Immaculate Heart of Mary

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The Immaculate Heart of Mary
Immaculate Heart of Mary.jpg
A painting depicting the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Peterskirche, Vienna, Austria
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
FeastSaturday following the Feast of the Sacred Heart
AttributesBurning bloodied heart, pierced with a sword, banded with roses, and lily flowers
PatronageApostleship of Prayer, Ratnapura Diocese, Alliance of Sacred Hearts, Russian Territories, Scotland, Central Africa, Republic of the Congo, Angola, Ecuador, Panama, Minglanilla, Cebu, Philippines, and, Georgia
Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Immaculate Heart of Mary (Latin: Cor Immaculatum Mariae) is a Roman Catholic devotional name used to refer to the Catholic view of the interior life of Mary, mother of Jesus, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son Jesus Christ, and her motherly and compassionate love for all mankind.[1] Traditionally, the Immaculate Heart is depicted pierced with seven swords or wounds, in homage to the seven dolors of Mary and roses,[2] usually red or white, wrapped around the heart.

The Eastern Catholic Churches occasionally utilize the image, devotion, and theology associated with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. However, this is a cause of some controversy, some seeing it as a form of liturgical latinisation. The Roman Catholic view is based on their understanding of certain verses of scripture, particularly the Gospel of Luke.


The veneration of the Heart of Mary is analogous to the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There are, however, differences in this analogy as devotion to the heart of Jesus is especially directed to the "divine heart" as overflowing with love for humanity. In the devotion to Mary, however, the attraction is the love of her heart for Jesus and for God.[1]

The second difference is the nature of the devotion itself: in the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Roman Catholic venerates in a sense of love responding to love, in the devotion to the Heart of Mary, study and imitation hold as important a place as love.[1] The aim of the devotion is to unite humankind to God through Mary's heart, and this process involves the ideas of consecration and reparation.[3]

History of devotion[edit]

Scriptural basis[edit]

In chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke, it is twice stated that Mary kept all things in her heart, that there she might ponder over them.[4] Luke 2:35[5] recounts the prophecy of Simeon that her heart would be pierced with a sword. This image (the pierced heart) is the most popular representation of the Immaculate Heart.[1]

The Gospel of John further invites attention to Mary's heart with its depiction of Mary at the foot of the cross at Jesus' crucifixion. Augustine of Hippo said of this that Mary was not merely passive at the foot of the cross; "she cooperated through charity in the work of our redemption".[1] Augustine says that she was more blessed in having borne Christ in her heart than in having conceived him in the flesh.[6]

Various saints[edit]

Devotion to the Heart of Mary began in the Middle Ages with Anselm of Canterbury, and Bernard of Clairvaux. It was practiced and developed by Mechtilde, Gertrude the Great and Bridget of Sweden.[7] Evidence is also discernible in the pious meditations on the Ave Maria and the Salve Regina, usually attributed either to Anselm of Lucca (d. 1080) or Bernard; and also in the large book "De laudibus Beatae Mariae Virginis" (Douai, 1625) by Richard de Saint-Laurent, Penitentiary of Rouen in the 13th century.

Bernardino of Siena (d. 1444), is sometimes called "Doctor of the Heart of Mary",[7] and from him the church has borrowed the lessons of the second nocturn for the feast of the Heart of Mary. Francis de Sales speaks of the perfections of this heart, the model of love for God, and dedicated his "Theotimus" to it.

During this same period one finds occasional mention of devotional practices to the Heart of Mary, e.g., in the "Antidotarium" of Nicolas du Saussay (d. 1488),[8] in Pope Julius II, and in the "Pharetra" of Lanspergius. In the second half of the 16th century and the first half of the 17th, ascetic authors dwelt upon this devotion at greater length.

It was, however, John Eudes (d. 1681) who propagated the devotion, to make it public, and to have a feast celebrated in honor of the Heart of Mary, first at Autun in 1648 and afterwards in a number of French dioceses. He established several religious societies interested in upholding and promoting the devotion, of which his large book on the Coeur Admirable (Admirable Heart), published in 1681, resembles a summary. Jean Eudes' efforts to secure the approval of an office and feast failed at Rome, but, notwithstanding this disappointment, the devotion to the Heart of Mary progressed. Eudes began his devotional teachings with the Heart of Mary, and then extended it to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.[9] However, it was only in 1805 that Pope Pius VII allowed a feast to honor the Immaculate Heart of Mary.[10]

In 1699 the priest John Peter Pinamonti (d. 1703) published a short work on the Holy Heart of Mary in Italian, and in 1725, Joseph de Gallifet combined the cause of the Heart of Mary with that of the Heart of Jesus in order to obtain Rome's approbation of the two devotions and the institution of the two feasts. In 1729, his project was defeated, and in 1765, the two causes were separated, to assure the success of the principal one.

Two factors that helped the rapid progress of the devotion were the introduction of the Miraculous Medal by Catherine Laboure in 1830 and the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, Paris of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners.[11] More than four million Miraculous Medals were distributed throughout the world within four years and in 1838 Desgenettes, the pastor of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, organized the Association in honor of the Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary, which Pope Gregory XVI made a confraternity the same year.[12] In July, 1855, the Congregation of Rites approved the Office and Mass for the Immaculate Heart.[13]

In 1849 Anthony Mary Claret founded the congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, commonly called the Claretians.[14]

Feast day[edit]

Dates for the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Novus Ordo), 2017–2030
Year Date (Novus Ordo)
2017 Impeded (would be on 24 June)
2018 9 June
2019 Impeded (would be on 29 June)
2020 20 June
2021 12 June
2022 25 June
2023 17 June
2024 8 June
2025 28 June
2026 13 June
2027 5 June
2028 Impeded (would be on 24 June)
2029 9 June
2030 Impeded (would be on 29 June)

In its principal object this feast is identical with the feast of the "Inner Life of Mary", celebrated by the Sulpicians on 19 October. It commemorates the joys and sorrows of the Mother of God, her virtues and perfections, her love for God and her Divine Son and her compassionate love for mankind.[15]

As early as 1643, St. John Eudes and his followers observed 8 February as the feast of the Heart of Mary.[4] In 1799 Pius VI, then in captivity in Florence, granted the Bishop of Palermo the feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary for some of the churches in his diocese. In 1805 Pope Pius VII made a new concession, thanks to which the feast was soon widely observed. Such was the existing condition when a twofold movement, started in Paris, gave fresh impetus to the devotion; the two factors of this movement were, first of all, the revelation of the "Miraculous Medal" in 1830, and then the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners, which spread rapidly. On 21 July 1855, the Congregation of Rites finally approved the Office and Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary without, however, imposing them upon the Catholic Church.

Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1944 to be celebrated on 22 August,[16] coinciding with the traditional octave day of the Assumption.[17] In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Saturday, immediately after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This means in practice that it is now held on the third Saturday after Pentecost.[18]

At the same time as he closely associated the celebrations of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Queenship of Mary from 31 May to 22 August, bringing it into association with the feast of her Assumption. Those who use the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal or an earlier one (but not more than 17 years before 1962) observe the day established by Pius XII.

It is kept as the patronal feast of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, of the Society of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and of the Missionary Society of the Heart of Mary.[15]

The celebration of this feast is omitted in those years when it is impeded by a higher ranking feast. This would apply when it is due to fall on 24 June (Nativity of St John the Baptist) and 29 June (Feast of Saints Peter and Paul), and more rarely 31 May (Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and 3 July (Saint Thomas the Apostle). (Note that there may be variations in local calendars. For example, this feast is not impeded in England and Wales in 2019 since the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul will be celebrated on Sunday 30 June.)

The month of August in traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Related devotions[edit]

Seven Dolors[edit]

Traditional depictions of the Immaculate Heart show it pierced with seven wounds or swords, a reference to the seven dolors of Mary, a popular Roman Catholic devotion. There are devotional prayers which consist of meditation on her Seven Sorrows.[19]

The Miraculous Medal[edit]

The Immaculate Heart pierced by a sword, appearing on the Miraculous Medal

The devotion to Mary's Heart has had a greater flowering following the manifestation of the Miraculous Medal to Catherine Labouré in 1830.[4] The Immaculate Heart is depicted on the Miraculous Medal,[20] pierced by a sword. The Sacred Heart of Jesus also appears on the medal, next to the Immaculate Heart, crowned with thorns.

Five First Saturdays[edit]

The pious practice of honoring Mary on Saturday is an ancient custom largely attributed to the Benedictine monk Alcuin (735–804).[21] Our Lady of Fátima reportedly asked that, in reparation for the sins committed against her Immaculate Heart, that a Catholic believer receive go the Sacrament of Penance (within eight days before or after the first Saturday), and on the first Saturday of five consecutive months receive the Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep her company for 15 minutes while meditating on the 15 mysteries of the Rosary. She promised that, whoever would ever do this, would be given the graces necessary for salvation at the hour of their death.[22]

Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary[edit]

The "Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary" is a Roman Catholic devotional scapular.[23] It originated in 1877 with the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians).[24] It was sanctioned and endowed with indulgences by Pope Pius IX in May 1877. The scapular was later approved by the Congregation of Rites in 1907 and assigned indulgences.[25]

The scapular is made of white fabric and the front has an image of the burning heart of Mary, out of which grows a lily; the heart is encircled by a wreath of roses and pierced with a sword.[26][24] A Crux immissa or an image of Mater Misericordiæ appears on the reverse.

Consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary[edit]

During the third apparition at Fátima, Portugal, on 13 July 1917, the Virgin Mary reportedly said to the three little shepherd visionaries: "God wishes to establish the devotion to her Immaculate Heart in the world" in order to save souls from hell and bring about world peace, and also asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.

From the beginning of the 20th century the Holy See received many requests that the world be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.[27] In June 1938, the Portuguese bishops forwarded a request to Pius XI for the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They had themselves consecrated Portugal in May 1931. At that time Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) was the secretary of the state of the Vatican, and later he performed the consecration of the world.[28]

  • On October 31, 1942, Pius XII broadcast a radio address entitled Benedicite Deum to thousands of pilgrims who had come to Fatima to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the last apparition of Our Lady.[28] He concluded his address by consecrating the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:[29]

    Finally, just as the Church and the entire human race were consecrated to the Heart of your Jesus, [...] so, in like manner, they are henceforth perpetually consecrated to you, to your Immaculate Heart, Oh our Mother, and Queen of the world: in order that your love and protection may hasten the triumph of the kingdom of God.[30]

  • Pius renewed the consecration again on December 8, 1942 at St. Peter's Basilica.[31]
  • Pope Paul VI renewed this consecration on November 21, 1964.[32]
  • On May 13, 1982 in Fatima, after concelebrating Mass, Pope John Paul II consecrated the whole world and peoples to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, "In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nations which particularly need to be entrusted and consecrated...The power of this consecration lasts for all time and embraces all individuals, peoples and nations."
  • On December 8, 1982, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, at the end of the Mass he celebrated in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, he renewed the act of consecration of the Church and the world to Mary before the image of Our Lady "Salus Populi Romani".[33]
  • On October 8, 2000, John Paul II made an act of entrustment of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the new millennium.[34]
  • Pope Francis renewed the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 13 October 2013 in Rome, as part of the Marian Day celebration that involved the iconic statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima.[35]


  • Pope Pius XII, in his Apostolic Letter of 7 July 1952 Sacro Vergente, consecrated the peoples of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.[36]
  • On 25 March 1984 Pope John Paul II made the solemn act of consecration of the world, and of Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary[37] before the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Fátima brought to Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican for the occasion.
  • Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis both have re-consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart in 2010 and 2013, respectively.
  • During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, on 25 March 2022 – the Solemnity of the AnnunciationPope Francis consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with all Roman Catholic bishops and priests from all over the world to implore an end to the war. This act of consecration was pronounced by the Pope Francis on the afternoon of Friday 25 March in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican City, and, on the same day, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, performed the same act of consecration at Fátima, Portugal, as the envoy of the Pope.[38]

Countries consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary[edit]

Dioceses consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary[edit]

In 2017, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, a number of bishops consecrated or renewed a previous consecration of their dioceses to Mary under the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Among these were: the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama (14 January 2017, Bishop Robert J. Baker), Diocese of Tyler, Texas (13 May 2017, Bishop Joseph E. Strickland), Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Missouri (13 May 2017, Bishop James Vann Johnston), Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island (13 May 2017, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin), Diocese of Worcester (MA) (June 3, 2017),[51] Diocese of Lansing (Bishop Earl Boyea, August 13, 2017).[52]

Also consecrated or re-consecrated were the Archdiocese of San Francisco, California (7 October 2017, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone),[53] Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona (13 October 2017, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted),[54] and the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida (6 May 2018, Bishop Gregory Parkes).[55]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e Bainvel, Jean. "Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 20 December 2012
  2. ^ "The Biblical Symbolism of the Immaculate Heart of Mary". 25 October 2019.
  3. ^ "The Immaculate Heart of Mary", Catholic News Agency
  4. ^ a b c Mauriello, Matthew R., "Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary", University of Dayton
  5. ^ Luke 2:35
  6. ^ Hanna, James K. (2016) "The Patristic Pre-History of Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary," Marian Studies: Vol. 67, Article 6, pp. 133-158
  7. ^ a b Roten, Johan G. "The Heart of Mary", Marian Library, University of Dayton, June 4, 2013
  8. ^ Murphy, John F., Mary's Immaculate Heart, The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, 1951
  9. ^ Life of the Venerable John Eudes by Charles De Montzey, Cousens Press 2008, ISBN 1-4097-0537-4 page 215
  10. ^ Saints and feasts of the liturgical year by Joseph N. Tylenda 2003 ISBN 0-87840-399-X page 118
  11. ^ "The Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Inspiration of Mary's Love", The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, June 20. 2020
  12. ^ Goyau, Georges. "Paris." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 9 Aug. 2014
  13. ^ Bainvel, Jean. "Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 9 Aug. 2014
  14. ^ MacErlean, Andrew. "Ven. Antonio María Claret y Clará." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 16 (Index). New York: The Encyclopedia Press, 1914. 3 August 2022 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  15. ^ a b Holweck, Frederick. "Feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 10 March 2015
  16. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 94
  17. ^ Compare 22 August in the Tridentine Calendar with the same date on the General Roman Calendar as in 1954
  18. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), pp. 94, 135
  19. ^ "Our Lady of Sorrows", Marian Library, University of Dayton
  20. ^ Glass, Joseph. "Miraculous Medal." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 20 December 2012
  21. ^ "Saturday Devotions : University of Dayton, Ohio". Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  22. ^ First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Archived May 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Matthew Bunson, 2004, Encyclopedia of Catholic History, OSV Press ISBN 978-1-59276-026-8 page 804
  24. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHilgers, Joseph (1912). "Scapular". In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  25. ^ Carroll, Michael P. (1 January 1992). The Cult of the Virgin Mary: Psychological Origins. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691028672.
  26. ^ Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 0-87973-910-X page 217
  27. ^ Baker, Kenneth, Fundamentals of Catholicism, Vol. 2, Ignatius Press, 2016, no paginationISBN 9781681497327
  28. ^ a b Calkins, Arthur Burton. Totus tuus: John Paul II's program of Marian consecration and entrustment, 1992, ISBN 0-9635345-0-5 page 97
  29. ^ Mary's Immaculate Heart by John F. Murphy 2007 ISBN 1-4067-3409-8 pages 96-103
  30. ^ Papal Documents on Mary, (W.J. Doheny, C.S.C. and J.P. Kelly, S.T.D.,eds.) The Bruce Publishing Co., Milwaukee, 1954, pp. 202-204
  31. ^ Christian social witness and teaching, Volume 2 by Rodger Charles 1998 ISBN 0-85244-461-3 pages 104-106
  32. ^ Apostolicae Sedis, 56, 1964, p. 1017
  33. ^ "Prayer of Consecration to Mary by Pope John Paul II 1982", Marian Library, University of Dayton
  34. ^ Pope John Paul II, Jubilee of Bishops, Rome, 8 October 2000; retrieved June 13, 2012.
  35. ^ "Our Lady of Fatima and Pope Francis' consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary", Archdiocese of Baltimore
  36. ^ "The Revelation of the Immaculate Heart at Fatima in 1917 | EWTN".
  37. ^ Davis, Matthew. "Archbishop to reconsecrate archdiocese to Immaculate Heart of Mary", The Catholic Spirit, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, September 6, 2017
  38. ^ "Pope invites bishops to join him in consecration of Russia and Ukraine - Vatican News". Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  39. ^ "Consecration of Canada to the Immaculate Heart of Mary", Ottawa Marian Congress 1947
  40. ^ "England and Wales consecrated once again to the Immaculate Heart of Mary", Diocese of Shrewsbury
  41. ^ Reis, fsp, Bernadette Mary. "Bishops in the Philippines will consecrate the country to Mary", Vatican News, 1 May 2020
  42. ^ "Consecrating Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary". Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  43. ^ "Vilniaus arkivyskupija | Consecration of Lithuania to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Patroness of Lithuania". Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  44. ^ The Catholic Standard and Times, Volume 67, Number 6, 27 October 1961
  45. ^ "Cardinal consecrates Brazil to Immaculate Heart of Mary", ACI Prensa, May 14, 2020
  46. ^ Rodrigues, Marilyn. "Bishops re-consecrate Australia to Our Lady", Catholic Weekly, May 25, 2020
  47. ^ Noun, Fady. "Lebanon and the Middle East "consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace in the region", AsiaNews, June 13, 2016
  48. ^ Samasumo, Paul. "Bishops of Cameroon re-consecrate the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.", Vatican News, 24 April 2022
  49. ^ Toluono, Tiufea Tuu’u Mikaele Toluono. "10th anniversary of the consecration celebrated", Samoa Observer, 10 December 2017
  50. ^ "Consecration embraced 22 countries whose Bishops joined the Portuguese and Spanish prelates", Santuário de Fátima, 25 March, 2020
  51. ^ "Diocese to be Consecrated to Immaculate Heart of Mary". Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester, May 30, 2017
  52. ^ "Act of Consecration of the Parishes of the Diocese of Lansing", Roman Catholic Diocese of Lansing
  53. ^ "Living the Consecration", Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco
  54. ^ "Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary", The Catholic Sun, Diocese of Phoenix, September 18, 2017
  55. ^ "Diocese of St. Petersburg Will Be Consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on May 6", Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Peterburg, February 2, 2018

External links[edit]

Media related to Immaculate Heart of Mary at Wikimedia Commons