Margaret Mary Alacoque knew in her heart that she wanted to serve Jesus, but little did she know that Jesus had a special message for her about his Sacred Heart! Through her efforts, everyone would know about Jesus’ twelve promises to those who love his Sacred Heart. This 37th volume in the Encounter the Saints series familiarizes children ages 8 to 10 with Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who helped spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus throughout the world!
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And the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Written by Emily Beata Marsh, FSP
Illustrated by Dani Lachuk
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Marsh, Emily, author. | Lachuk, Dani, illustrator.
Title: Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and the Sacred Heart of Jesus / written by Emily Beata Marsh, FSP ; illustrated by Dani Lachuk.
Description: Boston : Pauline Books & Media, 2017. | Audience: Ages 8-11.Identifiers: LCCN 2017016901| ISBN 9780819890924 (pbk.) | ISBN 0819890928
Subjects: LCSH: Alacoque, Marguerite Marie, Saint, 1647-1690--Juvenile literature. | Christian saints--France--Biography--Juvenile literature. | Paray-le-Monial (France)--Biography--Juvenile literature.
Classification: LCC BX4700.A37 M27 2017 | DDC 282.092 [B] --dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2017016901
Cover art/Illustrated by Dani Lachuk
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
“P” and PAULINE are registered trademarks of the Daughters of Saint Paul.
Copyright © 2018, Daughters of St. Paul
Published by Pauline Books & Media, 50 Saint Paul’s Avenue, Boston, MA 02130–3491
Printed in the U.S.A.
SMMA VSAUSAPEOILL9-1510098 9092-8
Pauline Books & Media is the publishing house of the Daughters of Saint Paul, an international congregation of women religious serving the Church with the communications media.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 22 21 20 19 18
Encounter the Saints Series
Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco MartoShepherds of Fatima
Blessed James AlberioneMedia Apostle
Blessed Pier Giorgio FrassatiJourney to the Summit
Journeys with MaryApparitions of Our Lady
Saint Anthony of PaduaFire and Light
Saint Andre BessetteMiracles in Montreal
Saint Bernadette SoubirousAnd Our Lady of Lourdes
Saint Catherine LabouréAnd Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Saint Clare of AssisiA Light for the World
Saint Elizabeth Ann SetonDaughter of America
Saint Faustina KowalskaMessenger of Mercy
Saint Francis of AssisiGentle Revolutionary
Saint Gianna Beretta MollaThe Gift of Life
Saint Ignatius of LoyolaFor the Greater Glory of God
Saint Joan of ArcGod’s Soldier
Saint John Paul IIBe Not Afraid
Saint Kateri TekakwithaCourageous Faith
Saint Martin de PorresHumble Healer
Saint Maximilian KolbeMary’s Knight
Saint Pio of PietrelcinaRich in Love
Saint Teresa of AvilaJoyful in the Lord
Saint Thérèse of LisieuxThe Way of Love
Saint Thomas AquinasMissionary of Truth
Saint Thomas MoreCourage, Conscience, and the King
For even more titles in the Encounter the Saints series, visit: www.pauline.org/EncountertheSaints
To Gloria Anne—my little sister, my goddaughter, and the only one who reads more than I do.
1. Early Difficulties
2. A Miraculous Cure
3. Changes at Home
4. A New Name
5. A Special Visitor
6. Mystery Solved
7. A New Home
8. Great Challenges
9. A Big Decision
10. Jesus’ Sacred Heart
12. A Sign from God
13. My “Perfect Friend”
14. The First Promises
15. Father Claude
16. A Change of Heart
17. The Final Promise
18. “Have Mercy on Me”
“Margaret? Margaret!” The shrill scream echoed throughout the Alacoque (Ah-lah-COKE) house on the outskirts of the small French village of Vesovres.
Nine-year-old Margaret Alacoque ran down the stairs as fast as she could. Aunt Benoite (BEN-wat) did not like to be kept waiting.
“Margaret, where have you been?” Aunt Benoite said angrily.
“I finished all the inside chores for today,” Margaret panted, “and I was—”
“Never mind,” Aunt Benoite interrupted. “Your grandmother wants a cup of tea. Quickly, go fetch a bucket of water!”
“But I was—” Margaret started to say.
“Don’t talk back to me, young lady!” Aunt Benoite exclaimed. “Get going. And don’t question me again!”
Margaret trudged to the kitchen to get a pail. She’s been treating me like a servant for the past year, Margaret thought as she walked outside. But it hasn’t always been this way. . . .
“Do you remember what it was like before Papa died?” Margaret asked her older brother Chrysostom (KRIS-uh-stuhm) that evening. Almost every evening, Margaret and her brothers—John, Claude (khlod), Chrysostom, and James—gathered with their mother, Madame Philiberte (FILL-ee-bert) Alacoque.
“Of course I do,” Chrysostom replied. He looked at their mother, who was talking with John. “It was a happy time. But you know Papa was very generous and loaned a lot of money to people. When he died, there wasn’t any money to support us. That’s why Uncle Touissant (TOO-sahn), Aunt Benoite, and Grandmother Jeanne (zhahn) came here to run the farm.”
“Why can’t John do it?” Margaret asked. “He’s sixteen now.”
“We have to go to school first,” Chrysostom explained. “When we finish we’ll return and run the farm. But in the meantime. . . .”
“In the meantime, we’re like servants in our own house!” Margaret grumbled.
“Now, now,” Madame Alacoque said, overhearing them. “What’s all this?”
“I miss my old life, when Papa was here and we were happy and I had time to play!” Margaret complained to her mother.
“I know it’s not easy,” Madame Alacoque said. “But we have to trust that God will take care of us. Look, we still have a place to live, don’t we? And food to eat?”
“Yes, Maman (MAH-moh), Margaret replied.
“Good,” Madame Alacoque said. “Now let’s thank God and the Blessed Mother. Whose turn is it to lead the Rosary tonight? John?”
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” John began. Soon the entire Alacoque family was absorbed in their nightly custom of praying together.
“Je vous salue, Marie. . . . Hail Mary. . . .” John prayed.
“Sainte Marie. . . . Holy Mary. . . .” the family responded.
Madame Alacoque smoothed Margaret’s hair as they prayed. The next day, Margaret’s brother John found his mother in the kitchen. Aunt Benoite and Grandmother Jeanne were not around, but his mother was hard at work cutting vegetables for the evening meal. John sat down next to Madame Alacoque.
“Maman, Aunt Benoite and Grandmother Jeanne have been yelling at Margaret a lot,” John said. “It bothers me.”
“Yes, I worry about her sometimes,” Madame Alacoque murmured. She stopped chopping carrots for a moment and said, “I think we should send her to the Poor Clare nuns at Charolles (SHA-rhol). They have a good boarding school there, and she would be fairly close by.”
“Oh, that’s a good idea Maman, I think Margaret would be happy there,” John replied.
Madame Alacoque paused. “I’ll miss her, but it’s for the best,” she said with certainty. “I’ll talk to your Uncle Toussaint about it in the morning.”
Margaret was nine years old when she left for the Charolles boarding school. She liked learning from the nuns and making friends. Sometimes Margaret and the other girls played tag in the garden and used sticks to move hoops along the ground. Whoever reached the big tree first was the winner. Margaret liked winning!
But Margaret was not always happy.
“What’s the matter, Margaret?” her friend Isabelle asked her one day. Margaret was sitting under a tree in the garden.
“Oh, nothing,” Margaret sniffled. “I just . . . I just miss my home and my brothers and Maman. . . .”
Isabelle sat down and said, “I miss my family, too. My maman makes the most delicious cookies. My little brothers eat them up so fast!”
Margaret laughed. “My brothers would do the same,” she said. “But they are all older.”
Soon Margaret and Isabelle were chatting and laughing.
“Did you write your essay yet, Margaret?” Isabelle asked her.
“I started, but the assignment is very difficult,” Margaret replied.
“I know!” agreed Isabelle, “Sister Marie Josephine is a hard teacher!”
The bell rang. “Ugh,” Isabelle groaned. “Time for Sister Marie Josephine’s class!”
One day, while she was playing in the garden with the other girls, Margaret heard the sound of the nuns chanting midday prayer in the chapel. She slipped away and stood outside one of the chapel windows. Kneeling on the ground, she made the Sign of the Cross and looked up.
The sunshine, the blue sky, the sisters’ singing . . . it’s all so beautiful, she prayed. Thank you, God, for giving us so many good things!
Margaret could hear Isabelle calling out that it was time to return to class, so she quickly stood up. The sound of the sisters’ voices is so heavenly, she thought as she made her way back to her classmates. And they are not just singing, they are praying—they are talking to God! Maybe some day I will become a sister. . . .
In class, the girls were preparing for their First Holy Communion. Margaret listened eagerly to Sister Marie speak about Jesus and the Eucharist.
“Are you excited for your First Holy Communion?” Sister Marie asked Margaret after class.
“Oh, yes!” Margaret exclaimed.
“What are you doing to prepare your heart?” Sister Marie asked.
“What do you mean?” Margaret replied.
Margaret enjoys a break from her studies.
“Well, Jesus in the Eucharist is truly going to come into your heart,” Sister Marie said. “Every time you pray, it’s as if you’re opening the door of your heart wider and wider for Jesus to come in.”
“Oh, I had not thought of that!” Margaret said. “I’m going to open my heart wider to Jesus right away!”
Soon, the day came when Margaret was ready to receive Jesus for the first time. Margaret was so excited!
“Corpus Christi . . . The Body of Christ,” the priest said.
“Amen,” Margaret whispered. She went back to her pew and knelt down. Dear Jesus, she prayed with her eyes closed. You are in my heart. I love you . . . and you love me. I am in your heart just as you are in mine. I want to stay close to you.
After her First Holy Communion, Margaret tried to spend even more time praying. Whenever she heard the sisters chanting their prayers, she would run to kneel outside the chapel. Margaret still liked to play, but she also now spent more time talking to Jesus in her heart. She was very happy at Charolles.
Then, one morning Margaret woke up and she could not get out of bed. She had a high fever and she ached everywhere. She could hear the sisters whispering in the corner of the room.
“She’s very sick,” Sister Marie said. “I hope her family comes soon.”
Margaret tried to keep her eyes open, but it felt like the room was spinning.
What’s happening? she thought. Where’s Maman?
“Philiberte, why isn’t supper ready yet?” Aunt Benoite’s piercing voice woke Margaret up. “You and your lazy daughter are good for nothing!”
Margaret lay in her bed and sighed. She had been home from Charolles for several years now but she was still sick. When she had returned home, a doctor had told her mother that she had something called rheumatic fever and that there was very little they could do to help. Margaret’s illness made her bones and joints hurt, and she felt terrible pain every time she moved. She was thirteen now and she hated being sick for so long, but she hated not being able to help her mother even more.
“What are you waiting for?!” Margaret heard her aunt yell.
Madame Alacoque murmured a response that Margaret could not hear.
I wish I could help Maman, Margaret thought as she looked up at the ceiling. Every day she works so hard and nothing seems to please Aunt Benoite or Grandmother Jeanne. Margaret was glad that her brothers were going to school and staying with her uncle, Father Anthony, a parish priest in nearby Verosvres (Vher-ROSE-vhrah). But now Madame Alacoque had to do all the chores with no one to help her.
Later that evening, Madame Alacoque entered the room with Margaret’s supper.
“Maman!” Margaret said. “I wish Aunt Benoite would stop yelling at you.”
Madame Alacoque looked at her only daughter and smiled. “Margaret, don’t worry about me. You have enough to worry about.”
Margaret made a face as she tried to sit up.
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