Paray-le-Monial is a picturesque little town located in the Saône et Loire region which owes its worldwide fame to the facts that occurred within its walls during the 17th century.

Close to the town’s famous Roman basilica, is the small modest Chapel of the Monastery of the Visitation. Built in 1633, this Church witnessed during the years 1671-1690, the Revelations of Christ to a humble nun, Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque.

Margaret Mary experienced numerous apparitions which were confirmed by her confessor, a Jesuit, Saint Claude La Colombière. Jesus requested the introduction of the feast of the Sacred Heart, which would take place every year in June. Following these apparitions, the spirituality of the Sacred Heart spread throughout the whole world. Saint Margaret Mary was canonised on 13th May 1920 and Saint Claude la Colombière on 12th May 1992.

What will I see when I visit –

  • The Basilica of the Sacred Heart – formerly the monastery church, this building which dates from the 10th/11th century, is one of the most beautiful monuments of Cluniac architecture.
  • The Chapel of the Visitation – In this chapel, Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary. Sisters of the Visitation order still live in the convent attached to the chapel. Pilgrims may join in the celebration of the Eucharist and gather before the shrine of Saint Margaret Mary.
  • Chapel of Claude La Colombière – Built in 1929, this chapel houses the relics of Saint Claude La Colombière.
  • Chapel of Saint Jean – Consecrated in 1996, this chapel is located in the basilica. This is a place devoted to silent prayer and the permanent adoration of the Eucharist.

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Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647 – 1690)

Margaret was born at Lhautecour, France, on the 22 July 1647 and from an early age she demonstrated an intense love for the Blessed Sacrament and preferred silence and prayer to childish amusements. On 25 May, 1671, she entered the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial.

Between the years 1671 until her death on 17 October 1690, Our Lord appeared to her frequently and conversed with her, confiding to her the mission to establish the devotion to His Sacred Heart.

Margaret Mary was inspired by Christ to establish the Holy Hour. He made known to her His ardent desire to be loved by men and His design of manifesting His Heart with all it’s treasures of love and mercy, of sanctification and salvation. Our Lord appointed the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi as the feast of the Sacred Heart and he called her “the Beloved Disciple of the Sacred Heart”.

When her tomb was canonically opened in July 1830, two instantaneous cures took place. Her body was exhumed in order to prepare the case of sainthood and her bones were laid down according to their natural position under the wax effigy located in the Shrine. Many striking favours have been obtained by countless numbers of pilgrims who visit her shrine or seek her intervention.

Future belongs to Mercy – Sanctuary of Paray-le-Monial
Videos courtesy of Sanctuaires-paray.