As early as the 10'th century, a Benedictine monastery was established in the city of Paray-le-Monial, located in the diocese of Autun. The main part of its church was constructed in the 12'th century and is considered quite valuable as an example of the art of Cluny, since its model at Cluny has virtually disappeared.
Paray-le-Monial is known today primarily because of Saint Margaret-Mary Alacoque, a Visitation nun who lived in the 17'th century : On December 26, 1673, Christ revealed the mystery of His heart to her for the first time : " My heart is so full of love for men... that the flames of its ardent love can no longer be contained, but must be poured out through you ". Other apparitions follow in 1674, then in June 1675 when Jesus, revealing His heart (" Behold this heart which has so loved men... "), asked that a feast be instituted in honor of His heart. After many trials, Margaret-Mary died on October 17, 1690. She was canonized in 1920. In 1765, Rome authorized the institution of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, extended in 1856 to the universal Church. Today, Paray-le-Monial welcomes a half-million pilgrims each year.