Feast of the Sacred Heart

Devotion to the Sacred Heart dates back to the Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries of the eleventh century but it was a private devotion. The first Feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated in 1670 in Rennes, France, through the efforts of Father Jean Eudes. The devotion spread, especially following the visions of Jesus and His Sacred Heart experienced by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. In one vision in particular, during the Octave of Corpus Christi, Jesus requested that a feast to His Sacred Heart be celebrated on the Friday of that octave. Private popularity for this devotion continued to grow but it was not until 1765 that the Feast was celebrated officially in France and not until 1856 that Pope Pius IX extended the Feast to the universal Church.