A Lover of the Pierced Heart of Jesus

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Blessed Marie de Jésus Deluil–Martiny

My dear friend, Monsignor A.C., reminded me earlier this week that today, besides being the feast of Saint Gabriel of the Addolorata, is also the dies natalis and liturgical memorial of Blessed Marie de Jésus Deluil Martiny. Born to upper middle class parents on May 28, 1841 in Marseille, Marie Deluil Martiny was the eldest of five children. She belongs to the vast family of saints and blesseds surrounding the Wounded Side and Sacred Heart of Jesus. Marie's own spiritual genealogy included her great grand–aunt, the Venerable Anne–Madeleine Rémuzat (1696–1730), a Visitandine like Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690) and, like the saint of Paray–le–Monial, an ardent apostle of the Sacred Heart.

The Guard of Honour of the Sacred Heart

The vocation of Marie Deluil Martiny unfolded in two phases. In the first, she dedicated herself to propagating the Guard of Honour of the Sacred Heart, a movement of reparation and of perpetual adoration of the Heart of Jesus present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Marie du Sacré–Coeur, a Visitandine of the monastery of Bourg–en–Bresse launched the Guard of Honour on March 13, 1863. The following year the bishop of Belley recognized the movement as a confraternity, and in 1878 Pope Leo XIII elevated it to the rank of an archconfraternity in France and Belgium.

In the beginning, the movement obliged its members to spend an hour in adoration and reparation to the Heart of Jesus before the tabernacle. The hours of the day and night were so distributed among the members as to offer the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus an uninterrupted presence of reparation and adoring love. Later on, the manner of carrying out one's assigned hour was modified: no longer was a physical presence before the tabernacle required. One could participate in the Guard of Honour without interrupting one's daily activities, simply by offering an hour of one's day in the spirit of adoration and reparation to the Sacred Heart.

Zélatrice of the Sacred Heart

Marie Deluil Martiny was the first Zélatrice (or zealous apostle and promoter) of the Guard of Honour of the Sacred Heart. So effective was her apostolate that she came to be known as the Zélatrice of the Sacred Heart.

The Wound of the Divine Heart

She explains the movement in these words: "The Guard [of Honour of the Sacred Heart], the Work in itself, was placed by the Infinite Love of our Master at the entrance of the Wound of His Divine Heart. There, it calls souls, unites them, calls them together, preaches to them, if one may say so, pushes them, and draws them into the interior of the Divine Wound . . . it leads them there, and introduces them therein, after having, so to speak, opened to them the door of this sacred refuge . . . Souls, entering this safe abode are sprinkled, washed, whitened, purified, healed, and supernaturalized, by a most efficacious application of the Blood and Water that came forth from the Divine Wound.

But Jesus wants even more: this is the new step that Our Lord desires to make the souls He chosen to this end take: they must enter by the gate of the City of God, that is into the Heart of Jesus by the Divine Wound; therein will be their world, their dwelling, their place of rest."

Foundress of A New Religious Family

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The second phase of Marie Deluil Martiny's life was a flowering of the first. After a long preparation in prayer, she opened the first house of the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Jesus at Berchem near Anvers in Belgium on June 20, 1873. The new foundation was characterized by a burning desire to console the Heart of Jesus and by a mystical participation in His victimal priesthood, patterned after that of His Holy Mother at the foot of the Cross.

Divine Jealousy for Sacerdotal and Consecrated Souls

Mother Marie de Jésus wrote: "They will from that life of suffering love that was the intimate life of the Heart of Jesus; they will penetrate the most tender secrets of His love: the Eucharist, the Church, His divine jealousy for sacerdotal and consecrated souls. . . .

Priests: Sacrificers and Victims

What a calling! The Work must give to Christ souls who offer themselves as a sacrifice of Love, these will be "the victims of Love that Jesus asks for," by the Holy Eucharist. The Host has become indispensable to my life; I should wish never to leave it for the sake of sacerdotal souls [priests]. Too many of them are satisfied with being Sacrificers and exercise their sacred functions without steeping them enough in the Priestly Spirit, that is, without themselves becoming truly Victims at the same times as Sacrificers, and so God wills that legions of souls who are truly Victims offer themselves as humble supplements for what certain priests are lacking in the Priestly Spirit. Their example is Mary, the Mother of Jesus."

The Blessed Virgin Mary United to the Victimal Priesthood of Her Son

Marie Deluil Martiny presents the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of Christ the Victim Priest and of all who are called to follow Him in the way of His Victimal Priesthood. The Blessed Virgin Mary is, by virtue of her most intimate and perfect participation in the Victimal Priesthood of her Son, both Coredemptrix and Mediatrix.

Violent Death and Glory

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On February 27, 1884, Mother Marie de Jésus was murdered by an anticlerical anarchist in the garden of the monastery she had founded at La Servianne, her family property. Her last words were, "I forgive him . . . for the Work," that is, for the Institute she founded. She was forty–three years old.

"Our Lord," she said, "has put into my soul that the souls of the future institute will be like that parcel of the Host that melts in the chalice; they will all melt and disappear in the Blood of Jesus." The Congregation she founded, the Daughters of the Heart of Jesus, continue her charism of liturgical prayer, reparation, and adoration, with a particular solicitude for priests. Mother Deluil Martiny was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 22, 1989.

6 Comments

Thank you for this delightful article on Mother Marie. I first met the Sisters at Via dei Villini when I was a seminarian and celebrated my first Mass in the Rome convent in 1986. I was named the vice-postulator for her Cause at that time and participated in the beatification in 1989. I was just in Rome in January and gave the final Benediction to the Sisters before they left the Roman convent where they had offered their adoration for 106 years. They are in great need of vocations, and we pray that their new convent in Croatia may be a fertile source of many generous souls. Perhaps you know that the Daughters' "Association of Victim Souls," has included St. Pius X and St. Maximilian Kolbe as well as many blesseds ( Foucauld, Cassant, Marmion, Kern, Poppe, Stepinac, Schuster, and Meyer) among its members.-

I have never heard of her. Thank you.

Quelle joie de retrouver ici Mère Marie de Jésus ! Lorsque j'étais étudiant à Namur (Belgique), j'ai fréquenté régulièrement le couvent des Filles du Coeur de Jésus, m'y rendant souvent pour l'adoration du Saint-Sacrement. Je me souviens encore de certaines soeurs. Aujourd'hui, elles ont quitté le couvent qui est devenu une maison de formation pour les séminaristes de la Communauté de l'Emmanuel.

Je reçois le petit livre de Garde d'Honneur, sans en faire officiellement partie, mais en ayant bien des affinités pour ce groupe d'adorateurs.

Je me souviens aussi que la lecture des lettres de Mère Marie de Jésus a nourrit à un moment donné ma prière. Aujourd'hui elle repose dans une chapelle de la maison des Filles du Coeur de Jésus à Anvers.

Deo Gratias!

Thank you so very much for this post. I'm sorry to find it so long after it was written.

I have long had a devotion to Bl. Mother Mary of Jesus and have both the Guide for Victim Souls and Immolation (her biography), rare books indeed! The Guide was given to me by my "extraordinary" confessor four or so years ago. I am eager to know how the order is doing and if they ever plan on visiting the USA.

In Corde Jesu et Mariae!

The following appears in the Guide for Victim Souls:

Daily Act of Immolation

O Sweetest Jesus, divine Victim, ever being sacrificed on our altars for the salvation of mankind, I desire to unite with Thee, to suffer with Thee, to sacrifice with Thee in union with the many thousands of Victim Souls of the Heart of Jesus. To this end I offer to Thee all my sufferings and afflictions, all the humiliations and all the crosses with which thy divine providence will line the path of my life. I offer it all to Thee with that very same intention with which Thou, O divine Heart, offerest and sacrificest Thyself. Vouchsafe to ordain that this humble sacrifice of mine draws down rich blessings upon our country, and the poor sinners, my brothers. Deign to accept it through the hands of Mary and in union with the dolorous sacrifices of her Immaculate Heart. Amen.

Thank you for making this information accessible to all who read of Victim Souls for God. My soul yearns to learn more about Victim Souls and to know more about the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I wish more of this was made known to Catholics within the Parish and at Catechism.


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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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