Saint Claude de la Colombière (1641 – 1682) was born near Lyon. At the age of seventeen he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Avignon. After finishing his studies he was assigned first to a teaching position in Lyon and, later, appointed rector of the Jesuit community at Paray-le-Monial, where he also became the spiritual director of the nuns of the Monastery of the Visitation. Among these nuns was Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom Our Lord appeared with the message of devotion to His Sacred Heart. As her spiritual director, Saint Claude spoke to her several times and, after much prayer and discernment, was convinced of the validity of her visions. He became both her supporter and a zealous apostle of the devotion. In 1676, he was sent to England to serve as preacher to the Duchess of York. Here he was arrested for his faith and spent several months in prison. In 1679, through the intercession of King Louis XIV of France, he was banished from the country instead of being executed. He died three years later at Paray-le-Monial.