Our Lady of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
To understand this title, given to Mary in 1859 by the Venerable Father Jules Chevalier, Founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, one should read the text of the title from right to left. The important part of this title is the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He is the centre. Mary is the mother who offers him to us, who desires that we enter into union with him, who longs to form us as she formed her Son Jesus, so that humanity may discover the tenderness, compassion, mercy, strength, power, fidelity and constancy of the love of God revealed in God's Son. This Marian title is Christocentric.
Through the process of deepening his idea of God and the spirituality of the Heart, Father Chevalier gradually discovered the place of Mary in his life. Even though at first, as a child of his time, he centred his attention on the power of Mary's intercession, little by little he began to focus on the relations existing between Mary and the Trinity, between Mary and her Son, between Mary and us. In pointing to the Heart of her Son, Mary reminds us of the profound and intimate union and relationship that she had with him. Through her union with him, she knows the inexhaustible riches of his Heart and wants to lead us to him, who is the source of a limitless love that gives birth to a new world. She is the associate in the mystery of his Heart and she encourages us to work in her Son’s mission for the good of humanity. Mary is close to a world in need and shares in her Son's solicitude for the world. Her song of praise (Lk: 1,46-55), the story of the wedding feast at Cana (Jn: 2,1-11) and her standing at the foot of the cross accompanying the sufferings of her Son on our behalf (Jn: 19,25-37) are significant proofs of her preoccupation with suffering humanity.
Father Jules Chevalier’s concern was motivated by an attitude of thankfulness: "The little Society of the Sacred Heart is not the work of man but of God! It came to birth in the Sacred Heart of Jesus under the powerful protection of Mary". Father Chevalier recalls how he and his companion, Father Maugenest, took refuge in Mary at the beginning our Society’s foundation: "This is your cause and it is up to you to save it; stay with us to the end and show that you are the true founder of this work". In the contract that our two first priests made with Mary, they point out that "in gratitude to Mary, they will consider her as their Foundress and Sovereign. They will ally themselves with her in all their works and make her loved in a special way". This thankfulness became a motive for confidence: "We believe that we can affirm with total confidence that Our Lady of the Sacred Heart will never cease to protect our Society if we are faithful to her".
This Marian invocation has been extraordinarily well received by the faithful. One sign of such acceptance must surely be the extensive inculturation of the image of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in so many different countries throughout the world.