The following article by Fr. Louis Verheylezoon, S.J., represents a classical treatment of the history and nature of devotion to Our Lady’s most Immaculate Heart. – Asst. Ed.

Before the thirteenth century there is no trace to be found of a special devotion to the Heart of Mary. The first pious considerations on this subject occur in the writings of St. Mechtilde (1298), St. Gertrude (1302), Tauler (1361), St. Bernardine of Siena (1444), Justus Landsberger (1539), and especially of St. Francis of Sales (1622).

From the sixteenth century onward, theologians and spiritual writers make mention of this devotion. St. John Eudes (1680) quotes, among the writers who speak of it, twelve Jesuits, whom he calls “the twelve apostles of the divine Heart of Mary,” the most famous of whom are: St. Peter Canisius, Suarez, Nierenberg and Cornelius a Lapide. […]

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