October 17—St. Hedwige—St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
ST. HEDWIGE, the wife of Henry, Duke of Silesia, and the mother of his six children, led a humble, austere, and most holy life amidst all the pomp of royal state. Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was the key-note of her life. Her valued privilege was to supply the bread and wine for the Sacred Mysteries, and she would attend each morning as many Masses as were celebrated. After the death of her husband she retired to the Cistercian convent of Trebnitz, where she lived under obedience to her daughter Gertrude, who was abbess of the monastery, growing day by day in holiness, till God called her to Himself, in 1242.
Margaret Mary was born at Terreau in Burgundy, on the 22d July, 1647. During her infancy she showed a wonderfully sensitive horror of the very idea of sin. In 1671 she entered the Order of the Visitation, at Paray-le-Monial, and was professed the following year. After purifying her by many trials, Jesus appeared to her in numerous visions, displaying to her His Sacred Heart, sometimes burning as a furnace, and sometimes torn and bleeding on account of the coldness and sins of men. In. 1675 the great revelation was made to her that she, in union with Father de la Colombière, of the Society of Jesus, was to be the chief instrument for instituting the feast of the Sacred Heart, and for spreading that devotion throughout the world. She died on the 17th October, 1690.
Reflection.—Love for the Sacred Heart especially honors the Incarnation, and makes the soul grow rapidly in humility, generosity, patience, and union with its Beloved.