Claude de la Colombiere was born into a French aristocratic family in the 17th Century. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at 17 and in 1674, after 15 years of Jesuit life, Colombiere took a personal vow to observe the Rule and Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. According to his letters this lead to an experience of inner liberation and a greater ability to open his heart to others in ministry. This was tested the next year when Claude was named rector at the Jesuit college at Paray-le-Monial, France. There he became the spiritual advisor for Sr. Margaret Mary Alacoque.
She was in a troubled period of her life with much suffering due to the extraordinary revelations given by the Sacred Heart of Jesus which became clearer and more intimate every day. She had confided her experience to a learned priest who lacked knowledge on mysticism. The priest thought that Margaret Mary was a victim of the devil’s deception. This confused St. Margaret Mary even more and she was filled with anxiety and uncertainty about what she was experiencing. She had received the instruction that the world be devoted to Jesus' Sacred Heart. Colombiere assured Sr. Margaret Mary that her visions were authentic. He also instructed her to write down all that she had experienced. He also pledged himself to the mission of spreading the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
By recommendation of Father La Chaize, who was confessor of Louis XIV, his superiors sent him to London as preacher to Maria Beatriz d’ Este, Duchess of York (later Queen of England). He moved to London, where he worked to reconcile former Catholics with the Church. Catholicism was outlawed in England and it was a very hostile cloimate. In 1678 he was caught in the web of lies spun by Titus Oates about an alleged plot by Jesuits to kill Charles II. Claude, in spite of failing health, was first thrown into prison and later exiled to France where he would die. Claude de la Colombiere was declared a saint by Pope John Paul II in 1992.