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Marguerite of the Holy-Sacrament


Marguerite of the Holy-Sacrament



The Spouse of the Infant King


Innocence, purity, simplicity ... These are the virtues that Marguerite of the Holy Sacrament promised to those who would contemplate the mystery of Jesus in his childhood. Our world, so complicated, so agitated, opens to the peace that comes from the Crib which Jesus reveals the secret: "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 19, 14).


1637. After twelve years of marriage, King Louis XIII and Anne of Austria still have no children. Marguerite of the Holy Sacrament, in the depths of her monastery of Beaune, prays for France. But one stormy night, the King took refuge in the Louvre where the Queen stays. So was the future Louis XIV conceived.



“Consider the Child Jesus in the Crib, small and helpless, who is giving himself entirely to you”.

Sr. Marguerite of the Holy-Sacrament



But the young Carmelite will remind the world that the real king is not the Sun-King, but the Christ ! She, whose size will never exceed that of a twelve year old girl, is chosen, in time of war and misery, to spread the radiance of the spirit of childhood; because from the Crib to the Cross, the Little King of Grace to the King crowned with thorns, Jesus wishes to reign over our hearts.




A founder of six months


February 7th, 1619 in Beaune, Jeanne Bataille, wife of Pierre Parigot, gave birth to her fifth child. She will have two more babies. This deeply Christian couple lives comfortably from their land and vines revenues. The little Margaret was baptized on the same day. Six months later, an important event occurs: the nuns of the Carmelite convent of Dijon, founded in 1605, after many efforts and difficulties, opened a Carmelite convent in Beaune. The Canon who yields to the Carmelite the Saint-Etienne Priory is none other than the great uncle of Margaret. Thus he poses a condition to this transfer: that his niece is to be received at the monastery, when she is old enough, as a "founder"!


Just like weddings, which were arranged, so are prepared vocations. Marguerite could rebel from being intended to the cloister! Yet the Holy Spirit will fall upon this child's soul and precociously will lead her to a surprising spiritual maturity. She is gentle and docile, graceful, and to these natural gifts is to be added a growing piety. At the age of five the Holy-Sacrament attracts her like a magnet and she made to God, in his secret heart, the offering of herself.


Sometimes, the cold seizes her so much that she thinks fainting in the church, but the Holy Spirit covers her with a gentle heat allowing her to continue her prayer. Early too, and supernatural, is her vibrant and tenderness attraction for the poor, so many in these times of wars and epidemics. She accompanies her mother in her visits to the sick and overcomes her reluctance by changing soiled dressings. The destitution of Jesus that she contemplates in the crib leads her to the disgust of wealth, fine clothes and fine foods.



"Draw on the treasures of my Childhood; nothing will be refused."

Jesus to Sr. Margaret






Not to show our suffering


Everything seems to smile Marguerite: slender, a thin face, a lovable character, a delightful smile, she charms all those who know her. But it suffers from fits of melancholy, sadness; she sees monsters, hear cries. Her fits of convulsions makes her mother cry of anxiety. Each time she brings her in front of the Holy Sacrament. From this nervous instability, Marguerite will never heal completely.


In the middle of the worst moral and physical suffering, Marguerite keeps peace and serenity. She resists the temptations and assaults of despair; her rescue is prayer, day and night. She writes at the age of ten this surprising reflection which explains her even temper: When Good God sends us sufferings, we must strive to hide them in us and not show them to others that are not supposed to carry them.


The death of Madame Parigot makes an abrupt end to the childhood of Marguerite. On her deathbed, her mother consoles her and promises her that she will be a Carmelite. Marguerite, shattered, runs to the church Notre Dame. Prostrated before the statue of the Virgin Mary, she begs her to replace her mother and understands in her heart that she is answered.



Enclosed in Jesus' childhood


The evening of the funeral, Margaret, in her mourning dress, is led by her father to the Carmelite convent. Despite her grief, she was immediately filled with joy. She is welcomed by Mother Elizabeth of the Trinity, Prioress, and Mother Mary of the Trinity, mistress of the novices. For two hours, the resident of eleven and a half will discuss with the two holy women with passionate comments about the Blessed Sacrament. The very next day she is admitted to do her first communion and hear Jesus call her: My little spouse.


This girl, whose wisdom and seriousness stood out from the other children, adapts very quickly to the life of the community. She discovers the devotion to the Infant Jesus, prosperous in Carmelite convent since Saint Teresa of Avila and advocated by the French School, then booming. Marguerite endorses, without difficulty, the bérulien vocabulary: The Child Jesus confined me in the twelve years of his childhood.


But once the excitement of the first discoveries fell, the temptations took up again. She sees the hand of the devil, ugly animals, plagues to come; she loses sleep and cannot take any food while atrocious convulsions twist her limbs, followed by long slumbers, crises of fears and tears. The doctors speak of epilepsy, yet intrigued by the lucidity, modesty and gentleness of which the young patient did not lose. On June 6th, 1631, at the age of twelve, exhausted and thinner, Margaret received the habit of a novice; two days later she is trepanned, in all conscience sitting on a little straw chair. She thinks about the crowning with thorns, exhales a sigh and is docile, while doctors who seek a tumor in the skull discovered a brain perfectly healthy. The crises follow one another until July 31st where the apparition of the Infant Jesus, sitting on the edge of a well, healed Marguerite.



The Spirit of Childhood is a condition in which we have to live from day to day.

Gaston de Renty




The spirit of childhood and the grace of the Cross


Marguerite can begin her novitiate. In August, Jesus invites her to be participant in the condition of his childhood. During six months she will be like in a perpetual paradise. Her sisters sees her sometimes washed with purity, embalmed with chastity, her face shining with dazzling white, abstaining for a time from food. It is her virtues that particularly strike her companions and her superiors: a humility often put to the test, an obedience that takes over her whole and independent nature.

On February 7th 1632, Jesus encouraged her to penance: You must now learn the science of my Cross. Such as Therese of Lisieux two centuries later, Margaret is charged of the weight of sinners. Diseases, sufferings and infirmities will no longer leave her. Warned of the sins and the disorders that occur in a monastery or in the person of a priest, she feels bitterness and anxiety, she suffers for the proud and the unclean, for the vain souls, for the lazy and blasphemers.


It is during the Epiphany of 1632 that she signs her act of consecration: The spouse of the Holy Infant Jesus in his crib. She does her solemn profession on June 24th, 1635; Jesus appears to her in the form of as a child, giving her ring, crown and robe with this promise: I will refuse nothing to your prayers.

The year 1636 is terrible for France: wars, invasions, sieges. Jesus confides to Margaret: It is through the merits of the mystery of my childhood that you will overcome all difficulties. Margaret then creates the "Family of the Holy Infant Jesus" whose "domestics" will live the virtues of Childhood and will recite the Little Crown. This devotion soon leaves the limits of the monastery. The enemy army withdraws and Burgundy will experience two centuries of peace.



“I have chosen you to make known to men how much I love them and how much I deeply grieve their ingratitude”.


Jesus to Sr. Marguerite






The arrival of the little King


December 15th, 1637, while all France pray for the birth of an heir to the throne of Louis XIII, Marguerite is informed of the pregnancy of the queen, before Anne of Austria herself! Now King of France, Louis XIV will come to the Carmelite convent of Beaune in 1658 to thank the sisters for their prayers. But that is another king that will make his entrance to the monastery.


Indeed, the fame of Margaret reaches the ears of a Norman noble man, the Baron Gaston de Renty. He goes to the Carmelite convent in 1643 without seeing Marguerite who lives more and more a life of seclusion. He sends her, in November, the statue that will become the beloved Little King of Grace. Due to a misunderstanding, this statue arrives, humbly, with the mail: I was very surprised, writes Mr. de Renty a month later, when I learned that the little Jesus was brought by the Post Office. My God! How is it that everything has not been broken to be shaken during nearly a hundred leagues!


A few years before Marguerite had the inspiration to build a chapel dedicated to the Infant Jesus: it will be consecrated on Christmas Day 1639. The Little King’s arrival coincides with the death of Mother Marie of the Trinity in December 1643. In 1644, Gaston de Renty meets Marguerite: The Son of God did such close connection of these two souls that it was only one heart and one spirit. This holy man who is the spiritual director of the prioress, Mother Elizabeth of the Trinity, puts himself in the hands of the young Carmelite 25 years: I abandon myself to you, my dearest sister, in order that you form me according to the desire of your holy Husband.




“When all will be consumed, the Infant Jesus will draw me to him”


In March 1648, she is moved to the infirmary from which she will stay until the end. While her body is an abyss of suffering, her soul is an abyss of peace and joy: It seemed that this was not a mortal creature, but a soul already regenerated by glory. Until the end, she thanks her sisters and consoles them: You will always find me in the Holy Sacrament. She dies May 26th in the morning. Then come to Carmelite monastery a procession of faithful and a huge mail to pay a last tribute to the little saint.


Gaston de Renty, who will follow soon his soul sister, writes: God took to heaven that the earth was not worthy of possessing. Saint John-Eudes saw Marguerite shortly before her death: I cannot express the respect and devotion that the Holy Infant Jesus printed in our hearts in the light of his holy spouse; we have already experienced several effects of his charity, spiritual and bodily. Indeed, granting and miracles follow one another. Margaret was declared Venerable in 1873.





The Little Crown of the Infant Jesus


Sister Marguerite received the inspiration in 1636. It consists of a rosary of fifteen grains. In the first three, we say an Our Father in honor of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Of the following twelve one recites a Hail Mary while meditating on the mysteries of the Childhood of Jesus: the Incarnation, the stay of the Word in the womb of Mary, the Nativity, his home in the stable, his Circumcision, Epiphany, the Presentation at the Temple, the flight into Egypt, the return from Egypt, the hidden life in Nazareth, his travels with Joseph and Mary, his stay at the Temple among the doctors.

As Marguerite affirmed in her pure and confident faith: The Holy Infant Jesus has more care of our souls and our needs than we would have ourselves.








The Infant Jesus of Beaune


The "Little King of Grace" is one of three main miraculous "Infant Jesus" with the Santo Bambino of Rome and the Infant Jesus of Prague.

Offered to Sister Marguerite by the Baron de Renty, this wooden statuette, 58 centimeters high, painted and articulated, can be dressed in sumptuous clothes coming from all over the world.

The devotion to the Little King's spread rapidly and its influence was particularly apparent for difficult births, healing of newborns, trials, vocations, marriages and "good death".

During the French Revolution, the expelled nuns, thanks to courageous friends, put him away in a wooden cabinet that can still be seen today. He was worshiped in secret until 28 December 1878 when, at the instigation of the priest of Saint-Nicolas, a solemn feast in the presence of the Bishop of Dijon marked the resumption of the public worship of the Little King. Many accounts show us that He continues his mission of mercy and protection, as assured Sister Marguerite: A straw of his crib, a strip of swaddling, this is enough to keep the enemy at bay.









The great century of the souls


France, in the early seventeenth century, was covered with luminous dew. I speak of this century in which, stronger than plague and hunger, the grace of God was manifested. The Court itself did not escape this contagion of holiness that Bremond called "the mystical invasion". Mentioning it leads us to a veritable litany of saints, martyrs of love, stigmatized persons, ecstatics and visionaries, people with social status or humble shepherdesses. The saints are given to us so that through them we receive the gifts and charismas which were theirs, so that we continue their mission, whether hidden or apostolic.

After the Council of Trent (1563), the Church underwent a period of uncertainty where all kinds of deviance were manifested, but also an authentic work of the Holy Spirit, regeneration, a spiritual seething perhaps unequaled. The Second Vatican Council announces a new Pentecost. This Pentecost was called the Pentecost of love and prophesied as end-time by the last great figure of the seventeenth century, St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort. The end of the great century of souls gave rendez-vous to the centuries of the little souls whose great theologian is Therese.




Gaston de Renty



Noble lords and ladies of that time were not just finding funds; they would sometimes heal themselves the sick. So Gaston de Renty he gave up his titles of nobility and all his possessions to look after the poor. He transformed into a hospital his castle of Beny, in the diocese of Bayeux, and, with his wife and two daughters, he served the poor on his knees.

He became a true soul brother of Sister Marguerite who yet dissuaded him to leave the world for a very retired religious life. Instead, she encouraged him to take care of his family and his charity work, especially the Company of Saint-Sacrament intended to promote piety among the high society.

It was at Christmas 1643 that he offered to the Carmelite convent of Beaune the statue of the "Little King of Grace" probably carved by him, a sign of his devotion to the spiritual childhood: The Childhood of Our Lord is a state where we must die to everything and where the soul lives in abandonment, looking neither ahead nor behind.

He died of exhaustion at the age 37 by helping victims of epidemics during the terrible winter of 1649.



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