Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque "His wish for her to order a picture of the image of His Sacred Heart for people specifically to venerate and have in their homes and also small pictures to carry with them." St. Margaret Mary always kept a Sacred Heart badge with her and inspired her novices to do the same. She made many badges and often said this practice was very pleasing to the Sacred Heart.
The popularity of the Badge increased suddenly due to a very dramatic event in the city of Marseilles in France. In the year 1720, about thirty years after the death of St. Margaret Mary, Marseilles was ravaged by the plague. About one thousand persons died each day from the disease. Fear had reached near panic proportions. The Bishop of Marseilles asked the nuns of the city to make thousands of Sacred Heart Badges similar to the kind used by St. Margaret Mary and her friends. When the Badges were ready, the Bishop led a procession to the center of the city. There he consecrated Marseilles to the Sacred Heart, and everybody present put on a Sacred Heart Badge. From that moment not one new case of the plague was reported.
In 1870 a Roman lady, wishing to know the opinion of the Holy Father Pius IX about the Badge of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, presented him with one. Touched by the sight of this emblem of salvation", the Pope approved the devotion forever and said: "This, Madam, this is an inspiration from
Heaven. Yes, from Heaven." Blessed Pope Pius IX granted in 1872 an indulgence of 500 days once a day to all the faithful who wear around their neck this pious emblem and recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be to the Father.
The Badge is a reminder of reparation by which we accept with love and faith Our share in the sufferings of Christ. Thus we cooperate more closely with Christ in the vital work of the redemption of mankind by accepting the obligations of God's commandments, by our fidelity to the daily tasks of our state in life, by the patient acceptance of the trials, disappointments, and crosses thrust upon us each day.
Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary: "Those who propagate devotion to His Sacred Heart shall have their names written in My Heart never to be blotted out." Our Dear Savior also revealed to Mother Rafols, who belonged to the mother house of the Sacred Heart in Saragoza, Spain (19th century): "To those who devoutly wear the image of His Sacred Heart, He promised great graces and special protection at the hour of their death." He said in time to come, many souls would propagate the Devotion to His Sacred Heart.
A beautiful prayer composed by Blessed Pope Pius IX: