles.
4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.
5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.
7.Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9. I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the power of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.
– From Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque’s Vision of Jesus