to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is connected on many points with that to
the Heart of Jesus; nevertheless, it has its own history. The attention
of Christians was early attracted by the love and virtues of the Heart
of Mary, symbolized by her heart.
prophecy in Luke 2:33-34 paved the way and furnished devotion with one
of its favorite formula and most popular representations: the heart
pierced with a sword. Saint Luke's Gospel says that Mary kept all the
sayings and doings of Jesus in her heart, that she might ponder them and
live by them.
Indications of a regular devotion are perceived in a sermon by Saint Bernard (d. 1180), De duodecim stellis, from which
extract has been taken by the Church and used in the Offices
of Compassion and of the Seven Dolors. Stronger evidence is discernible
in the pious meditations on the Ave Maria and the Salve
Regina, usually attributed to Saint Anselm of Lucca (d. 1080) or Saint Bernard.
Eudes (d. 1681) propagated the devotion to make it public, first in
Autun in 1648 and afterward in a number of French dioceses. He
established religious societies interested in upholding and promoting
devotion. His efforts to secure a feast failed in Rome but the devotion
progressed. In 1699 Father Pinamonti (d. 1703) published in Italian his
beautiful little work on the Holy Heart of Mary, and in 1725 Pere 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
In 1799 Pius VI, then in captivity
at 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 Pius VII made a new concession, thanks to which the feast
was soon widely observed. In 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated
the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Sources: Catholic Encyclopedia - 1913 edition
and Women for Faith and Family Website