ARCHIVES: Guard of Honor – 2

God prepares His eminent works for long ages, as we see from Salvation History in the Holy Scriptures.

This was no exception in the case of the future Guard of Honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The Visitation Monastery of Bourg-en-Bresse- which was to be the cradle of this holy organization, was also prepared for this great blossoming of devotion.

Established  with the encouragement of the Order’s Foundress, St Jane de Chantal, this Monastery began to develop a strong devotion to the Lord’s Sacred Heart, after the revelations of  the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary in its sister Monastery in Paray-le-Monial.

Different ways of honoring His Heart were developed and devotees grouped themselves into pious societies.

In 1825, some 38 years before the Guard of Honor was founded, a venerable priest of Bourg, Fr.  Chappuis, understood that the devotion to the Heart of Jesus had its natural center within the monasteries of the Visitation. He offered to transfer the existing Confraternity of the Sacred Heart from the parish church of Notre Dame to the Visitation Monastery of Bourg. This was welcomed by the community. It was then raised to an  Archconfraternity, with the ability to register names of associates and to have  periodic reunions of its members.

Then a Jesuit priest, Fr Simon, knowing that Jesuits and Visitandines share the beautiful mission of cultivating devotion to the Sacred Heart, came to Bourg to continue this mission.

In 1834, under the protection of St Joseph, the Visitandines offered their chapel with appropriate permission, to be a public oratory for the devotion to the Sacred Heart. They constructed a cupola, placing in relief the images of St John the Evangelist, Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, the Apostle St. Thomas, St Francis de Sales and St Jane de Chantal, all friends of the Heart of Jesus. His Heart dominated the sanctuary and the altar and  all converged towards his Heart.

The vitality of the Confraternity, the manifestation of love toward the Sacred Heart, was in large part due to the zeal of Fr Simon. But he was given another responsibility and was replaced by Abbe Desseignez, who brought the work of the Sacred Heart to completion.

 To be continued

Source: Bulletin of the Guard of Honor, 1892)

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