The Sacred Heart of Jesus

What is it?  Why is it here?  Why we are promoting it?

History of the Sacred Heart Devotion

  • Origin of Devotion 11th Century
  • Initial Image of God
  • Connection to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and the Salesian Charism–different image of God through love of Christ
  • Birth of First Friday Devotion
  • 2 Promises Given By Christ
  • Propagated by the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary
  • Instituted into the Universal Church
  • Feast Day
  • Religious Orders dedicated to the Sacred Heart
  • 12 Promises revealed to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
  • Height of Devotion (?)
  • Church’s Devotion to the Sacred Heart today (Globally and in the US)

Praying and Reflecting with the Sacred Heart

Links to Recommended Prayers

Links to Recommended Poetry

Links to Recommended Songs

Links to Recommended Images

Links and abstracts for Recommended Books

Lesson Ideas for the Sacred Heart

PK-1st Grade

  • Have students connect how great Christ’s love and mercy is through making a large heart for the entire class and each of their names can be placed inside.  Have them remove a “thorn” as they do good deeds throughout a specified period of time.

2nd-3rd Grade

  • Have students learn about the important role that a heart plays in our own body’s and how Christ’s heart is to the Church body.  Through prayer and repentance (doing things to show we are sorry) we can repair the wounds on Christ’s heart.  What are some things we can do to remove the thorns?  (as they name things, have the child who gives the answer remove one of the thorns.)

4th-5th Grade

  • Complete a diagram analysis of the symbols of the Sacred Heart.  Break down each symbol and spend some time reflecting with the specific symbol included in the image for a time (crown of thorns during Lent, flame during Advent, blood during Easter and Christmas, etc).

Middle School/Junior High

  • Complete a diagram analysis of the symbols of the Sacred Heart.  Break down each symbol and spend some time reflecting with the specific symbol included in the image for a time (crown of thorns during Lent, flame during Advent, blood during Easter and Christmas, etc).

High School

  • Have students research other religious orders who have blazed the trail to devotion to the Sacred Heart.  Ask students to present about these “trailblazer” individuals and orders who have been inspired by St. Margaret Mary to carry on her devotion.

Interdisciplinary Connections

  • English Idea: Ask students to read and discuss the 12 Promises for the Sacred Heart.  Invite students to write the 12 promises in their own words (rephrasing, paraphrasing) on a scroll that they will bring home to place near an image of the Sacred Heart already resting there (or have students create their own images of the Sacred Heart to place in their homes).  Discuss with students the honor given to sacred images in the home.
  • Social Studies: Timeline of devotion 11th Century to present.  What persecutions is the Church going through.  Position essay on St. Margaret Mary (taking the role of another character: postulate, novitiate, mother superior, etc.)
  • Art History Idea: Evaluate a variety of  images of the Sacred Heart for artistic, theological, and personal significance.
  • Biology Connection: Discuss the physical heart and its vital workings for life and use this model to discuss our heart’s need for Jesus.

Related Topics

Some broader resources on the topic; Church Teachings, Relevant examples of saints, Others outside of the Salesian tradition working with these themes, connection to the greater Catholic Church–can link to existing resources

  • First Friday Devotion
  • Enthroning of the Sacred Heart
  • Guard of the Sacred Heart
  • First Sacred Heart World Congress
  • Holy See Homilies & Encyclicals on the Sacred Heart
  • Pope Leo XIII
  • Pope Pius XI
  • Pope Pius XII
  • Pope John XXIII
  • Pope John Paul II
  • Pope Benedict XVI

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