The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century – Mother Marie of Jesus

Blessed Marie Deluil-MartinyArticle

(Marie Caroline Deluil-Martigny) On 27 February 1884, an anarchist broke into the convent garden of La Servianne at Marseilles, rushed upon the superior, Mother Marie of Jesus, and her attendant, and fired five pistol shots at them, wounding them both mortally. The superior fell covered with blood. “I forgive him. All for the cause” were her last and only words. The assassin had accomplished the ruthless deed with cool deliberation and out of hatred for religion, as is evident from a letter he had written some hours before to an anarchistic newspaper so that his intention might be clearly understood.

The unfortunate man had no idea that he was gratifying the heart’s desire of his victim. To suffer for Our Lord, even to shed her blood for Him, was the ardent longing of Marie Caroline Deluil-Martigny from her very childhood. Often had she offered her life to Our Saviour in sacrifice for the many crimes committed against Him by indifference and unbelief. A short time before her death she had written: “What deep sorrow seizes one at the sight of the ever-increasing godlessness of our time and the seducing triumphs of anti-Christian societies. Oh, could I but expiate with my blood those insults offered to the Divine Majesty!” She considered it the purpose of her life to make atonement to Our Lord for the ingratitude of the world.

After mature deliberation and with the assistance of Father John Calage, S.J., she established the Daughters of the Heart of Jesus with the object of manifesting a love of expiation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This aim was to be attained chiefly by an imitation of the spiritual priesthood of the Mother of Sorrows. Besides this, the Congregation included as its special work constant prayer for priests, since on the zeal of these the glory of God particularly depends. The first house of the Society was established at Berchem, a suburb of Antwerp, in 1873. This idea of expiatory work met with great approval from Cardinal Deschamps of Malines and from Monsignor Van den Berge. The foundress was soon able to put her plan into practice in her own country. She had long before sacrificed her will entirely to God, and now the Lord accepted also her sacrifice of her life. Her cruel death drew the attention of the world to her hidden life of virtue and won for her work the blessing of God and the favor of many friends. The process of her beatification was begun in 1908.

MLA Citation

  • Father Constantine Kempf, SJ. “Mother Marie of Jesus”. The Holiness of the Church in the Nineteenth Century: Saintly Men and Women of Our Own Times, 1916. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 March 2018. Web. 26 September 2018. <>