Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012- Litany Lane: Parable, Psalm 116, 29th Sunday John 6: 51-58, St. Jean Eudes, Caen Normandy France (D Day), The Congregation of Jesus and Mary, Most Sacred Heart of Jesus & Immaculate Heart of Mary

Sunday, August 19, 2012- Litany Lane:
Parable, Psalm 116, 29th Sunday John 6: 51-58, St. Jean Eudes, Caen  Normandy France (D Day), The Congregation of Jesus and Mary, Most Sacred Heart of Jesus & Immaculate Heart of Mary

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7..

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  venerable   par·a·ble  [pawr-uh-buh]

Origin:  1275–1325; Middle English parabil  < Late Latin parabola  comparison, parable, word < Greek parabolḗ  comparison, equivalent to para- para-1  + bolḗ  a throwing

1. a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.
2. a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Psalm 116

What return can I make to Yahweh
for his generosity to me?
I shall take up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of Yahweh.
I shall fulfill my vows to Yahweh,
witnessed by all his people.
Costly in Yahweh's sight
is the death of his faithful.
I beg you, Yahweh!
I am your servant,
I am your servant
and my mother was your servant;
you have undone my fetters.
I shall offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of Yahweh.
I shall fulfill my vows to Yahweh,
witnessed by all his people,
in the courts of the house of Yahweh,
in your very heart, Jerusalem.


Today's Gospel Reading - John 6:51-58

Jesus, the bread of life
John 6:51-58
Let us invoke the presence of God 

a) The Gospel: John 6:51-58

"I am the living bread"- John 6:51
51 I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.' 52 Then the Jews started arguing among themselves, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' 53 Jesus replied to them: In all truth I tell you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person. 57 As the living Father sent me and I draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will also draw life from me. 58 This is the bread which has come down from heaven; it is not like the bread our ancestors ate: they are dead, but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.

b) A moment of silence: Let us allow the voice of the Word to resonate within us.


a) Some questions:
- I am the bread of life… Jesus, flesh and blood, bread and wine. These words work a change on the altar, as Augustine says: «If you take away the words, all you have is bread and wine; add the words and it becomes something else. This something else is the body and blood of Christ. Take the words away, all you have is bread and wine; add the words and they become sacrament». How important is the word of God for me? If the word is pronounced over my flesh can it make me become bread for the world?

b) Let us enter into the text:
v. 51. ”I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world”. John’s Gospel does not recount the institution of the Eucharist, but rather the meaning it assumes in the life of the Christian community. The symbolism of the washing of the feet and the new commandment (Jn 13:1-35) point to the bread broken and the wine poured. The theological content is the same as that in the synoptic Gospels. John’s ritual tradition can, however, be found in the “eucharistic discourse” that follows the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves (Jn 6:26-65). This text brings to light the deep meaning of Christ’s existence given for the world, a gift that is the source of life and that leads to a deep communion in the new commandment of membership. The reference to the ancient miracle of the manna explains the paschal symbolism where the idea of death is taken up and overcome by life: «Your fathers ate manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread which comes down from heaven, so that a person may eat it and not die» (Jn 6:49-50). The bread of heaven (cfr Es 16; Jn 6:31-32) figuratively or in reality is not meant so much for the individual as for the community of believers, even though everyone is called to partake personally of the food given for all. Anyone who eats the living bread will not die: the food of the revelation is the place where life never ends. From the bread, John goes on to use another expression to point to the body: sarx. In the Bible this word denotes a human person in his or her fragile and weak reality before God, and in John it denotes the human reality of the divine Word made man (Jn 1:14a): the bread is identified with the very flesh of Jesus. Here it is not a question of metaphorical bread, that is of the revelation of Christ in the world, but of the eucharistic bread. While revelation, that is the bread of life identified with the person of Jesus (Jn 6:35), is the gift of the Father (the verb to give is used in the present, v. 32), the eucharistic bread, that is the body of Jesus will be offered by him through his death on the cross prefigured in the consecration of the bread and wine at the supper: «and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world» (Jn 6:51).

v. 52. Then the Jews started arguing among themselves, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’. Here begins the drama of a way of thinking that stops at the threshold of the visible and material and dares not cross the veil of the mystery. This is the scandal of those who believe without believing… of those who pretend to know but do not know. Flesh to eat: the celebration of the Passover, the perennial rite that will go on from generation to generation, a feast for the Lord and a memorial (cfr Es 12:14), whose meaning is Christ. Jesus’ invitation to do what he has done “in memory” of him, is paralleled in the words of Moses when he prescribes the paschal anamnesis: “This day must be commemorated by you, and you must keep it as a feast ” (Ex 12,14). Now, we know that for the Jews the celebration of the Passover was not just a remembrance of a past event, but also its ritualisation, in the sense that God was ready to offer again to his people the salvation needed in new and different circumstances. Thus the past intruded into the present, leavening by its saving power. In the same way the eucharistic sacrifice “will be able” to give to the centuries “flesh to eat”. 

vv. 53. Jesus said: “In all truth I tell you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you”. John, like the synoptic Gospels, uses various expressions when speaking of Christ’s giving of himself in death, not wishing thus to convey a separation of parts, but the totality of the person given: the spiritualised corporeity of the risen Christ, fully permeated by the Holy Spirit in the Paschal event, will become source of life for all believers, especially through the Eucharist, that unites closely each on of them with the glorified Christ seated at the right hand of the Father, and making each one partake of his own divine life. John does not mention bread and wine, but directly what is signified by them: flesh to eat because Christ is presence that nourishes and blood to drink – a sacrilegious act for the Jews – because Christ is the sacrificed lamb. The sacramental liturgical character is here evident: Jesus insists on the reality of the flesh and of the blood referring to his death, because in the act of sacrificing the sacrificial victims the flesh became separated from the blood.

54. Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day. The Passover celebrated by Jesus, the Jew, and by the early Christians acquires a new soul: that of the resurrection of Christ, the final exodus of perfect and full freedom (Jn 19: 31-37), which in the Eucharist finds the new memorial, symbol of the Bread of life that sustains during the journey in the desert, sacrifice and presence that sustains the people of God, the Church, that, having crossed the waters of regeneration, will not tire of making memory, as he said, (Lk 22:19; 1Cor 11:24) until the eternal Passover. Attracted and penetrated by the presence of the Word made flesh, Christians will live their Pesach throughout history, the passage from the slavery of sin to the freedom of children of God. In conforming themselves to Christ, they will be able to proclaim the wonderful works of his admirable light, offering the eucharist of his corporeity: living sacrifice, holy and pleasing in a spiritual cult (Rom 12:1) that befits the people of his victory, a chosen race, a royal priesthood (cfr 1Pt 2:9).

vv. 55-56. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person. This promise of the life of Christ influences greatly the life of believers: «Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person» (Jn 6:56). The communion of life that Jesus has with the Father is offered to all who eat the sacrificed body of Christ. This is not to be understood as the magic concession of a sacramental food that automatically confers eternal life to those who eat it. This giving of the flesh and blood needs explanation to make it intelligible and to provide the necessary understanding of God’s action, it needs faith on the part of those who take part in the eucharistic banquet, and it needs first God’s action, that of his Spirit, without which there can be no listening or faith.

v. 57. As the living Father sent me and I draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will also draw life from me. The stress is not placed on the cult as the peak and foundation of love, but on the unity of the body of Christ living and working within the community. There is no liturgy without life. «A Eucharist without fraternal love is equal to self condemnation, because the body of Christ, that is the community, is despised». Indeed, in the eucharistic liturgy the past, present and future of the history of salvation find an efficient symbol for the Christian community, which expresses but never substitutes for the experience of faith that must always be present in history. Through the inseparable Supper and Cross, the people of God have come into the ancient promises, the true land across the sea, across the desert, across the river, a land of the milk and honey, of freedom capable of obedience. All the great ancient plans find in this hour (cfr Jn 17:1) their fulfilment; from the promise made to Abraham (Gn 17:1-8) to the Passover of the Exodus (Ex 12:1-51). This is a decisive moment that gathers the whole past of the people (cfr DV 4) and the first most noble Eucharist ever celebrated of the new covenant is offered to the Father: the fruitful fulfilment of all expectations on the altar of the cross.

v. 58. “This is the bread which has come down from heaven; it is not like the bread our ancestors ate: they are dead, but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever”. When Jesus pronounces the words: «This is my body», and, «This is my blood», he establishes a real and objective relationship between those material elements and the mystery of his death, which finds its crowning glory in the resurrection. These are creative words of a new situation with common elements in human experience, words that will always and truly realise the mysterious presence of the living Christ. The elements chosen were meant to be and are symbol and instrument at the same time. The element of bread, which because of its relationship to life has by itself an eschatological significance (cfr Lk 14:15), is easily seen as an indispensable food and a universal means of sharing. The element of wine, because of its natural symbolism, connotes the fullness of life and the expansion of the joy of a person (cfr Ps 103:15). In the existential Semite view, the effectiveness of the system of signs is taken for granted. It makes distinctions that make it possible to comprehend mysteries by faith where the senses fail. By referring and going back to the desert and the manna, this different “Pasch”, the material object and the sign come together, but concupiscence, which is from the flesh, transforms the sign into matter, while the desire, which is from the spirit, transforms the matter into sign» (P. Beauchamp, L’uno e l’altro testamento, Paideia Ed., Brescia 1985, p. 54). In fact, the manna from heaven comes from God in an invisible form and thus lacks identity. This lack of evidence is seen clearly in the etymology of the word “manna”: «What is it?» (Ex 16:15). This says what it is, a name given to almost nothing, a sign and not a thing, a signed sign. It is proven in the moment it disappears, because one is tempted to remedy that which disappears, to make provision of manna so as not to run short. This is the price of what disappears to the senses. The alternation is the time of the desert. The manna is bread that obeys the laws of him who gives it. The law, that the manna signifies, is to expect everything from him: what is required is belief. Because of its lack of substance, manna creates the desire for more solid support; but in the place called “sepulchres of greed” the thing, deprived of sign, brings death (Nm 11:34). In the desert that which urges people to go ahead with confidence is this seeing the manna either as a sign or as a thing in itself and thus either believe or die.

Let us meditate:
Jesus fulfils the true Pesach of human history: «Before the festival of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father, having loved those who were his in the world, loved them to the end. While they were at supper…» (Jn 13;,1). To pass over: the new Pasch is precisely this passing over of Christ from this world to the Father through the blood of his sacrifice. The Eucharist is the memorial, bread of the desert and saving presence, covenant of fidelity and communion written in the person of the Word. The history of salvation that for Israel is made up of events, names and places, leads to a reflection of faith over an experience of life that makes the name of Yahweh not just one name among many but the only Name. Everything begins from an encounter, a dialogical event between God and humanity that translates into a covenant of alliance, old and new. The sea of rushes is the last frontier of slavery and beyond it lies the spacious territory of freedom. In this watery sepulchre the old body of Israel is laid to rest and the new and free Israel rises. This is where Israel’s identity is born. Every time that this passage through the waters of birth is evoked more than just as a historical event to be remembered, the eschatological event will arise, capable of a divine fullness that becomes present, sacramental sign of God’s faithful initiative today for the new generations, in expectation of the final liberation that the Lord will provide. It is the gasp of a people that on the eve of the Pesach finds its deep identity individually and as a people, the eve when the son of the living God gives himself wholly in the form of food and drink.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St. Jean Eudes

Feast Day: August 19
Died:  1680
Patron Saint of : Congregation of Jesus and Mary, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge

St Jean Eudes
Jean Eudes (November 14, 1601 - August 19, 1680) was a French missionary, founder of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary and of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, and author of the Propers for Mass and Divine Office of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. John Eudes, born at Ri, Orne, was a brother of the French historian François Eudes de Nézeray. At the age of fourteen he took a vow of chastity. After studying with the Jesuits at Caen he joined the Oratorians on 25 March 1623. His masters and models in the spiritual life were Pierre de Bérulle and the mystic Charles de Condren. He was ordained a priest on 20 December 1625 and began his priestly life with heroic labours for the victims of the plague, which was ravaging the country.

Father Eudes became famous as a missionary. He was called by Jean-Jacques Olier "the prodigy of his age". In 1641 he founded the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, to provide a refuge for prostitutes who wished to do penance. The society was approved by Pope Alexander VII on 2 January 1666. It later also included a convent which in 1829 influenced Saint Mary Euphrasia Pelletier who established The Good Shepherd Sisters (called also Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd) after Our Lady of Charity. With the approbation of Cardinal de Richelieu and a great number of others, Father Eudes severed his connection with the Oratory to establish the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (Eudists) for the education of priests and for missionary work. This congregation was founded at Caen on 25 March 1643, and was considered a most important and urgent work.

Father Eudes, during his long life, preached not less than 110 missions, three at Paris, one at Versailles, one at St-Germaine-en-Laye, and the others in different parts of France. Normandy was the principal theatre of his apostolic labours. In 1674 he obtained from Pope Clement X six bulls of indulgences for the Confraternities of the Sacred Heart already erected or to be erected in the seminaries. Father Eudes dedicated the seminary chapels of Caen and Coutances to the Sacred Hearts. The feast of the Holy Heart of Mary was celebrated for the first time in 1648, and that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1672, each as a double of the first class with an octave.

The Mass and Office proper to these feasts were composed by Father Eudes.For this reason, Pope Leo XIII, in proclaiming his virtues heroic in 1903, gave him the title of "Author of the Liturgical Worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Holy Heart of Mary". There is no connection between the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary of St. John Eudes and the devotion to the Sacred Heart popularized by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque. He believed in the unity of the hearts of Jesus and Mary and wrote: "You must never separate what God has so perfectly united. So closely are Jesus and Mary bound up with each other that whoever beholds Jesus sees Mary; whoever loves Jesus, loves Mary; whoever has devotion to Jesus, has devotion to Mary." Father Eudes wrote a number of books remarkable for elevation of doctrine and simplicity of style. His principal works are:
  • "Le Royaume de Jésus"
  • "Le contrat de l'homme avec Dieu par le Saint Baptême"
  • "Le Mémorial de la vie Ecclésiastique"; "Le Bon Confesseur"
  • "Le Prédicateur Apostolique"
  • "Le Cœur Admirable de la Très Sainte Mère de Dieu". This last is the first book ever written on the devotion to the Sacred Hearts.
He died at Caen on 19 August 1680.


His virtues were declared heroic by Pope Leo XIII on 6 January 1903. The miracles proposed for his beatification were approved by Pope Pius X on 3 May 1908, and he was beatified on 25 April 1909. St. John Eudes was canonized in 1925. His feast day is August 19, the day of his death.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Blessed Jean Eudes". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.

Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today's Snippets (3):  

  1. Caen, Normandy France  

  2. The Congregation of Jesus and Mary 

  3. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus & Immaculate Heart of Mary

Snippet I: Caen, France (NW Normandy)


Caen Normandy, France (Today)
Caen (French pronunciation: [kɑ̃]; Norman: Kaem) is a commune in northwestern France. It is the prefecture of the Calvados department and the capital of the Basse-Normandie region. It is located 15 km (9.3 mi) inland from the English Channel.

Caen is known for its historical buildings built during the reign of William the Conqueror, who was buried there, and for the Battle for Caen—heavy fighting that took place in and around Caen during the Battle of Normandy in 1944, destroying much of the city.

Two hours north-west of Paris, and connected to the south of England by the Caen (Ouistreham) Portsmouth ferry route, Caen is located in the centre of its northern region, over which it is a centre of political, economic and cultural power.

As the city of William the Conqueror, the city has a long and complex history. In the Second World War, it was a key site of the Battle of Normandy, and suffered considerable destruction. The city has preserved the memory by erecting a memorial for peace. Located a few miles from the coast, the landing beaches, the bustling resort of Deauville and Cabourg, Norman Switzerland or Pays d'Auge (often considered the archetype of Normandy), Caen offers all possible services.  T

he city proper has 113,249 inhabitants (as of 2006), while its urban area has 420,000, making Caen the largest city in Lower Normandy. It is also the second largest municipality in all of Normandy after Le Havre and the third largest city proper in Normandy, after Rouen and Le Havre. The metropolitan area of Caen, in turn, is the second largest in Normandy after that of Rouen, the 21st largest in France.


In 1346 King Edward III of England led his army against the city hoping to loot it. It was expected that a siege of perhaps several weeks would be required, but the army took the city in less than a day, 26 July 1346, storming and sacking it, killing 3,000 of its citizens, and burning much of the merchants' quarter on the Ile Ste-Jean. During the attack English officials searched its archives and found a copy of the 1339 Franco-Norman plot to invade England, devised by Philip VI of France and Normandy. This was subsequently used as propaganda to justify the supplying and financing of the conflict and its continuation. Only the castle of Caen held out, despite attempts to besiege it. A few days later the English left, marching to the east and on to their victory at the Battle of Crécy. It was later captured by Henry V in 1417 and treated harshly for being the first town to put up any resistance to his invasion.

Second World War

During the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War, Caen was liberated in early July, a month after the Normandy landings, particularly those by British I Corps on 6 June 1944. British and Canadian troops had intended to capture the town on D-Day. However they were held up north of the city until 9 July, when an intense bombing campaign during Operation Charnwood destroyed 70% of the city and killed 2000 French civils. The Allies seized the western quarters, a month later than Field Marshal Montgomery's original plan. During the battle, many of the town's inhabitants sought refuge in the Abbaye aux Hommes ("Men's Abbey"), built by William the Conqueror some 800 years before. Both the cathedral and the university have been entirely destroyed by the British and Canadian bombings.

The Battle for Caen - D-Day June 6, 1944

The Battle for Caen from June-August 1944 was a battle between Allied (primarily British and Canadian troops) and German forces during the Battle of Normandy.

Originally, the Allies aimed to take the French city of Caen, one of the largest cities in Normandy, on D-Day. Caen was a vital objective for several reasons. Firstly, it lay astride the Orne River and Caen Canal; these two water obstacles could strengthen a German defensive position if not crossed. Secondly, Caen was a road hub; in German hands it would enable the enemy to shift forces rapidly. Thirdly, the area around Caen was relatively open, especially compared to the bocage country in the west of Normandy. This area was valued for airfield construction.

On D-Day, Caen was an objective for the British 3rd Infantry Division and remained the focal point for a series of battles throughout June, July and into August. The battle did not go as planned for the Allies, instead dragging on for two months, because German forces devoted most of their reserves to holding Caen, particularly their badly-needed armor reserves. As a result German forces facing the American invasion thrust further west were spread thin, relying on the rough terrain of the back country to slow down the American advance. With so many German divisions held up defending Caen, the American forces were eventually able to break through to the south and east, threatening to encircle the German forces in Normandy from behind.

The old city of Caen—with many buildings dating back to the Middle Ages—was largely destroyed by Allied bombing and the fighting. The reconstruction of Caen lasted until 1962. Today, little of the pre-war city remains.


Canadian reserve troops disembark at "Nan White" Beach at Bernières-sur-Mer.
On 6 June 1944, Allied forces invaded France by launching Operation Neptune, the beach landing operation of Operation Overlord. A force of several thousand ships assaulted the beaches in Normandy, supported by approximately 3,000 aircraft. The D-Day landings were successful, but the Allied forces were unable to take Caen as planned.

In addition to seaborne landings, the Allies also employed Airborne forces. The U.S. 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions, as well as the British 6th Airborne Division (with the attached 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion), were inserted behind the enemy lines. The British and Canadian paratroopers behind Sword Beach were tasked in Operation Deadstick with reaching and occupying the strategically important bridges such as Horsa and Pegasus, as well as to take the artillery battery at Merville in order to hinder the forward progress of the German forces. They managed to establish a bridgehead north of Caen, on the east bank of the Orne, that the Allied troops could use to their advantage in the battle for Caen.

Operation Neptune

The first operation intended to capture Caen was the initial landings on Sword Beach by the 3rd Infantry Division on 6 June. Despite being able to penetrate the Atlantic Wall and push south the division was unable to reach the city, their final objectives according to the plan, and in fact fell short by 3.7 mi (6.0 km). The 21st Panzer Division launched several counterattacks during the afternoon which effectively blocked the road to Caen.

Operation Perch

Operation Perch was the second attempt to capture Caen after the direct attack from Sword Beach on 6 June failed. According to its pre-D-Day design, Operation Perch was intended to create the threat of a British breakout to the southeast of Caen. The operation was assigned to XXX Corps; the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division was tasked with capturing Bayeux and the road to Tilly-sur-Seulles. The 7th Armoured Division would then spearhead the advance to Mont Pinçon.

On 9 June, Caen was still firmly in German hands, so General Montgomery decided on a new plan for 2nd Army. Caen would be taken by a pincer movement. The eastern arm of the attack would consist of I Corps's 51st (Highland) Infantry Division. The Highlanders would cross into the Orne bridgehead, the ground gained east of the Orne during Operation Tonga, and attack southwards to Cagny, 6 mi (9.7 km) to the southeast of Caen. XXX Corps would form the pincer's western arm; the 7th Armoured Division would advance east, cross the Odon River to capture Évrecy and the high ground near the town (Hill 112).

Over the next few days XXX Corps battled for control of the town of Tilly-sur-Seulles, defended by the Panzer-Lehr Division and elements of the 12th SS Panzer Division; the allied forces became bogged down in the bocage, unable to overcome the formidable resistance offered. I Corps were delayed moving into position, so their attack was rescheduled for 12 June. When the 51st Highland Division launched its attack, it faced stiff and continued resistance from the 21st Panzer Division in its efforts to push south; with the Highlanders unable to make progress, by 13 June the offensive east of Caen was called off.

Transport vehicles, of the 7th Armoured Division, knocked out during the Battle of Villers-Bocage, 13 June 1944.
On the right flank of XXX Corps, the Germans were unable to resist the continued American attacks and began to withdraw south. This opened up a 7.5 mi (12.1 km) gap in the German frontline. Conscious of the opportunity presented, Dempsey ordered the 7th Armoured Division to exploit the opening in the German lines, seize the town of Villers-Bocage, and advance into the Panzer-Lehr-Division's flank. After two days of intense fighting that included the Battle of Villers-Bocage, on 14 June the division's position was judged untenable and it was withdrawn.[30] The 7th Armoured Division was pulled back to be bolstered by the 33rd Armoured Brigade, which was in the process of landing and forming up within the British beachhead. It was planned that the reinforced division would renew its assault, but on 19 June a severe storm descended upon the English Channel causing widespread disruption to the over-the-beach supply operations, and further offensives were abandoned.

Le Mesnil-Patry

The last major Canadian operation of the month of June was directed at gaining high ground to the southwest of Caen, but ended in mixed results. No. 46 Royal Marine Commando had success operating with Canadian armour as well as Le Régiment de la Chaudière, driving as far south as Rots. However, the Queen's Own Rifles, supported by tanks of the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment (1st Hussars) met with spectacular failure at Le Mesnil-Patry, and the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division assumed a static role until Operation Windsor in the first week of July.

Operation Martlet

Operation Martlet (also known as Operation Dauntless) was a preliminary attack to support Operation Epsom was launched on 25 June by the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division of XXX Corps. Their objective was to secure ground on the flank of the intended advance. The attack gained some ground; however, the weather and muddy ground hampered the attack thus some of the dominating terrain on the right flank of the intended attack by VIII Corps was still in German hands.

Operation Epsom

An ammunition carrier of the 11th Armoured Division explodes after being hit by a mortar round during Operation Epsom on 26 June 1944.
After a delay caused by the three-day storm that descended upon the English Channel, 2nd Army launched Operation Epsom on 26 June.[36] The objective of the operation was to capture the high ground south of Caen, near Bretteville-sur-Laize. The attack was carried out by the newly arrived VIII Corps, under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir Richard O'Connor, which consisted of 60,244 men. The operation would be supported by 736 artillery pieces, the Royal Navy, close air support and a preliminary bombardment by 250 bombers of the Royal Air Force. However the planned bombing mission for the start of the operation had to be called off due to poor weather over Britain. I and XXX Corps were also assigned to support Epsom. On the day before the attack was to be launched, Operation Martlet (also known as Operation Dauntless) was to be launched; 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division, supported by tanks, was to secure VIII Corp's flank by capturing the high ground to the right of their advance. I Corps would launch two supporting operations several days following the launch of Epsom, codenamed Aberlour and Ottawa. The 3rd Infantry Division, supported by a Canadian infantry brigade, would launch the former and attack north of Caen; the latter would be a move by the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, supported by tanks, to take the village and airfield of Carpiquet. However these attacks would not take place.

Supported by the tanks of the 31st Tank Brigade, the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division made steady progress, and by the end of the first day had largely overrun the German outpost line, although there remained some difficulties in securing the flanks of the advance. In heavy fighting over the following two days, a foothold was secured across the River Odon, and efforts were made to expand this by capturing strategic points around the salient and moving up the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division. However, in response to powerful German counterattacks by the I and II SS Panzer Corps, some of the British positions across the river were withdrawn by 30 June.

VIII Corps was able to advance nearly 6 mi (9.7 km). The Germans however, throwing in their last available reserves, had been able to achieve a defensive success at the operational level in containing the British offensive. At the tactical level, the fighting was indecisive, and after the initial gains made neither side was able to make much progress; German counterattacks were repulsed and further advances by British forces halted. On the strategic level, the 2nd Army had retained the initiative over the German forces in Normandy, had halted a massed German counterattack against the Allied beachhead before it could be launched, prevented German armoured forces either being redeployed to face the Americans or being relieved and passed into reserve.

The operation cost the Second Army up to 4,078 casualties while the German Army lost over 3,000 men and 126 tanks knocked out.

Operation Windsor

The airfield at Carpiquet was to have been taken on D-Day, but this plan had failed. In order to correct the failure, the Allies undertook Operation Windsor to break through the strongly held German positions near the airfield. The 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade received the mission reinforced by the Royal Winnipeg Rifles from the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade, tank support was provided by The Fort Garry Horse (10th Armoured Regiment) and three squadrons of specialist tanks including a flame thrower squadron from the 79th Armoured Division, gunfire support was provided by the battleship HMS Rodney (29) and 21 artillery battalions together with two squadrons of RAF Hawker Typhoon ground support aircraft on call.

The airfield was reinforced with concrete shelters, machine gun towers, underground tunnels and 75 mm (2.95 in) anti-tank guns and 20 mm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft cannons. The surrounding area was also protected by mine fields and barbed wire entanglements. The Resistance had informed the Canadian troops about the defences surrounding the airfield. The Canadians took the village of Carpiquet on 5 July. Three days later, after repulsing several German counterattacks, they also captured the airfield and adjacents towns during major assaults in Operation Charnwood. The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division's commander—Major-General Rod Keller—was severely criticized for not sending two brigades into Operation Windsor, and for delegating detailed planning to Brigadier Blackader of the 8th Brigade.[52] The poor performance of the 3rd Division was seen as additional evidence that Keller was unfit for his command.

Operation Charnwood

Having failed to take Caen during the preceding operations, Montgomery decided the next attempt to capture the city would be conducted by a frontal assault. Although the strategic importance of Caen had vastly diminished since D-Day, he sought control of Bourguébus and the commanding high ground to the south. The three infantry divisions and three armoured brigades, of I Corps, was given the objective of clearing the city of German forces up to the Orne river, and if possible to secure bridgeheads into southern Caen. To achieve the latter, it was planned to send an armoured column through the city to rush the bridges; it was hoped that I Corps could exploit the situation to sweep on through southern Caen toward the Verrières and Bourguébus ridges, paving the way for the British 2nd Army to advance toward Falaise.

New tactical methods would be utilised and several waves of bombers would be used to facilitate the Anglo-Canadian advance, prevent German reinforcements from reaching the battle or retreating, and for the morale-boosting effect it would have on Allied forces. Suppression of the German defences was of a secondary consideration. Close support aircraft, the Royal Navy, and 656 artillery guns would support the operation.

A file of soldiers walking through a blasted cityscape; only a few buildings are standing
Royal Engineers move through the ruins of Caen, looking for mines and booby-traps, 10 July 1944.
On the night of 7 July, the first wave of bombers attacked dropping over 2,000 short tons (1,800 t) of bombs on the city. At 04:30 on 8 July, I Corps launched their attack. Several hours later the final wave of bombers arrived over the battlefield and dropped their payloads. By evening, the allied force had reached the outskirts of Caen and the German command authorised the withdrawal of all heavy weapons, and the remnants of the Luftwaffe division across the Orne to the southern side of Caen; while the 12th SS fought a rearguard action as it pulled back from positions no longer considered tenable.

"Mountains of rubble, [approximately] 20 or 30 feet [≈ 6 or 9 meter] high [...] the dead lay everywhere."
Arthur Wilkes describing the situation following the operation.
On the morning of 9 July, Anglo-Canadian patrols began to infiltrate into the city and Carpiquet Airfield finally fell into Allied hands when it was discovered that the 12th SS had withdrawn during the night. By noon, the Allied infantry had reached the Orne's northern bank, virtually destroying the 16th Luftwaffe Field Division in the process. By late afternoon the northern half of Caen was firmly under Allied control. Some bridges were still intact, but these were either blocked by rubble or defended by German troops on the south side of the river. The debris that choked the streets made it almost impossible for British armour to manoeuvre, effectively preventing 2nd Army from exploiting I Corps's success. Without possession of the terrain flanking the south of the city, no further gains could be made within Caen, so by mid-afternoon on 9 July, Operation Charnwood was over. British troops noted that following the battle "In the houses that were still standing there slowly came life, as the French civilians realized that we had taken the city. They came running out of their houses with glasses and bottles of wine.". The consensus view is that the operation was a tactical success but one that should have achieved more than it did; it has also been described as one of the most difficult of the campaign.

Operation Jupiter

A Padre and soldiers from the 11th Armoured Division pray before the attack on Eterville on 10 July.
 Lieutenant-General Richard O'Connor tried again to develop the bridgehead with Caen. The 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division was to retake Hill 112 on 10 July during Operation Jupiter. In the first phase the Allied forces were to take Hill 112, Fontaine and Éterville and in the second phase use Hill 112 as a defensive position and move towards Maltot. A bombardment of mortars and over 100 field artillery pieces preceded the Allied attack. The Germans had five infantry battalions, two Tiger heavy tank battalions, as well as two Sturmgeschütz companies and Nebelwerfer drawn mostly from the 10th SS Panzer Division, with elements of the 9th SS and 12th SS Panzer Divisions in reserve.

The operation failed because of strong resistance from the Germans which had dug themselves in and were well prepared for the attack. The 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division lost over 2,000 men during the operation.

Operation Goodwood


A Sherman Firefly drives over the "Euston Bridge" on the first day of Operation Goodwood, one of the few bridges over the Orne.
At a meeting with General Bernard Montgomery on 10 July, the commander of the 2nd Army—Lieutenant-General Miles Dempsey—suggested the plan for Operation Goodwood on the same day Montgomery had approved Operation Cobra. The Canadian part of Operation Goodwood was given the codename Operation Atlantic.

Since the middle of July, 2,250 medium and 400 light tanks in three armoured divisions and several independent armoured brigades had been brought to Normandy under the control of the 2nd Army, which was now in a position where they could afford to lose tanks, but not men, in order to break through the German positions on the eastern side of the Orne and in the north of Caen. Operation Goodwood was to begin on 18 July, two days before the beginning of the U.S. Operation Cobra. Cobra however, did not begin until 25 July.

Although heavy losses were expected in the operation, Dempsey believed his men had a good chance to break through. The armoured divisions of VIII Corps under the command of Lieutenant-General O’Connor were to make the main effort. Approximately 700 guns shooting about 250,000 rounds were to support the attack. Furthermore, the RAF was to bombard three targets: Colombelles-Mondeville, Toufreville-Émiéville and Cagny.

The goal was to capture all of Bras, Hubert-Folie, Verrières, Fontenay, Garcelles-Secqueville, Cagny and Vimont. A further goal was to push the Germans back from the Bourguebus Ridge. The Canadian forces had the task of securing the western flank, and the British infantry were to secure the eastern.


On 18 July 1944, Allied bombers and fighters attacked five villages on the eastern end of Caen in order to facilitate Operation Goodwood. The attacks took place at dawn and were helped by good weather. Four of the targets were marked by pathfinders; for the fifth target, the bombardiers had to find another way to find their mark. Supported by American bombers and fighters, the British dropped approximately 6,800 short tons (6,200 t) of bombs on the villages and surrounding area. Two German units—the 16th Luftwaffe Field Division and the 21st Panzer Division—were hit hard by the bombing. German air defences and ground troops were able to shoot down six aircraft.

The three Allied armoured divisions had to overcome water obstacles and a minefield in order to reach their line of departure. The Orne River and the Caen Canal was an obstacle for the British troops during their advance. Six small bridges were available for the 8,000 vehicles including the tanks, the artillery, the motorised infantry, the engineers and the supply vehicles to cross the river. It was obvious that there would be a large traffic problem. Dempsey's solution was nearly fatal: he directed O′Connor to leave the infantry, engineers, and artillery on the other side until all of the tanks got across. This broke up the British combined-arms team before the Germans were even engaged.

After the tanks got over the bridges, the British had to cross a minefield of anti-tank and anti-personnel mines laid only a few days before by the 51st Highland Division. This obstacle would have taken a massive effort from the engineers to be cleared before the battle. There was a concern that, since the Germans had observation posts on the chimneys of the steel plant in the suburb of Colombelles and could observe the mine clearing effort, they would have been forewarned of the attack. However, tactical surprise had already been lost. The engineers of the 51st Highland Division had taken the two nights before the battle to clear 17 corridors through the minefield.

VIII Corps gave up the element of surprise as the tanks were slowed by the bridges and minefields. Through rare aerial reconnaissance and observation from Coucelles, the Germans had plenty of time to prepare their defences. Thus, Antony Beevor states more effort to clear additional lanes through the minefields should have been undertaken; however the engineering resources of Second Army, I and VIII Corps as well as divisional engineers had already been put to work between 13 July and the evening of 16 July building six new roads from west of the Orne river to the start lines east of the river and canal. I Corps engineers were also constructing new bridges across the Orne River and Caen Canal while strengthening the existing bridges prior to the attack. Engineers from the 3rd and 51st divisions had been tasked with clearing the minefield and nineteen 40 ft (12 m) wide gaps had been cleared by the morning of 18 July. Following Operation Goodwood, it took Royal Engineers five days, during daylight hours, to lift all the mines placed in front of the positions previously held by 51st (Highland) Infantry Division.

Additionally, fire support was not effective; the artillery regiments stayed west of the Orne as per Dempsey's orders, so that the main German defence at Bourguebus Ridge was not in range. Additionally, coordination between the field artillery and the tanks was lacking. It became clear that the area that had been selected was strategically poor. There were many small villages, and in each one there was a small German garrison, each connected by tunnels as well as many observation posts that could be used to watch the progress of the Allies. The German artillery on the Bourguebus Ridge at Cagny and Émiéville was not weakened by either prior air or artillery attacks. From these positions the German guns as well as the 16th Luftwaffe Field Division dug in on the ridge had free fields of fire. Behind the ridge, were the remnants of the 21st Panzer Division with seventy-eight 88 mm (3.46 in) guns and 40 tanks. The 2nd Army over-tasked the 11th Armoured Division. Although it was the unit that led the attack, it also was tasked with cleaning out the small villages along the front lines, namely Cuverville and Demouville. These were to be secured by units following the initial effort, but instead the armoured brigades attacked Bourguebus Ridge while the Motorised Infantry brigades took care of the villages. This slowed the attacks down and prevented meaningful cooperation.

For the most part, VIII Corps pressed forward very slowly. The 29th Armoured brigade of the 11th Armoured Division made the biggest gains, capturing almost 7 mi (11 km) of ground lateral to the British front. When the railroad at aen Vimont was reached at 09:30, the German troops had recovered from the bombardment. Twelve British tanks were destroyed by an 88 mm gun that fired on them several times. The British advanced slowly and crossed the rail line in order to approach the Bourguebus Ridge which was held by the 21st Panzer Division, the 1st SS Panzer Division and numerous artillery pieces.

Medical personnel treat wounded soldiers during Operation Goodwood on 18 July.
For most of the day, the 29th Armoured Brigade, 11th Armoured Division, was without artillery support. The 159th Infantry Brigade was busy clearing out two villages behind the 29th Armoured Brigade. The remaining two armoured divisions were also busy crossing the bridges or passing through the minefields. At dawn on the 18th, only one tank battalion of the 7th Armoured division was involved in combat while most of the remaining armour units had to wait from 10:00 to midday on 18 July to cross the Orne.

Individual tank battalions fought without support and behind one another instead of fighting together which was what was planned at the outset of the operation. Most of the ground gained came on the morning of 18 July. On the right flank of the operation, Canadian 3rd Infantry Division advanced through the southern part of Caen, finally liberating the city that day. The Germans began a counterattack after midday on 18 July that lasted until 20 July. General Montgomery brought the operation to a close, citing bad weather as the reason.


The operation did not go as planned for the Allies. Historian Simon Trew claims around 4,000 casualties were inflicted on the 2nd Army during this operation while Chester Wilmot claims the figure was 4,837 casualties. Tank losses are open to debate; Michael Reynolds claims that a careful study of the relevant documents indicate a maximum loss of 253 tanks during Operation Goodwood, most of which were repairable. Trew states around 334 tanks were lost; he claims that after new investigation VIII Corps tank losses for Goodwood are 314 tanks knocked out, of which only 140 were completely destroyed. I Corps and the II Canadian Corps lost around 20 tanks during the same period. Historian John Buckley claims 21st Army Group lost 400 tanks during the Goodwood period however most were eventually recovered German losses are unknown however over 2,500 men were taken prisoner and between 75-100 tanks were destroyed.

The operation was a tactical failure for the Second Army in terms of achieving a breakout, yet achieved important strategic aims. The operation captured vital new ground including those portions of Caen yet untaken (and now 4-5 kilometres behind Allied lines) and, crucially, tied down four German corps, which included important armoured divisions, at the moment when the Americans were about to launch Operation Cobra.   The battle for Caen was over, as the whole of the city was now in British and Canadian hands.

Damage and civilian casualties

View of the destruction of Caen.
Before the invasion, Caen had a population of 60,000. On 6 June, leaflets were dropped by Allied aircraft, urging the population to disperse into the countryside. Only a few hundred left. Later in the day, British heavy bombers attacked the city, aiming to slow the flow of German reinforcements. There was huge destruction. Eight hundred civilians lost their lives in the 48 hours following the invasion. Streets were blocked by rubble, and ambulances could not get through, so the injured were taken to an emergency hospital set up in the Bon Sauveur convent. The convent was itself damaged. Notable buildings such as the Palais des Ducs, the church of Saint-Étienne and the railway station were all destroyed or severely damaged. To escape the bombardment of the city, 15,000 people took refuge for more than a month in tunnels to the south of the city, created by medieval stone quarrying.

The Défense Passive organisation was based at Bon Sauveur. Civil defence and medical organisations worked well together to co-ordinate medical relief for the citizens of Caen. Its medical profession was highly praised. Six surgical teams were alerted on the morning of the invasion, and Police collected medical supplies from pharmacies and clinics and brought them to Bon Sauveur and subsidiary hospitals at the Lycée Malherbe and the Hospice des Petites Sœurs des Pauvres.

On 9 June a major landmark of the city, the bell tower of Saint Pierre, was destroyed by a shell fired by the battleship HMS Rodney. Many buildings burned, and molten lead dripped from roofs. The bombing continued, and the medical teams were exhausted. Over 3,000 people took refuge in Bon Sauveur and the Abbaye aux Hommes, with more in Saint Etienne church. Foraging parties were set out into the countryside for food, and old wells were re-opened. The 500 refugees at the convent of the Petites Sœurs des Pauvres were actually well supplied, but the conditions in the rest of the city were terrible. The Vichy government in Paris managed to get some supplies through to Caen under the auspices of Secours Nationale, 250 short tons (230 t) in total.

The Germans ordered all remaining civilians to leave on 6 July. By the time Caen was bombed again on the evening of 7 July, only 15,000 inhabitants remained. 467 Lancaster and Halifax bombers attacked the city in preparation for Operation Charnwood. Although their delayed-action bombs were aimed at the northern edge of Caen, massive damage was again inflicted on the city centre. At least two civilian shelters were destroyed by direct hits, and the university was destroyed. Three hundred-fifty people were killed in this raid and the fighting that raged through the city on 8 July, bringing the civilian death toll to 1,150 since D-Day.

The Germans withdrew from the city north of the Orne on 9 July, blowing the only remaining bridge. The southern part of the city was not liberated until 18 July, when the Canadian 3rd Division advanced through it as part of Operation Goodwood.  By the end of the battle, the civil population of Caen had fallen from 60,000 to 17,000. The destruction of the city caused much resentment.

Treatment of prisoners of war and war crimes

A memorial to the murdered Canadian soldiers in the garden of the Abbey.
One hundred fifty-six Canadian prisoners-of-war were shot near Caen by the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend in the days and weeks following D-Day.Twenty Canadians were killed near Villons-les-Buissons, north-west of Caen in Ardenne Abbey. The Abbey was captured at midnight on 8 July by the Regina Rifles. The soldiers were exhumed and buried in the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. After the war, Kurt Meyer was convicted and sentenced to death on charges of inappropriate behaviour towards civilians and the execution of prisoners— a sentence that was commuted to life imprisonment. He was released after serving eight years.


Operation Overlord and the battles in Normandy successfully gave the Allies a foothold in France, which led to the liberation of the rest of Western Europe. On 25 August, the Allies were able to retake the French capital Paris.

Caen and many of the surrounding towns and villages were mostly destroyed; the cathedral in Caen and the University of Caen (founded in 1432) were both razed to the ground. The buildings were eventually rebuilt after the war and even expanded. For this reason, the symbol of the University of Caen is the Phoenix. Approximately 35,000 citizens of Caen were rendered homeless after Allied bombing.

After the war ended, the West German government had to pay reparations as compensation to any civilians in Caen killed, starved, or left homeless by Allied bombing and fighting

The rebuilding of Caen officially lasted from 1948-1962. On 6 June 2004, Gerhard Schröder became the first German Chancellor to be invited to the anniversary celebration of the invasion. There are many monuments to the Battle for Caen and Operation Overlord. For example on the road to Odon-bridge at Tourmauville, there is a memorial for the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division; or the monument on hill 112 for the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division, as well as one for the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division. Near Hill 112, a forest was planted in memory of those that fought there.

The landings at Normandy, the Battle for Caen and the Second World War are remembered today with many memorials, in Caen there is the Mémorial with a "peace museum" (Musée de la paix). The museum was built by the city of Caen on top of where the bunker of General Wilhelm Richter, the commander of the 716th Infantry Division was located. On 6 June 1988 the museum was opened by the French president at the time, François Mitterrand as well as twelve ambassadors from countries that took part in the fighting in Normandy. The museum is dedicated to pacifism and borders the Parc international pour la Libération de l'Europe, a garden in remembrance of the Allied participants in the invasion.

The fallen are buried in the Brouay War Cemetery (377 graves), the Banneville-la-Campagne War Cemetery (2,170 graves), the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery (2,049 graves), the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery (2,957 graves), La Cambe German war cemetery (21,222 graves) as well as many more.


Post-Second World War work included the reconstruction of complete districts of the city and the university campus. It took 14 years (1948–1962) and led to the current urbanization of Caen. Having lost many of its historic quarters and its university campus in the war, the city does not possess what some might call the 'feel' of a traditional Normandy town such as Honfleur, Rouen, Cabourg, Deauville and Bayeux. The Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit filmed the D-Day offensive and Orne breakout several weeks later, then returned several months later to document the town's recovery efforts. The resulting film You Can't Kill a City is preserved in the National Archives of Canada

Recommended Films

  • The BBC documentary D-Day 6.6.44 documents the results of the advances on Caen. Producer: Tim Bradley; Director: Richard Dale, Kim Bour, Pamela Gordon, Sally Weale.
  • The U.S. black and white documentary Crusade in Europe from 1949, based on Eisenhower's book, documenting Operation Overlord as well as the Battle for Caen
  • The Norman Summer: 1962 Canadian documentary about the fight for Caen as well as Normandy.
  • In Desperate Battle: Normandy 1944 1992 Canadian television film about the Battle for Caen.
  • Road to Ortona, Turn of the Tide and V Was for Victory as well as Crisis on the Hill (all 1962): Canadian documentary about the Battle.


  • Beevor, Anthony (2009). D-Day: The Battle for Normandy. Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-88703-3.
  • Buckley, John (2006) [2004]. British Armour in the Normandy Campaign 1944. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-415-40773-7. OCLC 154699922.
  • Cawthorne, Nigel (2005). Victory in World War II. London: Capella (Acturus Publishing Limited). ISBN 1-84193-351-1. OCLC 222830404.
  • Clark, Lloyd (2004). Operation Epsom. Battle Zone Normandy. The History Press Ltd. ISBN 0-7509-3008-X.
  • Clay, Major Ewart W (1950). The path of the 50th: The story of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division in the Second World War. Aldershot: Gale and Polden. OCLC 12049041.
  • Copp, Terry (2004) [2003]. Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-3780-1. OCLC 56329119.
  • Daglish, Ian (2005). Operation Goodwood. Over the Battlefield. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Ltd. ISBN 1-84415-153-0. OCLC 68762230.
  • D'Este, Carlo (2004) [1983]. Decision in Normandy: The Real Story of Montgomery and the Allied Campaign. London: Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN 0-14-101761-9. OCLC 44772546.
  • Ellis, Major L.F.; with Allen, Captain G.R.G. Allen; Warhurst, Lieutenant-Colonel A.E. & Robb, Air Chief-Marshal Sir James (2004) [1st. pub. HMSO, 1962]. Butler, J.R.M. ed. Victory in the West, Volume I: The Battle of Normandy. History of the Second World War United Kingdom Military Series. Uckfield, East Sussex: Naval & Military Press Ltd. ISBN 1-84574-058-0. OCLC 276814706.
  • Ford, Ken; Howard, Gerrard (2004). Caen 1944: Montgomery's Breakout Attempt. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-625-9.
  • Fortin, Ludovic (2004). British Tanks In Normandy. Histoire & Collections. ISBN 2-915239-33-9.
  • Forty, George (2004). Villers Bocage. Battle Zone Normandy. Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0-7509-3012-8.
  • Gill, Ronald; Groves, John (2006) [1946]. Club Route in Europe: The History of 30 Corps from D-Day to May 1945. MLRS Books. ISBN 978-1-905696-24-6.
  • Hart, Stephen Ashley (2007) [2000]. Colossal Cracks: Montgomery's 21st Army Group in Northwest Europe, 1944–45. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-3383-1. OCLC 70698935.
  • Hastings, Max (2006) [1985]. Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy. New York: Vintage Books USA; Reprint edition. ISBN 0-307-27571-X. OCLC 62785673.
  • Jackson, G.S.; Staff, 8 Corps (2006) [1945]. 8 Corps: Normandy to the Baltic. Smalldale: MLRS Books. ISBN 978-1-905696-25-3.
  • Keegan, John (2004) [1982]. Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation at Paris. London: Pimlico. ISBN 1-84413-739-2. OCLC 56462089.


Snippet II: The Congregation of Jesus and Mary

The Congregation of Jesus and Mary (Latin: Congregatio Iesu et Mariae), commonly referred to as the Eudists (Latin: Congregatio Eudistarum) is a Society of Apostolic Life in the Roman Catholic Church. The Congregation of Jesus and Mary was instituted at Caen, in Normandy, France on 25 March 1643, by Saint Jean Eudes, exemplar of the French school of spirituality. The principal works of the Congregation are the education of priests in seminaries and the giving of missions.

To develop the spirit of Jesus Christ in the members of the Congregation, Father Eudes caused to be celebrated every year in his seminaries the feast of the Holy Priesthood of Jesus Christ and of all Holy Priests and Levites. After the feast of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary it is the primary feast of the community. The solemnity begins on 13 November, and thus serves as a preparation for the renewal of the clerical promises on 21 November, the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin. As early as 1649 Father Eudes had prepared an Office proper to the feast. Some years later the feast and office were adopted by the Sulpician Fathers.

During the lifetime of Father Eudes, the congregation founded in France seminaries at Caen (1643), Coutances (1650), Lisieux (1653), Rouen (1658), Evreux (1667), and Rennes (1670). These were all "grand" or "major"seminaries; Father Eudes never thought of founding any other. He admitted, however, besides clerical students, priests with newly granted benefices who came for further study, those who wished to make retreats, and even lay students who followed the courses of the Faculty of Theology. After his death, directors were appointed for the Seminaries of Valognes, Avranches, Dol, Senlis, Blois, Domfront and Séez. At Rennes, Rouen, and some other cities, seminaries were conducted for students of a poorer class who were called to exercise the ministry in country places. These were sometimes called "little" seminaries. The postulants were admitted early and made both secular and ecclesiastical studies.

During the French Revolution, three Eudists, Fathers Hébert, Potier, and Lefranc, were martyred at Paris in the massacres of September 1792. The cause of their beatification with that of some other victims of September has been introduced in Rome. Father Hébert was the confessor of King Louis XVI, and shortly before his death he made the king promise to consecrate his kingdom to the Sacred Heart if he escaped from his enemies.

After the Revolution, the Congregation had great difficulty in establishing itself again, and it was only in the second half of the nineteenth century that it began to prosper. Too late to take over again the direction of seminaries formerly theirs, the Eudists entered upon missionary work and secondary education in colleges. The "Law of Associations" (1906) brought about the ruin of the establishments which they had in France.

The Congregation as of 1913

Besides the scholasticates which they have opened in Belgium and in Spain, the Eudists directed in the early 20th century seminaries at Carthagena, at Antioquia, at Pamplona, at Panamá (South America), and at San Domingo, West Indies. In Canada they had the Vicariate Apostolic of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a seminary at Halifax, N.S., a college at Church Point, N.S., and at Caraquet, N.B., and a number of other less important establishments. They numbered about fifteen establishments and about one hundred and twenty priests in Canada in 1913. In France, where the majority still remains, the Eudists continue to preach missions and to take part in various other works. In 1947, the order acquired the Langley Park mansion in Langley Park, Maryland and operated a seminary there until 1963. In more recent times, the Congregation is active in Phoenix AZ and Southern California (Los Angeles and San Diego) in four parishes. And in 2005 the Congregation opened its first community in Asia in Tagaytay Philippines.

Canonical status and organization

The purpose which Father Eudes assigned to his congregation made him decide not to introduce religious vows. He was persuaded that, better than instituted religious, priests were in a position to inspire young clerics with a high idea of the priesthood and of the sanctity which it required. He also felt that bishops would not so willingly give their seminaries over to priests who were not entirely subject to them. Father Eudes shared the opinions of Pierre de Bérulle and Jean-Jacques Olier, who also did not think it proper to admit religious vows in the orders which they founded. Even Saint Vincent de Paul did so only after great hesitation and on the condition, ratified by the pope, that his priests should not form a religious order, but an ecclesiastical congregation.

The Congregation of Jesus and Mary is not a religious order, but an ecclesiastical body under the immediate jurisdiction of the bishops, to aid in the formation of the clergy. It is composed of priests, and seminarians; there are also lay brothers employed in temporal affairs, but who do not wear the ecclesiastical habit.

Although not a religious order, the Congregation of Jesus and Mary is subject to discipline which does not differ from that of orders with simple vows. The administration is modelled on that of the Oratorians to which Father Eudes had belonged for twenty years. The supreme authority resides in a general assembly which names the superior general and which is called, at intervals, to control his administration. It alone can make permanent laws. In the intervals between the general assemblies, the superior general, elected for five years and can be re-elected for a second term of the same duration, exercises full authority in matters spiritual and temporal. He has the right to name and depose local superiors, to fix the personnel of each house, to make the annual visit, to admit, and, in case of necessity, to dismiss, subjects, to accept or to give up foundations, and, in general, to perform, or at least to authorize, all important acts. He is aided by assistants, named by the general assembly, who have a deciding vote in temporal affairs, and a consulting vote only in other questions. The current superior general of the Congregation is Father Michel Gerard; the vicar general is Father Gustavo Londono.

Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge

Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge is a Roman Catholic monastic order, founded in 1641 by St Jean Eudes, at Caen, France. Moved by pity for prostitutes, Father Eudes at first attempted to unite the penitent among them and place them under the care of good and zealous women, but he soon became convinced that the only way of dealing with them was to found a congregation of holy women, who would bind themselves by vow to work for their reformation. Three Visitation nuns came to his aid temporarily, and, in 1644, a house was opened at Caen under the title of Our Lady of Charity. Other ladies joined them, and, in 1651, the Bishop of Bayeux gave the institute his approbation. In 1664 a Bull of approbation was obtained from Pope Alexander VII. That same year a house was opened at Rennes, and the institute began to spread. When the French Revolution broke out there were seven communities of the order in France. The convent at Tours influenced Mary Euphrasia Pelletier who in 1829 established the Good Shepherd Sisters.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity do not limit their work to reclaiming fallen women; they also receive girls who are in danger of being lost or who are being brought up immorally. These form what is called the class of preservation. Government reformatories are attached to some of the monasteries. All the houses of this order are independent of each other, and each has its own novitiate, but the mother-house is still at Caen. The nuns wear a white habit and a large silver cross on the breast. To the three ordinary religious vows they add a fourth, viz., to devote themselves to the reformation of the fallen. The novitiate lasts two years. These sisters came to England in 1863 and by 1910 had houses at Bartestree, Waterlooville, Monmouth, Southampton, Northfield (near Birmingham), and Mold. In Ireland they had two houses at Dublin. In France they had seventeen houses: one each at Caen, Saint-Brieuc, Rennes, La Rochelle, Paris, Versailles, Nantes, Lyon, Valence, Toulouse, Le Mans, Blois, Montauban, Besançon, Valognes, and two at Marseilles. In the United States they had two houses at both Buffalo and Pittsburgh, and one each at Green Bay (Wisconsin), Wheeling (West Virginia), Hot Springs (Arkansas), San Antonio, and Dallas (Texas). In Canada they had houses at Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver; in Mexico, two; in Italy, one at Loreto; in Spain, one at Bilbao; and in Austria, one at Salzburg.

Jean, or John, Eudes was beatified by Pope Pius X in 1909, and canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925. His feast day is 19 August, the day of his death


    • Le Brun, Charles (1909). "Eudists". The Catholic Encyclopedia. 5. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
    • Susan G. Pearl (October, 2007). National Register of Historic Places Registration: Langley Park / McCormick-Goodhart MansionPDF (32 KB). National Park Service (80 pages including 30 photos and 2 maps)
    • Gerard, Michel; Gustavo Londono (8 September 2009). "Letter to the Congregation of Jesus and Mary" (PDF). Retrieved 30 June 2010
    • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.


    Snippet III: The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary

    Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Scapular
    The Sacred Heart (also known as Most Sacred Heart of Jesus) is one of the most famous religious devotions to Jesus' physical heart as the representation of his divine love for humanity.

    This devotion is predominantly used in the Catholic Church and among some high-church Anglicans and Lutherans. The devotion especially emphasizes the unmitigated love, compassion, and long-suffering of the heart of Christ towards humanity. The origin of this devotion in its modern form is derived from a French Roman Catholic nun, Marguerite Marie Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a mystical experience. Predecessors to the modern devotion arose unmistakably in the Middle Ages in various facets of Catholic mysticism.

    In the Roman Catholic tradition, the Sacred Heart has been closely associated with Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ. In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI stated: "the spirit of expiation or reparation has always had the first and foremost place in the worship given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus". The Golden Arrow Prayer directly refers to the Sacred Heart. Devotion to the Sacred Heart is sometimes seen in the Eastern Catholic Churches, where it remains a point of controversy and is seen as an example of Liturgical Latinisation.

    The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross and bleeding. Sometimes the image shown shining within the bosom of Christ with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus' death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love.

    The Feast of the Sacred Heart has been in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar since 1856, and is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost. As Pentecost is always celebrated on Sunday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart always falls on a Friday.

    History of Devotion

    Early devotion

    Sacred Heart of Jesus Ibarrará, 1896
    From the time of John the Evangelist and Paul of Tarsus there has always been in the Church something like devotion to the love of God, but there is nothing to indicate that, during the first ten centuries of Christianity, any worship was rendered to the wounded Heart of Jesus. It is in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that the first indications of devotion to the Sacred Heart are found. It was in the fervent atmosphere of the Benedictine or Cistercian monasteries, in the world of Anselmian or Bernardine thought, that the devotion arose, although it is impossible to say positively what were its first texts or who were its first devotees. It was already well known to St. Gertrude, St. Mechtilde, and the author of the Vitis mystica (previously ascribed to St. Bernard, now attributed to St. Bonaventure).

    From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, the devotion was propagated but it did not seem to have developed in itself. It was everywhere practised by individuals and by different religious congregations, such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, Carthusians, etc. It was, nevertheless, a private, individual devotion of the mystical order. Nothing of a general movement had been inaugurated, except for similarities found in the devotion to the Five Wounds by the Franciscans, in which the wound in Jesus's heart figured most prominently.

    In the sixteenth century, the devotion passed from the domain of mysticism into that of Christian asceticism. It was established as a devotion with prayers already formulated and special exercises, found in the writings of Lanspergius (d. 1539) of the Carthusians of Cologne, the Louis of Blois (Blosius; 1566), a Benedictine and Abbot of Liessies in Hainaut, John of Avila (d. 1569) and St. Francis de Sales, the latter belonging to the seventeenth century.

    The historical record from that time shows an early bringing to light of the devotion. Ascetic writers spoke of it, especially those of the Society of Jesus. The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was everywhere in evidence, largely due to the Franciscan devotion to the Five Wounds and to the habit formed by the Jesuits of placing the image on their title-page of their books and the walls of their churches.

    Nevertheless, the devotion remained an individual, or at least a private, devotion. Jean Eudes (1602–1680) made it public, gave it an Office, and established a feast for it. Père Eudes was the apostle of the Heart of Mary; but in his devotion to the Immaculate Heart there was a share for the Heart of Jesus. Little by little, the devotion to the Sacred Heart became a separate one, and on August 31, 1670, the first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated in the Grand Seminary of Rennes. Coutances followed suit on October 20, a day with which the Eudist feast was from then on to be connected. The feast soon spread to other dioceses, and the devotion was likewise adopted in various religious communities. It gradually came into contact with the devotion begun at Paray, and resulting in a fusion of the two.

    Visions of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

    St Margaret Mary Alacoque, Giaquinto 1765
    The most significant source for the devotion to the Sacred Heart in the form it is known today was Visitandine Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690), who claimed to have received visions of Jesus Christ. There is nothing to indicate that she had known the devotion prior to the revelations, or at least that she had paid any attention to it. The revelations were numerous, and the following apparitions are especially remarkable:
    • On December 27, probably 1673, the feast of St. John, Margaret Mary reported that Jesus permitted her, as he had formerly allowed St. Gertrude, to rest her head upon his heart, and then disclosed to her the wonders of his love, telling her that he desired to make them known to all mankind and to diffuse the treasures of his goodness, and that he had chosen her for this work.
    • In probably June or July, 1674, Margaret Mary claimed that Jesus requested to be honored under the figure of his heart, also claiming that, when he appeared radiant with love, he asked for a devotion of expiatory love: frequent reception of Communion, especially Communion on the First Friday of the month, and the observance of the Holy Hour.
    • During the octave of Corpus Christi, 1675, probably on June 16, the vision known as the "great apparition" reportedly took place, where Jesus said, "Behold the Heart that has so loved men ... instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part (of mankind) only ingratitude ...", and asked Margaret Mary for a feast of reparation of the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, bidding her consult her confessor Father Claude de la Colombière, then superior of the small Jesuit house at Paray. Solemn homage was asked on the part of the king, and the mission of propagating the new devotion was especially confided to the religious of the Visitation and to the priests of the Society of Jesus.
        A few days after the "great apparition", Margaret Mary reported everything she saw to Father de la Colombière, and he, acknowledging the vision as an action of the Spirit of God, consecrated himself to the Sacred Heart and directed her to write an account of the apparition. He also made use of every available opportunity to circulate this account, discreetly, through France and England. Upon his death on February 15, 1682, there was found in his journal of spiritual retreats a copy in his own handwriting of the account that he had requested of Margaret Mary, together with a few reflections on the usefulness of the devotion. This journal, including the account and an "offering" to the Sacred Heart, in which the devotion was well explained, was published at Lyons in 1684. The little book was widely read, especially at Paray. Margaret Mary reported feeling "dreadful confusion" over the book's contents, but resolved to make the best of it, approving of the book for the spreading of her cherished devotion. Outside of the Visitandines, priests, religious, and laymen espoused the devotion, particularly the Capuchins, Margaret Mary's two brothers, and some Jesuits. The Jesuit Father Croiset wrote a book called The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a book which Jesus is said to have told Margaret to tell Fr. Croiset to write, and Fr. Joseph de Gallifet, also a Jesuit, promoted the devotion.

    Papal Approvals

    The Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart was a nun from Sisters of the Good Shepherd Congregation who requested, in the name of Christ Himself, to Pope Leo XIII that he consecrate the entire World to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
    The death of Margaret Mary Alacoque on October 17, 1690, did not dampen the zeal of those interested; on the contrary, a short account of her life published by Father Croiset in 1691, as an appendix to his book "De la Dévotion au Sacré Cœur", served only to increase it. In spite of all sorts of obstacles, and of the slowness of the Holy See, which in 1693 imparted indulgences to the Confraternities of the Sacred Heart and, in 1697, granted the feast to the Visitandines with the Mass of the Five Wounds, but refused a feast common to all, with special Mass and Office. The devotion spread, particularly in religious communities. The Marseilles plague, 1720, furnished perhaps the first occasion for a solemn consecration and public worship outside of religious communities. Other cities of the South followed the example of Marseilles, and thus the devotion became a popular one. In 1726 it was deemed advisable once more to importune Rome for a feast with a Mass and Office of its own, but, in 1729, Rome again refused. However, in 1765, it finally yielded and that same year, at the request of the queen, the feast was received quasi-officially by the episcopate of France. On all sides it was asked for and obtained, and finally, in 1856, at the urgent entreaties of the French bishops, Pope Pius IX extended the feast to the Roman Catholic Church under the rite of double major. In 1889 it was raised by the Roman Catholic Church to the double rite of first class.

    After the letters of Mother Mary of the Divine Heart (1863–1899) requesting, in the name of Christ Himself, to Pope Leo XIII consecrate the entire World to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy Father commissions a group of theologians to examine the petition on the basis of revelation and sacred tradition. This investigation was positive. And so in the encyclical letter Annum Sacrum (on May 25, 1899) this same pope decreed that the consecration of the entire human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus should take place on June 11, 1899. In this encyclical letter the Pope attached Later Pope Leo XIII encouraged the entire Roman Catholic episcopate to promote the devotion of the Nine First Fridays and he established June as the Month of the Sacred Heart. Leo XIII also composed the Prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart and included it in Annum Sacrum.

    Pope Pius X decreed that the consecration of the human race, performed by Pope Leo XIII be renewed each year. Pope Pius XI in his encyclical letter Miserentissimus Redemptor (on May 8, 1928) affirmed the Church's position with respect to Saint Margaret Mary's visions of Jesus Christ by stating that Jesus had "manifested Himself" to Saint Margaret and had "promised her that all those who rendered this honor to His Heart would be endowed with an abundance of heavenly graces." The encyclical refers to the conversation between Jesus and Saint Margaret several times[2] and reaffirmed the importance of consecration and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    Finally, Venerable Pope Pius XII, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Pope Pius IX's institution of the Feast, instructed the entire Roman Catholic Church at length on the devotion to the Sacred Heart in his encyclical letter Haurietis aquas (on May 15, 1956). On May 15, 2006, also Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter to Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, on the 50th Anniversary of the encyclical Haurietis Aquas, about the Sacred Heart, by Pope Pius XII. In his letter to Father Kolvenbach, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed the importance of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    Worship and Devotion

    The Roman Catholic acts of consecration, reparation and devotion were introduced when the feast of the Sacred Heart was declared. In his Papal Bull Auctorem Fidei, Pope Pius VI praised devotion to the Sacred Heart. Finally, by order of Leo XIII, in his encyclical Annum Sacrum (May 25, 1899), as well as on June 11, he consecrated every human to the Sacred Heart. The idea of this act, which Leo XIII called "the great act" of his pontificate, had been proposed to him by a religious woman of the Good Shepherd from Oporto (Portugal) who said that she had supernaturally received it from Jesus. Since c. 1850, groups, congregations, and States have consecrated themselves to the Sacred Heart. In 1873, by petition of president Gabriel García Moreno, Ecuador was the first country in the world to be consecrated to the Sacred Heart, fulfilling God's petition to Saint Margaret Mary over two hundred years later.

    Peter Coudrin of France founded the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary on December 24, 1800. A religious order of the Roman Catholic Church, the order is best known for its missionary work in Hawaii. Mother Clelia Merloni from Forlì (Italy) founded the Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Viareggio, Italy, May 30, 1894. Worship of the Sacred Heart mainly consists of several hymns, the Salutation of the Sacred Heart, and the Litany of the Sacred Heart. It is common in Roman Catholic services and occasionally is to be found in Anglican services. The Feast of the Sacred Heart is a solemnity in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, and is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost. As Pentecost is always celebrated on Sunday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart always falls on a Friday.

    The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic ceremony in which a priest or head of a household consecrates the members of the household to the Sacred Heart. A blessed image of the Sacred Heart, either a statue or a picture, is then "enthroned" in the home to serve as a constant reminder to those who dwell in the house of their consecration to the Sacred Heart. The practice of the Enthronement is based upon Pope Pius XII's declaration that devotion to the Sacred of Jesus is "the foundation on which to build the kingdom of God in the hearts of individuals, families, and nations..."

    Alliance with the Immaculate Heart of Mary

    The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary is based on the historical, theological and spiritual links in Catholic devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The joint devotion to the hearts was first formalized in the 17th century by Saint Jean Eudes who organized the scriptural, theological and liturgical sources relating to the devotions and obtained the approbation of the Church, prior to the visions of Saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque.

    In the 18th and 19th centuries the devotions grew, both jointly and individually through the efforts of figures such as Saint Louis de Montfort who promoted Catholic Mariology and Saint Catherine Labouré's Miraculous Medal depicting the Heart of Jesus thorn-crowned and the Heart of Mary pierced with a sword. The devotions, and the associated prayers, continued into the 20th century, e.g. in the Immaculata prayer of Saint Maximillian Kolbe and in the reported messages of Our Lady of Fatima which stated that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be honored together with the Heart of Mary.

    Popes supported the individual and joint devotions to the hearts through the centuries. In the 1956 encyclical Haurietis Aquas, Pope Pius XII encouraged the joint devotion to the hearts. In the 1979 encyclical Redemptor Hominis Pope John Paul II explained the theme of unity of Mary's Immaculate Heart with the Sacred Heart. In his Angelus address on September 15, 1985 Pope John Paul II coined the term The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and in 1986 addressed the international conference on that topic held at Fátima, Portugal.

    The Miraculous Medal

    The Miraculous Medal
    The Sacred Heart has also been involved in (and been depicted) in saintly apparitions such as those to Saint Catherine Labouré in 1830 and appears on the Miraculous Medal.

    On the Miraculous Medal, the Sacred Heart is crowned with thorns. The Immaculate Heart of Mary also appears on the medal, next to the Sacred Heart, but is pierced by a sword, rather than being crowned with thorns. The M on the medal signifies the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross when Jesus was being crucified.

    Religious imagery depicting the Sacred Heart is frequently featured in Roman Catholic, and sometimes Anglican and Lutheran homes. Sometimes images display beneath them a list of family members, indicating that the entire family is entrusted to the protection of Jesus in the Sacred Heart, from whom blessings on the home and the family members are sought. The prayer "O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee" is often used. One particular image has been used as part of a set, along with an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In that image, Mary too was shown pointing to her Immaculate Heart, expressing her love for the human race and for her Son, Jesus Christ. The mirror images reflect an eternal binding of the two hearts.

    The Scapular of the Sacred Heart and the Scapular of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary are worn by Roman Catholics.

    In Eastern Catholicism

    Devotion to the Sacred Heart may be found in some Eastern Catholic Churches, but is a contentious issue. Those who favour purity of rite are opposed to the devotion, while those who are in favour of the devotion cite it as a point of commonality with their Latin Catholic brethren.

    Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

    Jesus Christ, in his appearances to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, promised these blessings to those who practice devotion to his Sacred Heart. This tabular form of promises was not made by Saint Margaret Mary or her contemporaries. It first appeared at 1863. In 1882, an American businessman spread the tabular form of the promises profusely throughout the world, the twelve promises appearing in 238 languages. In 1890, Cardinal Adolph Perraud deplored this circulation of the promises in the tabular form which were different from the words and even from the meaning of the expressions used by St. Margaret Mary, and wanted the promises to be published in the full, authentic texts as found in the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque:
    1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
    2. I will give peace in their families.
    3. I will console them in all their troubles.
    4. I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
    5. I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
    6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
    7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
    8. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
    9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
    10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
    11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
    12. In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.
      The last promise has given rise to the pious Roman Catholic practice of making an effort to attend Mass and receive Communion on the first Friday of each month.

    Great efficacy of converting people has been attached to the use of the image of the Sacred Heart.
    "Even at the hour of death, incredulous, indifferent, hardened souls have been converted by simply showing them a picture of the Sacred Heart, which sufficed to restore these sinners to the life of hope and love, in a word, to touch the most hardened. It would, indeed, be a great misfortune to any apostolic man to neglect so powerful a means of conversion, and in proof of this I will mention a single fact which will need no comment. A religious of the Company of Jesus had been requested by the Blessed Margaret Mary to make a careful engraving of the Sacred Heart. Being often hindered by other occupations, there was much delay in preparing this plate. ' This good father,' writes the saint, 'is so much occupied by Mon- signor d'Autun in the conversion of heretics, that he has neither time nor leisure to give to the work so ardently desired by the Heart of our Divine Master. You cannot imagine, my much-loved mother, how greatly this delay afflicts and pains me. I must avow confidently to you my belief that it is the cause of his converting so few infidels in this town. I seem constantly to hear these words : ' That if this good father had acquitted himself at once of his promise to the Sacred Heart, Jesus would have changed and converted the hearts of these infidels, on account of the joy He would have felt at seeing Himself honoured in the picture He so much wishes for. As, however, he prefers other work, even though to the glory of God, to that of giving Him this satisfaction, He will harden the hearts of these infidels, and the labours of this mission will not be crowned with much fruit.'

    Scapular of the Sacred Heart

    The devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus also involve the Scapular of the Sacred Heart. It is a Roman Catholic devotional scapular that can be traced back to Saint Margaret Marie Alacoque who herself made and distributed badges similar to it. In 1872 Pope Pius IX granted an indulgence for the badge and the actual scapular was approved by the Congregation of Rites in 1900. It bears the representation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on one side, and that of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Mother of Mercy on the other side. Prayer, Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end.


    Immaculate Heart of Mary

    Immaculate heart of Mary Scapular
    The Immaculate Heart of Mary (also known as The Sacred Heart of Mary) is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son Jesus, and her compassionate love for all persons. The consideration of Mary's interior life and the beauties of her soul, without any thought of her physical heart, does not constitute the traditional devotion; still less does it consist in the consideration of the heart of Mary merely as a part of her pure body. In 1855 the Mass of the Most Pure Heart formally became a part of Catholic practice. The two elements are essential to the devotion, just as, according to Roman Catholic theology, soul and body are necessary to the constitution of man.

    Eastern Catholic Churches occasionally utilize the image, devotion, and theology associated with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. However, this is a cause of some controversy, some seeing it as a form of liturgical instillation. The Roman Catholic view is based on Mariology, as exemplified by Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae which builds on the total Marian devotion pioneered by Louis de Montfort.

    Traditionally, the heart is pierced with seven wounds or swords, in homage to the seven dolors of Mary. Consequently, seven Hail Marys are said daily in honor of the devotion. Also, roses or another type of flower may be wrapped around the heart

    Veneration and devotion

    Immaculate Heart Mary, Seven  Dolors
    Veneration of the Heart of Mary is analogous to worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is, however, necessary to indicate a few differences in this analogy, the better to explain the character of Roman Catholic devotion to the Heart of Mary. Some of these differences are very marked, whereas others are barely perceptible. The Devotion to the Heart of Jesus is especially directed to the "Divine Heart" as overflowing with love for humanity, presented as "despised and outraged". In the devotion to the Mary, on the other hand, the attraction is the love of this Heart for Jesus and for God. Its love for humans is not overlooked, but it is not so much in evidence nor so dominant.

    A second difference is the nature of the devotion itself. In devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Roman Catholic venerates in a sense of love responding to love. In devotion to the Heart of Mary, study and imitation hold as important a place as love. Love is more the result than the object of the devotion, the object being rather to love God and Jesus better by uniting one's self to Mary for this purpose and by imitating her virtues. It would also seem that, although in the devotion to the Heart of Mary the heart has an essential part as symbol and sensible object, it does not stand out as prominently as in the devotion to the Heart of Jesus; devotion focuses rather on the thing symbolized, the love, virtues, and sentiments of Mary's interior life.

    The Immaculate Heart has also been involved in (and been depicted) in saintly Marian apparitions such as those to Saint Catherine Labouré in 1830 and appears on the Miraculous Medal. On the Miraculous Medal, the Immaculate Heart is pierced by a sword. The Sacred Heart of Jesus also appears on the medal, next to the Immaculate Heart, but is crowned with thorns, rather than being pierced by a sword. The M on the medal signifies the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross when Jesus was being crucified.

    Our Lady of Fatima asked that, in reparation for sins committed against her Immaculate Heart, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months the Catholic:
    1. Go to Confession (within 8 days before or after the first Saturday)
    2. Receive Holy Communion
    3. Recite five decades of the Rosary
    4. Keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary
    She promised that, whoever would ever do this, would be given at the hour of his death, the graces necessary for salvation.

    History of devotion

    The history of the devotion to the Heart of Mary is connected on many points with that to the Heart of Jesus. The attention of Christians was early attracted by the love and virtues of the Heart of Mary. The gospels recount the prophecy delivered to her at Jesus' presentation at the temple: that her heart would be pierced with a sword. This image (the pierced heart) is the most popular representation of the Immaculate Heart. The St. John's Gospel further invited attention to Mary's heart with its depiction of Mary at the foot of the cross at Jesus' crucifixion. St. Augustine said of this that Mary was not merely passive at the foot of the cross; "she cooperated through charity in the work of our redemption".

    Statue depicting the Immaculate Heart of Mary as described by Sister Lucia of Fátima.
    Another Scriptural passage to help in bringing out the devotion was the twice-repeated saying of Saint Luke, that Mary kept all the sayings and doings of Jesus in her heart, that there she might ponder over them and live by them. A few of Mary's sayings, also recorded in the Gospel, particularly the Magnificat (the words Mary is reported to have said to describe the experience of being pregnant with Jesus), disclose new features in Marian psychology. Some of the Church Fathers also throw light upon the psychology of Mary, for instance, Saint Ambrose, when in his commentary on The Gospel of Luke he holds Mary up as the ideal of virginity, and Saint Ephrem, when he poetically sings of the coming of the Magi and the welcome accorded them by the humble mother. Some passages from other books in the Bible are interpreted as referring to Mary, in whom they personify wisdom and her gentle charms. Such are the texts in which wisdom is presented as the mother of lofty love, of fear, of knowledge, and of holy hope. In the New Testament Elizabeth proclaims Mary blessed because she has believed the words of the angel who announced that she would become pregnant with Jesus, although she was still a virgin; the Magnificat is an expression of her humility. In answering the woman of the people, who in order to exalt the son proclaimed the mother blessed, Jesus himself said: "Blessed rather are they that hear the word of God and keep it." The Church Fathers understood this as an invitation to seek in Mary that which had so endeared her to God and caused her to be selected as the mother of Jesus, and found in these words a new reason for praising Mary. St. Leo said that through faith and love she conceived her son spiritually, even before receiving him into her womb, and St. Augustine tells us that she was more blessed in having borne Christ in her heart than in having conceived him in the flesh.

    It is only in the twelfth, or towards the end of the eleventh century, that slight indications of a regular devotion are perceived in a sermon by St. Bernard (De duodecim stellis), from which an extract has been taken by the Church and used in the Offices of the Compassion and of the Seven Dolours. Stronger evidences are discernible in the pious meditations on the Ave Maria and the Salve Regina, usually attributed either to St. Anselm of Lucca (d. 1080) or St. Bernard; and also in the large book "De laudibus B. Mariae Virginis" (Douai, 1625) by Richard de Saint-Laurent, Penitentiary of Rouen in the thirteenth century. In St. Mechtilde (d. 1298) and St. Gertrude (d. 1301) the devotion had two earnest adherents. A little earlier it had been included by St. Thomas Becket in the devotion to the joys and sorrows of Mary, by Blessed Hermann (d.1245), one of the first spiritual children of Saint Dominic, in his other devotions to Mary, and somewhat later it appeared in St. Bridget's "Book of Revelations". Johannes Tauler (d. 1361) beholds in Mary the model of a mystical soul, just as St. Ambrose perceived in her the model of a virginal soul. St. Bernardine of Siena (d.1444) was more absorbed in the contemplation of the virginal heart, and it is from him that the Church has borrowed the lessons of the second nocturn for the feast of the Heart of Mary. St. Francis de Sales speaks of the perfections of this heart, the model of love for God, and dedicated to it his "Theotimus."

    During this same period one finds occasional mention of devotional practices to the Heart of Mary, e.g., in the "Antidotarium" of Nicolas du Saussay (d. 1488), in Julius II, and in the "Pharetra" of Lanspergius. In the second half of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth, ascetic authors dwelt upon this devotion at greater length. It was, however, reserved to Saint Jean Eudes (d. 1681) to propagate the devotion, to make it public, and to have a feast celebrated in honor of the Heart of Mary, first at Autun in 1648 and afterwards in a number of French dioceses. He established several religious societies interested in upholding and promoting the devotion, of which his large book on the Coeur Admirable (Admirable Heart), published in 1681, resembles a summary. Jean Eudes' efforts to secure the approval of an office and feast failed at Rome, but, notwithstanding this disappointment, the devotion to the Heart of Mary progressed. In 1699 Father Pinamonti (d. 1703) published in Italian a short work on the Holy Heart of Mary, and in 1725, Joseph 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 principal one.

    Alliance with the Sacred Heart

    The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary is based on the historical, theological and spiritual links in Catholic devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The joint devotion to the hearts was first formalized in the 17th century by Saint Jean Eudes who organized the scriptural, theological and liturgical sources relating to the devotions and obtained the approbation of the Church, prior to the visions of Saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque.

    In the 18th and 19th centuries the devotions grew, both jointly and individually through the efforts of figures such as Saint Louis de Montfort who promoted Catholic Mariology and Saint Catherine Labouré's Miraculous Medal depicting the Heart of Jesus thorn-crowned and the Heart of Mary pierced with a sword. The devotions, and the associated prayers, continued into the 20th century, e.g. in the Immaculata prayer of Saint Maximillian Kolbe and in the reported messages of Our Lady of Fatima which stated that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be honored together with the Heart of Mary.

    Popes supported the individual and joint devotions to the hearts through the centuries. In the 1956 encyclical Haurietis Aquas, Pope Pius XII encouraged the joint devotion to the hearts. In the 1979 encyclical Redemptor Hominis Pope John Paul II explained the theme of unity of Mary's Immaculate Heart with the Sacred Heart. In his Angelus address on September 15, 1985 Pope John Paul II coined the term The Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and in 1986 addressed the international conference on that topic held at Fátima, Portugal.

    Feast days

    Fatima Statue of Pope Pius XII, who consecrated Russia and the World: Just as a few years ago We consecrated the entire human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, so today We consecrate and in a most special manner We entrust all the peoples of Russia to this Immaculate Heart...
    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. Such was the existing condition when a twofold movement, started in Paris, gave fresh impetus to the devotion. The two factors of this movement were, first of all, the revelation of the "miraculous medal" in 1830 and all the prodigies that followed, and then the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners, which spread rapidly throughout the world and was the source of numberless alleged graces. On 21 July 1855, the Congregation of Rites finally approved the Office and Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary without, however, imposing them upon the Universal Church.

    During the third apparition at Fátima, Portugal on 13 July 1917, the Virgin Mary allegedly said that "God wishes to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart" in order to save souls from going into the fires of hell and to bring about world peace, and also asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Pope Pius XII, in his Apostolic Letter of 7 July 1952, Sacro Vergente consecrated Russia to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

    On 25 March 1984, Pope John Paul II fulfilled this request again, when he made the solemn act of consecration of the world, and implicitly Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary before the miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary of Fatima brought to Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican for the momentous occasion. Sister Lucia, OCD, then the only surviving visionary of Fatima, confirmed that the request of Mary for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was accepted by Heaven and therefore, was fulfilled. Again on 8 October 2000, Pope John Paul II made an act of entrustment of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the new millennium.

    Roman Catholic feast days

    Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1944 to be celebrated on 22 August, coinciding with the traditional octave day of the Assumption. In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the day, Saturday, immediately after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This means in practice that it is now held on the day before the third Sunday after Pentecost.

    At the same time as he closely associated the celebrations of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Queenship of Mary from 31 May to 22 August, bringing it into association with the feast of her Assumption.

    Those who use the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal or an earlier one (but not more than 17 years before 1962) observe the day established by Pius XII.


    • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.