A Jesuit priest who became confessor to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and was the first to believe the authenticity of her visions and revelations. St. Claude and St. Margaret Mary promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart during a time in the French Church when Jansenism (a particularly severe and gloomy spirituality) was afoot.
The mercy of a loving Jesus was a refreshing and necessary counterpoint to this viewpoint.
He was later transferred to England and became the confessor to the Duchess of York but was falsely ensnared in the "Popish Plot" during the Titus Oates controversy, was imprisoned and nearly lost his life but for the intercession of King Louis XIV.
His health suffered greatly during his cruel imprisonment and he never fully recovered after his return to France.
His bones are preserved in the chapel outside which this statue stands. He points to an image of the Sacred Heart inscribed with the words, "He loved but was loved not." This highlights an aspect of devotion to the Sacred Heart which is to make reparation for the insults and slights to Jesus' love for us.