Alacoque was born in 1647 in L'Hautecour, now part of the commune of Verosvres, then in the Duchy of Burgundy, the only daughter of Claude Alacoque and Philiberte Lamyn, who had also several sons. From early childhood, Margaret was described as showing intense love for the Blessed Sacrament, and as preferring silence and prayer to childhood play. After her First Communion at the age of nine, she was confined to her bed with rheumatic fever for four years. At the end of this period, having made a vow to the Blessed Virgin to consecrate herself to religious life, she was instantly restored to perfect health. In recognition of this favor, she added the name Mary to her baptismal name of Margaret. According to her later account of her life, she had visions of Jesus Christ, which she thought were a normal part of human experience and continued to practice austerity.
Alacoque lost her father at a young age, and the family's assets were held by a relative who refused to hand them over, plunging her family into poverty. During this time, her only consolations were frequent visits to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the local church. When she was 17, however, the family regained their fortune and her mother encouraged her to go in society, in the hopes of her finding a suitable husband. Out of obedience, and believing that her childhood vow was no longer binding, she began to accompany her brothers in the social events of her society, attending dances and balls.
Her story does not end here…