The Immaculate Heart of Mary
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Feast||Saturday following the Feast of the Sacred Heart|
|Attributes||Burning bloodied heart, pierced with a sword, banded with roses, and lily flowers|
|Patronage||Apostleship of Prayer, Ratnapura Diocese, Alliance of Sacred Hearts, Russian Territories, Scotland, Central Africa, Republic of the Congo, Angola, Ecuador, Panama, Minglanilla, Cebu, Philippines, and, Georgia|
The Immaculate Heart of Mary (Latin: Cor Immaculatum Mariae) is a Roman Catholic devotional name used to refer to the Catholic view of the interior life of Mary, mother of Jesus, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son Jesus Christ, and her motherly and compassionate love for all mankind. Traditionally, the Immaculate Heart is depicted pierced with seven swords or wounds, in homage to the seven dolors of Mary and roses, usually red or white, wrapped around the heart.
The Eastern Catholic Churches occasionally utilize the image, devotion, and theology associated with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. However, this is a cause of some controversy, some seeing it as a form of liturgical latinisation. The Roman Catholic view is based on scripture, particularly the Gospel of Luke.
The veneration of the Heart of Mary is analogous to the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There are, however, differences in this analogy as devotion to the heart of Jesus is especially directed to the "divine heart" as overflowing with love for humanity. In the devotion to Mary, however, the attraction is the love of her heart for Jesus and for God.
The second difference is the nature of the devotion itself: in the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Roman Catholic venerates in a sense of love responding to love, in the devotion to the Heart of Mary, study and imitation hold as important a place as love. The aim of the devotion is to unite humankind to God through Mary's heart, and this process involves the ideas of consecration and reparation.
In Chapter 2 of Luke's gospel, the evangelist twice reports that Mary kept all things in her heart, that there she might ponder over them. Luke 2:35 recounts the prophecy of Simeon that her heart would be pierced with a sword. This image (the pierced heart) is the most popular representation of the Immaculate Heart.
John's Gospel further invited attention to Mary's heart with its depiction of Mary at the foot of the cross at Jesus' crucifixion. Augustine of Hippo said of this that Mary was not merely passive at the foot of the cross; "she cooperated through charity in the work of our redemption". Augustine says that she was more blessed in having borne Christ in her heart than in having conceived him in the flesh.
Devotion to the Heart of Mary began in the Middle Ages with Anselm of Canterbury, and Bernard of Clairvaux. It was practiced and developed by Mechtilde, Gertrude the Great and Bridget of Sweden. Evidence is also discernible in the pious meditations on the Ave Maria and the Salve Regina, usually attributed either to Anselm of Lucca (d. 1080) or Bernard; and also in the large book "De laudibus Beatae Mariae Virginis" (Douai, 1625) by Richard de Saint-Laurent, Penitentiary of Rouen in the thirteenth century.
Bernardino of Siena (d.1444), is sometimes called "Doctor of the Heart of Mary", and from him the church has borrowed the lessons of the second nocturn for the feast of the Heart of Mary. Francis de Sales speaks of the perfections of this heart, the model of love for God, and dedicated his "Theotimus" to it.
During this same period one finds occasional mention of devotional practices to the Heart of Mary, e.g., in the "Antidotarium" of Nicolas du Saussay (d. 1488), in Pope Julius II, and in the "Pharetra" of Lanspergius. In the second half of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth, ascetic authors dwelt upon this devotion at greater length.
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It was, however, John Eudes (d. 1681) who propagated the devotion, to make it public, and to have a feast celebrated in honor of the Heart of Mary, first at Autun in 1648 and afterwards in a number of French dioceses. He established several religious societies interested in upholding and promoting the devotion, of which his large book on the Coeur Admirable (Admirable Heart), published in 1681, resembles a summary. Jean Eudes' efforts to secure the approval of an office and feast failed at Rome, but, notwithstanding this disappointment, the devotion to the Heart of Mary progressed. Eudes began his devotional teachings with the Heart of Mary, and then extended it to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. However, it was only in 1805 that Pope Pius VII allowed a feast to honor the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In 1699 the priest John Peter Pinamonti (d. 1703) published a short work on the Holy Heart of Mary in Italian, and in 1725, Joseph de Gallifet combined the cause of the Heart of Mary with that of the Heart of Jesus in order to obtain Rome's approbation of the two devotions and the institution of the two feasts. In 1729, his project was defeated, and in 1765, the two causes were separated, to assure the success of the principal one.
Two factors that helped the rapid progress of the devotion were the introduction of the Miraculous Medal by Catherine Laboure in 1830 and the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, Paris of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners. More than four million Miraculous Medals were distributed throughout the world within four years and in 1838 Desgenettes, the pastor of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, organized the Association in honor of the Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary, which Pope Gregory XVI made a confraternity the same year. In July, 1855, the Congregation of Rites approved the Office and Mass for the Immaculate Heart.
In 1849 Anthony Mary Claret founded the congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, commonly called the Claretians.
|Year||Date (Novus Ordo)|
|2017||Impeded (would be on 24 June)|
|2019||Impeded (would be on 29 June)|
|2028||Impeded (would be on 24 June)|
|2030||Impeded (would be on 29 June)|
In its principal object this feast is identical with the feast of the "Inner Life of Mary", celebrated by the Sulpicians on 19 October. It commemorates the joys and sorrows of the Mother of God, her virtues and perfections, her love for God and her Divine Son and her compassionate love for mankind.
As early as 1643, St. John Eudes and his followers observed 8 February as the feast of the Heart of Mary. In 1799 Pius VI, then in captivity in Florence, granted the Bishop of Palermo the feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary for some of the churches in his diocese. In 1805 Pope Pius VII made a new concession, thanks to which the feast was soon widely observed. Such was the existing condition when a twofold movement, started in Paris, gave fresh impetus to the devotion; the two factors of this movement were, first of all, the revelation of the "Miraculous Medal" in 1830, and then the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners, which spread rapidly. On 21 July 1855, the Congregation of Rites finally approved the Office and Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary without, however, imposing them upon the Catholic Church.
Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1944 to be celebrated on 22 August, coinciding with the traditional octave day of the Assumption. In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Saturday, immediately after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This means in practice that it is now held on the third Saturday after Pentecost.
At the same time as he closely associated the celebrations of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Queenship of Mary from 31 May to 22 August, bringing it into association with the feast of her Assumption. Those who use the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal or an earlier one (but not more than 17 years before 1962) observe the day established by Pius XII.
It is kept as the patronal feast of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, of the Society of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and of the Missionary Society of the Heart of Mary.
The celebration of this feast is omitted in those years when it is impeded by a higher ranking feast. This would apply when it is due to fall on 24 June (Nativity of St John the Baptist) and 29 June (Feast of Saints Peter and Paul), and more rarely 31 May (Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and 3 July (Saint Thomas the Apostle). (Note that there may be variations in local calendars. For example, this feast is not impeded in England and Wales in 2019 since the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul will be celebrated on Sunday 30 June.)
The month of August in traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Main article: Our Lady of Sorrows
Traditional depictions of the IHM show it pierced with seven wounds or swords, a reference to the seven dolors of Mary, a popular Roman Catholic devotion. There are devotional prayers which consist of meditation on her Seven Sorrows.
Main article: Miraculous Medal
The devotion to Mary's Heart has had a greater flowering following the manifestation of the Miraculous Medal to Catherine Labouré in 1830. The Immaculate Heart is depicted on the Miraculous Medal, pierced by a sword. The Sacred Heart of Jesus also appears on the medal, next to the Immaculate Heart, crowned with thorns.
Main article: First Saturdays Devotion
The pious practice of honoring the Blessed Mother on Saturday is an ancient custom largely attributed to the Benedictine monk Alcuin (735-804). Our Lady of Fátima reportedly asked that, in reparation for the sins committed against her Immaculate Heart, that a Catholic believer receive go the Sacrament of Penance (within eight days before or after the first Saturday), and on the first Saturday of five consecutive months receive the Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep her company for 15 minutes while meditating on the 15 mysteries of the Rosary. She promised that, whoever would ever do this, would be given the graces necessary for salvation at the hour of one's death.
Main article: Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary is a phrase coined by Pope John Paul II in an Angelus address on 15 September 1985. It is based on links in Catholic devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In the 18th and 19th centuries the devotions grew, both jointly and individually through the efforts of figures such as Louis de Montfort and Catherine Labouré. The devotions, and the associated prayers, continued in the 20th century, e.g., in the Immaculata prayer of Maximillian Kolbe and in the reported apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima.
In 1979 the encyclical Redemptor hominis, Pope John Paul II explained the theme of unity of Mary's Immaculate Heart with the Sacred Heart. and in 1986 he addressed an international conference on that topic held at Fátima, Portugal.
During the third apparition at Fátima, Portugal, on 13 July 1917, the Virgin Mary reportedly said to the three little shepherd visionaries: God wishes to establish the devotion to her Immaculate Heart in the world in order to save souls from hell and bring about world peace, and also asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.
From the beginning of the twentieth century the Holy See received many requests that the world be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In June 1938, the Portuguese bishops forwarded a request to Pius XI for the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They had themselves consecrated Portugal in May 1931. At that time Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) was the secretary of the state of the Vatican, and later he performed the consecration of the world.
Finally, just as the Church and the entire human race were consecrated to the Heart of your Jesus, ...so, in like manner, they are henceforth perpetually consecrated to you, to your Immaculate Heart, Oh our Mother, and Queen of the world: in order that your love and protection may hasten the triumph of the kingdom of God.
Main article: Consecration and entrustment to Mary
In 2017, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, a number of bishops consecrated or renewed a previous consecration of their dioceses to Mary under the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Among these were: the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama (14 January 2017, Bp. Robert J. Baker), Diocese of Tyler, Texas (13 May 2017, Bp. Joseph E. Strickland), Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Missouri (13 May 2017, Bp. James Vann Johnston), Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island (13 May 2017, Bp. Thomas J. Tobin), Diocese of Worcester(MA) (June 3, 2017), Diocese of Lansing (Bp. Earl Boyea, August 13, 2017)
Also the Archdiocese of San Francisco, California (7 October 2017, Abp. Salvatore J. Cordileone),  Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona (13 October 2017, Bp. Thomas J. Olmsted),  Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida (6 May 2018, Bp. Gregory Parkes)