What Is a Sacred Heart Tattoo?

A sacred heart tattoo features a flaming heart that symbolizes Jesus Christ's love and sacrifice for mankind. Tattoo variations may include a cross, a crown of thorns or angel wings. These body art designs are usually worn by devout Christians, according to Tantalizing Tattoo.

The image of the sacred heart was first used as a symbol of devotion to Jesus Christ in the 1600s in Paris, France. A nun, the future St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, had a series of visions in which Jesus Christ revealed his burning heart to her and asked her to dedicate her life to helping others. The image has evolved over the years and has been used for different purposes, including by repressive regimes in Spain and France.