1999: the Holy year of the Sacred Heart

Portrait of the Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, painted at the request of her father, the Count Droste zu Vischering, and offered to her mother on their golden wedding anniversary (5 August 1908).

IN our “orthodromic” calendar, 1999 marked the centenary of the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Pope Leo XIII. Our Father, Georges de Nantes, had time and again transmitted to us his firm hope that the twentieth century, consecrated in advance to the Sacred Heart, would not end before He effectively reigned over the whole world. As the deadline was approaching, he wanted us to follow the Blessed Maria Droste zu Vischering, the confidante and messenger of the Divine Heart, so that she may initiate us to the splendours of the Love of Jesus and help us to be the devoted servants of His Reign.

Fr. de Nantes presented his first commentary on her Prayer of consecration (CCR n° 357, June 1999, p. 4) to us on 15 February 1987. Our consecration to the Immaculate that we pronounced ten years later, on 8 December 1997, did not nullify that of the Sacred Heart, nor did it distract us from it, on the contrary! It brought us straight back to it, as Fr. Maximilian-Mary Kolbe affirmed:

« Our goal is to win the whole world and each soul in particular over to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the Immaculate and through Her… Therefore, the more one consecrates himself totally to the Immaculate, the more he can resolutely go to Jesus, to His Most Sacred Heart, especially in moments of temptation. He, however, is only able to do so through Mary, for She is really this sure way that leads us to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. »


In addition to this spiritual preparation, our Father deemed it useful to shed light on this matter of the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Leo XIII. In fact, its fruits did not correspond to the divine promises, nor to the expectation of the holy messenger. A harsh truth was discovered:

« I am eager to take up again the golden thread of Catholic orthodromy, which ends in the unconditional promises of Our Lord at Porto, in 1899, and in those of the Immaculate Virgin Mary at Fatima, in 1917. So, breaking with all human prudence, I shall demonstrate that between Christ and His Vicar on earth there is a “wrestling contest”, a trial of strength, yes! over a “challenge” that is already old. Here it is: a hundred years ago, the Pope reserved to himself, as absolute sovereign, the domain of his politics and the enthralling heady game of his own personal diplomacy. And since then, he has refused to leave their ownership and conduct to Jesus Christ and His Holy Mother, thus thwarting the designs of grace and mercy that Jesus and Mary have conceived in Their Undivided compassionate and loving Heart, on the order of Their Heavenly Father, to the praise of His Glory and for the conversion of poor sinners. »

What God promises comes to be, provided that God and his messengers are not mocked.

« The Church is most certainly holy in the mystery of her mystical marriage with Christ, but not in her human totality. Like all of human lineage, she has her tares, her dark corners, her “shameful sides”… What do I mean by that? And why in connection with Mother Mary of the Divine Heart? Here we touch on the intimate secret of that incomparable life that links her to that glorious line of the spouses and servants of Jesus, chosen by Him to be His messengers. They had to suffer shame and agony in the fulfilment of their sacred mission, before being recognised by the wisdom of the Church no longer as a shameful part of her most holy Body, but one of the holiest, the most fruitful and glorious parts. Such were St. Joan of Arc at the stake, accused by the people of the Church of having failed and having renounced her Voices, her Mission… St. Margaret-Mary, mocked on account of her eccentricities and her alleged messages… St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus who identified herself with Joan of Arc and then sank into ridicule with Diana Vaughan… Sister Mary-Lucy of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart, the seer of Fatima, a story-telling visionary unmasked by Fr. Dhanis, to the Church’s shame…

« Thus the Countess Maria from Westphalia, become prioress of the Good Shepherd Convent at Porto at the end of the last century, is still, despite her beatification in 1975, regarded with suspicion. She is looked upon as more shameful than glorious, with her “secrets”, her absurd letters to the Pope, her fantastic predictions and… their total failure. Yet on the day when the Church is prepared to review her own modern history, I am deeply convinced that it will be the “shameful part” of her life that will shine in glory and that the extraordinary revelation she bore, taken together with others either older or more recent, will not fail to rebound with immense profit for souls. Whence the interest of our present research, not just for the sake of hagiography, nor even for the edification of the faithful and the glory of the Church, but for the amazing discovery of a whole cascade of secrets guarded by each of these saints and lighting up the divine orthodromy with lamps sparkling with beauty, clarity and purity. » (CCR n° 319, May 1999, p. 5)

The result was a series of articles that were published in the Catholic Counter-Reformation from January to May 1999. They were followed by the account of the pilgrimage of our community to Porto and Fatima made in the following month of June. This enquiry was made difficult by the fact that even Mother Mary of the Divine Heart’s first biographer, the honest Fr. Chasle, received precise directives from Leo XIII to write his book and that some of her letters, probably too “compromising”, have disappeared. In March, our Father wrote: « I constantly carry around with me the painful impression of a hidden combat waged by the powers of darkness against the light emanating from the noble Countess Maria Droste zu Vischering, chosen by Jesus as His particular spouse, and for two months now it has been impossible for me to carry out my task as a sacred historian. I search, I grope around, I devise explanations, but when I write down my conclusions, I retreat in fear. » He, however, concluded: « My trust in Jesus, in Mary, and in their heroic messenger leads me to hope that I shall soon achieve the full clarity of heavenly Truth. »

The objective was reached. Yet, by elucidating the “secrets” of the messenger of the Divine Heart, secrets that were by turns luminous and sorrowful, our Father had the foreboding that he would have to follow the same way of the cross in order to see at last the fulfilment of the marvellous divine promises. He lived out in his soul and body the same combat, the same agony as the saint, in the same heroic service of the Church, who is invested both from without and within by the spirit of Satan because of a guilty failure of the authorities.

Let us first fill ourselves with his enthusiasm for the figure and singular destiny of Mother Mary of the Divine Heart, who was mysteriously prepared for this Apocalyptic combat.



The Countess Maria Droste zu Vischering was born on 8 September 1863, the day of the Nativity of the Most Blessed Virgin in the family house at Münster, in Westphalia. She was born into a family, a country and a Church in the full renaissance of the Counter-Reformation and Counter-Revolution, inspired by the enthusiastic rediscovery of the old Catholic and feudal Germany and by the heroic resistance of Maria’s great-great-uncle, Clement-Augustus Droste zu Vischering, Archbishop of Cologne. He was arrested in his episcopal palace in 1838 and imprisoned in the fortress of Minden because he had stood up to Prussian high-handedness. « He is inflexible,a contemporary said about him. The Pope can yield, but not Droste. He is absolutely truthful; he has never used underhand weapons, and never will. »

In turn, the parents of our future saint, the Count Clemens Droste and the Countess Helen von Galen, were ardent integral Catholics entirely devoted to the Sacred Heart who had His designs on them, as He said one day to their daughter:

« My eyes are always fixed on your parents. I have great sufferings in store for them, they will live to a ripe old age. »

They were married on 5 August 1858 – the year of the Apparitions in Lourdes! – on the feast of Our Lady of the Snows. « The day after our marriage, the first Friday of August, we celebrated together for the first time the First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart. This devotion, which Helen had made her own when she was with the Madams of the Sacred Heart, was the means that she had at her dispososal to endeavour throughout her life to sanctify herself and her family circle, her house and much further beyond. » (Memory of the Count Droste zu Vischering)

This devotion had a “political” facet: the Count and the Countess were legitimists and defended at the same time the Catholic religion, the sovereignty of Princes and the particularism of the secondary States. Therefore, they deplored the new liberal regime born from the revolution of 1848. This revolution had overthrown the ancient order, « entailing the ruin of both the Kingdom of God and the reign of His grace. » (Memory,p. 20)

He got involved with all his strength in the “Pius unions” (Piusverein) and in the Confraternity of St. Michael designed to support the Pope’s army and to promote the defence of his States. In 1857, the count and fifteen of his friends followed the Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Darfeld; at the end of this retreat, a close union was established among them. In 1863, it would become the Union of the Catholic Nobility designed to exercise influence over the public matters of State and Church, in particular in order to counter the increasing hegemony of Protestant Prussia and to promote that of Catholic Austria.

With the accession to the throne of William I Hohenzollern in 1861, the political horizon became much gloomier. « The great and decisive question, the count wrote, was to know whether it was Prussia that should exercise its hegemony over Germany (Little Germany) or Austria within Great Germany. International Freemasonry had obviously long since opted for the first solution. Bismarck appeared on the scene with his motto: “By blood and iron! Might is right!. For the time being, Austrian and Prussian troops were still marching side by side in the war against Denmark to counter its claims to the German Province of Schleswig-Holstein (1864). It was towards this same date that the Guild Chamber of the Kingdom of Hanover, to which I was elected, opened. The members were divided. The great and powerful political parties demanded Prussia hegemony, while the dynasty and Old Hanover, as well as the whole Catholic population were firmly and faithfully attached to Austria and its Empire. My way was all mapped out. I found in the First Chamber Catholic friends and companions with whom I shared the same convictions, in particular the minister of State Windthorst, a friend of our family. »

Maria’s childhood thus coincided with the rise of Prussian imperialism, which conquered Catholic Austria at Sadowa (1866) and France at Sedan (1870). The proclamation of the German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors at the palace of Versailles, by William I Hohenzollern and his chancellor Bismarck, strengthened this political and military hegemony with claim to cultural primacy: the Kulturkampf or “battle for the Kultur”, a rationalist, state-controlled Kultur, which was equivalent to a second Lutheran reform.

Formed in the school of two great popes, Gregory XVI and Pius IX, the German Catholics, and those of Westphalia in the first place, united for the defence of their age-old rights in the political domain by forming a party, the Zentrum. Maria’s father would rank among its most active and exposed members, under the presidency of Windthorst. They rapidly gained impressive successes by mobilising the popular masses into associations, supported by the great feudal families, like the Vischerings, and also by the admirable example of the clergy, who formed a ring of defence around those of their bishops such as the Archbishop of Mainz, Mgrs. von Ketteler, Maria’s great uncle.

The family of the Count and Countess Droste zu Vischering. Photograph taken in 1877, Maria is fifteen years of age (she is standing on the right, next to Max, her twin brother) « I believe, wrote the historian Janssen in 1875, that the Holy Church in Germany has not done so well for centuries as at the present time. »


As a child, Maria was very lively, cheerful, always fidgeting. Besides with a heart, burning with tenderness, was as quick to obey as it was to devote herself, in the marvellous setting of the family castle of Darfeld, which was protected from all worldly influence. At that time, the Church was still in the heyday of the reign of Pius IX, who was passionately admired and loved by the great German Catholics.

« This Pope dominated his century, Fr. de Nantes wrote. In a constant struggle opposing secular powers and persecutors of the Church, he never faltered. The Syllabus, published in 1864 [the year following Maria’s birth], was the charter of the Catholic Counter-revolution, the Pope’s “Non Possumus” to the third temptation of Satan: “If you fall down and adore me, I will give you the world”… He always considered the Church’s worst enemies to be the Catholic liberals, those who betray and destroy the Church from within, whilst priding themselves on being the Church’s saviours and regenerators.. » (CCR n° 69 September 1975, p. 6)

Maria was four years old when her parents went to Rome for the eighteenth centenary of the martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul. The Pope granted them a private audience, during which they talked to him about the fights of the Church and her sure triumph. Then, they asked him to bless their family, « so that above all it be strengthened in devotion, and in fidelity and attachment to the Church. » After a pilgrimage to the Coliseum, the countess wrote in her spiritual diary: « At the centre stands middle cross, a simple wooden cross surrounded by fourteen stations of the Way of the Cross. This cross explains everything. It is the sign that conquered the world, the sign of Redemption, the sign of salvation. O Crux ave! Spes unica! We did the Way of the Cross for our beloved deceased and besought God and holy martyrs to give us and our children the true spirit of martyrdom, for God alone knows what is brewing. »

In her autobiography, written in the last stages of her life, a silent witness to her unchanging convictions, Sister Mary of the Divine Heart would write:

« The Lord who wanted to inspire in me the desire to suffer for the conversion of sinners and for the needs of the Holy Church, gave me the grace of experiencing, at the tenderest age, the happiness of being a child of the Holy Church. »


« The Kulturkampf had a powerful influence on Maria, her mother wrote to Fr. Chasle, not only as regards religion, but also on the formation of her character. One needs to have experienced the gravity of this struggle, as we did, not only in its great events but also in its everyday twists and turns to have an idea of the effect of all this on our lives. »

It was amidst fights, alarm and proscriptions that Maria prepared herself for her First Communion. Its date had been fixed for 25 April 1875. On 18 March, however, the news that the Bishop of Münster, Mgrs. Brinkmann, would be incarcerated in the prison of Warendorf reached the castle of Darfeld. The Count Droste rushed to his side, forcing his way through the square swarming with people, just when the prelate was coming out of his palace surrounded by policemen.

« I am the Erbdroste of the principality of Münster, I wish to leave with our Bishop.

« There’s no point insisting! Move back! »

The count was brutally pushed back. At that very moment, however, an ironware merchant, who was more sturdily built than a market porter, seized him with his powerful arms and put him in the carriage of the bishop as it was setting off.

Six weeks later, the bishop was released temporarily and it was once again the Count Droste who took him back to Münster amidst popular jubilation. In the meantime, the First Communion of Maria and Max, her twin brother, had taken place in Darfeld. The Prussian government, however, did not disarm and the bishop was once again threatened. It was on 16 June 1875: in order to commemorate the second centenary of the revelations of Paray-le-Monial, Pope Pius IX had asked the whole Church to unite with him in pronouncing a consecration to the Sacred Heart. In the thick of persecutions, this providential consecration fastened the heart of the Church and that of the faithful. This event remained engraved in Maria’s memory for evermore:

« Three weeks before the sentence that would declare the bishop of Münster “deposed” and banished, he was kneeling in his cathedral amidst an immense throng of the faithful, before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. He began to read aloud the act of consecration. Then, bursting into tears, he ended with a voice overcome by sorrow: “In union with the Sovereign Pontiff, I consecrate myself and the diocese of Münster…” »

On the following 8 July, three days before being sent into exile, this confessor of the Faith administered the sacrament of Confirmation to the children of the Count and Countess Droste zu Vischering in Darfeld; on that day, Maria felt the grace of her vocation burgeoning in her soul. It happened under the double sign of the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Eucharist, united in her heart of fire for evermore:

« I could never separate devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus from devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and I will never be able to explain the manner and the extent to which the Sacred Heart of Jesus deigned to favour me in the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Sacrament was always a Heaven for me, and almost always I visualised Our Lord as this image depicts Him. The Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist was like a radiant sun, drawing me to Him, enlightening me, and inflaming me with love. »


On 21 November 1878, the young girl heard a sermon during which she understood « that we are obliged to give our entire heart to God who is not content with a portion of it but who wants all or nothing ».

The following year, she attended the boarding school of the Madams of the Sacred Heart, exiles in the Austrian Tyrol and stayed there two years: « I found myself in the house of the Heart of Jesus, and all good came to me from this source. I began to understand that love of the Heart of Jesus without a spirit of sacrifice is nothing but an imagination. »

When Maria returned to Darfeld in July 1881, she was an accomplished young girl in all respect: her character, virtues, intelligence, capacity to command. With the permission of her parents and her spiritual director, Fr. Hausherr, an eminent Jesuit and great apostle of the Sacred Heart, she began to live as a recluse in the family castle, to the service of her own and the poor. It must be said that Darfeld was a miniature Christendom: Mass was celebrated each morning in the chapel of the castle and the whole family attended it. The day ended with the evening family prayer that was said with all the servants. The count devoted a third of his huge fortune to charitable works, for he considered that he was the vassal and intendant of Christ. It was in the secret of this hidden life that Jesus began to call more intimately, tenderly and insistently His little fiancée who started to wage a more implacable fight against herself.

On 5 August 1883, on Fr. Hausherr’s initiative, the Countess Helen consecrated herself to the Sacred Heart. We have the text of this very beautiful and demanding consecration, which prefigures that of her daughter’s. On the following 8 September, the Count in turn consecrated his family, his household and all his possessions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, declaring: « Just as this chapel occupies the first place in this home, so must the service of God always pass before everything else here. »

As for Maria, after having made a vow of virginity on Christmas Day of that same year of grace, a few months later, on 20 June 1884, « I had just received Communion, she wrote,and, wholly united to Our Lord, I was exulting in the delights of His Heart, when He said to me, with this interior voice, which I did not yet know, but which is familiar to me today: You will be the spouse of My Heart” [...] I understood that my vocation consisted in suffering with Him, out of love for Him, just as much as it was to be more united with Him. » Maria was as the sanctuary lamp that burns for the Host of the tabernacle. For there is true love only in sacrifice. Soon, Maria became seriously ill and could not become a nun as she had wished. All that was left for her to do was to run along her way of the cross in order to follow her Bridegroom, to offer her sufferings as a necessary continuation of His own sufferings.

« This first secret, our Father wrote, allows us to glimpse the love that swept these two beings up to the celestial heights, Jesus the Son of God and this virgin, to whom He promised: “I shall make of your heart My abode, My home where I can find a place of rest in a world that has forgotten Me.” » Then, we discover a cascade of burning revelations on the nature of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Of course, Maria had learned it from her parents, and then from the parish clergy, her spiritual directors and the nuns who had educated her. Soon, however, it will be Himself, this Divine Heart, who will make Himself known and felt, manifesting a conjugal love, with the total, singular, and distinctive character that this expression implies, to the point that the reading of her life and her notes stupefies us:

« It was during the Communion of the first Fridays of the month that my Divine Spouse showed me the greatest tenderness. The Lord made Himself my Master on the days of Communion and especially when the Blessed Sacrament was exposed. He deigned to instruct me and to console me. I can find no words to express what the Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament was for me … Oh! If only the parish church of Darfeld could tell what was passing between Him and me!… » The propagation of this mad love in the world will become the devouring flame of His mystical “spouse”.

« Her second thought, wrote Fr. de Nantes, was a feeling of aversion against everything opposed to her beloved Spouse, to His Sacrament of love, to His Cross, to His Mother, and to His Church. She was born and lived all her life away from any contact with that Evil which had so pained her Spouse and eventually led to His death. Moreover, the Countess Maria will never come to terms in any way, at any price, and for any reason, with the modern world, since the clergy and the people of Westphalia had taught her to despise it. » (CCR n° 316, February 1999, p. 1-2)


No compromise: such was precisely the resolution of the Zentrum. Halas! The Catholic party that had been founded to thwart Bismarck’s plans no longer felt that it was being supported by Rome, as before. « Following the death in 1878 of Pius IX and the election of Leo XIII, the former edifice of Catholic Order, standing like a citadel in opposition to the modern hydra, collapsed beneath its brilliant appearances. Everything began with politics: Christ’s Politics were replaced by the “Pope’s politics”. Even before his election to the Sovereign Pontificate, such was the fabulous method recommended and put into practice by Mgr Pecci during his time as Nuncio in Belgium, and having become Leo XIII, he continued to use this method in all his relations with the modern States, in France, in Germany, in Spain, in Canada… It was a policy of entente and of dialogue, from which this modern, liberal and individualist Pope expected the best of results. »

It is what our Father called “Leo-thirteenism”, a mysterious and contagious malady that was from then on fatal to the Catholic renaissance in the Rhineland and in the whole Church. It consisted in adopting a new way of behaving in modern world, excluding the authority of Truth (liberalism), and detaching the political order from any religious authority (laicism).

The drama of conscience that resulted from this directly affected the German Catholics in the years 1885-1888. Despairing of overcoming the resistance of the Zentrum in the Parliament, Bismarck decided to turn to the Pope, proposing that he should arbitrate between Germany and Spain over the possession of the Carolinas, an archipelago of Oceania. Leo XIII was flattered and immediately called together a Commission of cardinals, whose verdict was to recognise Spanish sovereignty over the islands, whilst allowing Germany to install trading posts there. It was clearly a fool’s bargain, and Bismarck soon snapped up every advantage from it – for whoever controls trade and money rules the world –, to the detriment of the Catholic missions.

For his good offices, Rome sent Bismarck the medal of the Order of Christ (!). In return, Bismarck asked the Pope to intervene with the Zentrum to oblige them to agree to a compromise. Among other matters, Bismarck asked the Pope to settle as soon as possible the affairs of the dioceses of Cologne and Posen, which had been pending for several years. Leo XIII dismissed the two bishops holding office and appointed in their place the Chancellor’s candidates. Bismarck could not get over it: « This Pope is one of the shrewdest and most enlightened statesmen of our times! »

As for the second affair, that of the law extending military service to seven years (!), it raised a veritable storm within the Zentrum that had always been opposed to increasing the Imperial Army’s budget. The Pope, through the voice of his nuncio, made it a duty for German Catholic deputies to vote in favour of the law. The Zentrum, which had hitherto been so united, was now divided and the law was passed. Pursuing its machiavellian game, the Berlin government proposed a law of religious pacification, meant to put an end to the Kulturkampf. The bishops and the deputies of the Zentrum were preparing to refuse it yet again, for it did not re-establish the Church in all her rights, when the order came from Rome demanding that they silence their claims and vote for the law.

Windthorst learned of this on the morning of Easter Day 1887: « I would have understood better had it reached me on Good Friday », he confided to a friend. He felt betrayed, and by whom? Jesus-Mary? Our Father asked: by Rome! Nevertheless, he submitted, and with him most of the Zentrum that then began its slow decadence.

What did the Countess Maria think about that? She thought the same thing as her mother since their souls were so intimately united. We can read in the biography of the parents of our saint, which was written by their daughter Elisabeth:

« Countess Helen focused her interest in an exceptional way on public life, whether in political or religious matters. Full of enthusiasm for the old Zentrum in the time of the Kulturkampf, she witnessed the new orientations with great pain and increasing concern. She condemned very firmly the policy of opportunism that no longer said frankly and freely that a lie is a lie and that a truth is a truth, a policy that no longer had the Catholic religion as its solid foundation. One of the characteristics of my mother was to see and judge all private and public matters in a supernatural light. A holy Carmelite with whom she had made friends, told me about her after her death that she had never seen a woman who had so much lived on a life of faith. The events that were taking place in the world and in the Church thrilled her. That is why until the end of her life, she was unable to think back on the injustices of the Bruderkrieg [war among brothers] of 1866 – the annexation of Hanover and the war against Austria – and on Bishop von Ketteler’s abstention in the vote on the dogma of infallibility [well, well!] without feeling great pain and indignation. »


In the spring of 1888, a veritable parable of Mercy took place in the life of Maria whose health had improved somewhat, a parable that prefigured the vocation that Jesus had chosen for her. Maria was visiting a hospital together with her mother, when she saw an unfortunate girl who had given scandal, and she began to think: « If Our Lord were here, which of these sick people would He treat with the greatest tenderness? This sinner of course. I overcame my repugnance and the fear of my mother, and held out my hand to this poor unfortunate. Not long after, I was to understand that it was for the conversion of these poor unfortunates that I was to sacrifice myself. »

Soon indeed, a thought forcefully instilled itself in her mind: « You must enter the Good Shepherd convent. » This French Congregation, which was derived from the Order of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge founded in the seventeenth century by St. John Eudes, had come into being fifty years earlier in Angers. These sisters added to the traditional vows of obedience, poverty and chastity that of zeal for the salvation of souls, in particular of young girls of unchaste conduct and repentant women. The Convent of the Good Shepherd of Münster counted not less than four hundred penitents, which was the consequence of the excessive industrialisation that had been imposed by the Prussian government. It was behind these high walls that Maria entered on 21 November 1888, the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin.

This is, our Father wrote, « the third predisposition of our Countess Maria Droste, become the humble sister of the Good Shepherd: the thirst for the salvation of souls, of every poor soul. Starting with these “children” – this is how the penitents were called – who came under her care, this thirst will grow till it takes in the whole world. Although she concealed the deep motives that inspired her, it was in fact the salvation of the whole human race that she wished to obtain from her Lord, both inside and outside the ramparts of Christendom… for such is the thirst that consumes the Heartof her “Spouse”. » (CCR n° 316, p. 2)

The postulant took the habit, on 10 January 1889 and received the much desired name of Sister Mary of the Divine Heart. The same day, St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, ten years younger than herself, also received the holy habit. These are admirable coincidences whereby God unites His “spouses” in His Heart.

Much could be said about the first years of Sister Mary of the Divine Heart’s religious life: her tireless charity towards her “children”, her goodness and kindness towards her sisters, her merciless combat against her slightest “faults”, etc. In all things, Our Lord Himself continued to teach and encourage her by increasingly intimate graces of union. Let us only bring our attention to bear on the psychodrama that broke out in the beginning of 1891. A few days before 29 January, the day when the novice was to take her vows, she felt terrible temptations aimed at plunging her into a strong dislike for her vocation in favour of a more contemplative Order. She opened her soul to the confessor of the community, a young Jesuit, who took advice from the Superior, Mother of Saint-Lambert Bouchy. Imbued with the spirit of her Order, she told the novice: « You must stay. The whole night, I saw the Devil pursuing you in order to make you leave the convent because he knows that you are called to snatch many souls from him. »

Peace immediately returned to the soul of sister Mary of the Divine Heart who, however, never ceased to worry about this Jesuit confessor: « Through an intimate impression, I saw that he would become either a great saint or a devil. From then on, I was unable to do anything other than to fear and pray for him. Two years later, he left the Jesuit Order, became a Protestant and got married. Yet, if I am still in the Order of the Good Shepherd, it is thanks to his advice! May the Divine Heart of Jesus have pity on this poor soul and convert him. »


In the course of the ensuing Holy Week, after having been struck by the verse of the Gospel: « All His disciples abandoned Him and fled », she offered herself once again to Our Lord to console Him. Taking her at her word, He told her: « Come to my Cross. » Then a trial befell her unexpectedly. Her so beloved Mother of Saint-Lambert died and was replaced with a thirty-six-year-old superior, Mother Agnes, from the Good Shepherd of Berlin. She immediately remarked the exceptional talents of Sister Mary of the Divine Heart and appointed her First Mistress in July 1891; at the same time, however, the superior began to introduce reforms in the internal life of the convent, in particular concerning the enclosure. Thus it was that already during the pontificate of Leo XIII, many religious orders had to subject themselves to the “fashion of the day”. This, however, was not at all to the liking of Sister Mary of the Divine Heart who confided: « I feel alien to our Mother… »

From then on, she underwent a sort of very painful night of the soul although she always remained submissive and good-natured. « I am deprived of every consolation, of all self-confidence, she wrote in her spiritual diary; despite this, my will is always focused on You. You are my hope, O my Saviour! I am ready to endure this night of the mind as long as it pleases You. Keep me in Your love. Your Will is mine and I embrace it wholeheartedly. »

This intimate suffering changed into fraternal charity in the heart of the “spouse of the Divine Heart”. This charity enabled her to win the affection and confidence of the ninety-seven boarders marked by all sorts of moral and physical distress who were entrusted to her . « It is solely to the Heart of Jesus that I owe the success I have with the penitents. When I am confronted with a desperate case, He is the One who smooths the way. When you appeal to Him for a soul, He never refuses, although He demands much prayer, sacrifice and suffering. If He does not want to use me to help a soul, He deprives me of the hope of helping it, but if He inspires me confidence, I always win the case. »

At the beginning of 1894, she saw in a dream an unknown man who spoke to her in a foreign language and led her to a distant country. A while later, a letter arrived from the mother house of Angers informing Sister Mary of the Divine Heart that she was appointed assistant in Lisbon.

« It is obedience that calls me and this thought immunises against all that assails the poor heart. » She left with joyful courage and a “queenly bearing”, said one of her sisters. « I understood, she wrote, and I understand better every day that the freer and more detached one’s heart, the more God attracts it to Himself, the greater and more continuous the sacrifice, and the stronger and more powerful the grace is. It is the secret strength that flows from the Cross. » Our Father was struck by her face, such as it appears on a photograph taken of her during her journey to Angers: « It is that of a spouse of a blood Spouse, ready to give Him the ultimate testimony of her love in the supreme sacrifice that she knows He will make her undergo. »

Let us follow her to Portugal, knowing that all that happens to her in this sort of dramaturgy willed by our most beloved heavenly Father bears the revelation of the Heart of Jesus, her most kind Bridegroom, King and Lord of the universe.



Passing through Paris, Sister Mary went to Our Lady of Victories and then to Montmartre, where she adored Jesus the Host in a monstrance in the form of a radiating heart: « Yes, she said to herself, that is indeed how it ought to be: the Sacred Heart of Jesus must reign over the whole world. » At Manresa, in Spain, while she was praying in the grotto of Saint Ignatius, she heard a voice – sill the same – that asked her to sacrifice herself for a Good Shepherd House that was in great danger. « At that moment, an irresistible need for sufferings invaded me and Our Lord offered me the full weight of His Cross. » Overcoming her trouble, she said yes.

At that time, the Good Shepherd had two houses established in Portugal: one in Lisbon, the other in Porto. After a stay of a few months in the capital as assistant, Sister Mary of the Divine Heart was appointed Superior of Porto. It was the House “in great danger” that she was to save. This foundation that dated from 1881 had only suffered setbacks, persecutions too, in the midst of a society dominated by freemasonry and infiltrated by a revolutionary spirit. This society generated immense moral miseries. Furthermore, the priest who managed the finances of the convent was so muddle-headed that debts accumulated and the convent was heading for disaster. The preceding superiors had not been equal to the task, the religious spirit had deserted the community and the eighty-four “penitents” were almost left to their own devices.

As soon as Mother Mary of the Divine Heart arrived, she began by consecrating her community to the Sacred Heart and placed His statue above the altar, saying that He was the Master of the house. She rekindled fervour in His “Guard of Honour” that she found already established. Then, she got down to work in order to restore order to the convent to, cleanliness, fervour, and to re-establish the fidelity to the vows, to the enclosure and the rule.

In the chapel, artificial flowers and worm-eaten candelabra were replaced with freshly-cut flowers and polished candlesticks. The divine office was carefully recited. Manual work was organised and penitents were supervised, loved and helped again. Was it a reformation? Let us rather say: a counter-reformation intended to restore « a convent half in ruin », as the young superior said herself. « Despite her poor health, her sisters would testify, our Mother gave unsparingly of herself. From morning till night, she was found everywhere in the house, supervising and directing everything. She hardly took the time to eat and spent several nights doing her administrative work in order to save her dear convent. »

It was crippled with debts; Mother Mary of the Divine Heart wrote in large letters on her accounts book: In te Domine speravi, non confundar in æternum, the motto that adorned the gate of the castle of Darfeld. She also had confidence in St. Joseph and when they lacked the necessities of life, a bag was hung around his neck. He always answered generously.

For a year and a half she fought a constant battle, nevertheless, Mother Mary of the Divine Heart did not consider religious life other than as a battlefield! For the superior of the Good Shepherd, it was indeed a battlefield both inside and outside the community: she could not open her window without having insults or stones hurled at her. In this ecstasy of works, her courage reached heroic levels in the assurance that the divine Spouse was pouring His spirit and His blessings over all that had been consecrated to Him. « My hands are full with all the work, my head is full of cares, but the main thing is that my heart is full of love for Our Lord »

Her consolation was to see the tabernacle of the chapel through a hatch in the door of her cell. It was from there that He radiated His graces and attracted everything to Himself. « Here in Portugal, she wrote, we live a truly missionary life that, precisely for us, applies to a very rich field of apostolate. The poor people find themselves in a dreadful state of moral misery, nevertheless, I never thank the Good God so much as when He brings us a poor, completely depraved lamb, who is thus snatched from the claws of the Devil through His grace. We thus learn to know and to admire God’s mercy. »

Corruption was, alas, also present among the clergy. On her arrival at Porto, Mother Mary of the Divine Heart had heard about so many priests who had fallen into scandal that she once again offered herself to console Our Lord and obtain their conversion. One day when she was ill and longing to die, Our Lord told her: « Do you want me to bear alone the cross of Portugal? » From then on, she began to exercise a marvellous apostolate around herself, from the Cardinal Archbishop of Porto, Dom Americo dos Santos Silva who soon considered her a saint, to the most humble working-class families of the suburbs, who turned to her in their distress. « She worked and offered herself for the renaissance of Catholic life in her second country; and it was perhaps her sufferings and her prayers that contributed to making the miracle of Fatima the gift offered to the Portuguese people in order to complete its religious renewal », wrote Fr. von Galen in the biography that he devoted to his cousin.

Dom Ildefons Schober, O.S.B. (1849-1918), Abbot of Seckau, of the Congregation of Beuron, was Mother Mary of the Divine Heart’s spiritual director at Porto:

« Let us say once and for all that she was extremely frank and incapable of dissimulating and being diplomatic. When she saw failings or faults in persons, things, in monasteries, her own or others, she spoke her mind openly. She did so not out of a spirit of denigration or some other weakness but out of love for God and souls, a love that culminated in the wish and aspiration that the honour of God may shine in all things. Narrow-minded persons may have been astonished at how freely she treated all that concerned God, Holy Church and souls. Not only did she possess the spirit of her Order, but to a greater degree, she was exceptionally endowed with the spirit of Jesus Christ and with the abundance of the love of His Sacred Heart, of whom she was the privileged spouse. »

The end of the year 1895 was, however, extremely tense: creditors grew impatient, while the superior of the Good Shepherd was requested to welcome new boarders; malevolent people envisaged closing down the house. But then, she said, « we would be obliged to send away most of these poor souls that the Good Shepherd has entrusted to us and here, this would amount to sending them directly to Hell ». Fortunately, Count Droste zu Vischering came to their help by proposing to purchase the property. There came another moment of anguish when the mother house, poorly informed, refused to ratify the transaction. Nevertheless, on Christmas eve, a telegram arrived: « Contract approved, proceed. » The house was saved.

During these days of agony, an Austrian Benedictine, Rev. Fr. Schober, was an angel of consolation for Mother Mary of the Divine Heart. Like her, he had been given the mission in Portugal of restoring the monasteries of which his Congregation had taken charge. A very pure spiritual friendship was soon forged between their two souls, like that between St. Margaret-Mary and St. Claude de la Colombière. The sole aim of this friendship was the religious and moral resurrection of Portugal, of its clergy and its monasteries.

Dom Schober testified: « In a very short time we understood each other perfectly on everything… I recognised the brilliant qualities of this soul, a soul highly gifted both naturally and spiritually. I could foresee the great apostolic mission with which God had invested her for this second capital of Portugal, for the country itself, for her Congregation and for the whole Church… »


The year 1896 would reveal the nature of this “great apostolic mission”. For the Church it marked the beginning of a drama that was all the more formidable because it was kept secret. For our saint, it marked the beginning of her ascent of Calvary. In January, Dom Schober had to return to Austria and Mother Mary of the Divine Heart, deprived of his precious direction, composed her admirable “Prayer of Agony”. It was this prayer that our Father savoured so much during his exile at Hauterive and that he liked to teach us against all the Jansenists and Pelagians of the earth. Indeed, it expresses an admirable “positive” tenderness that is both human, because it is the tenderness of a God that became man, and divine, because this man is God: « O gracious Saviour, I throw myself again and unreservedly into your arms this day… »

A photograph of Mother Mary of the Divine Heart, taken during her stay at Münster (21-24 February 1896), just after the signal grace she had received at Alba de Tormes: « After the consecration during which I had prayed Our Lord through the intercession of St. Theresa to purify my soul from sin in His Precious Blood, He gave me the sweet assurance that He pardoned me everything and that He cleansed my soul and purified it, so that I could advance further into His intimacy. After Holy Communion He called me by my name with an infinite love: Maria”, which He had not done for a long while. He then said to me, in that voice so well known which resounds in the depth of my heart, that He wanted to contract a more intimate union with me that day. As proof of this, He would make me enjoy (I do not know for how long) a peace of soul such as I had never felt before [...]. Now, I lose myself in the love and mercy of my Spouse like the small drop of water in the ocean. As the sea fills everything, His love fills my whole being. I shall never forget this Communion [...]. Pray for me, that I may respond to the views of Our Lord after you have mapped out for me the way that leads to HimI shall never been able to thank you enough and not a single day shall I forget you in my prayers. » (Letter to Dom Schober, written in Salamanca, on 31 January 1896)

Mother Mary of the Divine Heart, who had to go to Angers, was able to accompany her spiritual Father through Spain. During the Mass celebrated by Dom Schober at Alba de Tormes, Our Lord renewed His alliance with the spouse of His Heart, who so faithfully espoused all His designs, and gave her St. Teresa, St. Gertrude and St. Catherine of Sienna « for particular models, patrons and companions ». Mother Mary of the Divine Heart already loved these three saints: St. Gertrude, who propagated the amorous devotion to the Sacred Heart in the thirteenth century, and who would soon become her “kindred soul” through an express will of Our Lord; St. Theresa also, who had been animated by a very ardent zeal for the salvation of souls, and St. Catherine of Sienna, who besieged the Pope with the demand that he returned to Rome and preached the Crusade. What deeply united these three saints whom Jesus gave to her as her “Counsel”, was that each of them had received the grace of being able to reconcile a very ardent life of prayer with an intrepid service of the Church.

Soon, Our Lord wanted to prepare her for the mission that He had in store for her, through a series of increasingly heroic acts of obedience. He told her that « His desire had been to establish devotion to His Divine Heart, and now that the exterior devotion had been introduced through His apparition to the Blessed Margaret-Mary and had spread far and wide, He wished also to see the interior devotion become more strongly established. That is, He wished souls to get into the habit of uniting themselves more and more interiorly with Him and of offering Him their hearts as His abode. »

This revelation is extremely important: the goal of this “interior” devotion was to make the Heart of Jesus the sovereign Master of hearts, in a perfect loyalty and docility to His wills: there must be neither pretence, reserve, disagreements nor delays in our self-giving that responds to His Gift of love! He is fired with the desire to enflame souls with an interior fire that makes them enter into His designs not by constraint but by love.

It was then that Mother Mary of the Divine Heart began to suffer much. In May 1896, she had to take to her bed. The doctors diagnosed myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord, a particularly painful illness. Her Spouse would, as it were, command its successive phases: « Our Lord made me understand that when the mystical Body of the Church requires help for some general or particular need, He often sends bodily sufferings, illness etc., to some of His spouses, in order to obtain by this means the necessary graces. »

What danger required such urgent help?


This danger was revealed to the superior of the Good Shepherd of Porto around the middle of October 1896, when she saw in a sort of interior image, a pack of furious wolves. She understood that it was a question of freemasons: « It seems to me,she wrote to Dom Schober, that these are dangers that threaten the whole Holy Church, for the words I heard: “She is built on Peter (rock) and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against Her” clearly refer to that vision. Very serious evils are looming, but they can still be diverted through many prayers. A wolf was leading the others, and they formed a whole pack. The vision left an impression of perfidy and mystery. »

We remember the words of Our Lord in the Gospel: « Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. » (Mt 7:15)


« Priests must know, especially in our time, that those who refuse to sacrifice their personal convenience and their private advantage to safeguarding the integrity of the Faith cannot be called God’s ministers. Now, the integrity of the Faith is threatened not so much by the overt negation of unbelievers as by the cunning and mendaciousness of this perfidious liberal Catholicism that, whilst stopping just short of condemned error, strives to look as though it were following the purest doctrine.

« Priests will guard against accepting any of the ideas of liberalism that, veiled beneath the appearance of goodness, claims to reconcile justice and iniquity, conceding all to the State and nothing or very little to the Church as though she were a dependence or organ of the State. Liberal Catholics are wolves in sheep’s clothing. A priest conscious of his mission must make it his duty to unveil their perfidious schemes and their wicked designs. You will be called papists, clericals, reactionaries and intransigent, but take it as an honour and pay no heed to the mockery of the perverse. Be strong, and do not yield where there is no reason to yield. You must fight, not by compromising but with courage, not in secret but in public, not behind closed doors but out in the open. »

(Pastoral letter of cardinal Sarto, 5 September 1894,
quoted in CCR n° 204, November 1987, p. 6-7)

A few days later, Mother Mary of the Divine Heart read an article about Diana Vaughan, who was said to be a convert from the Luciferan sect, whose “Memoirs” were passionately read in Catholic circles from Leo XIII to St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus in her Carmel of Lisieux. The superior was stricken by the connexion between her vision and this mystification that had not yet been discovered. She felt such anguish that she wanted to inform the Holy Father. Dom Schober, who was familiar with her, acquiesced: « You can write to Rome as soon as you feel inspired to do so and your health permits ». In Porto, however, Dom Theotonio, her habitual confessor, curtly answered: « The Holy Father has no need of your insights; he has his own counsellors. » Ah! Really…

Mother Mary of the Divine Heart then complained to Our Lord: « I told Him, after Holy Communion, how saddened I was that He was leading me along paths which seemed ever more dangerous to me. I begged Him not to continue, or at least not to oblige me to speak to others about what was going on within me. Our Lord answered me; So, you want to renounce the service of the Church?” I replied: No, but I am afraid of these paths and fear suffering an illusion. Then Our Lord told me that He would never allow me to be in a state of illusion, provided I was directed by legitimate authority… »

Our Father admired the perfectly Catholic way whereby all this unfolded: extreme humility and absolute obedience on the part of the confidante of the Sacred Heart, who felt nevertheless duty bound to render account and bear witness to the truth. What a pity that she was prevented from warning the Holy Father, for the interior vision with which she had been favoured was fulfilled to the letter: in April 1897, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, the Carmel of Lisieux and the whole Church were dragged through the mud when it became obvious that the Diana Vaughan affair was devil’s tomfoolery set up by freemasonry.


All this, however, was but a prologue. The year 1897 saw the beginning of a « disquieting career » for the humble superior of Porto, Fr. Chasle noted. It was certainly disquieting, but not of her own doing. « On the contrary, our Father wrote, she never ceased marvelling at the “secrets” of love that cascaded from the Heart of her Spouse and King, with a mission to pass them on to whom they concerned. The disquiet came from another shady and shameful secret, that of servants resisting the wills of their Master, of their betrayal through cowardice, indifference or some violent passion to the contrary… Mother Mary of the Divine Heart will now have to bear in her heart of a compassionate spouse these two tragically opposite secrets. »

It will be “the great affair” of her life. Let us represent her on her bed of sufferings. Only Our Lord and her confessor were aware of the profound meaning of her sufferings. Nevertheless, she continued to govern her community and to transmit the messages of Our Lord.

Friday 18 June, at Holy Communion, He said to her:

« I count you amongst the most loved of my spouses, not on account of your own merits, but by a purely special predilection and love on My part… Know, My child, that from the charity of My Heart, I wish torrents of grace to come down and pour through your heart into the hearts of others »

As well as a revelation of Circumincessant charity that makes the heart of this holy nun as though it were a figure of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it seems that it was at that moment that she received the first request for the world to be consecrated, a request endowed with marvellous promises: the return of heretics and schismatics into the Church and the mass conversion of pagans. Once again, however, her director judged it inopportune to pass on this message to the proper authority, i.e. to Rome. « I was afraid of being taken for a visionary », he explained later.

Our Lord is patient and only communicated His second appeal to her the following year, on Holy Thursday, 7 April 1898. « Our Lord returned to what He had said last year: I was to leave the decision to my spiritual Father; he will recognise the truth through extraordinary sufferings [endured by herself!]. Consecration of the whole world to the Heart of Jesus. Write to Rome as soon as possible. »

Why « as soon as possible »? It was because the world was going wrong. The United States was on the eve of declaring war on Spain, to wrest from Spain her last remaining colonies – the Island of Cuba and the Philippine archipelago – after having led an ignoble smear campaign against the Spanish presence in the New World. It was backed by diplomatic and military pressure that went so far as to provoke the explosion of the battleship Maine into the port of Havana, on 15 February 1898.

Yes! The Sacred Heart got involved “in politics”. Intervening in what seemed to be a totally human conflict, He offers His peace, « a peace that the world cannot give » (Jn 14:27). His peace is one that is entirely focused on and directed by His Love towards the conversion and salvation of the world. The problem was that the Pope, who was said to be a shrewd man in politics, also intervened on that same 7 April 1898. He took the initiative in intervening with Spain to get her to accept the suggestions of the American cabinet, assuring her that President Mac Kinley wanted peace and that it was necessary to come to an agreement.

Then began what our Father called the “trial of strength” between the Pope who had his personal political and diplomatic strategy, and Jesus and His Holy Mother who had Their “design”. What would happen?


War broke out on 25 April and we can read in the autobiography of the saint that « she was very disturbed by the war that Spain and the United States were waging during that year of 1898, and she was exceedingly worried about the dangers that a series of defeats could hold for Catholic Spain [the Sacred Heart had the same worries!]. She followed military operations with a passionate interest, reading the newspapers and studying the atlas [her divine Bridegroom had the same passionate interest!]. Each evening the community would gather in the chapel and pray for Spain, specially invoking the Sacred Heart and Saint Ignatius. »

The situation was becoming increasingly catastrophic. Spain, which was abandoned in a cowardly way by the other European Nations, found herself alone before the United States that laid claim to possession of the world. It was the beginning of the dreadful drama of decolonisation. Our Lord wanted to prevent this and chose that crucial moment to recall that He is the King of the world, that everything belongs to Him and that salvation can only come through Him.

The confessor of the Good Shepherd prevaricated once again: « It was a matter of poignant anguish to know the ardent desire of His divine Heart and yet at the same time to see herself prevented from accomplishing it by the very person whom He wished her always to obey. Although her resignation was total, she wept over this, she who wept so rarely! To this moral distress were added the sufferings predicted… » These sufferings were the means willed by the Sacred Heart to authenticate the mission of His messenger. The confessor, impressed, finally granted the permission. The letter was sent from Porto on 10 June and…

« The servant of God knew, through the Abbot primate of the Benedictine Order, who had acted as her intermediary, that her letter had been delivered to the Vatican, and that was all. Over the long months her thoughts often returned to this matter. From time to time she would say to her assistant: “There is no answer coming from Rome!” » At the same time, in Cuba, battles were raging: on 3 July, the Spanish squadron of Admiral Cervera, which had been sent to the relief, confronted the American navy, wooden ships against iron ships. « These two squadrons, our Father wrote, represent the two cities: that of Christ’s disciples and that of Mammon. » The Spanish ships were all sent to the bottom. Who was ultimately responsible for this disaster?

« The watchmen of Israel are sleeping, Our Lord complained to His confidante, and to make up for what is lacking in their vigilance and their zeal, I ask you to pray, to sacrifice yourself and to suffer. Your sufferings will increase, and you must be prepared for even greater [...]. He named me the spouse of His Divine Heart, and now it was as Spouse that He made me this request. Could I refuse Him? »

This was the first mission of Mother Mary of the Divine Heart, a mission that ended in a failure – let us not fear to say so. Since the Pope turned a deaf ear to the demands of the Sacred Heart, Yankee imperialism developed its tentacles all over the world during the twentieth century, until 1999. It was the year when our Father wrote and when, by mutual agreement, the usa and nato were dropping their bombs on Orthodox Serbia that refused to recognise the independence of Moslem Kosovo. They used the same principles of interfering, the same vile propaganda process, with the same disastrous consequences as in Cuba in 1898.


The Sacred Heart, however, wanted His consecration. Thus, He inspired His messenger to make a heroic resolution. What martyrdom for her to stand up to the Pope on behalf of Christ! « I am involved in a violent struggle, she wrote. Our Lord leaves me the choice between an easier life, but in that case, I would have to forsake an increase in His graces, or a life of humiliations, sufferings, mortifications and prayer, which is the way that will lead me to perfect union with my divine Spouse, and whereby He will give me His abundant choice graces. »

In order not to lose the lesson of our parallel, let us say that it was when he read these words that our Father understood that the same choice was proposed to him in 1998: « I did likewise », he would simply say and there is no doubt that our saint helped him to advance on his way of the cross.

On 20 November 1898, during the first Vespers of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, the tenth anniversary of her entry into religious life, Mother Mary of the Divine Heart pronounced a vow of absolute obedience before her confessor, Fr. Theotonio, and recited with him the prayer of consecration that she had composed: « O my most loving Jesus, I consecrate myself once again and without reserve to Your Divine Heart… » The victim was ready; on 2 December, first Friday of the month, the Sacred Heart renewed His demand. In her letter to the Pope of 8 December, Mother Mary of the Divine Heart had foreseen the objection:

« It might be thought strange that Our Lord should request this consecration of the whole world, and not be content with the consecration of the Catholic Church. But His desire to reign, to be loved and glorified and to embrace all hearts in His love and mercy, burns so strongly, that He wants your Holiness to offer Him the hearts of all who belong to Him through holy baptism, that He may smooth the path of their return to the true Church, as well as the hearts of those who have not yet received spiritual life through baptism, but for whom He gave His life and His Blood and who are also called one day to be sons of Holy Church, that He may hasten their spiritual birth by this means… »

It seems that Our Lord had found the opening to touch the heart of His Vicar. In fact, His confidante added:

« He told me that He had prolonged the days of Your Holiness, in order to grant you this grace [of the consecration]and that, after having fulfilled this desire of His Heart, Your Holiness should prepare himself… » Here, in the biographies of the saint, there are suspension points: « prepare himself… in My Heart… consolation… a sure refuge at the hour of death and of judgement. » Our research has allowed us to reconstitute the authentic text that is quite embarrassing for Pope Leo XIII. Here it is: « to prepare himself to render account to GodIn My Heart, he will find consolation for the negligences of his Pontificate and reparation for his faults, as well as a sure refuge at the hour of death and of judgement.” »

In the climate of veneration for the Pope that prevailed at that time, one can guess the interior anguish of the holy nun at having to write these words in the middle of miseries and unspeakable sufferings that Jesus took delight in sending her. This time, however, Leo XIII took action. He ordered an investigation to be made at Porto, which lasted two whole months. On 25 March 1899, the Pope examined the letter from the Superior of Porto in the presence of Cardinal Mazzella, prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. The decision was taken to consecrate the world in the following month of June.

« However, Fr. Chasle wrote, it was thought more fitting to look elsewhere to justify the planned action: “Sir Cardinal, Leo XIII said, take this letter and put it over thereit must not count at this moment.” It was decreed, therefore, that the consecration of the human race to the Sacred Heart would be presented not as the consequence of a private revelation, but as the application of the principles of Catholic theology and of Catholic Tradition. The Cardinal was charged with examining the question in se, i.e., without reference to the personal insights of Mother Mary who had urged Leo XIII to look into this. » (p. 370)


In short, the saint’s light was hidden under a bushel and the spotlight was turned on Leo XIII! This made our Father wax indignant: To look “elsewhere” for the justification of this Act and to deal with the question “in se” is to mock and to insult gravely the Sacred Heart who, for three years, had been striving to make Himself heard by His ministers through the intermediary of His faithful and heroic spouse! All that she represents: the integral Catholicism inherited from her family tradition, above all the intimate knowledge she had of the secrets of her divine Spouse, which alone were able to inflame the heart of the whole world, was, therefore, deliberately set aside… the Pope took over the affair to his credit, but by cutting it off from its source. On 25 May 1899, he published the encyclical “Annum Sacrum”, prescribing a triduum with a view to the Consecration of the world that would be pronounced on the following 11 June.

Who still remembers this encyclical today? No one. After justifying the act of consecration itself with an exact but cold theology, the Pope went on to draw up a damning picture of the situation: after twenty years of the “hand outstretched” to modern, liberal or atheist governments, a wall was still erected between the Church and civil society. Let us have recourse to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, he advocated.

Yes, but the Pope did not abjure his personal political and diplomatic strategies of which he was so proud. Thus, he asked the Sacred Heart to deliver the world from secularism and the activity of freemasonry, while demanding that the faithful should sincerely submit to and participate loyally in these same masonic governments. Our Father was stupefied when he discovered that on that same day of 25 May 1899, the Pope sent a letter to Mgsr. Servonnet, Archbishop of Bourges, imperiously reminding him that nothing had changed in his orders to rally to the French Republic.

What was absorbing the heart of the Pope at that moment? Politics, the worst politics: moved by the wish to open the Church to all discussions, to all political and diplomatic exchanges, as a way of winning over modern world, he did not conceal his fury against the French Royalists who persisted in not rallying to his policy! This situation has lasted for more than a hundred years, our Father deplored: the Sacred Heart wants to open His Heart to mankind. He sends His messengers. – No, the Popes answer, for the moment, we are dealing with establishing the Republic and Democracy on solid foundations. Stop beleaguering us with the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary! People are uncertain and they all finally abandon the Sacred Heart to become democrats. What a pity!

This consecration of Leo XIII was a failure. It has remained a dead letter and had no impact on public and political life, which was abandoned to the demons. Whence the evils from which we are presently suffering. It must not be said that this consecration was bad since it was Our Lord who demanded it! Nevertheless when good things are done poorly, they remain fruitless. No one gave heed to it, with exception of a perfectly identifiable lineage: St. Pius X, who was really the “Pope of the Heart of Jesus” because he wanted « to restore all things in Him »; Fr. de Foucauld, who was fired with the desire to make Him loved to the extremities of the earth, and our Father, the disciple of them both. All three have understood that the Sacred Heart loathes laicism, of which He wants to cure the world.At the same time, He wants to free His Church from all liberalism, which is a sin, an obstacle to His Reign. If the men of Church must make an act of repentance for something, it is for this and nothing else!


In the sanctuary of Ermesinde, in the suburbs of Porto: shrine of the Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart and statue of the Sacred Heart made from an image chosen by her just before her death because it resembled the one at Darfeld. Our Community went there on pilgrimage on 9 June 1999.

As for our saint, she had fulfilled her mission that consisted in the consecration of the whole world to the Divine Heart of Jesus. A few days before her death, she confided to one of her sisters:

« My mission is over, and although I have not yet seen it fulfilled, everything tells me that my end is near, because Our Lord has refused this satisfaction to other people who were dearer to Him and more worthy of His graces, as for example to Fr. Peyramale not so long ago, who from his deathbed heard the cries of enthusiasm of the inhabitants of Lourdes. Rightly considered, however, this is more profitable than the satisfaction of seeing the realisation of our ardent desires, since it is a sacrifice, and it earns greater merit with Our Lord than we can understand. I can be more useful to you in Heaven than here. Remember that holy friendships commenced on earth continue in Heaven and that Our Lord has never condemned them. » (Chasle, p. 380)

Mother Mary of the Divine Heart died a holy death during the first Vespers of the feast of the Sacred Heart, 8 June 1899, at the opening of the triduum that was to prelude this consecration. Her soul took flight like a dove to rest at last on the Heart of her Spouse, where she pursues her third and last mission that will be endless: to communicate to souls her marvellous devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

« Since we are unable to make many sacrifices, our Father told us, we are asked to bear this suffering of seeing none of the promises of Our Lord being fulfilled, and yet believing indefectibly in them, and thus meriting their fulfilment for the greatest benefit of souls and for the peace of the world in its conversion to Jesus Christ. »

The main thing, our Father said, is not to write a scholastic essay on the consecration to the Sacred Heart, it is to hear the beating of the Heart of Jesus, to hear it in the hearts of His chosen spouses: St. Margaret-Mary in the seventeenth century, our Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart at the end of the nineteenth century. That changes everything, and it is a will of Christ to have the splendours of His Love known through their agency.

That is why our Father placed himself under her direction, and all our communities followed him. « When we penetrate into her very ardent heart of hearts, we understand what love a soul and the Church can have for the Divine Heart of Jesus. We step aside, we no longer think about ourselves but we visit the heart of this holy nun, and as it were, she gives us her language, she communicates her virtues to us and teaches us to love Jesus. » (15 February 1987) The Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart has the gift, the grace for organising everything with this end in view, no objection resists her. The only absolute reality that remains is the Heart of Jesus and His Reign, i.e. His desire to be loved and the certainty that this desire will be fulfilled, as Our Lord assured one day to His messenger: « Trust Me, My Heart will reign, My Heart will triumph. »

Brother Thomas of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.