Blessed Virgin Mary

 Queen of Heaven

The Annunciation, Philippe de Champaigne, 1644

Feast Days

1 January - Mary, Mother of God
21 January - Our Lady of Altagracia
23 January - Espousal of the Virgin Mary
24 January - Madonna del Pianto (Our Lady of Tears)
2 February -

Purification of Mary &

Our Lady of Good Success*

4 February - Our Lady of the Flight into Egypt
11February - Our Lady of Lourdes
25 March - Annunciation by Saint Gabriel
25 April - Our Lady of Good Counsel (at Genazzano)
26 April - Our Lady of Good Counsel (elsewhere)
13 May - First Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima
13 May - Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament
24 May - Mary, Help of Christians
31 May - Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces
31 May - Visitation
3 June - Our Lady of the Holy Letter
9 June - Mary, Virgin Mother of Grace
27 June - Our Lady of Perpetual Help
2 July - Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
16 July - Our Lady of Mount Carmel
17 July - Humility of the Blessed Virgin Mary
2 August - Our Lady of the Angels
5 August - Our Lady of the Snow
5 August - Our Lady of Copacabana
13 August - Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners
15 August - Assumption into Heaven
21 August - Our Lady of Knock
22 August - Immaculate Heart of Mary
22 August - Queenship of Mary
3 September   Our Lady of Brebières (Mother of the Divine Shepherd)
8 September - Nativity of Mary
8 September - Our Lady of Charity
8 September - Our Lady of Meritxell
8 September - Our Lady of Covadonga
12 September - Most Holy Name of Mary
15 September - Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
19 September   Feast of Our Lady of LaSalette
24 September - Our Lady of Ransom (Mercy)
1 October - Holy Protection of the Mother of God
7 October - Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
11 October - Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
12 October - Our Lady of Pillar
16 October - Purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
11 November - Patronage of Our Lady
21 November - Presentation of Mary at the Temple
2 December - Our Lady of Liesse
2 December - Our Lady, Cause of Our Joy
8 December - Mary's Immaculate Conception
12 December - Our Lady of Guadalupe
18 December - Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Moveable Feasts

The Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin - Friday in Passion Week
Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles - Saturday after Ascension
Our Lady, Health of the Sick - Saturday before the last Sunday in August
Our Lady of Consolation - Saturday after the Feast of Saint Augustine (28 August)
Mary, Mother of Divine Providence   Saturday before 3rd Sunday of November

Other Feasts

Our Lady of Laus

The Feast of 8 September originated in Jerusalem. In the 7th century, in the Byzantine Rite and at Rome, the Birth of the Blessed Virgin was celebrated this day. The feast is also celebrated on September 8 in the Syriac Rite and on September 7 in the Coptic Rite.

The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows was originally granted to the Order of the Servants of Mary in 1667; it was introduced into the Roman Calendar in 1814 and assigned to the third Sunday in September. In 1913 the date of the feast was assigned to September 15.

Courtesy of Patron Saint Index




"And Our heart is sad because of them who, although of the household of the Faith, dare to accuse the devout of excessive or exaggerated veneration toward Mary, gravely offending thereby the filial piety of children toward their mother."

Pope Leo XIII: Octobri Mense


Virgin Mary, THE BLESSED, is the name of the mother of Jesus Christ, the mother of God.

NAME OF MARY. — The Hebrew form of the name is míryãm, denoting in the Old Testament only the sister of Moses. In I Par,. 17, the Massoretic text applies the same name to a son of Jalon, but, as the Septuagint version transcribes this name as Μαρων, we must infer that the orthography of the Hebrew text has been altered by the transcribers. The same version renders míryãm by Μαριαμ, a form analogous to the Syriac and Aramaic word Maryam. In the New Testament the name of the Virgin Mary is always Μαριαμ, excepting in the Vatican Codex and the Codex Bezæ followed by a few critics who read Μαρια in Luke, ii, 19. Possibly the Exangelists kept the archaic form of the name for the Blessed Virgin, so as to distinguish her from the other women who bore the same name. The Vulgate renders the name by Maria, both in the Old Testament and the New; Josephus (Ant. Jud., II, ix, 4) changes the name to Μαριαμμη.

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MARY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT. — In general, the theology and history of Mary the Mother of God follow the chronological order of their respective sources, i.e. the Old Testament, the New Testament, the early Christian and Jewish witnesses. The Old Testament refers to Our Blessed Lady both in its prophecies and its types or figures.

    A. Prophecies. — The first prophecy referring to Mary is found in the very opening chapters of the Book of Genesis (iii, 15): "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." This rendering appears to differ in two respects from the original Hebrew text: first, the Hebrew text employs the same verb for the two renderings "she shall crush" and "thou shalt lie in wait"; the Septuagint renders the verb both times by τηρειν, to lie in wait; Aquila, Symmachus, the Syriac and the Samaritan translators, interpret the Hebrew verb by expressions which mean to crush, to bruise; the Itala renders the verb τηοειν employed in the Septuagint by the Latin "servare", to guard; St. Jerome (Quæst. hebr. in Gen., P.L., XXIII, col. 943) maintains that the Hebrew verb has the meaning of "crushing" or "bruising" rather than of "lying in wait", "guarding". Still in his own work, which became the Latin Vulgate, the saint employs the verb "to crush" (conterere) in the first place, and "to lie in wait" (insidiari) in the second. Hence the punishment inflicted on the serpent and the serpent's retaliation are expressed by the same verb: but the wound of the serpent is mortal, since it affects his head, while the wound inflicted by the serpent is not mortal, being inflicted on the heel. The second point of difference between the Hebrew text and our version concerns the agent who is to inflict the mortal wound on the servant: our version agrees with the present Vulgate text in reading "she" (ipsa) which refers to the woman, while the Hebrew text reads hû' (αυτος, ipse) which refers to the seed of the woman. According to our version, and the Vulgate reading, the woman herself will win the victory; according to the Hebrew text, she will be victorious through her seed. In this sense does the Bull "Ineffabilis" ascribe the victory to Our Blessed Lady. The reading "she" (ipsa) is neither an intentional corruption of the original text, nor is it an accidental error; it is rather an explanatory version expressing explicitly the fact of Our Lady's part in the victory over the serpent, which is contained implicitly in the Hebrew original. The strength of the Christian tradition as to Mary's share in this victory may be inferred from the retention of "she" in St. Jerome's version in spite of his acquaintance with the original text and with the reading "he" (ipse) in the old Latin version.

    As it is quite commonly admitted that the Divine judgment is directed not so much against the serpent as against the originator of sin, the seed of the serpent denotes the followers of the serpent, the "brood of vipers", the "generation of vipers", those whose father is the Devil, the children of evil, imitando, non nascendo (Aug.); cf. Wis., ii, 25; Matt., iii, 7; xxiii, 33; John, viii, 44; I, John, iii, 8-12. One may be tempted to understand the seed of the woman in a similar collective sense, embracing all who are born of God. But seed not only may denote a particular person, but has such a meaning usually, if the context allows it. St. Paul (Gal., iii, 16) gives this explanation of the word "seed" as it occurs in the patriarchal promises: "To Abraham were the promises made and to his seed. He saith not, and to his seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to his seed, which is Christ". Finally the expression "the woman" in the clause "I will put enmities between thee and the woman" is a literal version of the Hebrew text. The Hebrew Grammar of Gesenius-Kautzsch (Hebräische Grammatik, 26th edit., 402) establishes the rule: Peculiar to the Hebrew is the use of the article in order to indicate a person or thing, not yet known and not yet to be more clearly described, either as present or as to be taken into account under the contextual conditions. Since our indefinite article serves this purpose, we may translate: "I will put enmities between you and a woman". Hence the prophecy promises a woman, Our Blessed Lady, who will be the enemy of the serpent to a marked degree; besides, the same woman will be victorious over the Devil, at least through her offspring. The completeness of the victory is emphasized by the contextual phrase "earth shalt thou eat", which is according to Winckler (Der alte Orient und die Geschichtsforschung, 30) a common old-oriental expression denoting the deepest humiliation (cf. Jeremias, Das Alte Testament im Lichte des alten Orients, 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1906, 216; Himpel, Messianische Weissagungen im Pentateuch, Tubinger theologische Quartalschrift, 1859; Maas, Christ in Type and Prophecy, I, 199 sqq., New York, 1893; Flunck, Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie, 1904, 641 sqq.; St. Justin, dial. c. Tryph., 100 (P.G., VI, 712); St. Iren., adv. haer., III, 23 (P.G., VII,, 964); St. Cypr., test. c. Jud., II, 9 (P.L., IV, 704); St. Epiph., hær., III, ii, 18 (P.G., XLII, 729)).

    The second prophecy referring to Mary is found in Is., vii, 1-17. Critics have endeavoured to represent this passage as a combination of occurrences and sayings from the life of the prophet written down by an unknown hand (Lagarde, Guthe, Giesebrecht, Cheyne, Wilke). The credibility of the contents is not necessarily affected by this theory, since prophetic traditions may be recorded by any writer without losing their credibility. But even Duhm considers the theory as an apparent attempt on the part of the critics to find out what the readers are willing to bear patiently; he believes it is a real misfortune for criticism itself that it has found a mere compilation in a passage which so graphically describes the birth-hour of faith.

    According to IV Kings, xvi, 1-4, and II Par., xxviii, 1-8, Achaz, who began his reign 736 B.C., openly professed idolatry, so that God gave him into the hands of the kings of Syria and Israel. It appears that an alliance had been concluded between Phacee, King of Israel, and Rasin, King of Damascus, for the purpose of opposing a barrier to the Assyrian aggressions. Achaz, who cherished Assyrian proclivities, did not join the coalition; the allies invaded his territory, intending to substitute for Achaz a more subservient ruler, a certain son of Tabeel. While Rasin was occupied in reconquering the maritime city Elath, Phacee alone proceeded against Juda, "but they could not prevail". After Elath had fallen, Rasin joined his forces with those of Phacee; "Syria hath rested upon Ephraim", whereupon "his (Achaz') heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind". Immediate preparations must be made for a protracted siege, and Achaz is busily engaged near the upper pool from which the city received the greater part of its water supply. Hence the Lord says to Isaias: "Go forth to meet Achaz. . .at the end of the conduit of the upper pool". The prophet's commission is of an extremely consoling nature: "See thou be quiet; hear not, and let not thy heart be afraid of the two tails of these firebrands". The scheme of the enemies shall not succeed: "it shall not stand, and this shall not be." What is to be the particular fate of the enemies? a. Syria will gain nothing, it will remain as it has been in the past: "the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rasin". b. Ephraim too will remain in the immediate future as it has been hitherto: "the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria the son of Romelia"; but after sixty-five years it will be destroyed, "within threescore and five years Ephraim shall cease to be a people".

    Achaz had abandoned the Lord for Moloch, and put his trust in an alliance with Assyria; hence the conditional prophecy concerning Juda, "if you will not believe, you shall not continue". The test of belief follows immediately: "ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God, either unto the depth of hell or unto the height above". Achaz hypocritically answers: "I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord", thus refusing to express his belief in God, and preferring his Assyrian policy. The king prefers Assyria to God, and Assyria will come: "the Lord shall bring upon thee and upon thy people, and upon the house of thy father, days that have not come since the time of the separation of Ephraim from Juda with the king of the Assyrians." The house of David has been grievous not merely to men, but to God also by its unbelief; hence it "shall not continue", and, by an irony of Divine punishment, it will be destroyed by those very men whom it preferred to God.

    Still, the general Messianic promises made to the house of David cannot be frustrated: "The Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel. He shall eat butter and honey, that he may know to refuse the evil and to choose the good. For before the child know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good, the land which thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of the face of her two kings." Without answering a number of questions connected with the explanation of the prophecy, we must confine ourselves here to the bare proof that the virgin mentioned by the prophet is Mary the Mother of Christ. The argument is based on the premises that the prophet's virgin is the mother of Emmanuel, and that Emmanuel is Christ. The relation of the virgin to Emmanuel is clearly expressed in the inspired words; the same indicate also the identity of Emmanuel with the Christ.

    The connection of Emmanuel with the extraordinary Divine sign which was to be given to Achaz predisposes one to see in the child more than a common boy. In viii, 8, the prophet ascribes to him the ownership of the land of Juda: "the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Emmanuel". In ix, 6, the government of the house of David is said to be upon his shoulders, and he is described as being endowed with more than human qualities: "a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the World to Come, and the Prince of Peace". Finally, the prophet calls Emmanuel "a rod out of the root of Jesse" endowed with "the spirit of the Lord. . .the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness"; his advent shall be followed by the general signs of the Messianic era, and the remnant of the chosen people shall be again the people of God (xi, 1-16).

    Whatever obscurity or ambiguity there may be in the prophetic text itself is removed by St. Matthew (i, 18-25). After narrating the doubt of St. Joseph and the angel's assurance, "that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost", the Evangelist proceeds: "now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel." We need not repeat the exposition of the passage given by Catholic commentators who answer the exceptions raised against the obvious meaning of the Evangelist. We may infer from all this that Mary is mentioned in the prophecy of Isaias as mother of Jesus Christ; in the light of St. Matthew's reference to the prophecy, we may add that the prophecy predicted also Mary's virginity untarnished by the conception of the Emmanuel (cf. Knabenbauer, Comment. in Isaiam, Paris, 1887; Schegg, Der Prophet Isaias, Munchen, 1850; Rohling, Der Prophet Isaia, Munster, 1872; Neteler, Das Bush Isaias, Munster, 1876; Condamin, Le livre d'Isaie, Paris, 1905; Maas, Christ in Type and Prophecy, New York, 1893, I, 333 sqq.; Lagrange, La Vierge et Emmaneul, in Revue biblique, Paris, 1892, pp. 481-497; Lémann, La Vierge et l'Emmanuel, Paris, 1904; St. Ignat., ad Eph., cc. 7, 19, 19; St. Justin, Dial., P.G., VI, 144, 195; St. Iren., adv. hær., IV, xxxiii, 11).

A third prophecy referring to Our Blessed Lady is contained in Micheas v, 2-3: "And thou, Bethlehem, Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall be come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel, and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity. Therefore will he give them up till the time wherein she that travaileth shall bring forth, and the remnant of his brethren shall be converted to the children of Israel." Though the prophet (about 750-660 B.C.) was a contemporary of Isaias, his prophetic activity began a little later and ended a little earlier than that of Isaias. There can be no doubt that the Jews regarded the foregoing prediction as referring to the Messias. According to St. Matthew (ii, 6) the chief priests and scribes, when asked where the Messias was to be born, answered Herod in the words of the prophecy, "And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda. . ." According to St. John (vii, 42), the Jewish populace gathered at Jerusalem for the celebration of the feast asked the rhetorical question: "Doth not the Scripture say that Christ cometh of the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the town where David was?" The Chaldee paraphrase of Mich., v, 2, confirms the same view: "Out of thee shall come forth unto me the Messias, that he may exercise dominion in Israel". The very words of the prophecy admit of hardly any other explanation; for "his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity".

    But how does the prophecy refer to the Virgin Mary? Our Blessed Lady is denoted by the phrase, "till the time wherein she that travaileth shall bring forth". It is true that "she that travaileth" has been referred to the Church (St. Jerome, Theodoret), or to the collection of the Gentiles united with Christ (Ribera, Mariana), or again to Babylon (Calmet); but, on the one hand, there is hardly a sufficient connection between any of these events and the promised redeemer, on the other hand, the passage ought to read "till the time wherein she that is barren shall bring forth" if any of these events were referred to by the prophet. Nor can "she that travaileth" be referred to Sion: Sion is spoken of without figure before and after the present passage so that we cannot expect the prophet to lapse suddenly into figurative language. Moreover, the prophecy thus explained would not give a satisfactory sense. The contextual phrases "the ruler in Israel", "his going forth", which in Hebrew implies birth, and "his brethren" denote an individual, not a nation; hence we infer that the bringing forth must refer to the same person. It has been shown that the person of the ruler is the Messias; hence "she that travaileth" must denote the mother of Christ, or Our Blessed Lady. Thus explained the whole passage becomes clear: the Messias must be born in Bethlehem, an insignificant village in Juda: his family must be reduced to poverty and obscurity before the time of his birth; as this cannot happen if the theocracy remains intact, if David's house continues to flourish, "therefore will he give them up till the time wherein she that travaileth shall bring forth" the Messias. (Cf. the principal Catholic commentaries on Micheas; also Maas, "Christ in Type and Prophecy, New York, 1893, I, pp. 271 sqq.)

    A fourth prophecy referring to Mary is found in Jer., xxi, 22; "The Lord has created a new thing upon the earth: A woman shall compass a man". The text of the prophet Jeremias offers no small difficulties for the scientific interpreter; we shall follow the Vulgate version of the Hebrew original. But even this rendering has been explained in several different ways: Rosenmuller and several conservative Protestant interpreters defend the meaning, "a woman shall protect a man"; but such a motive would hardly induce the men of Israel to return to God. The explanation "a woman shall seek a man" hardly agrees with the text; besides, such an inversion of the natural order is presented in Is., iv, 1, as a sign of the greatest calamity. Ewald's rendering, "a woman shall change into a man", is hardly faithful to the original text. Other commentators see in the woman a type of the Synagogue or of the Church, in man the type of God, so that they explain the prophecy as meaning, "God will dwell again in the midst of the Synagogue (of the people of Israel)" or "the Church will protect the earth with its valiant men". But the Hebrew text hardly suggests such a meaning; besides, such an explanation renders the passage tautological: "Israel shall return to its God, for Israel will love its God". Some recent writers render the Hebrew original: "God creates a new thing upon the earth: the woman (wife) returns to the man (her husband)". According to the old law (Deut., xxiv, 1-4; Jer., iii, 1) the husband could not take back the wife once repudiated by him; but the Lord will do something new by allowing the faithless wife, i.e. the guilty nation, to return to the friendship of God. This explanation rests upon a conjectural correction of the text; besides, it does not necessarily bear the Messianic meaning which we expect in the passage.

    The Greek Fathers generally follow the Septuagint version, "The Lord has created salvation in a new plantation, men shall go about in safety"; but St. Athanasius twice (P.G., XXV, col. 205; XXVI, 1276) combines Aquila's version "God has created a new thing in woman" with that of the Septuagint, saying that the new plantation is Jesus Christ, and that the new thing created in woman is the body of the Lord, conceived within the virgin without the co-operation of man. St. Jerome too (In Jer., P.L., XXIV, 880) understands the prophetic text of the virgin conceiving the Messias. This meaning of the passage satisfies the text and the context. As the Word Incarnate possessed from the first moment of His conception all His perfections excepting those connected with His bodily development, His mother is rightly said to "compass a man". No need to point out that such a condition of a newly conceived child is rightly called "a new thing upon earth". The context of the prophecy describes after a short general introduction (xxx, 1-3) Israel's future freedom and restoration in four stanzas: xxx, 4-11, 12-22; xxx, 23; xxxi, 14, 15-26; the first three stanzas end with the hope of the Messianic time. The fourth stanza, too, must be expected to have a similar ending. Moreover, the prophecy of Jeremias, uttered about 589 B.C. and understood in the sense just explained, agrees with the contemporary Messianic expectations based on Is., vii, 14; ix, 6; Mich. v, 3. According to Jeremias, the mother of Christ is to differ from other mothers in this, that her child, even while within her womb, shall possess all those properties which constitute real manhood (cf. Scholz, Kommentar zum Propheten Jeremias, Würzburg, 1880; Knabenbauer, Das Buch Jeremias, des Propheten Klagelieder, und das Buch Baruch, Vienna, 1903; Conamin, Le texte de Jeremie, xxxi, 22, est-il messianique? in Revue biblique, 1897, 393-404; Maas, Christ in Type and Prophecy, New York, 1893, I, 378 sqq.). The Old Testament refers indirectly to Mary in those prophecies which predict the incarnation of the Word of God.

    B. Types and Figures of the Blessed Virgin Mary — In order to be sure of the typical sense, it must be revealed, i.e. it must come down to us through Scripture or tradition. Individual pious writers have developed copious analogies between certain data of the Old Testament and corresponding data of the New; however ingenious these developments may be, they do not prove that God really intended to convey the corresponding truths in the inspired text of the Old Testament. On the other hand, it must be kept in mind that not all truths contained in either Scripture or tradition have been explicitly proposed to the faithful as matters of belief by the explicit definition of the Church. According to the principle "Lex orandi est lex credenti" we must treat at least with reverence the numberless suggestions contained in the official prayers and liturgies of the Church. In this sense we must regard many of the titles bestowed on Our Blessed Lady in her litany and in the "Ave maris stella". The Antiphons and Responses found in the Offices recited on the various feasts of Our Blessed Lady suggest a number of types of Mary that hardly could have been brought so vividly to the notice of the Church's ministers in any other way. The third antiphon of Lauds of the Feast of the Circumcision sees in "the bush that was not burnt" (Exodus 3:2) a figure of Mary conceiving her Son without the loss of her virginity. The second antiphon of Lauds of the same Office sees in Gideon's fleece wet with dew while all the ground beside had remained dry (Judges, vi; 37-38) a type of Mary receiving in her womb the Word Incarnate (cf. St. Ambrose, de Spirit. Sanct., I, 8-9, P.L., XVI, 705; St. Jerome, Epist., cviii, 10; P.L., XXII, 886). The Office of the Blessed Virgin applies to Mary many passages concerning the spouse in the Canticle of Canticles (cf. Gietmann, In Eccles. et Cant. cant., Paris, 1890, 417 sq.) and also concerning Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs, viii, 22-31 (cf. Bull "Ineffabilis", fourth Lesson of the Office for 10 Dec.). The application to Mary of a "garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up" mentioned in Canticles 4:12 is only a particular instance of what has been said above (Response of seventh Nocturn in the Office of the Immaculate Conception). Besides, Sara, Debbora, Judith, and Esther are variously used as figures of Mary; the ark of the Covenant, over which the presence of God manifested itself, is used as the figure of Mary carrying God Incarnate within her womb. But especially Eve, the mother of all the living (Genesis 3:20), is considered as a type of Mary who is the mother of all the living in the order of grace (cf. St. Justin, dial. c. Tryph., 100; P.G., VI, 709-711; St. Iren., adv. haer., III, 22; V, 19; P.G., VII, 958, 1175; Tert., de carne Christi, 17; P.L., II, 782; St. Cyril., catech., XII, 15; P.G., XXXIII, 741; St. Jerome, ep. XXII ad Eustoch., 21; P.L., XXII, 408; St. Augustine, de agone Christi, 22; P.L., XL, 303; Terrien, La Mère de Dien et la mère des hommes, Paris, 1902, I, 120-121; II, 117-118; III, pp. 8-13; Newman, Anglican Difficulties, London, 1885, II, pp. 26 sqq.; Lecanu, Histoire de la Sainte Vierge, Paris, 1860, pp. 51-82).

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV, p. 464-464E
Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

MARY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. — We shall first consider Mary as portrayed in the Gospels, and then add the references to Our Blessed Lady found in the other books of the New Testament.

    A. Mary in the Gospels. — The reader of the Gospels is at first surprised to find so little about Mary; but this obscurity of Mary in the Gospels has been studied at length by Blessed Peter Canisius (de B. Virg., l. IV, c. 24), Auguste Nicolas (La Vierge Marie d'après l'Evangile et dans l'Eglise), Cardinal Newman (Letter to Dr. Pusey), and Very Rev. J. Spencer Northcote (Mary in the Gospels, London and New York, 1885, Lecture I.). In the commentary on the "Magnificat", published 1518, even Luther expresses the belief that the Gospels praise Mary sufficiently by calling her (eight times) the Mother of Jesus. In the following paragraphs we shall briefly group together what we know of Our Blessed Lady's life before the birth of her Divine Son, during the hidden life of Our Lord, during His public life and after His resurrection.

    (1) Mary before the Birth of Jesus Christ. St. Luke, ii, 4, says that St. Joseph went from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be enrolled, "because he was of the house and Family of David". As if to exclude all doubt concerning the Davidic descent of Mary, the Evangelist (i, 32, 69) states that the child born of Mary without the intervention of man shall be given "the throne of David His father", and that the Lord God has "raised up an horn of salvation to us in the house of David his servant" (cf. Tertul., de carne Christi, 22; P.L., II, 789; St. Aug., de cons. Evang., II, 2, 4; P.L., XXXIV, 1072). St. Paul too testifies that Jesus Christ "was made to him [God] of the seed of David, according to the flesh" (Rom., i, ). If Mary were not of Davidic descent, her Son conceived by the Holy Ghost could not be said to be "of the seed of David". Hence commentators tell us that in the text "in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God. . .to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David" (Luke, i, 26-27); the last clause "of the house of David" does not refer to Joseph, but to the virgin who is the principal person in the narrative; thus we have a direct inspired testimony to Mary's Davidic descent. Cf. St. Ignat., ad Ephes, 187; St. Justin, c. Taryph., 100; St. Aug., c. Faust, xxiii, 5-9; Bardenhewer, Mariä Verkündigung, Freiburg, 1896, 74-82; Friedrich, Die Mariologie des hl. Augustinus, Cöln, 1907, 19 sqq.

    While commentators generally agree that the genealogy found at the beginning of the first Gospel is that of St. Joseph, Annius of Viterbo proposes the opinion, already alluded to by St. Augustine, that St. Luke's genealogy gives the pedigree of Mary. The text of the third Gospel (III, 23) may be explained so as to make Heli the father of Mary: "Jesus. . .being the son (as it was supposed of Joseph) of Heli", or "Jesus. . .being the son of Joseph, as it was supposed, the son of Heli" (Lightfoot, Bengel, etc.), or again "Jesus. . .being as it was supposed the son of Joseph, who was [the son-in-law] of Heli" (Jans., Harduin., etc.). In these explanations the name of Mary is not mentioned explicitly, but it is implied; for Jesus is the Son of Heli through Mary. Though few commentators adhere to this view of St. Luke's genealogy, the name of Mary's father, Heli, agrees with the name given to Or Lady's father in a tradition founded upon the report of the Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal Gospel which dates from the end of the second century. According to this document the parents of Mary are Joachim and Anna. Now, the name Joachim is only a variation of Heli or Eliachim, substituting one Divine name (Yahweh) for the other (Eli, Elohim). The tradition as to the parents of Mary, found in the Gospel of James, is reproduced by St. John Damascene (hom. I. de nativ. B.V., 2, P.G., XCVI, 664), St. Gregory of Nyssa (P.G., XLVII, 1137), St. Germ. of Constantin. (de praesent., 2, P.G., XCVIII, 313), pseudo-Epiphan (de laud. Deipar., P.G., XLIII, 488), pseudo-Hilar (P.L., XCVI, 278), and St. Fulbert of Chartres (in Nativit. Deipar., P.L., CLI, 324). Some of these writers add that the birth of Mary was obtained by the fervent prayers of Joachim and Anna in their advanced age. As Joachim belonged to the royal family of David, so Anna is supposed to have been a descendant of the priestly family of Aaron; thus Christ the Eternal King and Priest sprang from both a royal and priestly family (cf. Aug., Consens. Evang., l. II, c. 2).

    According to Luke,i, 26, Mary lived in Nazareth, a city in Galilee, at the time of the Annunciation. A certain tradition maintains that she was conceived and born in the same house in which the Word became flesh (Schuster and Holzammer, Handbuch zur biblischen Geschichte, Freiburg, 1910, II, 87, note 6). Another tradition based on the Gospel of James regards Sephoris as the earliest home of Joachim and Anna, though they are said to have lived later on in Jerusalem, in a house called by St. Sophronius of Jerusalem (Anacreont., XX, 81-94, P.G., LXXXVII, 3822) Probatica, a name probably derived from the sanctuary's nearness to the pond called Probatica or Bethsaida in John, v, 2. It was here that Mary was born. About a century later, about A.D. 750, St. John Damascene (hom. I in Nativ. B.M.V., 6, II, P.G., CCXVI, 670, 678) repeats the statement that Mary was born in the Probatica. It is said that, as early as in the fifth century, the empress Eudoxia built a church over the place where Mary was born, and where her parents lived in their old age. The present Church of St. Anna stands at a distance of only about 100 feet from the pool Probatica. In 1889, 18 March, was discovered the crypt which encloses the supposed burying-place of St. Anna. Probably this place was originally a garden in which both Joachim and Anna were laid to rest. At their time it was still outside of the city walls, about 400 feet north of the Temple. Another crypt near St. Anna's tomb is the supposed birthplace of the Blessed Virgin; hence it is that in early times the church was called St. Mary of the Nativity (cf. Guérin, Jérusalem, Paris, 1889, pp. 284, 351-357, 430; Socin-Benzinger, Palästina und Syrien, Leipzig, 1891, p. 80; Revue biblique, 1893, pp. 245 sqq.; 1904, pp. 228 sqq.; Gariador, Les Bénédictins, I, Abbaye de Ste-Anne, V, 1908, 49 sq.). In the Cedron Valley, near the road leading to the Church of the Assumption, is a little sanctuary containing two altars which are said to stand over the burying-places of Sts. Joachim and Anna; but these graves belong to the time of the Crusades (cf. de Vogüe, Les églises de la Terre-Sainte, Paris, 1850, p. 310). In Sephoris too the Crusaders replaced by a large church an ancient sanctuary which stood over the legendary house of Sts. Joachim and Anna. After 1788 part of this church was restored by the Franciscan Fathers.

    The Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Lady has been treated in a special article. As to the place of the birth of Our Blessed Lady, there are three different traditions to be considered: First, the event has been placed in Bethlehem. This opinion rests on the authority of the following witnesses: it is expressed in a writing entitled "De nativ. S. Mariæ" (2, 6, P.L., XXX, 298, 301) inserted after the works of St. Jerome; it is more or less vaguely supposed by the Pilgrim of Piacenza, erroneously called Antoninus Martyr, who wrote about A.D. 580 (Itiner., 5, P.L., LXXII, 901); finally the popes Paul II (1471), Julius II (1507), Leo X (1519), Paul III (1535), Pius IV (1565), Sixtus V (1586), and Innocent XII (1698) in their Bulls concerning the Holy House of Loreto say that the Blessed Virgin was born, educated, and greeted by the angel in the Holy House. But these pontiffs hardly wish to decide an historical question; they merely express the opinion of their respective times. A second tradition placed the birth of Our Blessed Lady in Sephoris, about three miles north of Bethlehem, the Roman Diocæsarea, and the residence of Herod Antipas till late in the life of Our Lord. The antiquity of this opinion may be inferred from the fact that under Constantine a church was erected in Sephoris to commemorate the residence of Joachim and Anna in that place (cf. Liévin de Hamme, Guide de la Terre-Sainte, Jerusalem, 1887, III, 183). St. Epiphanius speaks of this sanctuary (hær., XXX, iv, II, P.G., XLI, 410, 426). But this merely shows that Our Blessed Lady may have lived in Sephoris for a time with her parents, without forcing us to believe that she had been born there. The third tradition, that Mary was born in Jerusalem, is the most probable one. We have seen that it rests upon the testimony of St. Sophronius, St. John Damascene, and upon the evidence of the recent finds in the Probatica. The Feast of Our Lady's Nativity was not celebrated in Rome till toward the end of the seventh century; but two sermons found among the writings of St. Andrew of Crete (d. 680) suppose the existence of this feat, and lead one to suspect that it was introduced at an earlier date into some other churches (P.G., XCVII, 806). In 799 the 10th canon of the Synod of Salzburg prescribes four feasts in honor of the Mother of God: the Purification, 2 Febr.; the Annunciation, 25 March; the Assumption, 15 Aug.; the Nativity, 8 Sept.

    According to Ex., xiii, 2, 12, all the Hebrew first-born male children had to be presented in the Temple. Such a law would lead pious Jewish parents to observe the same religious rite with regard to other favourite children. This inclines one to believe that Joachim and Anna presented in the Temple their child, which they had obtained by their long, fervent prayers. As to Mary, St. Luke (i, 34) tells us that she answered the angel announcing the birth of Jesus Christ: "how shall this be done, because I know not man". These words can hardly be understood, unless we assume that Mary had made a vow of virginity; for, when she spoke them, she was betrothed to St. Joseph (cf. Aug., de santa virginit., I, 4, P.L., XL, 398). The most opportune occasion for such a vow was her presentation in the Temple. As some of the Fathers admit that the faculties of St. John the Baptist were prematurely developed by a special intervention of God's power, we may admit a similar grace for the child of Joachim and Anna (cf. Luke, i, 41; Tertullian, de carne Christi, 21, P.L., II, 788; St. Ambr., de fide, IV, 9, 113, P.L., XVI, 639; St. Cyril of Jerus., Catech., III, 6, P.G., XXXIII, 436). But what has been said does not exceed the certainty of antecedently probable pious conjectures. The consideration that Our Lord could not have refused His Blessed Mother any favours which depended merely on His munificence does not exceed the value of an a priori argument. Certainty in this question must depend on external testimony and the teaching of the Church. Now, the Protoevangelium of James, vii-viii, and the writing entitled "De nativit. Mariæ", vii-viii, (Tischendorf, Evangelia apocraphya, 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1876, pp. 14-17, 117-179), state that Joachim and Anna, faithful to a vow they had made, presented the child Mary in the Temple when she was three years old; that the child herself mounted the Temple steps, and that she made her vow of virginity on this occasion. St. Gregory of Nyssa (P.G., XLVII, 1137) and St. Germ. of Constantin. (P.G., XCVIII, 313) adopt this report; it is also followed by pseudo-Gregory of Naz. in his "Christus patiens" (P.G., XXXVIII, 244). Moreover, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation, though it does not specify at what age the child Mary was presented in the Temple, when she made her vow of virginity, and what were the special natural and supernatural gifts with which God endowed her. The feast is mentioned for the first time in a document of Manuel Commenus, in 1166; from Constantinople the feast must have been introduced into the western Church, where we find it at the papal court at Avignon in 1371; about a century later, Pope Sixtus IV introduced the Office of the Presentation, and in 1585 Pope Sixtus V extended the Feast of the Presentation to the whole Church.

    The apocryphal writings to which we referred in the last paragraph state that Mary remained in the Temple after her presentation in order to be educated with other Jewish children. There she enjoyed ecstatic visions and daily visits of the holy angels. When she was fourteen, the high priest wished to send her home for marriage. Mary reminded him of her vow of virginity, and in his embarrassment the high priest consulted the Lord. Then he called all the young men of the family of David, and promised Mary in marriage to him whose rod should sprout and become the resting place of the Holy Ghost in form of a dove. It was Joseph who was privileged in this extraordinary way. We have already seen that St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Germ. of Constant., and pseudo-Gregory Nazianzen seem to adopt these legends. Besides, the emperor Justinian allowed a basilica to be built on the platform of the former Temple in memory of Our Lady's stay in the sanctuary; the church was called the New St. Mary's so as to distinguish it from the Church of the Nativity. It seems to be the modern mosque el-Aksa (cf. Guérin, Jerusalem, 362; Liévin, Guide de la Terre-Sainte, I, 447). On the other hand, the Church is silent as to Mary's stay in the Temple. St. Ambrose (de virgin., II, ii, 9, 10, P.L., XVI, 209 sq.), describing Mary's life before the Annunciation, supposes expressly that she lived in the house of her parents. All the descriptions of the Jewish Temple which can claim any scientific value leave us in ignorance as to any localities in which young girls might have been educated. Joas's stay in the Temple till the age of seven does not favour the supposition that young girls were educated within the sacred precincts; for Joas was king, and was forced by circumstances to remain in the Temple (cf. IV Kings, xi, 3). What II Mach., iii, 19, says about "the virgins also that were shut up" does not show that any of them were kept in the Temple buildings. If the prophetess Anna is said (Luke, ii, 37) not to have "departed from the temple, by fastings and prayer serving night and day", we do not suppose that she actually lived in one of he temple rooms (cf. Corn. Jans., Tetrateuch. in Evang., Louvain, 1699, p. 484; Knabenbauer, Evang. sec. Luc., Paris, 1896, p. 138). As the house of Joachim and Anna was not far distant from the Temple, we may supposed that the holy child Mary was often allowed to visit the sacred buildings in order to satisfy her devotion.

    Jewish maidens were considered marriageable at the age of twelve years and six months, though the actual age of the bride varied with circumstances. The marriage was preceded by the betrothal, after which the bride legally belonged to the bridegroom, though she did not live with him till about a year later, when the marriage used to be celebrated. All this agrees well with the language of the Evangelists. St. Luke (i, 27) calls Mary "a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph"; St. Matthew (i, 18) says, "when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost". As we know of no brother of Mary, we must suppose that she was an heiress, and was obliged by the law of Num., xxxvi, 6, to marry a member of her tribe. The Law itself prohibited marriage within certain degrees of relationship, so that the marriage of even an heiress was left more or less to choice. According to Jewish custom, the union between Joseph and Mary had to be arranged by the parents of St. Joseph. One might ask why Mary consented to her betrothal, though she was bound by her vow of virginity. As she had obeyed God's inspiration in making her vow, so she obeyed God's inspiration in becoming the affianced bride of Joseph. Besides, it would have been singular among the Jews to refuse betrothal or marriage; for all the Jewish maidens aspired after marriage as the accomplishment of a natural duty. Mary trusted the Divine guidance implicitly, and thus was certain that her vow would be kept even in her married state.

    The Annunciation has been treated in a special article. According to Luke, i, 36, the angel Gabriel told Mary at the time of the annunciation, "behold, thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren". Without doubting the truth of the angel's words, Mary determined at once to add to the pleasure of her pious relative (cf. St. Ambrose, Expos. Evang. sec. Luc., II, 19, P.L., XV, 1560). Hence the Evangelist continues (i, 39): "And Mary, rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth." Though Mary must have told Joseph of her intended visit, it is hard to determine whether he accompanied her; if the time of the journey happened to coincide with one of the festal seasons at which the Israelites had to go to the Temple, there would be little difficulty about companionship. The place of Elizabeth's home has been variously located by different writers: it has been placed in Machærus, over ten miles east of the Dead Sea, or in Hebron, or again in the ancient sacerdotal city of Jutta, about seven miles south of Hebron, or finally in Ain-Karim, the traditional St. John-in-the Mountain, nearly four miles west of Jerusalem (cf. Schick, Der Geburtsort Johannes' des Täufers, Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins, 1899, 81; Barnabé Meistermann, La patrie de saint Jean-Baptiste, Paris, 1904; Idem, Noveau Guide de Terre-Sainte, Paris, 1907, 294 sqq.). But the first three places possess no traditional memorial of the birth or life of St. John; besides, Machærus was not situated in the mountains of Juda; Hebron and Jutta belonged after the Babylonian captivity to Idumea, while Ain-Karim lies in the "hill country" (cf. Plinius, Histor. natural., V, 14, 70) mentioned in the inspired text of St. Luke. After her journey of about thirty hours, Mary "entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth" (Luke, i, 40). According to tradition, Elizabeth lived at the time of the visitation not in her city home, but in her villa, about ten minutes distant from the city; formerly this place was marked by an upper and lower church. In 1861 the present small Church of the Visitation was erected on the ancient foundations. "And it came to pass that, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb." It was at this moment that God fulfilled the promise made by the angel to Zachary (Luke, i, 15), "and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb"; in other words, the infant in Elizabeth's womb was cleansed from the stain of original sin. The fullness of the Holy Ghost in the infant overflowed, as it were, into the soul of his mother: "and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost" (Luke, i, 41). Thus both child and mother were sanctified by the presence of Mary and the Word Incarnate (cf. Aug., ep. XLCCCVII, ad Dardan., VII, 23 sq., P.L., XXXIII, 840; Ambr. Expos. Evang. sec. Luc., II, 23, P.L., XV, 1561); filled as she was with the Holy Ghost, Elizabeth "cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord" (Luke, i, 42-45). Leaving to commentators the full explanation of the preceding passage, we draw attention only to two points: first, Elizabeth begins her greeting with the words with which the angel had finished his salutation, thus showing that both spoke in the same Holy Spirit; econdly, Elizabeth is the first to call Mary by her most honourable title "Mother of God". Mary's answer is the canticle of praise commonly called "Magnificat" from the first word of its Latin text. The Evangelist closes his account of the Visitation with the words: "And Mary abode with her about three months; and she returned to her own house" (Luke, i, 56). Many see in this brief statement of the third gospel an implied hint that Mary remained in the house of Zachary till the birth of John the Baptist, while others deny such an implication. As the Feast of the Visitation was placed by the 43d canon of the Council of Basle (A.D. 1441) on 2 July, the day following the Octave of the Feast of St. John Baptist, it has been inferred that Mary may have remained with Elizabeth until after the child's circumcision; but there is no further proof for this supposition. Though the visitation is so accurately described in the third Gospel, its feast does not appear to have been kept till the thirteenth century, when it was introduced through the influence of the Franciscans; in 1389 it was officially instituted by Urban VI.

    After her return from Elizabeth, Mary "was found with child, of the Holy Ghost" (Matt., i, 18). As among the Jews, betrothal was a real marriage, the use of marriage after the time of espousals presented nothing unusual among them. Hence Mary's pregnancy could not astonish anyone except St. Joseph. As he did not know the mystery of the Incarnation, the situation must have been extremely painful both to him and to Mary. The Evangelist says: "Whereupon Joseph her husband being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately" (Matt., i, 19). Mary left the solution of the difficulty to God, and God informed the perplexed spouse in His own time of the true condition of Mary. While Joseph "thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt., i, 20-21). Not long after this revelation, Joseph concluded the ritual marriage contract with Mary. The Gospel simply says: "Joseph rising up from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife" (Matt., i, 124). While it is certain that between the betrothal and the marriage at least three months must have elapsed, during which Mary stayed with Elizabeth, it is impossible to determine the exact length of time between the two ceremonies. We do not know how long after the betrothal the angel announced to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, nor do we know how long the doubt of Joseph lasted, before he was enlightened by the visit of the angel. From the age at which Hebrew maidens became marriageable, it is possible that Mary gave birth to her Son when she was about thirteen or fourteen years of age. No historical document tells us how old she actually was at the time of the Nativity.

    (2) Mary During the Hidden Life of Our Lord. — St. Luke (ii, 1-5) explains how Joseph and Mary journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem in obedience to a decree of Caesar Augustus which prescribed a general enrolment. The questions connected with this decree have been considered in the article BIBLICAL CHRONOLOGY. There are various reasons why Mary should have accompanied Joseph on this journey; she may not wished to lose Joseph's protection during the critical time of her pregnancy, or she may have followed a special Divine inspiration impelling her to go in order to fulfil the prophecies concerning her Divine Son, or again she may have been compelled to go by the civil law either as an heiress or to settle the personal tax payable by women over twelve years of age (cf. Knabenbauer, Evang. sec. Luc., Paris, 1896, 104-114; Schürer, Geschichte des Jüdischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi, 4th edit., I, 508 sqq.; Pfaffrath, Theologie und Glaube, 1905, 119). As the enrolment had brought a multitude of strangers to Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph found no room in the caravansary and had to take lodging in a grotto which served as a shelter for animals (cf. St. Justin, dial. c. Tryph., 78, P.G., VI, 657; Orig., c. Cels., I, 51, P.G., XI, 756; Euseb., vita Constant., III, 43; Demonstr. evang., VII, 2, P.G., XX, 1101; St. Jerome, ep. ad Marcell., XLVI [al. XVII]. 12; ad Eustoch., XVCIII [al. XXVII], 10, P.L., XXII, 490, 884). "And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered" (Luke ii, 6); this language leaves it uncertain whether the birth of Our Lord took place immediately after Joseph and Mary had taken lodging in the grotto, or several days later. What is said about the shepherds "keeping the night watches over their flock" (Luke ii, 8) shows that Christ was born in the night time. After bringing forth her Son, Mary "wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger" (Luke ii, 7), a sign that she did not suffer from the pain and weakness of childbirth. This inference agrees with the teaching of some of the principal Fathers and theologians: St. Ambrose (in Ps. XLVII, II, P.L., XIV, 1150;), St. Gregory of Nyssa (orat. I, de resurrect., P.G., XLVI, 604;), St. John Damascene (de fide orth., IV, 14, P.G., XLIV, 1160; Fortun., VIII, 7, P.L., LXXXVIII, 282;), the author of "Christus patiens" (63, 64, 70, P.L., XXXVIII, 142;), St. Thomas (Summa theol., III, q. 35, a. 6;), etc. It was not becoming that the mother of God should be subject to the punishment pronounced in Genesis 3:16, against Eve and her sinful daughters. Shortly after the birth of the child, the shepherds, obedient to the angelic invitation, arrived in the grotto, "and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger" (Luke ii, 16). We may suppose that the shepherds spread the glad tidings they had received during the night among their friends in Bethlehem, and that the Holy Family was received by one of its pious inhabitants into more suitable lodgings. "And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called Jesus" (Luke 2:21). The rite of circumcision was performed either in the synagogue or in the home of the Child; it is impossible to determine where Our Lord's Circumcision took place. At any rate, His Blessed Mother must have been present at the ceremony.

    According to the law of Lev., xii, 2-8, the Jewish mother of a male child had to present herself forty days after his birth for legal purification; according to Ex., xiii, 2, and Num., xviii, 15, the first born son had to be presented on the same occasion. Whatever reasons Mary and the Infant might have for claiming an exemption, they complied with the law. But, instead of offering a lamb, they presented the sacrifice of the poor, consisting of a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons. In II Corinthians 8:9, St. Paul informs the Corinthians that Jesus Christ "being rich. . .became poor, for your sakes, that through his poverty you might be rich". Even more acceptable to God than Mary's poverty was the readiness with which she surrendered her Divine Son to the good pleasure of His Heavenly Father. After the ceremonial rites had been complied with, holy Simeon took the Child in his arms, and thanked God for the fulfilment of his promises; he drew attention to the universality of the salvation that was to come through Messianic redemption "prepared before the face of all peoples: a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel" (Luke, ii, 31 sq.). Mary and Joseph now began to know their Divine Child more fully; they "were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him" (Luke, ii, 33). As if to prepare Our Blessed Mother for the mystery of the cross, holy Simeon said to her: "Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34-35). Mary had suffered her first great sorrow at the time when Joseph was hesitating about taking her for his wife; she experienced her second great sorrow when she heard the words of holy Simeon. Though the incident of the prophetess Anna had a more general bearing, for she "spoke of him (the Child) to all that looked for the redemption of Israel" (Luke, ii, 38), it must have added greatly to the wonder of Joseph and Mary. The Evangelist's concluding remark, "after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth" (Luke, ii, 39), has been variously interpreted by commentators; as to the order of events, see the article JESUS CHRIST, B. Relative Chronology.

    After the Presentation, the Holy Family either returned to Bethlehem directly, or went first to Nazareth, and then moved into the city of David. At any rate, after the "wise men form the east" had followed the Divine guidance to Bethlehem, "entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh" (Matt., ii, 11). The Evangelist does not mention Joseph; not that he was not present, but because Mary occupies the principal place near the Child. How Mary and Joseph disposed of the presents offered by their wealthy visitors has not been told us by the Evangelists. Soon after the departure of the wise men Joseph received the message from the angel of the Lord to fly into Egypt with the Child and His mother on account of the evil designs of Herod; the holy man's ready obedience is briefly described by the Evangelist in the words: "who arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt" (Matt., ii, 14). Persecuted Jews had ever sought a refuge in Egypt (cf. III Kings, xi, 40; IV Kings, xxv, 26); about the time of Christ Jewish colonists were especially numerous in the land of the Nile (cf. Joseph., Bell. Jud., II, xviii, 8); according to Philo (In Flaccum, 6, Mangey's edit., II, p. 523) they numbered at least a million. In Leontopolis, in the district of Heliopolis, the Jews had a temple (160 B.C.—A.D. 73) which rivalled in splendour the temple in Jerusalem (cf. Schürer, Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi, Leipzig, 1898, III, 19-25, 99). The Holy Family might therefore expect to find in Egypt a certain amount of help and protection. On the other hand, it required a journey of at least ten days from Bethlehem to reach the nearest habitable districts of Egypt. We do not know by what road the Holy Family effected its flight; they may have followed the ordinary road through Hebron; or they may have gone by way of Eleutheropolis and Gaza, or again they may have passed west of Jerusalem towards the great military road of Joppe. There is hardly any historical document which will assist us in determining where the Holy Family lived in Egypt, nor do we know how long the enforced exile lasted (The legends and traditions concerning these points may be found in Jullien's "L'Egypte" (Lille, 1891), pp. 241-251, and in the same author's work entitled "L'arbre de la Vierge à Matariéh", 4th edit. (Cairo, 1904)). When Joseph received from the angel the news of Herod's death and the command to return into the land of Israel, he "arose, and took the child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel" (Matt., ii, 21). The news that Archelaus ruled in Judea prevented Joseph from settling in Bethlehem, as had been his intention; "warned in sleep [by the angel, he] retired into the quarters of Galilee. And coming he dwelt in a city called Nazareth" (Matt., ii, 22-23). In all these details Mary simply followed the guidance of Joseph, who in his turn received the Divine manifestations as head of the Holy Family. There is no need to point out the intense sorrow which Mary suffered on account of the early persecution of her Child.

    The life of the Holy Family in Nazareth was that of the ordinary poor tradesman. According to Matt., xiii, 55, the townsfolk asked "Is not this the carpenter's son?"; the question, as expressed in the second Gospel (Mark 6:3), shows a slight variation, "Is not this the carpenter?" While Joseph gained the livelihood for the Holy Family by his daily work, Mary attended to the various duties of housekeeper. St. Luke (ii, 40) briefly says of Jesus: "And the child grew, and waxed strong, full of wisdom; and the grace of God was in him". The weekly Sabbath and the annual great feasts interrupted the daily routine of life in Nazareth. According to the law of Exod., xxiii, 17, only the men were obliged to visit the Temple on the three solemn feasts of the year; but the women often joined the men to satisfy their devotion. St. Luke (ii, 41) informs us that "his [the child's] parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch". Probably the Child Jesus was left in the home of friends or relatives during the days of Mary's absence. According to the opinion of some writers, the Child did not give any sign of His Divinity during the years of His infancy, so as to increase the merits of Joseph's and Mary's faith based on what they had seen and heard at the time of the Incarnation and the birth of Jesus. Jewish Doctors of the Law maintained that a boy became a son of the law at the age of twelve years and one day; after that he was bound by the legal precepts. The evangelist supplies us here with the information that, "when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and his parents knew it not" (Luke, ii, 42-43). Probably it was after the second festal day that Joseph and Mary returned with the other Galilean pilgrims; the law did not require a longer sojourn in the Holy City. On the first day the caravan usually made a four hours' journey, and rested for the night in Beroth on the northern boundary of the former Kingdom of Juda. The crusaders built in this place a beautiful Gothic church to commemorate Our Lady's sorrow when she "sought him [her child] among their kinsfolks and acquaintance, and not finding him,. . .returned into Jerusalem, seeking him" (Luke, ii, 44-45). The Child was not found among the pilgrims who had come to Beroth on their first day's journey; nor was He found on the second day, when Joseph and Mary returned to Jerusalem; it was only on the third day that they "found him [Jesus] in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. . .And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing" (Luke, ii, 40-48). Mary's faith did not allow her to fear a mere accident for her Divine Son; but she felt that His behaviour had changed entirely from His customary exhibition of docility and subjection. The feeling caused the question, why Jesus had treated His parents in such a way. Jesus simply answered: "How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father's business?" (Luke, ii, 49). Neither Joseph nor Mary understood these words as a rebuke; "they understood not the word that he spoke to them" (Luke, ii, 50). It has been suggested by a recent writer that the last clause may be understood as meaning, "they [i.e., the bystanders] understood not the word he spoke unto them [i.e., to Mary and Joseph]". After this, Jesus "went down with them, and came to Nazareth" where He began a life of work and poverty, eighteen years of which are summed up by the Evangelist in the few words, and he "was subject to them, and. . .advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men" (Luke, ii, 51-52). The interior life of Mary is briefly indicated by the inspired writer in the expression, "and his mother kept all these words in her heart" (Luke, ii, 51). A similar expression had been used in ii, 19, "Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart". Thus Mary observed the daily life of her Divine Son, and grew in His knowledge and love by meditating on what she saw and heard. It has been pointed out by certain writers that the Evangelist here indicates the last source from which he derived the material contained in his first two chapters.

    In connection with the study of Mary during Our Lord's hidden life, we meet the questions of her perpetual virginity, of her Divine motherhood, and of her personal sanctity. The authorities there cited maintain that Mary remained a virgin when she conceived and gave birth to her Divine Son, as well as after the birth of Jesus. Mary's question (Luke, i, 34), the angel's answer (Luke, i, 35, 37), Joseph's way of behaving in his doubt (Matt., i, 19-25), Christ's words addressed to the Jews (John, viii, 19) show that Mary retained her virginity during the conception of her Divine Son (As to Mary's virginity in her childbirth we may consult St. Iren., haer. IV, 33, P.G., VII, 1080; St. Ambr., ep. XLII, 5, P.L., XVI, 1125; St. Aug., ep CXXXVII, 8, P.L., XXXIII, 519; serm. LI, 18, P.L., XXXVIII, 343; Enchir. 34, P.L., XL, 249; St. Leo, serm., XXI, 2, P.L., LIV, 192; St. Fulgent., de fide ad Petr., 17, P.L., XL, 758; Gennad., de eccl. dogm., 36, P.G., XLII, 1219; St. Cyril of Alex., hom. XI, P.G., LXXVII, 1021; St. John Damasc., de fide orthod., IV, 14, P.G., XCIV, 1161; Pasch. Radb., de partu Virg., P.L., CXX, 1367; etc. As to the passing doubts concerning Mary's virginity during her childbirth, see Orig., in Luc., hom. XIV, P.G., XIII, 1834; Tertul., adv. Marc., III, 11, P.L., IV, 21; de carne Christi, 23, P.L., II, 336, 411, 412, 790.). As to Mary's virginity after her childbirth, it is not denied by St. Matthew's expressions "before they came together" (i, 18), "her firstborn son" (i, 25), nor by the fact that the New Testament books repeatedly refer to the "brothers of Jesus" (Matt., xii, 46-47; xiii, 55-56; Mark, iii, 31-32; iii, 3; Luke, viii, 19-20; John, ii, 12; vii, 3, 5, 10; Acts, i, 14; I Cor., ix, 5; Gal., i, 19; Jude, 1). The words "before they came together" mean probably, "before they lived in the same house", referring to the time when they were merely betrothed; but even if the words be understood of marital intercourse, they only state that the Incarnation took place before any such intercourse had intervened, without implying that it did occur after the Incarnation of the Son of God [cf. St. Jerome, in Matt., i, 2 (P.L., XXVI, 24-25)]. The same must be said of the expression, "and he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son" (Matt., i, 25); the Evangelist tells us what did not happen before the birth of Jesus, without suggesting that it happened after his birth (cf. St. John Chrys., in Matt., v, 3, P.G., LVII, 58; St. Jerome, de perpetua virgin. B.M., 6, P.L., XXIII, 183-206; St. Ambrose, de institut. virgin., 38, 43, P.L., XVI, 315, 317; St. Thomas, Summa theol., III, q. 28, a. 3; Petav., de incarn., XIC, iii, 11; etc.). The name "firstborn" applies to Jesus whether his mother remained a virgin or gave birth to other children after Jesus; among the Jews it was a legal name [cf. Exod., xxxiv, 19; Num., xciii, 15; St. Epiphan., haer. lxxcviii, 17, P.G., XLII, 728], so that its occurrence in the Gospel cannot astonish us. Finally, the "brothers of Jesus" are neither the sons of Mary, nor the brothers of Our Lord in the proper sense of the word, but they are His cousins or the more or less near relatives (cf. Revue biblique, 1895, pp. 173-183). The Church insists that in His birth the Son of God did not lessen but consecrate the virginal integrity of His mother (Secret in Mass of Purific.). The Fathers express themselves in similar language concerning this privilege of Mary (St. Peter Chrysol., serm., CXLII, in Annunt. B.M. V., P.G., LII, 581; Hesych., hom. V de S. M. Deip., P.G., XCIII, 1461; St. Ildeph., de virgin. perpet. S.M., P.L., XCVI, 95; St. Bernard, de XII praer. B.V.M., 9, P.L., CLXXXIII, 434, etc.).

    Mary's Divine motherhood is based on the teaching of the Gospels, on the writings of the Fathers, and on the express definition of the Church. St. Matthew (i, 25) testifies that Mary "brought forth her first-born son" and that He was called Jesus. According to St. John (i, 15) Jesus is the Word made flesh, the Word Who assumed human nature in the womb of Mary. As Mary was truly the mother of Jesus, and as Jesus was truly God from the first moment of His conception, Mary is truly the mother of God. Even the earliest Fathers did not hesitate to draw this conclusion as may be seen in the writings of St. Ignatius (ad Ephes., 7, P.G., V, 652), St. Irenæus (adv. hær., III, 19, P.G., VIII, 940, 941), and Tertullian (adv. Prax. 27, P.L., II, 190). The contention of Nestorius denying to Mary the title "Mother of God" (Serm. I, 6, 7, P.G., XLVIII, 760-761) was followed by the teaching of the Council of Ephesus proclaiming Mary to be Θεοτοκος in the true sense of the word (Cf. Ambr., in Luc. II, 25, P.L., XV, 1521; St. Cyril of Alex., Apol. pro XII cap.; c. Julian., VIII; ep. ad Acac., 14; P.G., LXXVI, 320, 901; LXXVII, 97; John of Antioch, ep. ad Nestor., 4, P.G., LXXVII, 1456; Theodoret, haer. fab., IV, 2, P.G., LXXXIII, 436; St. Gregory Nazianzen, ep. ad Cledon., I, P.G., XXXVII, 177; Proclus, hom. de Matre Dei, P.G., LXV, 680; etc. Among recent writers must be noticed Terrien, La mère de Dieu et la mere des hommes, Paris, 1902, I, 3-14; Turnel, Histoire de la théologie positive, Paris, 1904, 210-211).

    Some few patristic writers expressed their doubts as to the presence of minor moral defects in Our Blessed Lady (cf. Petav., de incarnat., XIV, i, 3-7). St. Basil, e.g., suggests that Mary yielded to doubt on hearing the words of holy Simeon and on witnessing the crucifixion (ep. CCLX, P.G., XXXII, 965-968); St. John Chrysostom is of opinion that Mary would have felt fear and trouble, unless the angel had explained the mystery of the Incarnation to her, and that she showed some vainglory at the marriage feast in Cana and on visiting her Son during His public life together with the brothers of the Lord (hom. IV, in Matt., P.G., LVII, 45; hom. XLIV, in Matt. P.G., XLVII, 464 sq.; hom. XXI, in Jo., P.G., LIX, 130). St. Cyril of Alexandria (in Jo., P.G., LXXIV, 661-664) speaks of Mary's doubt and discouragement at the foot of the cross. But these Greek writers cannot be said to express an Apostolic tradition, when they express their private and singular opinions. Scripture and tradition agree in ascribing to Mary the greatest personal sanctity; She is conceived without the stain of original sin; she shows the greatest humility and patience in her daily life (Luke, i, 38, 48); she exhibits an heroic patience under the most trying circumstances (Luke, ii, 7, 35, 48; John, xix, 25-27). When there is question of sin, Mary must always be excepted (St. Ambrose, in Luc. II, 16-22; P.L., XV, 1558-1560; de virgin. I, 15; ep. LXIII, 110; de obit. Val., 39, P.L., XVI, 210, 1218, 1371; St. Augustin, de nat. et grat., XXXVI, 42, P.L., XLIV, 267; St. Bede, in Luc. II, 35, P.L., XCII, 346; St. Thomas, Summa theol., III. Q. XXVII, a. 4; Terrien, La mere de Dieu et la mere des hommes, Paris, 1902, I, 3-14; II, 67-84; Turmel, Histoire de la théologie positive, Paris, 1904, 72-77; Newman, Anglican Difficulties, II, 128-152, London, 1885). Mary's complete exemption from actual sin is confirmed by the Council of Trent (Session VI, Canon 23): "If any one say that man once justified can during his whole life avoid all sins, even venial ones, as the Church holds that the Blessed Virgin did by special privilege of God, let him be anathema." Theologians assert that Mary was impeccable, not by the essential perfection of her nature, but by a special Divine privilege. Moreover, the Fathers, at least since the fifth century, almost unanimously maintain that the Blessed Virgin never experienced the motions of concupiscence.

    (3) Mary during the Public Life of Jesus Christ. — The evangelists connect Mary's name with three different events in Our Lord's public life: with the miracle in Cana, with His preaching, and with His passion. The first of these incidents is related in John, ii, 1-10. "There was a marriage feast in Cana of Galilee. . .and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage. And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come". One naturally supposes that one of the contracting parties was related to Mary, and that Jesus had been invited on account of his mother's relationship. The couple must have been rather poor, since the wine was actually failing. Mary wishes to save her friends from the shame of not being able to provide properly for the guests, and has recourse to her Divine Son. She merely states their need, without adding any further petition. In addressing women, Jesus uniformly employs the word "woman" (Matt., xv. 28; Luke, xiii, 12; John, iv, 21; viii, 10; xix, 26; xx, 15), an expression used by classical writers as a respectful and honorable address (cf. Iliad, III, 204; Xenoph., Cyrop., V, I, 6; Dio Cassius, Hist., LI, 12; etc.). The above cited passages show that in the language of Jesus the address "woman" has a most respectful meaning. The clause "what is that to me and to thee" renders the Greek τι εμοι και σοι, which in its turn corresponds to the Hebrew phrase mah lî walakh. This latter occurs in Judges, xi, 12; II Kings, xvi, 10; xix, 23; III Kings, xvii, 18; IV Kings, iii, 13; ix, 18; II Par., xxxv, 21. The New Testament shows equivalent expressions in Matt., viii, 29; Mark, i, 24; Luke, iv, 34; viii, 28; Matt., xxvii, 19. The meaning of the phrase varies according to the character of the speakers, ranging from a most pronounced opposition to a courteous compliance. Such a variable meaning makes it hard for the translator to find an equally variable equivalent. "What have I to do with thee", "this is neither your nor my business", "why art thou troublesome to me", "allow me to attend to this", are some of the renderings suggested. In general, the words seem to refer to well or ill-meant importunity which they endeavour to remove. The last part of Our Lord's answer presents less difficulty to the interpreter: "my hour is not yet come", cannot refer to the precise moment at which the need of wine will require the miraculous intervention of Jesus; for in the language of St. John "my hour" or "the hour" denotes the time preordained for some important event (John, iv, 21, 23; v, 25, 28; vii, 30; viii, 29; xii, 23; xiii, 1; xvi, 21; xvii, 1). Hence the meaning of Our Lord's answer is: "Why are you troubling me by asking me for such an intervention? The divinely appointed time for such a manifestation has not yet come"; or, "why are you worrying? has not the time of manifesting my power come?" The former of these meanings implies that on account of the intercession of Mary Jesus anticipated the time set for the manifestation of His miraculous power (cf. St. Irenæus, c. hær., III, xvi, 7, P.G., VII, 926); the second meaning is obtained by understanding the last part of Our Lord's words as a question, as was done by St. Gregory of Nyssa (P.G., XLIV, 1308), and by the Arabic version of Tatian's "Diatessaron" (Rome, 1888) (See Knabenbauer, Evang. sec. Joan., Paris, 1898, pp. 118-122; Hoberg, Jesus Christus. Vorträge, Freiburg, 1908, 31, Anm. 2; Theologie und Glaube, 1909, 564, 808). Mary understood her Son's words in their proper sense; she merely warned the waiters, "Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye" (John, ii, 5). There can be no question of explaining Jesus' answer in the sense of a refusal.

    During the apostolic life of Jesus, Mary effaced herself almost completely. Not being called to aid her Son directly in His ministry, she did not wish to interfere with His work by her untimely presence. In Nazareth she was regarded as a common Jewish mother; St. Matthew (iii, 55-56; cf. Mark, vi, 3) introduces the people of the town as saying: "Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude: and his sisters, are they not all with us?" Since the people wish to lower Our Lord's esteem by their language, we must infer that Mary belonged to the lower social order of townspeople. The parallel passage of St. Mark reads, "Is not this the carpenter?" instead of, "Is not this the carpenter's son?" Since both evangelists omit the name of St. Joseph, we may infer that he had died before this episode took place.

    At first sight, it seems that Jesus Himself depreciated the dignity of His Blessed Mother. When He was told: "Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee", He answered: "Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and my sister, and my mother" (Matt., xii, 47-50; cf. Mark, iii, 31-35; Luke, viii, 19-21). On another occasion, "a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it" (Luke, xi, 27-28). In reality, Jesus in both these passages places the bond that unites the soul with God above the natural bond of parentage which unites the Mother of God with her Divine Son. The latter dignity is not belittled; as men naturally appreciate it more easily, it is employed by Our Lord as a means to make known the real value of holiness. Jesus, therefore, really, praises His mother in a most emphatic way; for she excelled the rest of men in holiness not less than in dignity (cf. St. Augustin, de virgin., 3, P.L., XL, 398; pseudo-Justin, quaest. et respons. ad orthod., I, q. 136, P.G., VI, 1389). Most probably, Mary was found also among the holy women who ministered to Jesus and His apostles during their ministry in Galilee (cf. Luke, viii, 2-3); the Evangelists do not mention any other public appearance of Mary during the time of Jesus's journeys through Galilee or Judea. But we must remember that when the sun appears, even the brightest stars become invisible.

    Since the Passion of Jesus Christ occurred during the paschal week, we naturally expect to find Mary at Jerusalem. Simeon's prophecy found its fulfilment principally during the time of Our Lord's suffering. According to a tradition, His Blessed Mother met Jesus as He was carrying His cross to Golgotha. The Itinerarium of the Pilgrim of Bordeaux describes the memorable sites which the writer visited A.D. 333, but it does not mention any locality sacred to this meeting of Mary and her Divine Son (cf. Geyer, Itinera Hiersolymitana saeculi IV-VIII, Vienna, 1898, 1-33; Mommert, Das Jerusalem des Pilgers von Bordeaux, Leipzig, 1907). The same silence prevails in the so-called Peregrinatio Silviæ which used to be assigned to A.D. 385, but has lately been placed in A.D. 533-540 (Meister, Rhein. Mus., 1909, LXIV, 337-392; Bludau, Katholik, 1904, 61 sqq., 81 sqq., 164 sqq.; Revue Bénédictine, 1908, 458; Geyer, l. c.; Cabrol, Etude sur la Peregrinatio Silviae, Paris, 1895). But a plan of Jerusalem, dating from the year 1308, shows a Church of St. John the Baptist with the inscription "Pasm. Vgis.", Spasmus Virginis, the swoon of the Virgin. During the course of the fourteenth century Christians began to locate the spots consecrated by the Passion of Christ, and among these was the place was the place where Mary is said to have fainted at the sight of her suffering Son (cf. de Vogüé, Les Eglises de la Terre-Sainte, Paris, 1869, p. 438; Liévin, Guide de la Terre-Sainte, Jerusalem, 1887, I, 175). Since the fifteenth century one finds always "Sancta Maria de Spasmo" among the Stations of the Way of the Cross, erected in various parts of Europe in imitation of the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem (cf. Thurston, in The Month for 1900, July-September, pp. 1-12; 153-166; 282-293; Boudinhon in Revue du clergé français, Nov. 1, 1901, 449-463). That Our Blessed Lady should have fainted at the sight of her Son's sufferings, hardly agrees with her heroic behaviour under the cross; still, we may consider her woman and mother in her meeting with her Son on the way to Golgotha, while she is the Mother of God at the foot of the cross.

    While Jesus was hanging on the cross, "there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own" (John, xix, 25-27). The darkening of the sun and the other extraordinary phenomena in nature must have frightened the enemies of Our Lord sufficiently so as not to interfere with His mother and His few friends standing at the foot of the cross. In the meantime, Jesus had prayed for His enemies, and had promised pardon to the penitent thief; now, He took compassion on His desolate mother, and provided for her future. If St. Joseph had been still alive, or if Mary had been the mother of those who are called Our Lord's brethren or sisters in the gospels, such a provision would not have been necessary. Jesus uses the same respectful title with which he had addressed his mother at the marriage feast in Cana. Then he commits Mary to John as his mother, and wishes Mary to consider John as her son. Among the early writers, Origen is the only one who considers Mary's motherhood of all the faithful in this connection. According to him, Christ lives in his perfect followers, and as Mary is the Mother of Christ, so she is mother of him in whom Christ lives. Hence, according to Origen, man has an indirect right to claim Mary as his mother, in so far as he identifies himself with Jesus by the life of grace (Præf. in Jo., 6, P.G., XIV, 32). In the ninth century, George of Nicomedia (Orat. VIII in Mar. assist. cruci, P.G., C, 1476) explains Our Lord's words on the cross in such a way as to entrust John to Mary, and in John all the disciples, making her the mother and mistress of all John's companions. In the twelfth century Rupert of Deutz explained Our Lord's words as establishing Mary's spiritual motherhood of men, though St. Bernard, Rupert's illustrious contemporary, does not enumerate this privilege among Our Lady's numerous titles (cf. Sermo dom. infr. oct. Assumpt., 15, P.L., XLXXXIII, 438). After this time Rupert's explanation of Our Lord's words on the cross became more and more common, so that in our day it has found its way into practically all books of piety (cf. Terrien, La mère de Dieu et la mere des hommes, Paris, 1902, III, 247-274; Knabenbauer, Evang. sec. Joan., Paris, 1898, 544-547; Bellarmin, de sept. verb. Christi, I, 12, Cologne, 1618, 105-113).

    The doctrine of Mary's spiritual motherhood of men is contained in the fact that she is the antitype of Eve: Eve is our natural mother because she is the origin of our natural life; so Mary is our spiritual mother because she is the origin of our spiritual life. Again, Mary's spiritual motherhood rests on the fact that Christ is our brother, being "the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). She became our mother at the moment she consent to the Incarnation of the Word, the Head of the mystical body whose members we are; and she sealed her motherhood by consenting to the bloody sacrifice on the cross which is the source of our supernatural life. Mary and the holy women (Matt., xvii, 56; Mark, xv, 40; Luke, xxiii, 49; John, xix, 25) assisted at the death of Jesus on the cross; she probably remained during the taking down of His sacred body and during His funeral. The following Sabbath was for her a time of grief and hope. The eleventh canon of a council held in Cologne, in 1423, instituted against the Hussites the feast of the Dolours of Our Blessed Lady, placing it on the Friday following the third Sunday after Easter. In 1725 Benedict XIV extended the feast to the whole Church, and placed it on the Friday in Passion Week. "And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own" (John, xix, 27). Whether they lived in the city of Jerusalem or elsewhere, cannot be determined from the Gospels.

    (4) Mary after our Lord's Resurrection. — The inspired record of the incidents connected with Christ's Resurrection do not mention Mary; but neither do they pretend to give a complete account of all that Jesus did or said. The Fathers too are silent as to Mary's share in the joys of her Son's triumph over death. Still, St. Ambrose (de Virginit., III, 14, P.L., XVI, 283) states expressly: "Mary therefore saw the Resurrection of the Lord; she was the first who saw it and believed. Mary Magdalen too saw it, though she still wavered". George of Nicomedia (Or. IX, P.G., C, 1500) infers from Mary's share in Our Lord's sufferings that before all others and more than all she must have shared in the triumph of her Son. In the twelfth century, an apparition of the risen Saviour to His Blessed Mother is admitted by Rupert of Deutz (de div. offic., VII, 25, P.L., CLIX, 306), and also by Eadmer (de excell. V.M., 6, P.L., CLIX, 568), St. Bernardin of Siena (Quadrages. I, in Resurrect., serm. LII, 3), St. Ignatius of Loyola (Exercit. spirit. de resurrect., I apparit.), Suarez (de myster. vit. Christi, XLIX, I), Maldon (In IV Evang., ad XXVIII Matth.), etc. (See Terrien, La mère de Dieu et la mere des hommes, Paris, 1902, I, 322-325). That the risen Christ should have appeared first to His Blessed Mother, agrees at least with our pious expectations. Though the Gospels do not expressly tell us so, we may suppose that Mary was present when Jesus showed himself to a number of disciples in Galilee and at the time of His Ascension (cf. Matthew 28:7, 10, 16; Mark 16:7). Moreover, it is not improbable that Jesus visited His Blessed Mother repeatedly during the forty days after His Resurrection.

    B. Mary in the Other Books of the New Testament. — According to the Book of Acts (i, 14), after Christ's Ascension into Heaven the apostles "went up into an upper room", and: "all these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren". In spite of her exalted dignity it was not Mary, but Peter who acted as head of the assembly (i, 15). Mary behaved in the upper room in Jerusalem as she had behaved in the grotto at Bethlehem; in Bethlehem she had carried for the Infant Jesus, in Jerusalem she nurtured the infant Church. The friends of Jesus remained in the upper room till "the days of the Pentecost", when with "a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming. . .there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:1-4). Though the Holy Ghost had descended upon Mary in a special way at the time of the Incarnation, He now communicated to her a new degree of grace. Perhaps, this Pentecostal grace gave to Mary the strength of properly fulfilling her duties to the nascent Church and to her spiritual children.

    As to the Epistles, the only direct reference to Mary is found in Gal., iv, 4: "But when the fulness of time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law". Some Greek and Latin manuscripts, followed by several Fathers, read γεννωμενον εκ γυναικος instead of γενομενον εκ γυναικος, "born of a woman" instead of "made of a woman". But this variant reading cannot be accepted. For (1) γεννωμενον is the present participle, and must be rendered, "being born of a woman", so that it does not fit into the context (cf. Photius, ad Amphiloch., q. 228, P.G., CI, 1024). (2) Though the Latin variant rendering "natum" is the perfect participle, and does not imply the inconveniences of its Greek original, St. Bede (in Luc. XI, 27, P.L., XCII, 408) rejects it, on account of its less appropriate sense. (3) In Rom., i, 3, which is to a certain extent a parallel of Gal., iv, 4, St. Paul writes γενομενος εκ σπερματος Δαυειδ κατα σαρκα, i.e. "made of the seed of David, according to the flesh". (4) Tertullian (de carne Christi, 20, P.L., II, 786) points out that the word "made" implies more than the word "born"; for it calls to mind the "Word made flesh", and establishes the reality of the flesh made of the Virgin. Furthermore, the Apostle employs the word "woman" in the phrase under consideration, because he wishes to indicate merely the sex, without any ulterior connotation. In reality, however, the idea of a man made of a woman alone, suggests the virginal conception of the Son of God. St. Paul seems to emphasize the true idea of the Incarnation of the Word; a true understanding of this mystery safeguards both the Divinity and the real humanity of Jesus Christ. (Cf. Tertullian, de virgin. vel., 6, P.L., II, 897; St. Cyril of Jerus., Catech., XII, 31, P.G., XXXIII, 766; St. Jerome, in ep. ad Gal. II, 4, P.L., XXVI, 372.)

    The Apostle St. John never uses the name Mary when speaking of Our Blessed Lady; he always refers to her as Mother of Jesus (John, ii, 1, 3; xix, 25-26). In his last hour, Jesus had established the relation of mother and son between Mary and John, and a child does not usually address his mother by her first name.

    In the Apocalypse (xii, 1-6) occurs a passage singularly applicable to Our Blessed Mother: "And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered. And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems; and his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven; and cast them to the earth; and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod; and her son was taken up to God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, that there they should feed her a thousand two hundred sixty days". The applicability of this passage to Mary is based on the following considerations: (1) At least part of the verses refer to the mother whose son is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; according to Ps. ii, 9, this is the Son of God, Jesus Christ, Whose mother is Mary. (2) It was Mary's son that "was taken up to God, and to his throne" at the time of His Ascension into heaven. (3) The dragon, or the devil of the earthly paradise (cf. Apoc., xii, 9; xx, 2), endeavoured to devour Mary's Son from the first moments of His birth, by stirring up the jealousy of Herod and, later on, the enmities of the Jews. (4) Owing to her unspeakable privileges, Mary may well be described as "clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars". (5) It is true that commentators generally understand the whole passage as applying literally to the Church, and that part of the verses is better suited to the Church than to Mary. But it must be kept in mind that Mary is both a figure of the Church, and its most prominent member. What is said of the Church, is in its own way true of Mary. Hence the passage of the Apocalypse (xii, 5-6) does not refer to Mary merely by way of accommodation (cf. Drach, Apcal., Pris, 1873, 114), but applies to her in a truly literal sense which appears to be partly limited to her, and partly extended to the whole Church. Mary's relation to the Church is well summed up in the expression "collum corporis mystici" applied to Our Lady by St. Bernardin of Siena. (Cf. pseudo-Augustin, serm. IV de symbol. ad catechum., I, P.L., XL, 661; pseudo-Ambrose, expos, in Apoc., P.L., XVII, 876; Haymo of Halberstadt, in Apoc. III, 12, P.L., CXVII, 1080; Alcuin, Comment. in Apoc., V, 12, P.L., C, 1152; Casssiodor., Complexion. in Apoc., ad XII, 7, P.L., LXX, 1411; Richard of St. Victor, Explic. in Cant., 39, P.L., VII, 12, P.L., CLXIX, 1039; St. Bernard, serm. de XII praerog. B.V.M., 3, P.L., CLXXXIII, 430; de la Broise, Mulier amicta sole,in Etudes, April-June, 1897; Terrien, La mère de Dieu et la mere des hommes, Paris, 1902, IV, 59-84.)


    Card. Newman (Anglican Difficulties, London, 1885, II, 54 sqq.) considers two difficulties against the foregoing interpretation of the vision of the woman and child: first, it is said to be poorly supported by the Fathers; secondly, it is an anachronism to ascribe such a picture of the Madonna to the apostolic age. As to the first exception, the eminent writer says: "Christians have never gone to Scripture for proof of their doctrines, till there was actual need, from the pressure of controversy; if in those times the Blessed Virgin's dignity was unchallenged on all hands, as a matter of doctrine, Scripture, as far as its argumentative matter was concerned, was likely to remain a sealed book to them". After developing this answer at length, the cardinal continues: "As to the second objection which I have supposed, so far from allowing it, I consider that it is built upon a mere imaginary fact, and that the truth of the matter lies in the very contrary direction. The Virgin and Child is not a mere modern idea; on the contrary, it is represented again and again, as every visitor to Rome is aware, in the paintings of the Catacombs. Mary is there drawn with the Divine Infant in her lap, she with hands extended in prayer, he with his hand in the attitude of blessing".

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV, p. 464E-470
Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

POST-PENTECOSTAL LIFE OF MARY. — On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost had descended on Mary as He came on the Apostles and Disciples gathered together in the upper room at Jerusalem. No doubt, the words of St. John (xix, 27), "and from that hour the disciple took her to his own", refer not merely to the time between Easter and Pentecost, but they extend to the whole of Mary's later life. Still, the care of Mary did not interfere with John's Apostolic ministry. Even the inspired records (Acts, viii, 14-17; Gal., i, 18-19; Acts, xxi, 18) show that the apostle was absent from Jerusalem on several occasions, though he must have taken part in the Council of Jerusalem, A.D. 51 or 52. We may also suppose that in Mary especially were verified the words of Acts, ii, 42: "And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers". Thus Mary was an example and a source of encouragement to the early Christian community. At the same time, it must be confessed that we do not possess any authentic documents bearing directly on Mary's post-Pentecostal life. As to tradition, there is some testimony for Mary's temporary residence in or near Ephesus, but the evidence for her permanent home in Jerusalem is much stronger.

    Mary's Ephesian residence rests on the following evidence: (1) A passage in the synodal letter of the Council of Ephesus reads (Labbe, Collect. Concilior., III, 573): "Wherefore also Nestorius, the instigator of the impious heresy, when he had come to the city of the Ephesians, where John the Theologian and the Virgin Mother of God St. Mary, estranging himself of his own accord from the gathering of the holy Fathers and Bishops. . ." Since St. John had lived in Ephesus and had been buried there (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., III, 31; V, 24, P.G., XX, 280, 493), it has been inferred that the ellipsis of the synodal letter means either, "where John. . .and the Virgin. . .Mary lived", or, "where John. . .and the Virgin. . .Mary lived and are buried". (2) Bar-Hebraeus or Abulpharagius, a Jacobite bishop of the thirteenth century, relates that St. John took the Blessed Virgin with him to Patmos, then founded the Church of Ephesus, and buried Mary no one knows where (cf. Assemani, Biblioth. orient., Rome, 1719-1728, III, 318). (3) Benedict XIV (de fest. D.N.J.C., I, vii, 101) states that Mary followed St. John to Ephesus and died there. He intended also to remove from the Breviary those lessons which mention Mary's death in Jerusalem, but died before carrying out his intention (cf. Arnaldi, super transitu B.M.V., Genes 1879, I, c. I). (4) Mary's temporary residence and death in Ephesus are upheld by such writers as Tillemont [116], Calmet (Dict. de la Bible, art. Jean, Marie, Paris, 1846, II, 902; III, 975-976), etc. (5) In Panaghia Kapoli, on a hill about nine or ten miles distant from Ephesus, was discovered a house, or rather its remains, in which Mary is supposed to have lived. The house was found, as it had been sought, according to the indications given by Catharine Emmerich in her life of the Blessed Virgin.

    On closer inspection these arguments for Mary's residence or burial in Ephesus are not unanswerable.

    (1) The ellipsis in the synodal letter of the Council of Ephesus may be filled out in such a way as not to imply the assumption that Our Blessed Lady either lived or died in Ephesus. As there was in the city a double church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and to St. John, the incomplete clause of the synodal letter may be completed so as to read, "where John the Theologian and the Virgin. . .Mary have a sanctuary". This explanation of the ambiguous phrase is one of the two suggested in the margin in Labbe's Collect. Concil. (l.c.) (cf. Le Camus, Les sept Eglises de l'Apocalypse, Paris, 1896, 131-133). (2) The words of Bar-Hebraeus contain two inaccurate statements; for St. John did not found the Church of Ephesus, nor did he take Mary with him to Patmos. St. Paul founded the Ephesian Church, and Mary was dead before John's exile in Patmos. It would not be surprising, therefore, if the writer were wrong in what he says about Mary's burial. Besides, Bar-Hebraeus belongs to the thirteenth century; the earlier writers had been most anxious about the sacred places in Ephesus; they mention the tomb of St. John and of a daughter of Philip (cf. Polycrates, in Eusebius's Hist. Eccl., XIII, 31, P.G., XX, 280), but they say nothing about Mary's burying place. (3) As to Benedict XIV, this great pontiff is not so emphatic about Mary's death and burial in Ephesus, when he speaks about her Assumption in heaven. (4) Neither Benedict XIV nor the other authorities who uphold the Ephesian claims, advance any argument that has not been found inconclusive by other scientific students of this question. (5) The house found in Panaghia-Kapouli is of any weight only in so far as it is connected with the visions of Catherine Emmerich. Its distance from the city of Ephesus creates a presumption against its being the home of the Apostle St. John. The historical value of Catherine's visions is not universally admitted. Mgr. Timoni, Archbishop of Smyrna, writes concerning Panaghia-Kapouli: "Every one is entire free to keep his personal opinion". Finally the agreement of the condition of the ruined house in Panaghia-Kapouli with Catharine's description does not necessarily prove the truth of her statement as to the history of the building (In connection with this controversy, see Le Camus, Les sept Eglises de l'Apocalypse, Paris, 1896, pp. 133-135; Nirschl, Das Grab der hl. Jungfrau, Mainz, 1900; P. Barnabé, Le tombeau de la Sainte Vierge a Jérusalem, Jerusalem, 1903; Gabriélovich, Le tombeau de la Sainte Vierge à Ephése, réponse au P. Barnabé, Paris, 1905)

    Two considerations militate against a permanent residence of Our Lady in Jerusalem: first, it has already been pointed out that St. John did not permanently remain in the Holy City; secondly, the Jewish Christians are said to have left Jerusalem during the periods of Jewish persecution (cf. Acts, viii, 1; xii, 1). But as St. John cannot be supposed to have taken Our Lady with him on his apostolic expeditions, we may suppose that he left her in the care of his friends or relatives during the periods of his absence. And there is little doubt that many of the Christians returned to Jerusalem, after the storms of persecution had abated. Independently of these considerations, we may appeal to the following reasons in favour of Mary's death and burial in Jerusalem: (1) In 451 Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, testified to the presence of Mary's tomb in Jerusalem. It is strange that neither St. Jerome, nor the Pilgrim of Bordeaux, nor again pseudo-Silvia give any evidence of such a sacred place. But when the Emperor Marcion and the Empress Pulcheria asked Juvenal to send the sacred remains of the Virgin Mary from their tomb in Gethsemani to Constantinople, where they intended to dedicate a new church to Our Lady, the bishop cited an ancient tradition saying that the sacred body had been assumed into heaven, and sent to Constantinople only the coffin and the winding sheet. This narrative rests on the authority of a certain Euthymius whose report was inserted into a homily of St. John Damascene (hom. II in dormit. B.V.M., 18 P.G., XCVI, 748) now read in the second Nocturn of the fourth day within the octave of the Assumption. Scheeben (Handb. der Kath. Dogmat., Freiburg, 1875, III, 572) is of opinion that Euthymius's words are a later interpolation: they do not fit into the context; they contain an appeal to pseudo-Dionysius (de divinis Nomin., III, 2, P.G., III, 690) which are not otherwise cited before the sixth century; and they are suspicious in their connection with the name of Bishop Juvenal, who was charged with forging documents by Pope St. Leo (et. XXIX, 4, P.L., LIV, 1044). In his letter the pontiff reminds the bishop of the holy places which he has under his very eyes, but does not mention the tomb of Mary (ep. CXXXIX, 1, 2, P.L., LIV, 1103, 1105). Allowing that this silence is purely incidental, the main question remains, how much historic truth underlies the Euthymian account of the words of Juvenal? (2) Here must be mentioned too the apocryphal "Historia dormitionis et assumptionis B.M.V.", which claims St. John for its author (cf. Assemani, Biblioth. orient., III, 287). Tischendorf believes that the substantial parts of the work go back to the fourth, perhaps even to the second, century (Apoc. apocr., Mariae dormitio, Leipzig, 1856, p. XXXIV). Variations of the original text apeared in Arabic and Syriac, and in other languages; among these must be noted a work called "De transitu Mariae Virg.", which appeared under the name of St. Melito of Sardes (P.G., V, 1231-1240; cf. Le Hir, Etudes bibliques, Paris, 1869, LI, 131-185). Pope Gelasius enumerates this work among the forbidden books (P.L., LIX, 152). The extraordinary incidents which these works connect with the death of Mary do not concern us here; but they place her last moments and her burial in or near Jerusalem. (3) Another witness for the existence of a tradition placing the tomb of Mary in Gethsemani is the basilica erected above the sacred spot, about the end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century. The present church was built by the Latins in the same place in which the old edifice had stood (Guerin, Jerusalem, Paris, 1889, 346-350; Socin-Benzinger, Palastina und Syrien, Leipzig, 1891, pp. 90-91; Le Camus, Notre voyage aux pays bibliqes, Paris, 1894, I, 253). (4) In the early part of the seventh century, Modestus, Bishop of Jerusalem, located the passing of Our Lady on Mount Sion, in the house which contained the Cenacle and the upper room of Pentecost (P.G., LXXXVI, 3288-3300). At that time, a single church covered the localities consecrated by these various mysteries. One must wonder at the late evidence for a tradition which became so general since the seventh century. (5) Another tradition is preserved in the "Commemoratorium de Casis Dei" addressed to Charlemagne (Tobler, Itiner, Terr. sanct., Leipzig, 1867, I, 302). It places the death of Mary on Mt. Olivet where a church is said to commemorate this event. Perhaps the writer tried to connect Mary's passing with the Church of the Assumption as the sister tradition connected it with the cenacle. At any rate, we may conclude that about the beginning of the fifth century there existed a fairly general tradition that Mary had died in Jerusalem, and had been buried in Gethsemani. This tradition appears to rest on a more solid basis than the report that Our Lady died and was buried in or near Ephesus. As thus far historical documents are wanting, it would be hard to establish the connection of either tradition with apostolic times. Cf. Zahn, Die Dormitio Sanctae Virginis und das Haus des Johannes Marcus, in Neue Kirchl. Zeitschr., Leipzig, 1898, X, 5; Mommert, Die Dormitio, Leipzig, 1899; Séjourné, Le lieu de la dormition de la T.S. Vierge, in Revue biblique, 1899, pp.141-144; Lagrange, La dormition de la Sainte Vierge et la maison de Jean Marc, ibid., pp. 589, 600.

    It has been seen that we have no absolute certainty as to the place in which Mary lived after the day of Pentecost. Though it is more probable that she remained uninterruptedly in or near Jerusalem, she may have resided for a while in the vicinity of Ephesus, and this may have given rise to the tradition of her Ephesian death and burial. There is still less historical information concerning the particular incidents of her life. St. Epiphanius (hær. LXXVIII, 11, P.G., XL, 716) doubts even the reality of Mary's death; but the universal belief of the Church does not agree with the private opinion of St. Epiphanius. Mary's death was not necessarily the effect of violence; it was undergone neither as an expiation or penalty, nor as the effect of disease from which, like her Divine Son, she was exempt. Since the Middle Ages the view prevails that she died of love, her great desire to be united to her Son either dissolving the ties of body and soul, or prevailing on God to dissolve them. Her passing away is a sacrifice of love completing the dolorous sacrifice of her life. It is the death in the kiss of the Lord (in osculo Domini), of which the just die. There is no certain tradition as to the year of Mary's death. Baronius in his Annals relies on a passage in the Chronicon of Eusebius for his assumption that Mary died A.D. 48. It is now believed that the passage of the Chronicon is a later interpolation (cf. Nirschl, Das Grab der hl. Jungfrau Maria, Mainz, 1896, 48). Nirschl relies on a tradition found in Clement of Alexandria (Stromat. vi, 5) and Apollonius (in Eus., Hist. eccl., I, 21) which refers to a command of Our Lord that the Apostles were to preach twelve years in Jerusalem and Palestine before going among the nations of the world; hence he too arrives at the conclusion that Mary died A.D. 48.

    The Assumption of Our Lady into heaven has been treated in a special article. The reader may consult also an article in the "Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie", 1906, pp. 201 sqq. The feast of the Assumption is most probably the oldest among all the feasts of Mary properly so called; cf. "Zeitschrift fur katholische Theologie", 1878, 213. As to art, the assumption was a favourite subject of the school of Siena which generally represents Mary as being carried to heaven in a mandorla.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV, p. 470-471
Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDE TO THE MOTHER OF GOD. — No picture has preserved for us the true likeness of Mary. The Byzantine representations, said to be painted by St. Luke, belong only to the sixth century, and reproduce a conventional type. There are twenty-seven copies in existence, ten of which are in Rome (cf. Martigny, Dict. des antiq. chrét., Paris, 1877, p. 792). Even St. Augustine expresses the opinion that the real external appearance of Mary is unknown to us, and that in this regard we know and believe nothing (de Trinit. VIII, 5, P.L., XLII, 952). The earliest picture of Mary is that found in the cemetery of Priscilla; it represents the Virgin as if about to nurse the Infant Jesus, and near her is the image of a prophet, Isaias or perhaps Micheas. The picture belongs to the beginning of the second century, and compares favourably with the works of art found in Pompeii. From the third century we possess pictures of Our Lady present at the adoration of the Magi; they are found in the cemeteries of Domitilla and Calixtus. Pictures belonging to the fourth century are found in the cemetery of Saints Peter and Marcellinus; in one of these she appears with her head uncovered, in another with her arms half extended as if in supplication, and with the Infant standing before her. On the graves of the early Christians, the saints figured as intercessors for their souls, and among these saints Mary always held the place of honour. Besides the paintings on the walls and on the sarcophagi, the Catacombs furnish also pictures of Mary painted on gilt glass disks and sealed up by means of another glass disk welded to the former (cf. Garucci, Vetri ornati di figure in oro, Rome, 1858). Generally these pictures belong to the third or fourth century. Quite frequently the legend MARIA or MARA accompanies these pictures. Towards the end of the fourth century, the name Mary becomes rather frequent among Christians; this serves as another sign of the veneration they had for the Mother of God (cf. Martigny, Dict. das antiq. chret., Paris, 1877, p. 515). No one will suspect the early Christians of idolatry, as if they had paid supreme worship to Mary's pictures or name; but how are we to explain the phenomena enumerated, unless we suppose that the early Christians venerated Mary in a special way (cf. Marucchi, Elem. d'archaeol. chret., Paris and Rome, 1899, I, 321; De Rossi, Imagini scelte della B.V. Maria, tratte dalle Catacombe Romane, Rome, 1863)? Nor can this veneration be said to be a corruption introduced in later times. It has been seen that the earliest picture dates from the beginning of the second century, so that within the first fifty years after the death of St. John the veneration of Mary is proved to have flourished in the Church of Rome.

    For the attitude of the Churches of Asia Minor and of Lyons we may appeal to the words of St. Irenaeus, a pupil of St. John's disciple Polycarp (adv. hær., V, 17, P.G. VIII, 1175); he calls Mary our most eminent advocate. St. Ignatius of Antioch, part of whose life reached back into apostolic times, wrote to the Ephesians (c. 18-19) in such a way as to connect the mysteries of Our Lord's life more closely with those of the Virgin Mary. For instance, the virginity of Mary, and her childbirth, are enumerated with Christ's death, as forming three mysteries unknown to the devil. The sub-apostolic author of the Epistle to Diognetus, writing to a pagan inquirer concerning the Christian mysteries, describes Mary as the great antithesis of Eve, and this idea of Our Lady occurs repeatedly in other writers even before the Council of Ephesus. We have repeatedly appealed to the words of St. Justin and Tertullian, both of whom wrote before the end of the second century. As it is admitted that the praises of Mary grow with the growth of the Christian community, we may conclude in brief that the veneration of and devotion to Mary began even in the time of the Apostles.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV, p. 471-472
Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

Four Marian Dogmas

1) Divine Motherhood - Council of Ephesus (431)


2) Mary's Virginity

a) Virginal Conception through the Spirit

b) Perpetual Virginity (virginal birth and no other children)


3) Immaculate Conception (Mary's freedom from original sin) - Pius IX, 1854


4) Mary's Assumption (body and soul) into heaven - Pius XII, 1950

The Immaculate Conception

In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.

The subject of this immunity from original sin is the person of Mary at the moment of the creation of her soul and its infusion into her body. The term conception does not mean the active or generative conception by her parents. Her body was formed in the womb of the mother, and the father had the usual share in its formation. The question does not concern the immaculateness of the generative activity of her parents. Neither does it concern the passive conception absolutely and simply (conceptio seminis carnis, inchoata), which, according to the order of nature, precedes the infusion of the rational soul. The person is truly conceived when the soul is created and infused into the body. Mary was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin at the first moment of her animation, and sanctifying grace was given to her before sin could have taken effect in her soul.

The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin, the state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice, as opposed to original sin, was conferred upon her, by which gift every stain and fault, all depraved emotions, passions, and debilities, essentially pertaining to original sin original sin, were excluded. But she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam — from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death. The immunity from original sin was given to Mary by a singular exemption from a universal law through the same merits of Christ, by which other men are cleansed from sin by baptism. Mary needed the redeeming Saviour to obtain this exemption, and to be delivered from the universal necessity and debt (debitum) of being subject to original sin. The person of Mary, in consequence of her origin from Adam, should have been subject to sin, but, being the new Eve who was to be the mother of the new Adam, she was, by the eternal counsel of God and by the merits of Christ, withdrawn from the general law of original sin. Her redemption was the very masterpiece of Christ's redeeming wisdom. He is a greater redeemer who pays the debt that it may not be incurred than he who pays after it has fallen on the debtor (Ullathorne, "Immac. Conception", p. 89). Such is the meaning of the term 'Immaculate Conception.

Immaculate Conception

THE HOLY SCRIPTURE. — No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture. But the first scriptural passage which contains the promise of the redemption, mentions also the Mother of the Redeemer. The sentence against the first parents was accompanied by the Earliest Gospel (Proto-evangelium), which put enmity between the serpent and the woman: "and I will put enmity between thee and the woman and her seed; she (he) shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for her (his) heel" (Genesis iii, 15). The translation "she" of the Vulgate is interpretative; it originated after the fourth century ("Katholik", 1893, 425), and cannot be defended critically. The conqueror from the seed of the woman, who should crush the serpent's head, is Christ; the woman at enmity with the serpent is Mary (Hoberg, "Genes.", p. 50; cf. Leimbach, "Messianische Weissagungen", 1909, pp. 5 sq.). God puts enmity between her and Satan in the same manner and measure, as there is enmity between Christ and the seed of the serpent. Mary was ever to be in that exalted state of soul which the serpent had destroyed in man, i.e. in sanctifying grace. Only the continual union of Mary with grace explains sufficiently the enmity between her and Satan. The Proto-evangelium, therefore, in the original text contains a direct promise of the Redeemer, and in conjunction therewith the manifestation of the masterpiece of His Redemption, the perfect preservation of His virginal Mother from original sin. The salutation of the angel Gabriel — χαιρε κεχαριτωμενη, Hail, full of grace (Luke i, 28; cf. Bardenhewer, "Mariä Verkündigung", 95 sq.) — indicates a unique abundance of grace, a supernatural, godlike state of soul, which finds its explanation only in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. But the term κεχαριτωμενη (full of grace) serves only as an illustration, not as a proof of the dogma. From the texts Prov., viii, and Ecclus., xxiv, which exalt the Wisdom of God and which in the liturgy are applied to Mary, the most beautiful work of God's Wisdom), or from the Canticle of Canticles (iv, 7, "Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee"), no theological conclusion can be drawn. These passages, applied to the Mother of God, may be readily understood by those who know the privilege of Mary, but do not avail to prove the doctrine dogmatically, and are therefore omitted from the Constitution "Ineffabilis Deus". For the theologian it is a matter of conscience not to take an extreme position by applying to a creature texts which might imply the prerogatives of God.

    TRADITION. — In regard to the sinlessness of Mary the older Fathers are very cautious: some of them even seem to have been in error on this matter. Origen, although he ascribed to Mary high spiritual prerogatives, thought that, at the time of Christ's passion, the sword of disbelief pierced Mary's soul; that she was struck by the poniard of doubt; and that for her sins also Christ died (Origen, "In Luc. hom. xvii" Lehner, "Marienverehrung in den ersten Jahrh." Stuttgart, 1886, p. 150). Exactly in the same manner St. Basil writes in the fourth century: he sees in the sword, of which Simeon speaks, the doubt which pierced Mary's soul (Basil, Ep. cclix; Lehner, op. cit., p. 152). St. Chrysostom accuses her of ambition, and of putting herself forward unduly, when she sought to speak to Jesus at Capharnaum (Matthew xii, 46; Chrysostom, Hom. xliv; cf. also "In Matt.", hom. iv; Lehner, pp. 152 sq.; E. Lucius, "Anfänge des Heiligenkultus", Tübingen, 1904, p. 439; Hunter, "Dogmatic Theol.", II, p. 565). But these stray private opinions merely serve to show that theology is a progressive science. If we were to attempt to set forth the full doctrine of the Fathers on the sanctity of the Blessed Virgin, which includes particularly the implicit belief in the immaculateness of her conception, we should be forced to transcribe a multitude of passages. In the testimony of the Fathers two points are insisted upon: her absolute purity and her position as the second Eve (cfr. I Cor. xv, 22). This celebrated comparison between Eve, while yet immaculate and incorrupt — that is to say, not subject to original sin — and the Blessed Virgin is developed by Justin (Dialog. cum Tryphone, 100), Irenæus (Contra Hæreses, III, xxii, 4), Tertullian (De carne Christi, xvii), Julius Firmicus Maternus (De errore profan. relig., xxvi), Cyril of Jerusalem (Catecheses, xii, 29), Epiphanius (Hæres., lxxviii, 18), Theodotus of Ancyra (Or. in S. Deip., n. 11), Sedulius (Carmen paschale, II, 28). The Fathers call Mary the tabernacle exempt from defilement and corruption (Hippolytus, "Orat. in illud, Dominus pascit me)", in Gallandi, "Bibl. patrum", II, 496); worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, most complete sanctity, perfect justice, neither deceived by the persuasion of the serpent, nor infected with his poisonous breathings (Origen, "Hom. i in diversa"); incorrupt, a virgin immune through grace from every stain of sin (Ambrose, "Sermo xxii in Ps. cxviii"); a dwelling fit for Christ, not because of her habit of body, but because of original grace (Maximus of Turin, "Nom. viii de Natali Domini"); a virgin innocent, without spot, void of culpability, holy in body and in soul, a lily springing among thorns, untaught the ills of Eve ... nor was there any communion in her of light with darkness, and, when not yet born, she was consecrated to God (Theodatus of Ancyra, "Orat. in S. Dei Genitr.", in Gallandi, IX, 475). In refuting Pelagius St. Augustine declares that all the just have truly known of sin "except the Holy Virgin Mary, of whom, for the honour of the Lord, I will have no question whatever where sin is concerned" (De naturâ et gratiâ, c. xxxvi). Mary was pledged to Christ in the womb when she was made (Peter Chrysologus, "Sermo cxl de Annunt. B.M.V."); it is evident and notorious that she was pure from eternity, exempt from every defect (Typicon S. Sabæ); she was formed without any stain (St. Proclus, "Laudatio in S. Dei Gen. ort.", I, 3); she was created in a condition more sublime and glorious than all other natures (Theodorus of Jerusalem in Mansi, XII, 1140); when the Virgin Mother of God was to be born of Anne, nature did not dare to anticipate the germ of grace, but remained devoid of fruit (John Damascene, "Hom. i in B. V. Nativ." ii).

    The Syrian Fathers never tire of extolling the sinlessness of Mary. St. Ephraem considers no terms of eulogy too high to describe the excellence of Mary's grace and sanctity: "Most holy Lady, Mother of God, alone most pure in soul and body, alone exceeding all perfection of purity ..., alone made in thy entirety the home of all the graces of the Most Holy Spirit, and hence exceeding beyond all compare even the angelic virtues in purity and sanctity of soul and body ... my Lady most holy, all-pure, all-immaculate, all-stainless, all-undefiled, all-incorrupt, all-inviolate spotless robe of Him Who clothes Himself with light as with a garment . ... flower unfading, purple woven by God, alone most immaculate" ("Precationes ad Deiparam" in Opp. Græc. Lat., III, 524-37). To St. Ephraem she was as innocent as Eve before her fall, a virgin most estranged from every stain of sin, more holy than the Seraphim, the sealed fountain of the Holy Ghost, the pure seed of God, ever in body and in mind intact and immaculate ("Carmina Nisibena", ed. Bickell, p. 122). Jacob of Sarug says that "the very fact that God has elected her proves that none was ever holier than Mary; if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary" (ed. Bickell, "Ausgewählte Gedichte", pp. 228 sqq.). It seems, however, that Jacob of Sarug, if he had any clear idea of the doctrine of sin, held that Mary was perfectly pure from original sin ("the sentence against Adam and Eve") at the Annunciation (op. cit., p. 242).

    St. John Damascene (Or. i Nativ. Deip., n. 2) esteems the supernatural influence of God at the generation of Mary to be so comprehensive that he extends it also to her parents. He says of them that, during the generation, they were filled and purified by the Holy Ghost, and freed from sexual concupiscence. Consequently, according to the Damascene, even the human element of her origin, the material of which she was formed, was pure and holy. This opinion of an immaculate active generation and the sanctity of the "conceptio carnis" was taken up by some Western authors; it was put forward by Petrus Comestor in his treatise against St. Bernard (ed. Louvain, 1536) and by others. Some writers even taught that Mary was born of a virgin and that she was conceived in a miraculous manner when Joachim and Anne met at the golden gate of the temple (Trombelli, "Mariæ SS. Vita" sect. V, ii, 8; Summa aurea, II, 948. Cf. also the "Revelations" of Catherine Emmerich which contain the entire apocryphal legend of the miraculous conception of Mary — see Schmöger, "Leben Jesu nach den Gesichten A. K. Emmerich", p. 77 sqq.; Livius, "The Blessed Virgin in the Fathers of the first six centuries", 208 sqq.). From this summary it appears that the belief in Mary's immunity from sin in her conception was prevalent amongst the Fathers, especially those of the Greek Church. The rhetorical character, however, of many of these and similar passages prevents us from laying too much stress on them, and interpreting them in a strictly literal sense. The Greek Fathers never formally or explicitly discussed the question of the Immaculate Conception.

    CONCEPTION OF ST. JOHN. — A comparison with the conception of Christ and that of St. John may serve to light both on the dogma and on the reasons which led the Greeks to celebrate at an early date the Feast of the Conception of Mary. The conception of the Mother of God was beyond all comparison more noble than that of St. John the Baptist, whilst it was immeasurably beneath that of her Divine Son. The soul of the precursor was not preserved immaculate at its union with the body, but was sanctified either shortly after conception from a previous state of sin, or through the presence of Jesus at the Visitation. Our Lord, being conceived by the Holy Ghost, was, by virtue of his miraculous conception, ipso facto free from the taint of original sin (Livius, op. cit., 249). Of these three conceptions the Church celebrates feasts. The Orientals have a Feast of the Conception of St. John the Baptist (23 Sept.), which dates back to the fifth century, is thus older than the Feast of the Conception of Mary, and, during the Middle Ages, was kept also by many Western dioceses on 24 September. The Conception of Mary is celebrated by the Latins on 8 December; by the Orientals on 9 December (cf. De Meester, op. cit. infra, p. 9); the Conception of Christ has its feast in the universal calendar on 25 March. In celebrating the feast of Mary's Conception the Greeks of old did not consider the theological distinction of the active and the passive conceptions, which was indeed unknown to them. They did not think it absurd to celebrate a conception which was not immaculate, as we see from the Feast of the Conception of St. John. They solemnized the Conception of Mary, perhaps because, according to the "Proto-evangelium" of St. James, it was preceded by miraculous events (the apparition of an angel to Joachim, etc.), similar to those which preceded the conception of St. John, and that of our Lord Himself. Their object was less the purity of the conception than the holiness and heavenly mission of the person conceived. In the Office of 9 December, however, Mary, from the time of her conception, is called beautiful, pure, holy, just, etc., terms never used in the Office of 23 September (sc. of St. John the Baptist). The analogy of St. John s sanctification may have given rise to the Feast of the Conception of Mary. If it was necessary that the precursor of the Lord should be so pure and "filled with the Holy Ghost" even from his mother's womb, such a purity was assuredly not less befitting His Mother. The moment of St. John's sanctification is by later writers thought to be the Visitation ("the infant leaped in her womb" but the angel's words (Luke, i, 15) seem to indicate a sanctification at the conception. This would render the origin of Mary more similar to that of John. And if the Conception of John had its feast, why not that of Mary?

    THE DOCTRINE PROBABLE. — There is an incongruity in the supposition that the flesh, from which the flesh of the Son of God was to be formed, should ever have belonged to one who was the slave of that arch-enemy, whose power He came on earth to destroy. Hence the axiom of Pseudo-Anselmus (Eadmer) developed by Duns Scotus, Decuit, potuit, ergo fecit, it was becoming that the Mother of the Redeemer should have been free from the power of sin and Satan from the first moment of her existence; God could give her this privilege, therefore He gave it to her. Again it is remarked that a peculiar privilege was granted to the prophet Jeremiah and to St. John the Baptist. They were sanctified in their mother's womb, because by their preaching they had a special share in the work of preparing the way for Christ. Consequently some much higher prerogative is due to Mary. (A treatise of P. Marchant, claiming for St. Joseph also the privilege of St. John, was placed on the Index in 1833.) Scotus says that "the perfect Mediator must, in some one case, have done the work of mediation most perfectly, which would not be unless there was some one person at least, in whose regard the wrath of God was anticipated and not merely appeased" (Hunter, "Dogm. Theol.", 1895, II, 552).

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII, p. 675
Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

    THE FEAST. — The older feast of the Conception of Mary (Conc. of St. Anne), which originated in the monasteries of Palestine at least as early as the seventh century, and the modern feast of the Immaculate Conception are not identical in their object. Originally the Church celebrated only the Feast of the Conception of Mary, as she kept the Feast of St. John's conception, not discussing the sinlessness. This feast in the course of centuries became the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, as dogmatical argumentation brought about precise and correct ideas, and as the thesis of the theological schools regarding the preservation of Mary from all stain of original sin gained strength. Even after the dogma had been universally accepted in the Latin Church, and had gained authoritative support through diocesan decrees and papal decisions, the old term remained, and before 1854 the term "Immaculata Conceptio" is nowhere found in the liturgical books, except in the invitatorium of the Votive Office of the Conception. The Greeks, Syrians, etc. call it the Conception of St. Anne (Συλληψις της αγιας και θεοπρομητορος Αννης, "the Conception of St. Anne, the ancestress of God"). Passaglia in his "De Immaculato Deiparae Conceptu," basing his opinion upon the "Typicon" of St. Sabas: which was substantially composed in the fifth century, believes that the reference to the feast forms part of the authentic original, and that consequently it was celebrated in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in the fifth century (III, n. 1604). But the Typicon was interpolated by the Damascene, Sophronius, and others, and, from the ninth to the twelfth centuries, many new feasts and offices were added (Toscani and Cozza, op. cit. infra, XIV, 20). To determine the origin of this feast we must take into account the genuine documents we possess, the oldest of which is the canon of the feast, composed by St. Andrew of Crete, who wrote his liturgical hymns in the second half of the seventh century, when a monk at the monastery of St. Sabas near Jerusalem (d. Archbishop of Crete about 720). But the Solemnity cannot then have been generally accepted throughout the Orient, for John, first monk and later bishop in the Isle of Eubœa, about 750 in a sermon, speaking in favour of the propagation of this feast, says that it was not yet known to all the faithful (ει και μη παρα τοις πασι γνωριξεται; De Meester, p. 7; Migne, P. G., XCVI, 1499). But a century later George of Nicomedia, made metropolitan by Photius in 860, could say that the solemnity was not of recent origin (P. G., C, 1335). It is therefore, safe to affirm that the feast of the Conception of St. Anne appears in the Orient not earlier than the end of the seventh or the beginning of the eighth century. Allatius (Dissert. de lib. eccl. Græc., p. 44), Assemani (Kal. utr. eccl., V, 435), Kellner (Heortology, 242), Nilles (Kal. man., I, 349) hold this opinion.

    As in other cases of the same kind the feast originated in the monastic communities. The monks, who arranged the psalmody and composed the various poetical pieces for the office, also selected the date, 9 December, which was always retained in the Oriental calendars. Gradually the solemnity emerged from the cloister, entered into the cathedrals, was glorified by preachers and poets, and eventually became a fixed feast of the calendar, approved by Church and State. It is registered in the calendar of Basil II (976-1025) and by the Constitution of Emperor Manuel I Comnenus on the days of the year which are half or entire holidays, promulgated in 1166, it is numbered among the days which have full sabbath rest. Up to the time of Basil II, Lower Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia still belonged to the Byzantine Empire; the city of Naples was not lost to the Greeks until 1127, when Roger II conquered the city. The influence of Constantinople was consequently strong in the Neapolitan Church, and, as early as the ninth century, the Feast of the Conception was doubtlessly kept there, as elsewhere in Lower Italy on 9 December, as indeed appears from the marble calendar found in 1742 in the Church of S. Giorgio Maggiore at Naples (Martinow, "Annus græco-slavicus", 9 Dec.). Today the Conception of St. Anne is in the Greek Church one of the minor feasts of the year (De Meester, 5). The lesson in Matins contains allusions to the apocryphal "Proto-evangelium" of St. James, which dates from the second half of the second century (see ANNE, SAINT). To the Orthodox Greeks of our days, however, the feast means very little; they continue to call it "Conception of St. Anne", indicating unintentionally, perhaps, the active conception which was certainly not immaculate. In the Menæa of 9 December this feast holds only the second place, the first canon being sung in commemoration of the dedication of the Church of the Resurrection at Constantinople. The Russian hagiographer Muraview and several other Orthodox authors even loudly declaimed against the dogma after its promulgation, although their own preachers formerly taught the Immaculate Conception in their writings long before the definition of 1854 (cf. Martinow, loc. cit.).

    In the Western Church the feast appeared (8 Dec.), when in the Orient its development had come to a standstill. The timid beginnings of the new feast in some Anglo-Saxon monasteries in the eleventh century, partly smothered by the Norman conquest, were followed by its reception in some chapters and dioceses by the Anglo-Norman clergy. But the attempts to introduce it officially provoked contradiction and theoretical discussion, bearing upon its legitimacy and its meaning, which were continued for centuries and were not definitively settled before 1854. The "Martyrology of Tallaght" compiled about 790 and the "Feilire" of St. Aengus (800) register the Conception of Mary on 3 May (O'Hanlon, "Lives of the Irish Saints", V, 102; Thurston, "The Irish Origin of Our Lady's Feast of the Conception" in "Month", 1904, p. 61). It is doubtful, however, if an actual feast corresponded to this rubric of the learned monk St. Aengus. This Irish feast certainly stands alone and outside the line of liturgicaI development. It is a mere isolated appearance, not a living germ (E. Bishop, "Origin etc", p. 6). The Scholiast adds, in the lower margin of the "Feilire", that the conception (Inceptio) took place in February, since Mary was born after seven months — a singular notion found also in some Greek authors. The first definite and reliable knowledge of the feast in the West comes from England; it is found in a calendar of Old Minster, Winchester (Conceptio S'ce Dei Genetricis Mariæ), dating from about 1030, and in another calendar of New Minster, Winchester, written between 1035 and 1059 (Hampson, "Cal. medii Ævi", I, 433, 446); a pontifical of Exeter of the eleventh century (assigned to 1046-1072) contains a "benedictio in Conceptione S. Mariæ"; a similar benediction is found in a Canterbury pontifical written probably in the first half of the eleventh century, certainly before the Conquest. These episcopal benedictions show that the feast not only commended itself to the devotion of individuals, but that it was recognized by authority and was observed hy the Saxon monks with considerable solemnity. The existing evidence goes to show that thc establishment of the feast in England was due to the monks of Winchester before the Conquest (1066).

    The Normans on their arrival in England were disposed to treat in a contemptuous fashion English liturgical observances; to them this feast must have appeared specifically English, a product of insular simplicity and ignorance. Doubtless its public celebration was abolished at Winchester and Canterbury, but it did not die out of the hearts of individuals, and on the first favourable opportunity the feast was restored in the monasteries (Bishop, p. 30). At Canterbury however, it was not re-established before 1328. Several documents (Ullathorne, 161 sq.) state that in Norman times it began at Ramsey, pursuant to a vision vouchsafed to Helsin or Æthelsige, Abbot of Ramsey on his journey back from Denmark, whither he had been sent by William I about 1070. An angel appeared to him during a severe gale and saved the ship after the abbot had promised to establish the Feast of the Conception in his monastery. However we may consider the supernatural feature of the legend, it must be admitted that the sending of Helsin to Denmark is an historical fact (Thurston in "Month", July 1904; Ullathorne, p. 164). The account of the vision has found its way into many breviaries, even into the Roman Breviary of 1473. The Council of Canterbury (1325) attributes the re-establishment of the feast in England to St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1109). But although this great doctor wrote a special treatise "De Conceptu virginali et originali peccato", by which he laid down the principles of the Immaculate Conception, it is certain that he did not introduce the feast anywhere. The letter ascribed to him, which contains the Helsin narrative, is spurious (Bishop, p. 8). The principal propagator of the feast after the Conquest was Anselm, the nephew of St. Anselm. He was educated at Canterbury where he may have known some Saxon monks who remembered the solemnity in former days; after 1109 he was for a time Abbot of St. Sabas at Rome, where the Divine Offices were celebrated according to the Greek calendar. When in 1121 he was appointed Abbot of Bury St. Edmund's he established the feast there; partly at least through his efforts other monasteries also adopted it, like Reading, St. Albans, Worcester, Cloucester, and Winchcombe (Bishop, 32).

    But a number of others decried its observance as hitherto unheard of and absurd, the old Oriental feast being unknown to them. Two bishops, Roger of Salisbury and Bernard of St. Davids, declared that the festival was forbidden by a council, and that the observance must be stopped. And when, during the vacancy of the See of London, Osbert de Clare, Prior of Westminster, undertook to introduce the feast at Westminster (8 December, 1127), a number of monks arose against him in the choir and said that the feast must not be kept, for its establishment had not the authority of Rome (cf. Osbert's letter to Anselm in Bishop, p. 24). Whereupon the matter was brought before the Council of London in 1129. The synod decided in favour of the feast, and Bishop Gilbert of London adopted it for his diocese. Thereafter the feast spread in England, but for a time retained its private character, the Synod of Oxford (1222) having refused to raise it to the rank of a holiday of obligation. In Normandy at the time of Bishop Rotric (1165-83) the Conception of Mary, in the Archdiocese of Rouen and its six suffragan dioceses, was a feast of precept equal in dignity to the Annunciation. At the same time the Norman students at the University of Paris chose it as their patronal feast. Owing to the close connection of Normandy with England, it may have been imported from the latter country into Normandy, or the Norman barons and clergy may have brought it home from their wars in Lower Italy, where it was universally solemnised by the Greek inhabitants. During the Middle Ages the Feast of the Conception of Mary was commonly called the "Feast of the Norman nation", which shows that it was celebrated in Normandy with great splendour and that it spread from there over Western Europe. Passaglia contends (III, 1755) that the feast was celebrated in Spain in the seventh century. Bishop Ullathorne also (p. 161) finds this opinion acceptable. If this be true, it is difficult to understand why it should have entirely disappeared from Spain later on, for neither does the genuine Mozarabic Liturgy contain it, nor the tenth century calendar of Toledo edited by Morin (Kellner, op. cit., p. 254). The two proofs given by Passaglia are futile: the life of St. Isidore, falsely attributed to St. Ildephonsus, which mentions the feast, is interpolated, while, in the Visigoth lawbook, the expression "Conceptio S. Mariæ" is to be understood of the Annunciation.

THE CONTROVERSY. — No controversy arose over the Immaculate Conception on the European continent before the twelfth century. The Norman clergy abolished the feast in some monasteries of England where it had been established by the Anglo-Saxon monks. But towards the end of the eleventh century, through the efforts of Anselm the Younger, it was taken up again in several Anglo-Norman establishments. That St. Anselm the Elder re-established the feast in England is highly improbable, although it was not new to him. He had been made familiar with it as well by the Saxon monks of Canterbury, as by the Greeks with whom he came in contact during exile in Campania and Apulin (1098-9). The treatise "De Conceptu virginali" usually ascribed to him, was composed by his friend and disciple, the Saxon monk Eadmer of Canterbury (Kellner, op. cit., 446). When the canons of the cathedral of Lyons, who no doubt knew Anselm the Younger Abbot of Burg St. Edmund's, personally introduced the feast into their choir after the death of their bishop in 1240, St. Bernard deemed it his duty to publish a protest against this new way of honouring Mary. He addressed to the canons a vehement letter (Epist. 174), in which he reproved them for taking the step upon their own authority and before they had consulted the Holy See. Not knowing that the feast had been celebrated with the rich tradition of the Greek and Syrian Churches regarding the sinlessness of Mary, he asserted that the feast was foreign to the old tradition of the Church. Yet it is evident from the tenor of his language that he had in mind only the active conception or the formation of the flesh, and that the distinction between the active conception, the formation of the body, and its animation by the soul had not yet been drawn. No doubt, when the feast was introduced in England and Normandy, the axiom "decuit, potuit, ergo fecit", the childlike piety and enthusiasm of the simplices building upon revelations and apocryphal legends, had the upper hand. The object of the feast was not clearly determined, no positive theological reasons had been placed in evidence.

    St. Bernard was perfectly justified when he demanded a careful inquiry into the reasons for observing the feast. Not adverting to the possibility of sanctification at the time of the infusion of the soul, he writes that there can be question only of sanctification after conception, which would render holy the nativity not the conception itself (Scheeben, "Dogmatik", III, p. 550). Hence Albert the Great observes: "We say that the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified before animation, and the affirmative contrary to this is the heresy condemned by St. Bernard in his epistle to the canons of Lyons" (III Sent., dist. iii, p. I, ad 1, Q. i). St. Bernard was at once answered in a treatise written by either Richard of St. Victor or Peter Comestor. In this treatise appeal is made to a feast which had been established to commemorate an insupportable tradition. It maintained that the flesh of Mary needed no purification; that it was sanctified before the conception. Some writers of those times entertained the fantastic idea that before Adam fell, a portion of his flesh had been reserved by God and transmitted from generation to generation, and that out of this flesh the body of Mary was formed (Scheeben, op. cit., III, 551), and this formation they commemorated by a feast. The letter of St. Bernard did not prevent the extension of the feast, for in 1154 it was observed all over France, until in 1275, through the efforts of the Paris University, it was abolished in Paris and other dioceses. After the saint's death the controversy arose anew between Nicholas of St. Albans, an English monk who defended the festival as established in England, and Peter Cellensis, the celebrated Bishop of Chartres. Nicholas remarks that the soul of Mary was pierced twice by the sword, i. e. at the foot of the cross and when St. Bernard wrote his letter against her feast (Scheeben, III, 551). The point continued to be debated throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and illustrious names appeared on each side. St. Peter Damian, Peter the Lombard, Alexander of Hales, St. Bonaventure, and Albert the Great are quoted as opposing it. St. Thomas at first pronounced in favour of the doctrine in his treatise on the "Sentences" (in I. Sent. c. 44, q. I ad 3), yet in his "Summa Theologica" he concluded against it. Much discussion has arisen as to whether St. Thomas did or did not deny that the Blessed Virgin was immaculate at the instant of her animation, and learned books have been written to vindicate him from having actually drawn the negative conclusion. Yet it is hard to say that St. Thomas did not require an instant at least, after the animation of Mary, before her sanctification. His great difficulty appears to have arisen from the doubt as to how she could have been redeemed if she had not sinned. This difficulty he raised in no fewer than ten passages in his writings (see, e. g., Summa III:27:2, ad 2). But while St. Thomas thus held back from the essential point of the doctrine, he himself laid down the principles which, after they had been drawn together and worked out, enabled other minds to furnish the true solution of this difficulty from his own premises.

    In the thirteenth century the opposition was largely due to a want of clear insight into the subject in dispute. The word "conception" was used in different senses, which had not been separated by careful definition. If St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, and other theologians had known the doctrine in the sense of the definition of 1854, they would have been its strongest defenders instead of being its opponents. We may formulate the question discussed by them in two propositions, both of which are against the sense of the dogma of 1854: (1) the sanctification of Mary took place before the infusion of the soul into the fiesh, so that the immunity of the soul was a consequence of the sanctification of the flesh and there was no liability on the part of the soul to contract original sin. This would approach the opinion of the Damascene concerning the hoiiness of the active conception. (2) The sanctification took place after the infusion of the soul by redemption from the servitude of sin, into which the soul had been drawn by its union with the unsanctified flesh. This form of the thesis excluded an immaculate conception.

    The theologians forgot that between sanctification before infusion, and sanctification after infusion, there was a medium: sanctification of the soul at the moment of its infusion. To them the idea seemed strange that what was subsequent in the order of nature could be simultaneous in point of time. Speculatively taken, the soul must be created before it can be infused and sanctified but in reality, the soul is created snd sanctified at the very moment of its infusion into the body. Their principal difficulty was the declaration of St. Paul (Romans 5:12) that all men have sinned in Adam. The purpose of this Pauline declaration, however, is to insist on the need which all men have of redemption by Christ. Our Lady was no exception to this rule. A second difficulty was the silence of the earlier Fathers. But the divines of those times were distinguished not so much for their knowledge of the Fathers or of history, as for their exercise of the power of reasoning. They read the Western Fathers more than those of the Eastern Church, who exhibit in far greater completeness the tradition of the Immaculate Conception. And many works of the Fathers which had then been lost sight of have since been brought to light. The famous Duns Scotus (d. 1308) at last (in III Sent., dist. iii, in both commentaries) laid the foundations of the true doctrine so solidly and dispelled the objections in a manner so satisfactory, that from that time onward the doctrine prevailed. He showed that the sanctification after animation -- sanctificatio post animationem -- demanded that it should follow in the order of nature (naturae) not of time (temporis); he removed the great difficulty of St. Thomas showing that, so far from being excluded from redemption, the Blessed Virgin obtained of her Divine Son the greatest of redemptions through the mystery of her preservation from all sin. He also brought forward, by way of illustration, the somewhat dangerous and doubtful argument of Eadmer (S. Anselm) "decuit, potuit, ergo fecit."

From the time of Scotus not only did the doctrine become the common opinion at the universities, but the feast spread widely to those countries where it had not been previously adopted. With the exception of the Dominicans, all or nearly all, of the religious orders took it up: The Franciscans at the general chapter at Pisa in 1263 adopted the Feast of the Conception of Mary for the entire order; this, however, does not mean that they professed at that time the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Following in the footsteps of their own Duns Scotus, the learned Petrus Aureolus and Franciscus de Mayronis became the most fervent champions of the doctrine, although their older teachers (St. Bonaventure included) had been opposed to it. The controversy continued, but the defenders of the opposing opinion were almost entirely confined to the members of the Dominican Order. In 1439 the dispute was brought before the Council of Basle where the University of Paris, formerly opposed to the doctrine, proved to be its most ardent advocate, asking for a dogmatical definition. The two referees at the council were John of Segovia and John Turrecremata (Torquemada). After it had been discussed for the space of two years before that assemblage, the bishops declared the Immaculate Conception to be a doctrine which was pious, consonant with Catholic worship, Catholic faith, right reason, and Holy Scripture; nor, said they, was it henceforth allowable to preach or declare to the contrary (Mansi, XXXIX, 182). The Fathers of the Council say that the Church of Rome was celebrating the feast. This is true only in a certain sense. It was kept in a number of churches of Rome, especially in those of the religious orders, but it was not received in the official calendar. As the council at the time was not ecumenical, it could not pronounce with authority. The memorandum of the Dominican Torquemada formed the armoury for all attacks upon the doctrine made by St. Antoninus of Florence (d. 1459), and by the Dominicans Bandelli and Spina.

    By a Decree of 28 February, 1476, Sixtus IV at last adopted the feast for the entire Latin Church and granted an indulgence to all who would assist at the Divine Offices of the solemnity (Denzinger, 734). The Office adopted by Sixtus IV was composed by Leonard de Nogarolis, whilst the Franciscans, since 1480, used a very beautiful Office from the pen of Bernardine dei Busti (Sicut Lilium), which was granted also to others (e. g. to Spain, 1761), and was chanted by the Franciscans up to the second half of the nineteenth century. As the public acknowledgment of the feast of Sixtus IV did not prove sufficient to appease the conflict, he published in 1483 a constitution in which he punished with excommunication all those of either opinion who charged the opposite opinion with heresy (Grave nimis, 4 Sept., 1483; Denzinger, 735). In 1546 the Council of Trent, when the question was touched upon, declared that "it was not the intention of this Holy Synod to include in the decree which concerns original sin the Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary Mother of God" (Sess. V, De peccato originali, v, in Denzinger, 792). Since, however, this decree did not define the doctrine, the theological opponents of the mystery, though more and more reduced in numbers, did not yield. St. Pius V not only condemned proposition 73 of Baius that "no one but Christ was without original sin, and that therefore the Blessed Virgin had died because of the sin contracted in Adam, and had endured afilictions in this life, like the rest of the just, as punishment of actual and original sin" (Denzinger, 1073) but he also issued a constitution in which he forbade all public discussion of the subject. Finally he inserted a new and simplified Office of the Conception in the liturgical books ("Super speculam", Dec., 1570; Superni omnipotentis", March, 1571; "Bullarium Marianum", pp. 72, 75).

    Whilst these disputes went on, the great universities and almost all the great orders had become so many bulwarks for the defense of the dogma. In 1497 the University of Paris decreed that henceforward no one should be admitted a member of the university, who did not swear that he would do the utmost to defend and assert the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Toulouse followed the example; in Italy, Bologna and Naples; in the German Empire, Cologne, Maine, and Vienna; in Belgium, Louvain; in England before the Reformation. Oxford and Cambridge; in Spain Salamanca, Tolerio, Seville, and Valencia; in Portugd, Coimbra and Evora; in America, Mexico and Lima. The Friars Minor confirmed in 1621 the election of the Immaculate Mother as patron of the order, and bound themselves by oath to teach the mystery in public and in private. The Dominicans, however, were under special obligation to follow the doctrines of St. Thomas, and the common conclusion was that St. Thomas was opposed to the Immaculate Conception. Therefore the Dominicans asserted that the doctrine was an error against faith (John of Montesono, 1373); although they adopted the feast, they termed it persistently "Sanctificatio B.M.V." not "Conceptio", until in 1622 Gregory V abolished the term "sanctificatio". Paul V (1617) decreed that no one should dare to teach publicly that Mary was conceived in original sin, and Gregory V (1622) imposed absolute silence (in scriptis et sermonibus etiam privatis) upon the adversaries of the doctrine until the Holy See should define the question. To put an end to all further cavilling, Alexander VII promulgated on 8 December 1661, the famous constitution "Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum", defining the true sense of the word conceptio, and forbidding all further discussion against the common and pious sentiment of the Church. He declared that the immunity of Mary from original sin in the first moment of the creation of her soul and its infusion into the body was the object of the feast (Densinger, 1100).

    EXPLICIT UNIVERSAL ACCEPTANCE. — Since the time of Alexander VII, long before the final definition, there was no doubt on the part of theologians that the privilege was amongst the truths revealed by God. Wherefore Pius IX, surrounded by a splendid throng of cardinals and bishops, 8 December 1854, promulgated the dogma. A new Office was prescribed for the entire Latin Church by Pius IX (25 December, 1863), by which decree all the other Offices in use were abolished, including the old Office Sicut lilium of the Franciscans, and the Office composed by Passaglia (approved 2 Feb., 1849). In 1904 the golden jubilee of the definition of the dogma was celebrated with great splendour (Pius X, Enc., 2 Feb., 1904). Clement IX added to the feast an octave for the dioceses within the temporal possessions of the pope (1667). Innocent XII (1693) raised it to a double of the second class with an octave for the universal Church, which rank had been already given to it in 1664 for Spain, in 1665 for Tuscany and Savoy, in 1667 for the Society of Jesus, the Hermits of St. Augustine, etc., Clement XI decreed on 6 Dec., 1708, that the feast should be a holiday of obligation throughout the entire Church. At last Leo XIII, 30 Nov 1879, raised the feast to a double of the first class with a vigil, a dignity which had long before been granted to Sicily (1739), to Spain (1760) and to the United States (1847). A Votive Office of the Conception of Mary, which is now recited in almost the entire Latin Church on free Saturdays, was granted first to the Benedictine nuns of St. Anne at Rome in 1603, to the Franciscans in 1609, to the Conventuals in 1612, etc. The Syrian and Chaldean Churches celebrate this feast with the Greeks on 9 December; in Armenia it is one of the few immovable feasts of the year (9 December); the schismatic Abyssinians and Copts keep it on 7 August whilst they celebrate the Nativity of Mary on 1 May; the Catholic Copts, however, have transferred the feast to 10 December (Nativity, 10 September). The Eastern Catholics have since 1854 changed the name of the feast in accordance with the dogma to the "Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary."

    The Archdiocese of Palermo solemnizes a Commemoration of the Immaculate Conception on 1 September to give thanks for the preservation of the city on occasion of the earthquake, 1 September, 1726. A similar commemoration is held on 14 January at Catania (earthquake, 11 Jan., 1693); and by the Oblate Fathers on 17 Feb., because their rule was approved 17 Feb., 1826. Between 20 September 1839, and 7 May 1847, the privilege of adding to the Litany of Loretto the invocation, "Queen conceived without original sin", had been granted to 300 dioceses and religious communities. The Immaculate Conception was declared on 8 November, 1760, principal patron of all the possessions of the crown of Spain, including those in America. The decree of the first Council of Baltimore (1846) electing Mary in her Immaculate Conception principal Patron of the United States, was confirmed on 7 February, 1847.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII, p. 677
Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

The Annunciation

    The fact of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is related in Luke, i 26-38. The Evangelist tells us that in the sixth month after the conception of St. John the Baptist by Elizabeth, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the Virgin Mary, at Nazareth, a small town in the mountains of Galilee. Mary was of the house of David, and was espoused (i. e. married) to Joseph, of the same royal family. She had, however, not yet entered the household of her spouse, but was still in her mother's house, working, perhaps, over her dowry. (Bardenhewer, Maria Verk., 69). And the angel having taken the figure and the form of man, came into the house and said to her: "Hail, full of grace (to whom is given grace, favoured one), the Lord is with thee." Mary having heard the greeting words did not speak; she was troubled in spirit, since she knew not the angel, nor the cause of his coming, nor the meaning of the salutation. And the angel continued and said: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; andthe Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end." The Virgin understood that there was question of the coming Redeemer. But, why should she be elected from amongst women for the splendid dignity of being the mother of the Messiah, having vowed her virginity to God? (St. Augustine). Therefore, not doubting the word of Godlike Zachary, but filled with fear and astonishment, she said: "How shall this be done, because I know not man?"

    The angel to remove Mary's anxiety and to assure her that her virginity would be spared, answered: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." In token of the truth of his word he made known to her the conception of St. John, the miraculous pregnancy of her relative now old and sterile: "And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth; she also has conceived a son in herold age, and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: because no word shall be impossible with God." Mary may not yet have fully understood the meaning of the heavenly message and how the maternity might be reconciled with her vow of virginity, but clinging to the first words of the angel and trusting to the Omnipotence of God she said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word."

    The Annunciation is the beginning of Jesus in His human nature. Through His mother He is a member of the human race. If the virginity of Mary before, during, and after the conception of her Divine Son was always considered part of the deposit of faith, this was done only on account of the historical facts and testimonials. The Incarnation of the Son of God did not in itself necessitate this exception from the laws of nature. Only reasons of expediency are given for it, chiefly, the end of the Incarnation. About to found a new generation of the children of God, The Redeemer does not arrive in the way of earthly generations: the power of the Holy Spirit enters the chaste womb of the Virgin, forming the humanity of Christ. Many holy fathers (Sts. Jerome, Cyril, Ephrem, Augustine) say that the consent of Mary was essential to the redemption. It was the will of God, St. Thomas says (Summa III:30), that the redemption of mankind should depend upon the consent of the Virgin Mary. This does not mean that God in His plans was bound by the will of a creature, and that man would not have been redeemed, if Mary had not consented. It only means that the consent of Mary was foreseen from all eternity, and therefore was received as essential into the design of God.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I
Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

The Assumption of Mary

    "Regarding the day, year, and manner of Our Lady's death, nothing certain is known. The earliest known literary reference to the Assumption is found in the Greek work De Obitu S. Dominae. Catholic faith, however, has always derived our knowledge of the mystery from Apostolic Tradition. Epiphanius (d. 403) acknowledged that he knew nothing definite about it (Haer., lxxix, 11). The dates assigned for it vary between three and fifteen years after Christ's Ascension. Two cities claim to be the place of her departure: Jerusalem and Ephesus. Common consent favours Jerusalem, where her tomb is shown; but some argue in favour of Ephesus. The first six centuries did not know of the tomb of Mary at Jerusalem."

    "The belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is founded on the apocryphal treatise De Obitu S. Dominae, bearing the name of St. John, which belongs however to the fourth or fifth century. It is also found in the book De Transitu Virginis, falsely ascribed to St. Melito of Sardis, and in a spurious letter attributed to St. Denis the Areopagite. If we consult genuine writings in the East, it is mentioned in the sermons of St. Andrew of Crete, St. John Damascene, St. Modestus of Jerusalem and others. In the West, St. Gregory of Tours (De gloria mart., I, iv) mentions it first. The sermons of St. Jerome and St. Augustine for this feast, however, are spurious. St. John of Damascus (P. G., I, 96) thus formulates the tradition of the Church of Jerusalem:

St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven."

    "Today, the belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is universal in the East and in the West; according to Benedict XIV (De Festis B.V.M., I, viii, 18) it is a probable opinion, which to deny were impious and blasphemous."

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II
Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

The Feast of the Assumption

The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 15 August; also called in old liturgical books Pausatio, Nativitas (for heaven), Mors, Depositio, Dormitio S. Mariae. This feast has a double object: (1) the happy departure of Mary from this life; (2) the assumption of her body into heaven. It is the principal feast of the Blessed Virgin.

Regarding the origin of the feast we are also uncertain. It is more probably the anniversary of the dedication of some church than the actual anniversary of Our Lady's death. That it originated at the time of the Council of Ephesus, or that St. Damasus introduced it in Rome is only a hypothesis.

According to the life of St. Theodosius (d. 529) it was celebrated in Palestine before the year 500, probably in August (Baeumer, Brevier, 185). In Egypt and Arabia, however, it was kept in January, and since the monks of Gaul adopted many usages from the Egyptian monks (Baeumer, Brevier, 163), we find this feast in Gaul in the sixth century, in January [mediante mense undecimo (Greg. Turon., De gloria mart., I, ix)]. The Gallican Liturgy has it on the 18th of January, under the title: Depositio, Assumptio, or Festivitas S. Mariae (cf. the notes of Mabillon on the Gallican Liturgy, P. L., LXXII, 180). This custom was kept up in the Gallican Church to the time of the introduction of the Roman rite. In the Greek Church, it seems, some kept this feast in January, with the monks of Egypt; others in August, with those of Palestine; wherefore the Emperor Maurice (d. 602), if the account of the "Liber Pontificalis" (II, 508) be correct, set the feast for the Greek Empire on 15 August.

In Rome (Batiffol, Brev. Rom., 134) the oldest and only feast of Our Lady was 1 January, the octave of Christ's birth. It was celebrated first at Santa Maria Maggiore, later at Santa Maria ad Martyres. The other feasts are of Byzantine origin. Duchesne thinks (Origines du culte chr., 262) that before the seventh century no other feast was kept at Rome, and that consequently the feast of the Assumption, found in the sacramentaries of Gelasius and Gregory, is a spurious addition made in the eighth or seventh century. Probst, however (Sacramentarien, 264 sqq.), brings forth good arguments to prove that the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, found on the 15th of August in the Gelasianum, is genuine, since it does not mention the corporeal assumption of Mary; that, consequently, the feast was celebrated in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome at least in the sixth century. He proves, furthermore, that the Mass of the Gregorian Sacramentary, such as we have it, is of Gallican origin (since the belief in the bodily assumption of Mary, under the influence of the apocryphal writings, is older in Gaul than in Rome), and that it supplanted the old Gelasian Mass. At the time of Sergius I (700) this feast was one of the principal festivities in Rome; the procession started from the church of St. Hadrian. It was always a double of the first class and a Holy Day of obligation.

The octave was added in 847 by Leo IV; in Germany this octave was not observed in several dioceses up to the time of the Reformation. The Church of Milan has not accepted it up to this day (Ordo Ambros., 1906). The octave is privileged in the dioceses of the provinces of Sienna, Fermo, Michoacan, etc.

The Greek Church continues this feast to 23 August, inclusive, and in some monasteries of Mount Athos it is protracted to 29 August (Menaea Graeca, Venice, 1880), or was, at least, formerly. In the dioceses of Bavaria a thirtieth day (a species of month's mind) of the Assumption was celebrated during the Middle Ages, 13 Sept., with the Office of the Assumption (double); to-day, only the Diocese of Augsburg has retained this old custom.

Some of the Bavarian dioceses and those of Brandenburg, Mainz, Frankfort, etc., on 23 Sept. kept the feast of the "Second Assumption", or the "Fortieth Day of the Assumption" (double) believing, according to the revelations of St. Elizabeth of Schönau (d. 1165) and of St. Bertrand, O.C. (d. 1170), that the B.V. Mary was taken up to heaven on the fortieth day after her death (Grotefend, Calendaria 2, 136). The Brigittines kept the feast of the "Glorification of Mary" (double) 30 Aug., since St. Brigitta of Sweden says (Revel., VI, l) that Mary was taken into heaven fifteen days after her departure (Colvenerius, Cal. Mar., 30 Aug.). In Central America a special feast of the Coronation of Mary in heaven (double major) is celebrated 18 Aug. The city of Gerace in Calabria keeps three successive days with the rite of a double first class, commemorating: 15th of August, the death of Mary; 16th of August, her Coronation.

At Piazza, in Sicily, there is a commemoration of the Assumption of Mary (double second class) the 20th of February, the anniversary of the earthquake of 1743. A similar feast (double major with octave) is kept at Martano, Diocese of Otranto, in Apulia, 19th of November.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II
Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

Prayers in Honor of the

Blessed Virgin Mary

Ejaculations and Invocations Hail Mary
Canticle of Mary O God, Who by the Immaculate Conception
O Beata Virgo O Pure and Immaculate
O Gloriosa Virginum Prayer to the Most Holy Virgin in her Desolation
Alma Redemptoris Mater (Mother Benign of Our Redeeming Lord)


Ave, Regina Caelorum (Hail Queen of Heaven)

Thou Art All Fair, O Mary

Act of Reparation for Blasphemies against the B.V.M

Remember, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

The Crown of Twelve Stars O Beata Virgo Maria (O Blessed Virgin Mary)
The Angelus

O Beatissima (O Most Blessed and Sweet Virgin Mary)

Regina Caeli

Obsecro te

Hail Holy Queen

O Holy Mary, my Mistress

Sub Tuum Praesidium (We Fly to Thy Patronage)

O Excellentissima (O Most Excellent Virgin Mary)

Prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary O Intemerata
Prayers for every day of the week, with 3 Ave Maria's Oratio Sancti Bernardi ad Deiparam Virginem
Virgin Most Holy

Oratio Sancti Sophronii ad Benedictam

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin and to Saint Anne Most Holy Virgin and Mother

Hail, Most Venerable Queen of Peace

Holy Mary, be Thou a Help to the Helpless

Memorare Hail, Mother of God
O Domina Mea! Our Lady of the Cenacle
Immaculate Mother of God Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary
May We Be Assisted Grant unto us, Thy servants
Invocations and Litany in honor of Our Lady of La Salette Consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Pope Pius XII
Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary Salutation to the Glory of Mary
Prayer in honor of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary Devotion

Fatima Prayers



[Immaculate Heart with Lilies]

Hymns in Honor of the

Blessed Virgin Mary

The Messenger from God's High Throne Memento, salutis Auctor (Remember, O Creator Lord)
The Mount of Olives Witnesseth

O Gloriosa Domina (O Heaven's Glorious Mistress)

Now Hell is Vanquished Stabat Mater dolorosa (At the Cross Her Station Keeping)
The Gladness of Thy Motherhood Stabat Mater speciosa (By the Crib Wherein Reposing)
Ave Maris Stella (Star of the Sea, we hail Thee)

Quem terra, pontus, aethera (The God Whom Earth and Sea and Sky)

Flos Carmeli (Flower of Carmel)

Angelus ad Virginem (Gabriel, from Heaven's King)


Ejaculations and Invocations


The faithful who devoutly invoke the most holy name of Mary may gain An indulgence of 300 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily devout repetition of the invocation (1932).

"Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O sacred Virgin; Give me strength against thine enemies."

An indulgence of 300 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily devout repetition of the invocation (1933).

"O Mary, Mother of God and Mother of mercy, pray for us and for all who have died in the embrace of the Lord."

An indulgence of 300 days

Thou who wast a virgin before thy delivery, pray for us.

Hail Mary, etc.
Thou who wast a virgin in thy delivery, pray for us.

Hail Mary, etc.
Thou who wast a virgin after thy delivery, pray for us.

Hail Mary, etc.

An indulgence of 300 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily devout repetition of the invocation (1933).

"Our Lady of Lourdes (of the Pillar, or under another title approved by ecclesiastical authority), pray for us."-An indulgence of 300 days

"My Mother, deliver me from mortal sin. Hail Mary three times"-An indulgence of 300 days

"O Mary, bless this house where thy Name is always blessed. Praise forever be to Mary Immaculate, the ever-Virgin, blessed amongst women, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Queen of Paradise." -An indulgence of 300 days

"O Mary, our hope, have pity on us."-An indulgence of 300 days

"Mother of love, of sorrow and of mercy, pray for us."-An indulgence of 300 days

"Holy Mary, deliver us from the pains of hell." -An indulgence of 300 days

"My Mother, my hope."-An indulgence of 300 days

"O Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, make us saints."-An indulgence of 300 days

"Mother of Mercy, pray for us."-An indulgence of 300 days

"O Mary, Virgin Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me."-An indulgence of 300 days

"O Mary, make me live in God, with God, and for God."-An indulgence of 300 days

"O Mary, Mother of grace and Mother of mercy, do thou protect us from our enemy, and receive us at the hour of our death."-

An indulgence of 300 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily devout repetition of the invocation (1933).

"Remember, O Virgin Mother of God, when thou shalt stand before the face of the Lord, that thou speak favorable things in our behalf and that He may turn away His indignation from us."

An indulgence of 300 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily devout repetition of the invocation (1934).

"Bless us, Mary Maiden mild, bless us too, her tender Child."-An indulgence of 300 days

"Thou art my Mother, O Virgin Mary: keep me safe lest I ever offend thy dear Son, and obtain for me the grace to please Him always and in all things."-An indulgence of 300 days

Blessed art Thou, O Virgin Mary, by the Lord God most high, above all women upon the earth."-

An indulgence of 300 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily devout repetition of the invocation (1936).

" Most high Queen of the Universe, Mary ever Virgin, make intercession for our peace and salvation, thou who didst bear Christ the Lord, the Savior of al mankind."

An indulgence of 300 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily devout repetition of the invocation (1936).

"Draw us after thee, holy Mother."-An indulgence of 300 days

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ."

An indulgence of 300 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily devout repetition of the invocation (1940).

"Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God, intercede for me."

An indulgence of 300 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily devout repetition of the invocation (1940).

"Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, thou alone hast put down all heresies in the whole world."-An indulgence of 300 days

"O Mary, may thy children persevere in loving thee!"-An indulgence of 300 days

Canticle of Mary

My soul proclaims your greatness, O my God,
and my spirit has rejoiced in your my Saviour;
For you have regarded me as your holy handmaid;
henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
For you who are mighty, have done great things for me,
and Holy is your Name;
Your mercy is on those who fear you throughout all generations.
You have showed strength with your arm.
You have scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
You have put down the mighty from their seat,
and have lifted up the powerless.
You have filled the hungry with good things,
and have sent the rich away empty.
Remembering your mercy,
You have helped your people Israel -
As you promised Abraham and Sarah.
Mercy to their children forever.

An indulgence of 3 years, An indulgence of 5 years if the canticle is recited on the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or on any Saturday of the year.

A Plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this canticle

Ave Maris Stella

Ave Maris Stella is a popular liturgical hymn of unknown origin. It can be dated back to at least the 9th century for it is preserved in the Codex Sangallensis, a 9th century manuscript now in the Swiss Monastery of St. Gallen. Its appearance in the Codex points to a composition in possibly the 8th century. The hymn is frequently attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) and sometimes has been attributed to King Robert (1031), both of whom are too late to have authored it. It has also been attributed to Venantius Fortunatus (d 609) and Paul the Deacon (d 787). It is found in ancient codices of the Divine Office for Vespers on Marian feasts. Today it is still in use in the Divine Office and in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin.
AVE maris stella,
Dei Mater alma,
atque semper Virgo,
felix caeli porta.
HAIL, O Star of the ocean,
God's own Mother blest,
ever sinless Virgin,
gate of heav'nly rest.
Sumens illud Ave
Gabrielis ore,
funda nos in pace,
mutans Hevae nomen.
Taking that sweet Ave,
which from Gabriel came,
peace confirm within us,
changing Eve's name.
Solve vincula reis,
profer lumen caecis
mala nostra pelle,
bona cuncta posce.
Break the sinners' fetters,
make our blindness day,
Chase all evils from us,
for all blessings pray.
Monstra te esse matrem:
sumat per te preces,
qui pro nobis natus,
tulit esse tuus.
Show thyself a Mother,
may the Word divine
born for us thine Infant
hear our prayers through thine.
Virgo singularis,
inter omnes mites,
nos culpis solutos,
mites fac et castos.
Virgin all excelling,
mildest of the mild,
free from guilt preserve us
meek and undefiled.
Vitam praesta puram,
iter para tutum:
ut videntes Iesum
semper collaetemur.
Keep our life all spotless,
make our way secure
till we find in Jesus,
joy for evermore.
Sit laus Deo Patri,
summo Christo decus,
Spiritui Sancto,
tribus honor unus. Amen.
Praise to God the Father,
honor to the Son,
in the Holy Spirit,
be the glory one. Amen-
An indulgence of 3 years

O Gloriosa Virginum

O Glorious Virgin, ever blest,

All daughters of mankind above,

Who gavest nurture from thy breast

To God, with pure maternal love.


What man hath lost in hapless Eve,

The Blossom sprung from thee restores;

Thou to the sorrowing here beneath

Hast opened heaven's eternal doors.


O gate, through which hath passed the King

The ransomed nations praise and sing

The Offspring of thy Virgin womb.


All honor, laud and glory be,

 O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee:

All glory, as is ever meet,

To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.

An indulgence of 3 years

Alma Redemptoris Mater

Alma Redemptoris Mater was composed by Herman Contractus (Herman the Cripple) (1013-1054). It is mentioned in The Prioress' Tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which testifies to its popularity in England before Henry VIII. Contractus composed it from phrases taken from the writings of St. Fulgentius, St. Epiphanius, and St. Irenaeus. At one time Alma Redemptoris Mater was briefly used as an antiphon for the hour of Sext for the feast of the Assumption, but since the 13th century it has been a part of Compline. It is recited only from the first Sunday in Advent until the Feast of the Purification (Feb. 2). The traditional collects, which are not part of the original prayer, are also given below.
ALMA Redemptoris Mater, quae pervia caeli
Porta manes, et stella maris, succurre cadenti,
Surgere qui curat, populo: tu quae genuisti,
Natura mirante, tuum sanctum Genitorem
Virgo prius ac posterius, Gabrielis ab ore
Sumens illud Ave, peccatorum miserere.
MOTHER of Christ, hear thou thy people's cry
Star of the deep and Portal of the sky!
Mother of Him who thee made from nothing made.
Sinking we strive and call to thee for aid:
Oh, by what joy which Gabriel brought to thee,
Thou Virgin first and last, let us thy mercy see.
Tempus Adventus During Advent
V. Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae.
R. Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.
V. The Angel of the Lord announced unto Mary.
R. And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Gratiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde: ut qui, Angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus; per passionem eius et crucem, ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let us pray
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts: that as we have known the incarnation of Thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an Angel, so too by His Cross and passion may we be brought to the glory of His resurrection. Amen.
Donec Purificatio From Christmas Eve until the Purification
V. Post partum, Virgo, inviolata permansisti.
R. Dei Genetrix, intercede pro nobis.
V. After childbirth thou didst remain a virgin.
R. Intercede for us, O Mother of God.
Deus, qui salutis aeternae, beatae Mariae virginitate fecunda, humano generi praemia praestitisti: tribue, quaesumus; ut ipsam pro nobis intercedere sentiamus, per quam meruimus auctorem vitae suscipere, Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum. Amen.
Let us pray
O God, who, by the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary, hast bestowed upon mankind the reward of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may experience her intercession, through whom we have been made worthy to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son. Amen.

An indulgence of 5 years if the canticle is recited on the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or on any Saturday of the year.

A Plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this canticle

Ave, Regina Caelorum

Ave Regina Caelorum is a popular Marian antiphon from around the 12th century. It appears to be of monastic origin and the author is unknown. Herman Contractus (+1054) is often suggested as the author, for he wrote several popular Marian antiphons arround then. This antiphon is one of the traditional concluding antiphons for Compline in use since the 13th century. It is traditionally recited from the Feast of the Purification (Feb. 2) until Wednesday in Holy Week. The traditional collect, which is not a part of the antiphon proper, is also given below. As noted by St. Jerome, the versicle and response originally appeared in the writings of St. Ephrem the Syrian (306-373).
AVE, Regina caelorum,
Ave, Domina Angelorum:
Salve, radix, salve, porta,
Ex qua mundo lux est orta:
HAIL, O Queen of Heav'n enthron'd,
Hail, by angels Mistress own'd
Root of Jesse, Gate of morn,
Whence the world's true light was born.
Gaude, Virgo gloriosa,
Super omnes speciosa,
Vale, o valde decora,
Et pro nobis Christum exora.
Glorious Virgin, joy to thee,
Lovliest whom in Heaven they see,
Fairest thou where all are fair!
Plead with Christ our sins to spare.
V. Dignare me laudare te, Virgo sacrata.
R. Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos.
V. Allow me to praise thee, holy Virgin.
R. Give me strength against thy enemies.
Concede, misericors Deus, fragilitati nostrae praesidium; ut, qui sanctae Dei Genetricis memoriam agimus; intercessionis eius auxilio, a nostris iniquitatibus resurgamus. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let us pray
Grant, O merciful God, to our weak natures Thy protection, that we who commemorate the holy Mother of God may, by the help of her intercession, arise from our iniquities. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

An indulgence of 5 years if the canticle is recited on the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or on any Saturday of the year.

A Plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this canticle

Act of Reparation for Blasphemies against the B.V.M

Most glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, turn shine eyes in pity upon us, miserable sinners; we are sore
afflicted by the many evils that surround us in this life, but especially do we feel our hearts break within us upon hearing the dreadful insults and blasphemies uttered against thee, O Virgin Immaculate. O how these impious sayings offend the infinite Majesty of God and of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ! How they provoke His indignation and give us cause to fear the terrible effects of His vengeance! Would that the sacrifice of our lives might avail to put an end to such outrages and blasphemies; were it so, how gladly we should make it, for we desire, O most holy Mother, to love thee and to honor thee with all our hearts, since this is the will of God. And just because we love thee, we will do all that is in our power to make thee honored and loved by all men. In the meantime do thou, our merciful Mother, the supreme comforter of the afflicted, accept this our act of reparation which we offer thee for ourselves and for all our families, as well as for all who impiously blaspheme thee, not knowing what they say. Do thou obtain for them from Almighty God the grace of conversion, and thus render more manifest and more glorious thy kindness, thy power and thy great mercy. May they join with us in proclaiming thee blessed among women, the Immaculate Virgin and most compassionate Mother of God. Amen.

Hail Mary three times-An indulgence of 5 years

The Crown of Twelve Stars

St. John, the beloved disciple of Jesus and Mary, was privileged to behold a wonderful sign in Heaven: "A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." This gave rise to the Crown of Twelve Stars devotion which Heaven has blessed with countless favors. St. John Berchmans made it his daily favorite.

This chaplet is prayed to honor each of those twelve stars as they symbolize her motherhood and queenship over all Israel, the twelve stars representing the 12 Tribes and the 12 Apostles. This devotion consists of 12 Aves — one for each star — broken up into 3 groups, each group representing an aspect of Mary's virtues: excellence, power, and goodness.

Each group begins with an Our Father, and ends with a Glory Be. The entire Crown, then, is the praying of the following arrangement of prayers three times:

1 Our Father
4 Hail Marys
1 Glory Be

Let us offer praise and thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity, Who hath shown us the Virgin Mary, clothed with the sun, the moon between her feet, and on her head a mystic crown of twelve stars.

R. For ever and ever. Amen.


On the first large bead:

Let us praise and thank the Divine Father, Who elected her for His daughter.

R. Amen. Say Our Father.


On the small bead:

Praised be the Divine Father, Who predestined her to be the Mother of His Divine Son.

R. Amen. Say Hail Mary.

On the small bead:

Praised be the Divine Father, Who preserved her from all stain in her conception.

R. Amen. Say Hail Mary.


On the small bead:

Praised be the Divine Father, Who adorned her at birth with His most excellent gifts.

R. Amen. Say Hail Mary.


On the small bead:

Praised be the Divine Father, Who gave her Saint Joseph to be her companion and most pure spouse.

R. Amen. Say Hail Mary and Gloria.


On the next large bead:

Let us praise and thank the Divine Son, Who chose her for His mother.

R. Amen. Say Our Father.


On the small bead:

Praised be the Divine Son, Who became incarnate in her bosom and there abode for nine months.

R. Amen. Say Hail Mary.


On the small bead:

Praised be the Divine Son, Who was born of her and was nourished at her breast.

R. Amen. Say Hail Mary.


On the small bead:

Praised be the Divine Son, Who in His childhood willed to be taught by her.

R. Amen. Say Hail Mary.


On the small bead:

Praised be the Divine Son, Who revealed to her the mystery of the Redemption of the world.

R. Amen. Say Hail Mary and Gloria.


On the next large bead:

Let us praise and thank the Holy Spirit, Who took her for His spouse.

R. Amen. Say Our Father.


On the small bead:

Praised be the Holy Spirit, Who, revealed first to her His Name of Holy Spirit.

R. Amen. Say Hail Mary.


On the small bead:

Praised be the Holy Spirit, by Whose operation she was at once Virgin and Mother.

R. Amen. Say Hail Mary.


On the small bead:

Praised be the Holy Spirit, by Whose power she was the living-temple of the ever-blessed Trinity.

R. Amen. Say Hail Mary.


On the small bead:

Praised be the Holy Spirit, by Whom she was exalted in Heaven above every living creature.

R. Amen. Say Hail Mary and Gloria.

An indulgence of 3 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this devotion is repeated daily for a month.

The Angelus
During Paschaltide, this prayer, said kneeling, is replaced by the Regina Coeli (see below).



The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.



And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.



Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death.



Behold the handmaid of the Lord.



Be it done unto me according to thy word.



Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death.



And the Word was made Flesh.



And dwelt among us.



Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death.



Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.



That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.



Let us pray. Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that, we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an Angel, may by His Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord.




Regina Caeli
This prayer, said standing, is used to replace the Angelus during Paschaltide.


    Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia: For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia, Has risen as He said, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia.


  Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.


  Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.


  Let us pray : O God, who by the Resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, granted joy to the whole world: grant we beg Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may lay hold of the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord.



The faithful who at dawn at noon and at eventide, or as soon thereafter as may be, devoutly recite the Angelus, or at Eastertide the Regina caeli, with the appropriate versicles and prayers, or who merely say the Hail Mary five times, may gain: An Indulgence of 10 years each time; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions if they persevere in this devout practice for a month.

Hail Holy Queen

Numerous authors have been proposed for what is said to be the most popular Marian antiphon; St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Adhemar de Monteil, Bishop of Le Puy (ca 1080 AD), and Peter of Compostela (930 AD). Herman Contractus, who wrote a number of well known Marian pieces, is the author favored by current scholarship. An interesting story exists describing its last three invocations. The Chronicles of Spires tell us that the final three invocations were added by St. Bernard (1091-1153). The hymn, so the story goes, originally ended with the word ostende. However, when St. Bernard was the Papal Legate in Germany, he heard the hymn being sung in the Church of Spires, threw himself upon his knees, and with a fit of sudden inspiration rang out with the words: O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria. These three invocations have been repeated ever since and four stones in the Church mark the place where the holy doctor knelt. Unfortunately for the story, the lines appear in early manuscripts before this event was supposed to have taken place.

What we do know for certain is that the Salve Regina was used as a processional chant at Cluny by 1135. Around 1218 the Cistercians adopted it as a daily processional chant and in 1251 as an ending to Compline. Both the Dominicans and the Franciscans also adopted it around this same time and the Carmelites used it for a while in place of the last Gospel at Mass. Gregory IX (1227-1241) ordered it to be chanted after Compline on Fridays. From the 14th century down to today it has been a part of Compline for the Latin Rite. Traditionally this antiphon is recited at Compline from Trinity Sunday until Advent.

This hymn is said to be a favorite of our Lady herself by testimony of those who have reportedly seen her in visions. One account concerning this claim relates a vision St. Dominic had. He was entering a corridor of the monastery to resume his midnight prayer vigil when he chanced to raise his eyes and see three beautiful ladies approach him. He knelt before the principle lady and she blessed him. Even though St. Dominic recognized her, he begged her to tell him her name. The lady replied: "I am she whom you invoke every evening: and when you say, <<Eia ergo, advocata nostra.>> I prostrate myself before my Son, entreating Him to protect this Order." (From the Life of St. Dominic, Lacordaire).

Many writers have praised this hymn. St. Alphonsus comments upon the Salve Regina extensively in his Glories of Mary, and Father Taunton writes: "Its fragrance lingers over our soul when, at the end of a long day, or at the end of any Hour, we place our prayers in Mary's hands, that she, the pure and glorious one, may offer them with all the power of a Mother's love to her God, to that Son, the blessed Fruit of her womb. Our prayers coming through her hands will be doubly acceptable to her Son, and we shall be the sooner heard for the reverence He has for His Mother". It has also been recorded that the Salve Regina was recited by Columbus' men the evening before they sighted the New World the next morning.

Today this prayer is one of the final Marian Antiphons that conclude Compline in the Divine Office and it is also used in conjunction with the Rosary. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who devoutly recite this prayer. The traditional collect, which is not part of the prayer proper, is given below

SALVE, Regina, mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae. Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle. HAIL holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.

O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria. Amen.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us. And after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.
V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriosae Virginis Matris Mariae corpus et animam, ut dignum Filii tui habitaculum effici mereretur, Spiritu Sancto cooperante, praeparasti: da, ut cuius commemoratione laetamur; eius pia intercessione, ab instantibus malis, et a morte perpetua liberemur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let us pray
Almighty, everlasting God, who by the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, didst prepare the body and soul of the glorious Virgin-Mother Mary to become a worthy dwelling for Thy Son; grant that we who rejoice in her commemoration may, by her loving intercession, be delivered from present evils and from the everlasting death. Amen.

An Indulgence of 5 years, An indulgence of 7 years, every day in May. A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer. A plenary indulgence at the hour of death to be gained by those who have often recited this prayer during life, and who, after confession and Communion, or at least an act of contrition, shall invoke the holy Name of Jesus with their lips, if possible, or at least in their hearts, and accept death with resignation from the hand of God as the just punishment of sin (1786)

Sub Tuum Praesidium (We Fly to Thy Patronage)

An ancient prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the oldest known version of which is found on an Egyptian papyrus from the 3rd century. This prayer is used in Litanies to the Blessed Mother and as a concluding prayer to Compline. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it.
SUB tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix. Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus1, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. Amen. WE fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

An Indulgence of 5 years,A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer. A plenary indulgence at the hour of death to be gained by those who have often recited this prayer during life, and who, after confession and Communion, or at least an act of contrition, shall invoke the holy Name of Jesus with their lips, if possible, or at least in their hearts, and accept death with resignation from the hand of God as the just punishment of sin (1786)

Prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Heart of Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, Heart most amiable, on which the Adorable Trinity ever looks with complacency, worthy of all the veneration and tenderness of angels and of men; Heart most like the Heart of Jesus, whose most perfect image thou art; heart full of goodness, ever compassionate towards our miseries, - vouchsafe to thaw our icy hearts, that they may be changed entirely to the likeness of the heart of Jesus. Infuse into them the love of thy virtues, inflame them with that blessed fire with which thou dost ever burn. In thee let the Holy Church find safe shelter; protect it, and be its sweet asylum, its tower of strength, impregnable against every inroad of its enemies. Be thou the road leading to Jesus; be thou the channel whereby we receive all graces needful for our salvation. Be thou our help in need, our comfort in trouble, our strength in temptation, our refuge in persecution, our aid in all dangers; but especially in the last struggle of our life, at the moment of our death, when all hell will be unchained against us to snatch away our souls, -  in that dread moment, that hour so terrible, whereon our eternity depends, and, yes, most tender Virgin, do thou then make us feel how great is the sweetness of thy motherly Heart, and the strength of thy power with the Heart of Jesus, by opening for us a safe refuge in the very fount of mercy itself, whereby we too may one day join with thee in Paradise in praising that same Heart of Jesus for ever and for ever. Amen

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus having been firmly established in the Catholic world, it seemed fitting that a similar devotion should be established in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Accordingly Benedict XIV., with a Bull of March 7, 1753, erected in the church of the Most Holy Redeemer, near Ponte Sisto in Rome, the first Confraternity which took its name from the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and Pope Pius VII., whilst approving the devotion, by a decree of the S. Congr. of Rites of Aug. 31, 1805, granted also an office and Mass for the feast of it, to kindle thereby the love of the faithful towards it. 
In the year 1807, in order still more to advance this devotion, he erected in Rome, in the deaconry of St. Eustachius, a "Primary Congregation (Congregazione Primario) of the Sacred Heart of Mary," granting to its members many Indulgences, with power to aggregate other confraternities out of Rome, which should also participate in the Indulgences. Moreover, in order that not only the members of both sexes of the said confraternities and congregations in Rome and elsewhere, but that all the faithful every where, might he moved to honour the Sacred Heart of Mary, the same Pope Pius VII., at the prayer of many bishops and priests, by Rescripts given from the Segretaria of the Memorials, Aug. 18, 1807, Feb. 1, 1816, and Sept. 26, 1817 (all of which are preserved in the Archivium of the Pious Union of the Sacred Heart of Jesus before named), granted -
i. The indulgence of sixty days, once a day, to all who say devoutly the following prayer to the Sacred Heart of Mary, with the act of praise to the SS. Hearts of Jesus and Mary; and -
ii. The plenary indulgence to those who say it every day for a year, on each of the following three feasts of our Lady, viz, the Nativity, Assumption, and her Immaculate Heart provided that, after Confession and Communion, they visit a church or altar dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and pray there according to the Pope's intention.
Lastly, he granted -
iii. The plenary indulgence at the hour of death to all who in life shall not omit to say this prayer.

Prayers for every day of the week, with 3 Ave Maria's


Mother of my God, look down upon a poor sinner, who has recourse to thee, and puts his trust in thee. I am not worthy that thon shouldst even cast thine eyes upon me; but I know that thou, beholding Jesus thy Son dying for sinners, dost thyself yearn exceedingly to save them. O Mother of Mercy, look on my miseries and have pity upon me. I hear it said by all that thou art the refuge of the sinner, the hope of the desperate, the aid of the lost; be thou, then, my refuge, hope, and aid. It is thy prayers which must save me. For the love of Jesus Christ be thou my help; reach forth thy hand to the poor fallen sinner who recommends himself to thee. I know that it is thy consolation to aid the sinner when thou canst do so; help me then, thou who canst help. By my sins I have forfeited the grace of God and my own soul. I place myself in thy hands; O, tell me what to do that I may regain the grace of God, and I will do it. My Saviour bids me go to thee for help; He wills that I should look to thy pity; that so, not only the merits of thy Son, but thine own prayers also, may unite to save me. To thee, then, I have recourse: pray thou to Jesus for me; and make me experience how great good thou canst do for one who trusts in thee. Be it done unto me according to my hope. Amen.

Then say three Ave Maria's to the Blessed Virgin Mary in reparation for the blasphemies uttered against her.


Most holy Mary, Queen of heaven, I who was once the slave of the Evil One now dedicate myself to thy service for ever; and I offer myself, to honour and to serve thee as long as I live. Accept me for thy servant, and cast me not away from thee as I deserve. In thee, O my Mother, I place all my hopes. All blessing and thanksgiving be to God, who in His mercy giveth me this trust in thee. It is true that in past time I have fallen miserably into sin; but by the merits of Jesus Christ, and thy prayers, I hope that God has pardoned me. But this is not enough, my Mother. One thought terrifies me; it is, that I may yet lose the grace of God. Danger is ever nigh; the devil sleeps not; fresh temptations assail me. Protect me, then, my Queen; help me against the assaults of my spiritual enemy. Never suffer me to sin again, or to offend Jesus thy Son. Let me not by my sin lose my soul, heaven, and my God. This one grace, Mary, I ask of thee; this is my desire; may thy prayers obtain this for me. Such is my hope. Amen.

The three Ave Maria's as before.


Most holy Mary, Mother of Goodness, Mother of Mercy; when I reflect upon my sins and upon the moment of my death, I tremble and am confounded. O my sweetest Mother, in the Blood of Jesus, in thy intercession, are my hopes. Comforter of the sad, abandon me not at that hour; fail not to console me in that great affliction. If even now I am so tormented by remorse for the sins I have committed, the uncertainty of my pardon, the danger of a relapse, and the strictness of the judgment, how will it be with me then? O my Mother, before death overtake me, obtain for me great sorrow for my sins, a true amendment, and constant fidelity to God for the remainder of my life. And when at length my hour is come, then do thou, Mary, my hope, be thyself my aid in those great troubles wherewith my soul will be encompassed. Strengthen me, that I may not despair when the enemy sets my sins before my face. Obtain for me at that moment grace to invoke thee often, so that I may breathe forth my spirit with thine own sweet name and that of thy most holy Son upon any lips. This grace thou hast granted to many of thy servants; this, too, is my hope and my desire.

The three Ave Maria's as before.


Mother of God, most holy Mary, how often by my sins have I merited hell! Long ago, perhaps, judgment would have gone forth against my first mortal sin, hadst not thou in thy tender pity delayed the justice of God, and afterwards attracted me by thy sweetness to have confidence in thy prayers. And O, how very often should I have fallen in the dangers which beset my steps, hadst not thou, loving Mother that thou art, preserved me by the graces thou by thy prayers didst obtain for me. But O, my Queen, what will thy pity and thy favours avail me, if after all I perish in the flames of hell? If there was once a time when I loved thee not, yet now, next to God, I love thee before all. Wherefore, henceforth and for ever, suffer me not to turn my back upon thee and upon my God, who through thee has granted me so many mercies. O Lady, most worthy of all love, let it not be that I thy child shall have to hate and to utter maledictions for ever in hell. Thou wilt surely never endure to see thy servant lost who loves thee. O Mary, say not that I ever can be lost! Yet I shall assuredly be lost if I abandon thee. But who could ever have the heart to leave thee? Who can ever forget thy love? No; it is impossible for that man to perish who faithfully recommends himself to thee, and has recourse to thee. Only leave me not, my Mother, in my own hands, or I am lost! Let me but cling to thee! Save me, my Hope! save me from hell; or rather, save me from sin, which alone can condemn me to hell.

The three Ave Maria's as before.


Queen of Heaven, who sittest enthroned above all the choirs of the angels nighest to God, from this vale of miseries I, a poor sinner, salute thee, praying thee in thy love to turn upon me those gracious eyes of thine. See, Mary, the dangers among which I dwell, and shall ever have to dwell whilst I live upon this earth. I may yet lose my soul, Paradise, and God. In thee, Lady, is my hope. I love thee; and I sigh after the time when I shall see thee and praise thee in Paradise. O Mary, when will that blessed day come that I shall see myself safe at thy feet? When shall I kiss that hand, which has dispensed to me so many graces? Alas, it is too true, O my Mother, that I have ever been very ungrateful during my whole life; but if I go to Heaven, then I will love thee there every moment of a whole eternity, and make thee reparation in some sort for my ingratitude by ever blessing and praising thee. Thanks be to God, for that He hath vouchsafed me this hope through the Precious Blood of Jesus, and through thy powerful intercession. This has been the hope of all thy true lovers; and no one of them has been defrauded of his hope. No: neither shall I be deceived of mine. O Mary, pray to thine own Son Jesus, as I also will pray to Him, by the merits of His Passion, to strengthen and increase this my hope.

The three Ave Maria's as before.


O Mary, thou art the noblest, highest, purest, fairest creation of Coil, the holiest of all creatures! O, that all men knew thee, loved thee, my Queen, as thou deservest to be loved!  Yet great is my consolation, Mary, that there are blessed souls in the courts of Heaven, and just souls still on earth, whose hearts thou leadest captive with thy beauty and thy goodness. But above all I rejoice in this, that our God himself loves thee alone more than all men and angels together. I too, O Queen most loveable, I, miserable sinner, dare to love thee, though my love is too little; I would I had a greater love, a more tender love: this thou must gain for me, since to love thee is a great mark of predestination, and a grace which God grants to those who shall be saved. Moreover, O my Mother, when I reflect upon the debt I owe thy Son, I see He deserves of me an immeasurable love. Do thou, then, who desirest nothing so much as to see Him loved, pray that I may have this grace - a great love for Jesus Christ. Obtain it, thou who obtainest what thou wilt. I covet not goods of earth, nor honours, nor riches, but I desire that which thine own heart desires most, - to love my God alone. O, can it be that thou wilt not aid me in a desire so acceptable to thee? No: it is impossible! even now I feel thy help, even now thou prayest for me. Pray for me, Mary, pray; nor ever cease to pray, till thou dost see me safe in Paradise, where I shall be certain of possessing and of loving my God and thee, my dearest Mother, for ever and for ever. Amen.

The three Ave Maria's as before.


Most holy Mary, I know the graces which thou hast obtained for me, and I know the ingratitude which I have shown thee. The ungrateful man is unworthy of favours; and yet for all this I will not distrust thy mercy. O my great Advocate, have pity on me. Thou, Mary, dost dispense the graces which God vouchsafes to give us sinners, and therefore did He make thee so mighty, rich, and kind, that thou mightest succour us. I will that I may be saved: in thy hands I place my eternal salvation, to thee I consign my soul. I will to be associated with those who are thy special servants; reject me not. Thou goest up and down seeking the wretched, to console them. Cast not away, then, a wretched sinner who has recourse to thee. Speak for me, Mary; thy Son grants what thou askest. Take me beneath thy shelter, and it is enough for me; for with thee to guard me I fear no ill; no, not even my sins; because thou wilt obtain God's pardon for them: no, nor yet devils; because thou art far mightier than all hell: no, nor my Judge Jesus Christ; for at thy prayer He will lay aside His wrath. Protect me, then, my Mother; obtain for me pardon of my sins, love of Jesus, holy perseverance, a good death, and Heaven. It is too true, I merit not these graces; yet do thou only ask them of our God, and I shall obtain them. Pray, then, to Jesus for me. O Mary, my Queen, in thee I trust; in this trust I rest, I live; and with this trust I will that I may die. Amen.

The three Ave Maria's as before; then the Litanies, it being Saturday, for which there is the indulgence,.

Pope Pius VII., of holy memory, at the prayer of the Chapter of the Basilica of St. Mary in Cosmedin here in Rome, by a Rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, dated June 21, 1808, kept in the Archivium of the said Basilica, granted -
i. An indulgence or 300 days, once a day, to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, say the following prayers to our Blessed Lady, extracted from the spiritual works of the holy Bishop Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori, each on that day of the week to which it has been assigned, together with three Ave Maria's, with the intention of making some reparation to her for the many blasphemies which have been, and are daily uttered against her, not only by unbelievers, but even by bad Christians.
ii. A plenary indulgence, once a month, to all who say these prayers, with three Ave Maria's, daily for a whole month, with the intention above named, on any one day when, after Confession and Communion, they shall pray to God for the Holy Church, &c.

Virgin Most Holy

Virgin most holy, Mother of the Word Incarnate, Who dost dispense graces, Refuge of us poor sinners; we fly to thy maternal love with lively faith, and we ask thee to obtain for us grace ever to do the will of God and thine own. Into thy most holy hands we commit the keeping of our hearts; beseeching thee for health of soul amid body, in the certain hope that thou, our most loving Mother, wilt hear our prayer. Wherefore with lively faith we say
Ave Maria three times.

Let us pray.
Defend, O Lord, we beseech Thee, us Thy servants from all infirmity, through the intercession of the Blessed Mary ever-Virgin; and mercifully protect its from the snares of the enemy, who prostrate ourselves before Thee with our whole heart. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pope Leo XII., by a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences of Aug. 11, 1824, besides confirming -
i. An indulgence of 100 days already granted in the year 1804 by Pope Pius VII., to all the faithful who say with contrite hearts, in honour of most holy Mary, the following prayer with three Ave Maria's -
Added by a fresh Rescript of the same S. Congr. of May 10, 1828 -
ii. A further indulgence of 100 days to the said devotion.

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin and to Saint Anne

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; may thy grace be with me. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is holy Anne thy mother, from whom, O Virgin Mary, thou didst come forth free from all stain of sin; then of thee was born Jesus Christ, Son of the living God. Amen.

Pope Pius VII., by a Rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences of Jan. 10, 1815, granted to the faithful -
i. An indulgence of 100 days, every time that, with contrite heart and devotion, they say the following prayer in honour of the most holy Virgin and her mother, St. Anne.
ii. A plenary indulgence to those who shall say this prayer at least ten times every month, on the Feast of St. Anne, July 26, provided that, being truly penitent, they do on that day, alter Confession and Communion, devoutly visit a church and pray according to the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

 Ave Augustissima

Hail, thou that art most Venerable, Queen of Peace, most holy Mother of God; through the Sacred Heart of Jesus thy Son, the Prince of Peace, cause His anger to cease from us, that so He may reign over us in peace. Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who sought thy prayers was forsaken by God. Inspired with this confidence, I come unto thee. Despise not my petitions, O Mother of the Incarnate Word; but in thy loving kindness hear and answer me, O merciful, O kind, O sweet Virgin Mary.

In order to encourage the faithful to have frequent recourse to the most holy Virgin, imploring her most efficacious aid, our Sovereign Pontiff his Holiness Pope Pius IX., by a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, of Sept. 23, 1846, grants -
i. An indulgence of 300 days to all the faithful, as often as they say the following prayer, with contrite hearts and devotion.
ii. A plenary indulgence to all who say it at least once a day for a month, on any one day in the said month when, after Confession and Communion, they visit some church or public oratory, and pray there according to the mind of the Sovereign Pontiff.


The Memorare is a very popular Marian prayer that is sometimes attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), Confessor, Abbot, and Doctor of the Church. While some of his writings do indeed echo the words of the Memorare, he did not in fact compose it. The prayer was first popularized not by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, but by another Bernard, namely Fr. Claude Bernard (1588-1641). More than likely the association of St. Bernard of Clairvaux's name with the prayer is a case of mistaken identity with Fr. Claude Bernard.

Fr. Claude Bernard, known as the "Poor Priest", zealously dedicated himself to the preaching and aiding of prisoners and criminals condemned to death. Trusting his charges to the care and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Fr. Bernard employed the Memorare extensively in his work of evangelization to great effect. Many a criminal was reconciled to God through his efforts. At one time he had more than 200,000 leaflets printed with the Memorare in various languages so he could distribute the leaflets wherever he felt they would do some good.

Part of the reason Fr. Claude Bernard held the prayer in such high regard was because he himself felt that he had been miraculously cured by its use. In a letter to Queen Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII, he wrote that he was deathly ill once. In fear of his life he recited the Memorare and immediately began to get well again. Feeling unworthy of such a miracle, he attributed the cure to some unknown natural cause. Sometime later, Brother Fiacre, a discalced Augustinian, came to call upon Fr. Bernard. The good brother begged Fr. Bernard's pardon for disturbing him, but he desired to know how Fr. Bernard was getting along. Brother Fiacre then went on to say that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him in a vision, told him of Fr. Bernard's illness, told him how she had cured Fr. Bernard of it, and that he was to assure Fr. Bernard of this fact. Fr. Bernard then goes on to write in his letter that he was ashamed of his ingratitude in attributing the cure to natural causes, and asked for God's forgiveness in the matter.

Further evidence of association of the Memorare with Fr. Claude Bernard can be found in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris where 18 engraved portraits of this holy priest have the prayer engraved below the picture. The prayer there is basically identical in substance with the Memorare we have today and the heading simply says: ORAISON DU R. P. BERNARD A LA VERGE (Prayer of Rev. Fr. Bernard to the Virgin). In as much as some of these engravings are contemporary portraits of Fr. Bernard, his association with the prayer is very clear. It is easy to see how sometime after his death the Prayer of Fr. Claude Bernard became the Prayer of St. Bernard , and in most people's minds the Prayer of St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

While we have Fr. Claude Bernard to thank for promoting the Memorare, he is certainly not its original author. First, Fr. Bernard stated that he learned the prayer from his own father. Secondly, the prayer was known to and used by St. Francis de Sales who is 21 years older than Fr. Bernard. Thirdly, and most importantly, the prayer appears as part of the much longer 15th century prayer, Ad sanctitatis tuae pedes, dulcissima Virgo Maria .

Ad sanctitatis tuae pedes, dulcissima Virgo Maria is a rather long prayer that appears in a number of printed books and manuscripts from the last quarter of the 15th century and onwards. It appears in such works as the Hortulus Animae (15th cent.), the Antidotarius Animae (15th cent.) of Nicholas de Saliceto (Cistercian abbot of Bomgart, near Strasbourg), and the Precationum piarum Enchiridion, compiled around 1570 by Simon Verepaeus. The Memorare is an integral part of the text in each case. Exactly when the Memorare was extracted from this longer prayer has not yet been determined, but it likely occurred in the later part of the 16th century, around the time of Fr. Bernard and his father.

Since the later part of the 16th century several variants of the Memorare have appeared such as that found in the Coeleste Palmetum below. It is also found embedded in the Ave augustissima. The exact wording of the prayer stabilized during the 19th century to that given below and was first indulgenced by Pope Pius IX in 1846.

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite the Memorare.

MEMORARE, O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto. Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi. Amen. REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

From the Raccolta, #339 (S. C. Ind., Dec. 11, 1846; S. P. Ap., Sept. 8, 1935) Encr. Ind. #32. For information about Fr. Claude Bernard, see Claude Bernard, dit "le Pauvre Pretre", Commandeur de Broqua, 12ed, Lethielleux, 1913. De Broqua was the postulator for the cause of Fr. Bernard's canonization.

Below is a version of the Memorare from a 1741 edition of the Coeleste Palmetum. Not only does it contain the elements of the Memorare, but also phrases from the Sub Tuum Praesidium, Salve Regina, and the Ave Maria
MEMORARE, o piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, aut tua petentem suffragia a te esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus fiducia, ad te Virgo virginum Maria Mater Iesu Christi, confugio, ad te venio, ad te curro, coram te gemens peccator et tremens assisto: noli, Domina mundi, noli aeterni Verbi Mater verba mea despicere, sed audi propitia et exaudi me miserum ad te in hac lacrimarum valle clamantem. Adsis mihi, obsecro, in omnibus necessitatibus meis, nunc et semper, et maxime in hora mortis meae. O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria! Amen. REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided by thee. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, Mary, Virgin of virgins, Mother of Jesus Christ; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful, sorrowful and trembling. O Mistress of the World and Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer wretched me crying to thee in this vale of tears. Be near me, I beseech thee, in all my necessities, now and always, and especially at the hour of my death. O clement, o loving, o sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

The same Sovereign Pontiff Pius IX., in order to satisfy the earnest wish of his Eminence Cardinal Louis James Maurice de Bonald, Archbishop of Lyons, by a Rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences of July 25, 1846, granted to all the faithful in the kingdom of France -
i. An indulgence or 300 days every time the most efficacious and devout prayer of St. Bernard to the Blessed Virgin, called the "Memorare," is said with contrition.
ii. A plenary indulgence, to all those who have the devout habit of saying this prayer at least once a day every month, on any one day in the month, provided that, after Confession and Communion, they visit a church or public oratory, and pray there according to the mind of the Sovereign Pontiff.
Afterwards his Holiness, at the prayer of several ecclesiastics and persons of consideration in Rome, vouchsafed, by a decree of the S. Congregation of Indulgences of Dec. 11, 1846, to extend these Indulgences to all the faithful in the whole Catholic world for over, under the aforesaid conditions

O Domina Mea!

My Queen! my Mother! I give thee all myself; and to show my devotion to thee, I consecrate to thee this day my eyes, ears, mouth, heart, myself wholly and without reserve. Wherefore, O loving Mother, as I am thine own, keep me, defend me, as thy property and thy own possession.

My Queen! my Mother! remember I am thine own.
Keep me, defend mc, as thy property, thy own possession.

Three Ejaculations, Jesus, Mary, Joseph

Our Sovereign Pontiff Pius IX., at the prayer of the Father- General of the Society of Jesus, granted, by a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, of Aug. 5, 1851 -
i. An indulgence of 100 days, to be gained once a day by saying, morning and evening, with contrite heart, one Ave Maria, with the accompanying Prayer and Ejaculation, O Domina mea! &c., for the purpose of imploring the aid of the most holy Virgin in temptations, especially in those against chastity.
ii. A plenary indulgence, once a month, to all who practise this devotion for a month together, on any one day in the month, provided that, after Confession and Communion, they visit a church or public oratory, and pray there according to the mind of his Holiness, he granted also -
iii. An indulgence of forty days, every time any one, when assaulted by any temptation, shall have recourse to the most holy Virgin with nothing more than the ejaculation, O Domina mea! O Mater mea! Memento, &c.

O Beata Virgo

Mary, Virgin ever-blessed! who can worthily praise thee or give thanks to thee, who, by the assent of thy will alone hast rescued a fallen world? What honours can the weakness of our human nature pay to thee, which by thy intervention alone hath found the way to restoration? Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer, though they are unequal to thy merits, and receiving our vows, obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offences. Admit thou our prayers into the sanctuary of the heavenly audience, and bring back to us the medicine of our reconciliation. Through thee may that be pardonable which through thee we bring before God; and that be admissible which we ask with faithful heart. Accept what we offer, grant us what we ask, pardon us what we fear; for thou art the sole hope of sinners. Through thee we hope for the forgiveness of our faults; and in thee, most blessed one, is the hope of our reward. Holy Mary, succour the wretched, help the faint-hearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for the people, shield the clergy, intercede for the devout female sex, let all feel thy help who celebrate thy holy commemoration. Be thou at hand, ready to aid our prayers, when we pray; and bring back to us their desired result. Make it thy care, blessed one, to intercede ever for the people of God - thou who didst deserve to bear the Redeemer of the world, who liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen.

Our Sovereign Pontiff Pius IX., at the prayer of several devout persons, vouchsafed to grant, by a Rescript of the Segretaria of the Memorials, dated May 19, 1854 -
The indulgence of fifty days, every time that, with contrite heart, the following prayer is said to the most holy Virgin, extracted from the eighteenth Sermon of St. Augustine, De Sanctis.

Hail Mary

The Ave Maria is perhaps the most popular of all the Marian prayers. It is composed of two distinct parts, a Scriptural part and an intercessory part. The first part, the Scriptural part, is taken from the Gospel of St. Luke and joins together the words of the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation (Lk 1:28) together with Elizabeth's greeting to Mary at the Visitation (Luke 1:42). The joining of these two passages can be found as early as the fifth, and perhaps even the fourth, century in the eastern liturgies of St. James of Antioch and St. Mark of Alexandria. It is also recorded in the ritual of St. Severus (538 AD). In the west it was in use in Rome by the 7th century for it is prescribed as an offertory antiphon for the feast of the Annunciation. The great popularity of the phrase by the 11th century is attested to in the writings of St. Peter Damian (1007-1072) and Hermann of Tournai (d.c. 1147). Later, probably by Pope Urban IV around the year 1262, Jesus' name was inserted at the end of the two passages.

The second half of the prayer (Holy Mary..) can be traced back to the 15th century where two endings are found. One ending, Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, is found in the writings of St. Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444 AD) and the Carthusians. A second ending, Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis nunc et in hora mortis nostrae, can be found in the writings of the Servites, in a Roman Breviary, and in some German Dioceses. The current form of the prayer became the standard form sometime in the 16th century and was included in the reformed Breviary promulgated by Pope St. Pius V in 1568.

AVE Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen. HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

Stabat Mater Dolorosa

Stabat Mater Dolorosa is considered one of the seven greatest Latin hymns of all time. It is based upon the prophecy of Simeon that a sword was to pierce the heart of His mother, Mary (Lk 2:35). The hymn originated in the 13th century during the peak of Franciscan devotion to the crucified Jesus and has been attributed to Pope Innocent III (d. 1216), St. Bonaventure, or more commonly, Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306), who is considered by most to be the real author.

The hymn is often associated with the Stations of the Cross. In 1727 it was prescribed as a Sequence for the Mass of the Seven Sorrows of Mary (September 15) where it is still used today. In addition to this Mass, the hymn is also used for the Office of the Readings, Lauds, and Vespers for this memorial. There is a mirror image to this hymn, Stabat Mater speciosa, which echoes the joy of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the birth of Jesus.

STABAT Mater dolorosa
iuxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.
AT, the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.
Cuius animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem
pertransivit gladius.
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.
O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta,
mater Unigeniti!
O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.
Quae maerebat et dolebat,
pia Mater, dum videbat
nati poenas inclyti.
Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.
Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?
Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?
Quis non posset contristari
Christi Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?
Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother's pain untold?
Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis,
et flagellis subditum.
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender Child
All with scourges rent:
Vidit suum dulcem Natum
moriendo desolatum,
dum emisit spiritum.
For the sins of His own nation,
saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.
Eia, Mater, fons amoris
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.
O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:
Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam.
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.
Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.
Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:
Tui Nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.
Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.
Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero.
Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:
Iuxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociare
in planctu desidero.
By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.
Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara,
fac me tecum plangere.
Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;
Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
passionis fac consortem,
et plagas recolere.
Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.
Fac me plagis vulnerari,
fac me Cruce inebriari,
et cruore Filii.
Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;
Flammis ne urar succensus,
per te, Virgo, sim defensus
in die iudicii.
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.
Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
da per Matrem me venire
ad palmam victoriae.
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;
Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
paradisi gloria. Amen.
While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.

The "venerable" Pope Innocent XI., desirous that all faithful Christians should often call to mind the bitter sorrow endured by most holy Mary whilst she stood beneath the cross of her divine Son Jesus, entreating her through that great sorrow of hers to obtain for them spiritual favours in their life and in their death, - granted, by his Brief, Commissae nobis, of Sept. 1, 1681 -
An indulgence of 100 days to all the faithful every time that, in honour of the sorrow of the B. V. Mary, they devoutly say the sequence or hymn Stabat Mater; a hymn which, * though not composed by St. Gregory the Great or St. Bonaventure, as some suppose, yet acknowledges for its author the learned Pope Innocent III., as attested by many writers of great authority.

* Benedict XIV. on the Feasts of our Lord and B.V.M. Part ii. cap. iv. § 1, at the end.

Stabat Mater speciosa

Stabat Mater speciosa is considered one of the seven greatest Latin hymns of all time and one of the tenderest. It is based upon the Gospel account of the birth of Jesus. The hymn originated in the 13th century and has been attributed to Jacopone da Todi (1230-1306). There is a mirror image to this hymn, Stabat Mater dolorosa, which echoes the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
STABAT Mater speciosa
iuxta faenum gaudiosa,
dum iacebat parvulus.
BY, the crib wherein reposing,
with His eyes in slumber closing,
lay serene her Infant-boy,
Cuius animam gaudentem
laetabundam et ferventem
pertransivit iubilus.
Stood the beauteous Mother feeling
bliss that could not bear concealing,
so her face o'erflowed with joy.
O quam laeta et beata
fuit illa immaculata,
mater Unigeniti!
Oh, the rapture naught could smother
of that most Immaculate Mother
of the sole-begotten One;
Quae gaudebat et ridebat,
exultabat, cum videbat
nati partum inclyti.
When with laughing heart exulting,
she beheld her hopes resulting
In the great birth of her Son.
Quisquam est, qui non gauderet,
Christi matrem si videret
in tanto solatio?
Who would not with gratulation
see the happy consolation
of Christ's Mother undefiled?
Quis non posset collaetari,
Christi Matrem contemplari
ludentem cum Filio?
Who would not be glad surveying
Christ's dear Mother bending, praying,
playing with her heavenly Child
Pro peccatis suae gentis
Christum vidit cum iumentis
et algori subditum.
For a sinful world's salvation,
Christ her Son's humiliation
She beheld and brooded o'er;
Vidit suum dulcem Natum
vagientem, adoratum,
vili deversorio.
Saw Him weak, a child, a stranger,
yet before Him in the manger
kings lie prostrate and adore.
Nato, Christo in praesepe
caeli cives canunt laete
cum immenso gaudio.
O'er that lowly manger winging,
joyful hosts from heaven were singing
canticles of holy praise;
Stabat, senex cum puella
non cum verbo nec loquela
stupescentes cordibus.
While the old man and the maiden,
speaking naught, with hearts o'erladen,
pondered on God's wondrous ways.
Eia, Mater, fons amoris
me sentire vim ardoris
fac, ut tecum sentiam.
Fount of love, forever flowing,
with a burning ardor glowing,
make me, Mother, feel like thee;
Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amatum Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam.
Let my heart, with graces gifted
all on fire, to Christ be lifted,
and by Him accepted be.
Sancta Mater, istud agas,
prone introducas plagas
cordi fixas valide.
Holy Mother, deign to bless me,
with His sacred Wounds impress me,
let them in my heart abide;
Tui Nati caelo lapsi,
iam dignati faeno nasci,
poenas mecum divide.
Since He came, thy Son, the Holy,
to a birth-place, ah, so lowly,
all His pains with me divide.
Fac me vere congaudere,
Iesulino cohaerere,
donec ego vixero.
Make me with true joy delighted,
to Child-Jesus be united
while my days of life endure;
In me sistat ardor tui,
puerino fac me frui
dum sum in exilio.
While an exile here sojourning,
make my heart like thine be burning
with a love divine and pure.

Spotless Maid and sinless Woman,
make us feel a fire in common,
make my heart's long longing sure.
Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara,
fac me parvum rapere.
Virgin of all virgins highest,
prayer to thee thou ne'er denyest,
let me bear thy sweet Child too.
Fac, ut pulchrum infantem portem,
qui nascendo vicit mortem,
volens vitam tradere.
Let me bear Him in my bosom,
Lord of life, and never lose Him,
since His birth doth death subdue.
Fac me tecum satiari,
Nato me inebriari,
stantem in tripudio.
Let me show forth how immense is
the effect on all my senses
of an union so divine.

All who in the crib revere Him,
like the shepherds watching near Him,
will attend Him through the night,
Inflammatus et accensus,
obstupescit omnis sensus
tali me commercio.
By thy powerful prayers protected,
grant, O Queen, that His elected
may behold heaven's moving light.
Fac, me Nato custodiri,
verbo Dei praemuniri
conservari gratia.
Make me by His birth be guarded,
by God's holy word be warded,
by His grace till all is done;
Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
tui nati gloria. Amen.
When my body lies obstructed,
make my soul to be conducted,
to the vision of thy Son. Amen.

Prayer to the Most Holy Virgin in her Desolation

Hail Mary, full of sorrows, the Crucified is with thee: tearful art thou amongst women, and tearful is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of the Crucified, grant tears to us crucifiers of thy Son, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

His Holiness Pope Pius IX., by a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, of Dec. 23, 1847, deigned to grant - An indulgence of 100 days to all the faithful, every time they say with contrite heart the following prayer in honour of the most holy Virgin in her desolation.


From the 11th century.


INVIOLATA, integra, et casta es Maria,
quae es effecta fulgida caeli porta.
INVIOLATE, spotless and pure art thou,
O Mary Who wast made the radiant gate of the King.
O Mater alma Christi carissima,
suscipe pia laudum praeconia.
Holy mother of Christ most dear,
receive our devout hymn and praise.
Te nunc flagitant devota corda et ora,
nostra ut pura pectora sint et corpora.
Our hearts and tongues now ask of thee
that our souls and bodies may be pure.
Tu per precata dulcisona,
nobis concedas veniam per saecula.
By thy sweet sounding prayers
obtain for us forgiveness forever.
O benigna! O Regina! O Maria,
quae sola inviolata permansisti.
O gracious queen, O Mary,
who alone among women art inviolate.

Memento, salutis Auctor
Remember, O Creator Lord

This is the traditional hymn for the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Little Hours (Terce, Sext, and None) and for Compline. The first verse is taken from Christe, Redemptor Omnium, the Vespers hymn for the Christmas season.
MEMENTO, salutis Auctor,
quod nostri quondam corporis,
ex illibata Virgine
nascendo, formam sumpseris.
REMEMBER, O Creator Lord,
that in the Virgin's sacred womb
Thou wast conceived, and of her flesh
didst our mortality assume.
Maria, mater gratiae,
mater misericordiae,
tu nos ab hoste protege,
et hora mortis suscipe.
Mother of grace, O Mary blest,
to thee, sweet fount of love, we fly;
shield us through life, and take us hence
to thy dear bosom when we die.
Gloria tibi, Domine,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.
O Jesu! born of Mary bright!
Immortal glory be to Thee;
praise to the Father infinite,
and Holy Ghost eternally. Amen.

Memorare, o Domina Nostra a Sacro Corde
Remember, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

MEMORARE, o Domina Nostra a Sacro Corde, quam ineffabilem tibi potentiam Filius tuus divinus contulerit in suum ipsius Cor adorabile. Pleni nos fiduciae in meritis tuis, accedimus implorantes tuum praesidium. O Cordis Iesu Thesauraria caelestis, illius Cordis, fontis inexhausti gratiarum omnium, quod potes ipsa pro tua voluntate recludere, ut defluant inde in homines divitiae amoris et misericordiae, luminis et salutis, quae in ipso continentur; concede nobis, obsecramus, beneficia quae petimus ... Nulla nobis, nulla a te erit repulsa, et, quoniam Mater Tu nostra es, o Domina Nostra a Sacro Corde, preces nostras benigne habe et benigne exaudi. Amen. REMEMBER, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, what ineffable power thy divine Son hath given thee over His own adorable Heart. Filled with confidence in thy merits, we come before thee and implore thy protection. O heavenly Treasurer of the Heart of Jesus, that Heart which is the inexhaustible source of all graces, which thou mayest open to us at thy good pleasure, in order that from it may flow forth upon mankind the riches of love and mercy, light and salvation, that are contained therein; grant unto us, we beseech thee, the favors which we seek ... We can never, never be refused by thee, and since thou art Mother, O our Lady of the Sacred Heart, graciously receive our prayers and grant our request. Amen.


O Beata Virgo Maria
O Blessed Virgin Mary

Written by Bishop Fulbert of Chartres (ca 951-ca 1029), it appears in his Sermo IX, De Annuntiatione Dominica. The prayer is sometimes attributed to St. Augustine, Book 10, Sermon 18, de Sanctis, since Bishop Fulbert's sermon appeared in the collected works of St. Augustine at one time. However, it is now known that the sermon is not Augustine's, but Bishop Fulbert's.
O BEATA Virgo Maria, quis tibi digne valeat iura gratiarum ac laudum praeconia rependere, quae singulari tuo assensu, mundo succurristi perdito? Quas tibi laudes fragilitas humani generis persolvat, quae solo tuo commercio recuperandi aditum invenit? O BLESSED Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving, thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world? What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor, since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found the way to restoration?
Accipe itaque quascumque exiles, quascumque meritis tuis impares gratiarum actiones, et cum susceperis vota, culpas nostras orando excusa. Admitte nostras preces intra sacrarium exauditionis et reporta nobis antidotum reconciliationis. Sit per te excusabile quod per te ingerimus; fiat impetrabile quod fida mente poscimus. Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer, though they be unequal to thy merits; and, receiving our vows, obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses. Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience, and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation. May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee, become pardonable through thee; may what we ask for with sure confidence, through thee be granted.
Accipe quod offerimus, redona quod rogamus, excusa quod timemus, quia Tu es spes unica peccatorum. Per te speramus veniam delictorum et in te, beatissima, nostrorum est expectatio praemiorum. Sancta Maria, succurre miseris; iuva pusillanimes; refove flebiles; ora pro populo; interveni pro clero; intercede pro devoto femineo sexu: sentiant omnes tuum iuvamen, quicumque celebrant tuam sanctam commemorationem. Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear, for thou art the sole hope of sinners. Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins, and in thee, O blessed Lady, is our hope of reward. Holy Mary, succor the miserable, help the fainthearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for thy people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection.
Assiste parata votis poscentium et reporta nobis optatum effectum. Sint tibi studia assidua orare pro populo Dei, quae meruisti, benedicta, Redemptorem ferre mundi, qui vivit et regnat in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray, and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God, thou who, blessed by God, didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen.

From the Raccolta #341. (Secret Mem., May 19, 1854; S. P. Ap., Feb. 5, 1932)

An indulgence of 3 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this devotion is repeated daily for a month.

O Beatissima
O Most Blessed and Sweet Virgin Mary

Attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) .
O beatissima et dulcissima virgo Maria, mater Dei, omni pietate plenissima, summi regis filia, domina Angelorum, mater omnium credentium in sinum pietatis tuae commendo hodie et omnibus diebus vitae meae corpus meum et animam meam, omnesque actus meos, cogitationes, voluntates, desideria, locutiones, operationes, omnemque vitam, finemque meum: ut per tua suffragia disponantur in bonum, secundum voluntatem dilecti filii tui domini nostri Iesu Christi: ut sis mihi, o domina mea sanctissima, adiutrix et consolatrix contra insidias et laqueos hostis antiqui, et omnium inimicorum meorum. O most blessed and most sweet virgin Mary, mother of God, filled with devotion, daughter of the most high King, mistress of Angels, mother of all believers, today I commend to thy tender heart all my deeds, my thoughts, my wishes, my desires, my speech, my activities, my whole life, and my final end. That through thy prayers they may be disposed towards good, according to the will of thy beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; that thou may be to me, O my most holy lady, helper and consoler against the wickedness and snares of the ancient enemy and against all my enemies.
A dilecto filio tuo domino nostro Iesu Christo mihi impetrare digneris gratiam cum qua potenter resistere valeam tentationibus mundi, carnis et Daemonis, ac semper habere firmum propositum ulterius non peccandi; sed in tuo et dilecti filii tui servitio perseverandi. Deprecor te etiam, domina mea sanctissima, ut impetres mihi veram obedientiam et veram cordis humilitatem, ut veraciter me agnoscam miserum ac fragilem peccatorem et impotentem non solum ad faciendum quodcumque opus bonum, sed etiam ad resistendum continuis impugnationibus, sine gratia et adiutorio creatoris mei, et sanctis precibus tuis. Impetra mihi etiam, o domina mea dulcissima, perpetuam mentis et corporis castitatem: ut puro corde et casto corpore, dilecto filio tuo et tibi in tuo ordine valeam deservire. Obtine mihi ab eo voluntariam paupertatem cum patientia et mentis tranquillitate, ut labores eiusdem ordinis valeam sustinere, et pro salute propria et proximorum valeam laborare. From thy beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, graciously obtain for me the grace with which I will be able to resist the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and to always have a firm intention to sin no more. And I beg thee, my most holy Lady, to obtain for me true obedience and true humility of heart, that I may truly acknowledge that I am a wretched and frail sinner and powerless not only to do anything good, but also to resist the continual battles without the grace and help of my Creator and thy holy prayers. Obtain for me also, o my sweetest Lady, perpetual purity of mind and body so that I may serve thee and thy beloved Son in thy order1 with a pure heart and a chaste body. Obtain for me from Him a willing poverty with patience and tranquility of mind, so that I may sustain the labors of this same order2 and that I may work for the salvation of myself and others.
Impetra mihi etiam, o dulcissima domina, caritatem veram, qua sacratissimum filium tuum dominum nostrum Iesum Christum toto corde diligam: et te post ipsum super omnia; et proximum in Deo et propter Deum. Sicque de bono eius gaudeam, de malo doleam, nullumque contemnam, neque temerarie iudicem, neque in corde meo alicui me praeponam. Fac etiam, o regina caeli, ut dulcissimi filii tui timorem pariter et amorem semper in corde meo habeam; et de tantis beneficiis mihi, non meis meritis, sed ipsius benignitate collatis, semper gratias agam: ac de peccatis meis puram et sinceram confessionem, et veram paenitentiam faciam, ut suam consequi merear misericordiam et gratiam. Oro etiam, ut in fine vitae meae, caeli porta et peccatorum advocata, me indignum servum tuum a sancta fide Catholica deviare non permittas; sed tua magna pietate et misericordia mihi succurras, et a malis spiritibus me defendas: ac benedicta filii tui gloriosa passione, etiam in tua propria intercessione spe accepta, veniam de peccatis meis ab eo mihi impetres, atque me, in tua et eius dilectione morientem, in viam salvationis et salutis dirigas. Amen. Obtain for me also, O sweetest of Ladies, true charity, with which I may love thy most holy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, with all my heart: and after Him, thee, above all things; and my neighbor in God and on account of God. And so I may rejoice in my neighbour's good and sorrow in his evil, and hold no one in contempt, nor judge rashly, nor exalt myself in my heart over anyone. Make me, o Queen of Heaven, to fear thy Son and to equally love Him always in my heart; and of such benefits granted to me, not by my merits, but by those granted by His kindness, may I always give thanks. And of my sins, may I make a pure and sincere confession with true repentance that I may gain His mercy and grace. I pray, also, that at the end of my life, O gate of heaven, and advocate of sinners, that thou permitteth not thy unworthy servant to deviate from the holy Catholic faith; but by thy great devotion and mercy come to my aid and defend me from the evil spirits: and by the blessed and glorious passion of thy Son and through thy own intercession, received in hope, obtain through Him pardon from my sins. And as I die in His and thy love, guide me in the way of safety and salvation. Amen.

1,2 The Dominican Order, of which St Thomas was a member.
Tr MWM. Latin from "Medulla Pietatis Christianae sive Libellus Precum pro Adulescentibus Litterarum Studiosis", Schneider, S. J., Joseph, Coloniae 1903.
See also "Devoutly I Adore Thee, The Prayers and Hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas", Ed Anderson, R. and Moser, J., Sophia Institute Press, Manchester NH, 1993.

Obsecro te

This prayer was a favorite all during the Middle Ages (12th cent?) and invariably appeared in Books of the Hours of that period. Books of the Hours were prayer books intended for the laity and were based upon the much longer Liturgy of the Hours recited by clergy and religious. Often these books would contain three sets of Hours; the Hours of the Blessed Virgin, the Hours of the Cross, and the Hours of the Holy Spirit. In addition to the Hours, a number of other prayers and popular devotions were often included. This prayer is taken from a 15th century edition.
OBSECRO te, Domina Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, pietate plenissima, summi regis filia, Mater gloriosissima, Mater orphanorum, consolatio desolatorum, via errantium, salus et spes in te sperantium, Virgo ante partum, Virgo in partu, et Virgo post partum, fons misericordiae, fons salutis et gratiae, fons pietatis et laetitiae, fons consolationis et indulgentiae, et per illam sanctam ineffabilem laetitiam qua exultavit spiritus tuus in illa hora quando tibi per Gabrielem Archangelum annuntiatus et conceptus Filius Dei fuit, et per illud divinum mysterium quod tunc operatus est Spiritus Sanctus, et per illam sanctam ineffabilem gratiam, pietatem, misericordiam, amorem, et humilitatem per quas Filius Dei descendit humanam carnem accipere in venerabilissimo utero tuo, et in quibus te respexit quando te commendavit sancto Ioanne apostolo et evangelista, et quando te exaltavit super choros angelorum, et per illam sanctam ineffabilem humilitatem qua respondisti Archangelo Gabrieli, "Ecce ancilla Domini. Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum." I BESEECH thee, Lady Holy Mary, Mother of God, most full of piety, daughter of the Most High King, Mother most glorious, Mother of orphans, consolation of the desolate, way of the straying, health and hope of those hoping in thee, virgin before giving birth, virgin during birth, and virgin after giving birth. I beseech thee font of mercy, font of grace and well-being, font of piety and joy, font of consolation and indulgence. I beseech thee through that holy ineffable joy in which thy spirit rejoiced at that hour when the Son of God was announced to thee by the Archangel Gabriel and was conceived, and through the divine mystery worked by the Holy Spirit, and through that holy ineffabile grace, piety, mercy, love and humility by which the Son of God descended to accept human flesh in thy most venerable womb and which He saw in thee when He commended thee to St. John the apostle and evangelist, and when He exalted thee over the choirs of angels, and through that holy ineffable humility with which thou didst respond to the Archangel Gabriel, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done according to thy word."
Et per gloriosissima quindecim gaudia quae habuisti de Filio tuo Domino nostro Iesu Christo, et per illam sanctam maximam compassionem et acerbissimum cordis dolorem quem habuisti quando Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum ante crucem nudatum et in ipsa levatum vidisti, pendentem, crucifixum, vulneratum, sitientem fel apponi, clamantem audisti et morientem vidisti. And I beseech thee through those most holy fifteen joys that thou didst have in thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and through that holy, great compassion and most bitter sorrow thou didst have when thou didst see our Lord Jesus Christ nude, lifted upon the cross, hanging, crucified, wounded, thirsty, served gall, heard Him cry out, and then saw Him die.
Et per quinque vulnera Filii tui, et per contractionem viscerum suorum prae nimio dolore vulnerum, et per dolorem quem habuisti quando vidisti eum vulnerari, et per fontes sanguinis sui et per omnem passionem eius et per omnem dolorem cordis tui, et per fontes lacrimarum tuarum et cum omnibus sanctis et electis Dei. And through the five wounds of thy Son, through the contraction of His flesh because of the great pain of His wounds, through the sorrow thou didst have when thou didst see Him wounded, through the fountains of His blood, through all His passion, through all the sorrow of thy heart, and through the fountains of thy tears, I beseech thee along with all the saints and elect of God.
Venias et festines in auxilium et consilium meum. In omnibus orationibus et requisitis meis. Et in omnibus angustiis et in necessitatibus meis et in omnibus rebus illis in quibus ego sum facturus, locuturus, aut cogitaturus omnibus diebus ac noctibus, horis, atque momentis vitae meae. Et in famulo tuo impetres a dilecto Filio complementum omni misericordia et consolatione, omni consilio, omni auxilio et omni adiutorio, omni benedictione et sanctificatione, omni salvatione, pace et prosperitate, omni gaudio et alacritate, etiam abundantiam omnium bonorum spiritualium et corporalium et gratiam Spiritus Sancti qui me bene per omnia disponat, animam meam custodiat, corpus regat, sensus erigat, mores componat, actus probet, vota et desideria mea proficiat, cogitationes sanctas instituat, praeterita mala indulgeat, praesentia emendet, futura moderetur, vitam honestam et honorabilem mihi tribuat. Et victoriam contra omnes adversitates huius mundi, beatam pacem spiritualem et corporalem mihi tribuat. Bonam spem, caritatem fidem castitatem humilitatem et patientiam. Et quinque sensus corporis mei regat et protegat, septem opera misericordiae complere me faciat, duodecim articulos fidei1 et decem praecepta legis firmiter credere et tenere me faciat. Et a septem peccatis mortalibus me liberet et defendat usque in finem vitae meae. Come and hasten to my aid and counsel, in all my prayers and requests, in all my difficulties and necessities, and in all those things that I may do, may say, or may think, in every day, hour, and moment of my life. And obtain for me, thy servant, from thy beloved Son a full measure filled with all mercy and consolation, with all counsel, with all aid and help, with all blessing and holiness, with all salvation, peace and prosperity, with all joy and eagerness. Obtain also an abundance of all good things, spiritual and bodily, and the grace of the Holy Spirit so He may set all things in good order for me, guard my soul, guide my body, uplift my senses, control my ways, approve my actions, perfect my wishes and desires, instill holy thoughts, forgive my past evils, emend those of the present and temper those in the future, and grant me an honest and honorable life. May He grant me victory over all the adversities of this world, peace of mind and body, good hope, charity, faith, chastity, humility and patience. May He guide and protect the five senses of my body, make me fulfill the seven works of mercy, make me keep the ten commandments and make me firmly believe the twelve articles of the faith1. May He keep me free and defend me from the seven deadly sins until the end of my life.
Et in novissimis diebus meis ostende mihi faciem tuam. Et annunties mihi dies et hora obitus mei. Et hanc orationem meam supplicem suscipias et exaudias. Et vitam aeternam mihi tribuas. Audi et exaudi me dulcissime Virgo Maria, Mater Dei et misericordiae. Amen. In my last days show unto me thy face. Show me the day and hour of my death. Hear and graciously listen to my humble prayer and grant me eternal life. O most sweet Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

1 The 12 articles are the twelve statements of the Apostle's Creed.

O Domina mea, Sancta Maria
O Holy Mary, my Mistress

Written by St. Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591).
O DOMINA mea, sancta Maria, me in tuam benedictam fidem ac singularem custodiam et in sinum misericordiae tuae, hodie et quotidie et in hora exitus mei animam meam et corpus meum tibi commendo. Omnem spem et consolationem meam, omnes angustias et miserias meas, vitam et finem vitae meae tibi committo, ut per tuam sanctissimam intercessionem et per tua merita, omnia mea dirigantur et disponantur opera secundum tuam tuique Filii voluntatem. Amen. O HOLY MARY, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body. To thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen.

O Excellentissima
O Most Excellent Virgin Mary

O EXCELLENTISSIMA, gloriosissima atque sanctissima semper intemerata Virgo Maria, Mater Domini nostri Iesu Christi, Regina mundi et totius creaturae Domina, quae nullum, qui ad te puro et humili corde recurrit, desolatum dimittis, noli me despicere propter innumerabilia et gravissima peccata mea, noli me derelinquere propter nimias iniquitates meas, nec etiam propter duritiam et immunditiam cordis mei: ne abiicias me famulum tuum a gratia tua et amore tuo. O MOST EXCELLENT, most glorious, most holy and ever inviolate Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, Queen of the whole world and Mistress of every creature; thou forsakest no one, thou despisest no one, thou sendest away disconsolate no one who comes to thee with a pure and lowly heart; despise me not for my countless grievous sins, neither forsake me for my exceeding iniquities, nor for the hardness and uncleanness of my heart; cast me not away, who am thy servant, from thy grace and love.
Exaudi me miserum peccatorem in tua misericordia et pietate confidentem; succurre mihi, piissima Virgo Maria, in omnibus tribulationibus, angustiis et necessitatibus meis; et impetra mihi a dilecto Filio tuo omnipotente Deo et Domino nostro Iesu Christo indulgentiam et remissionem omnium peccatorum meorum et gratiam timoris et amoris tui, sanitatem quoque et castitatem corporis, et liberationem ab omnibus malis et periculis animae et corporis. Graciously hear me, a miserable sinner, trusting in thy tender mercy; come to my assistance, O most loving Virgin Mary, in all my tribulations, trial and necessities; obtain for me of thy dear Son, Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ, the forgiveness and remission of all my sins, and the grace of fear and the love of thee; health likewise and chastity of body, and deliverance from all evils and dangers which beset both soul and body.
In extremis meis esto mihi pia auxiliatrix, et animam meam ac animas omnium parentum meorum, fratrum, sororum et amicorum consanguineorum et benefactorum meorum omniumque fidelium vivorum et defunctorum ab aeterna caligine et ab omni malo libera, Illo auxiliante quem in tuo sanctissimo utero novem mensibus portasti et in praesepe tuis sanctis manibus reclinasti, Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium tuum, qui est benedictus in saecula saeculorum. Amen. In my last moments do thou graciously assist me, and deliver my soul and the souls of my parents, brothers, and sisters and friends, kinsmen and benefactors, and of all the faithful Christians, both living and departed, from eternal darkness and from all evil, by the grace of Him whom thou didst bear in thy sacred womb for nine long months, and didst lay in the manger with thine own pure hands, our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son who is blessed for ever. Amen.

From the Raccolta #?338 (S.C. Ind., Jan. 30, 1828; S. P. Ap., March 10, 1936).

O Intemerata

O Intemerata was a very popular prayer during the Middle Ages and was invariably found in any Book of the Hours. The earliest known texts are from the 12th century, though it may have been composed earlier. Considerable variation exists in the text of the prayer as it appears down through the centuries. The version below is from a 15th century Book of the Hours.
O INTEMERATA et in aeternum benedicta, singularis atque incomparabilis Virgo Dei Genetrix Maria, gratissimum Dei templum, Spiritus Sancti sacrarium, ianua regni caelorum, per quam post Deum totus vivit orbis terrarum. Inclina, Mater misericordiae, aures tuae pietatis indignis supplicationibus meis, et esto mihi miserrimo peccatori pia, et propitia in omnibus auxiliatrix. O UNSPOTTED and forever blessed, unique and incomparable virgin Mary, Mother of God, most graceful temple of God, sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, gate of the kingdom of heaven, by whom next unto God the whole world liveth, incline O Mother of Mercy thy ears of piety unto my unworthy supplications, and be merciful to me a most wretched sinner, and be unto me a helper in all things.
O Ioannes beatissime, Christi familiaris et amice, qui ab eodem Domino nostro Iesu Christo virgo es electus, et inter ceteros magis dilectus, atque in mysteriis caelestibus ultra omnes imbutus; Apostolus enim et Evangelista factus es praeclarissimus: Te etiam invoco cum Maria matre eiusdem Domini nostri Iesu Christi salvatoris, ut mihi opem tuam cum ipsa conferre digneris. O most blessed John, the beloved and friend of Christ, which by the same Lord Jesus Christ was chosen a virgin, and among the rest more beloved, above all instructed in the heavenly mysteries, for thou wast made a most worthy Apostle and Evangelist: thee also I call upon with Mary, the mother of the same Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, that thou wouldst vouchsafe to afford me thy aid with hers.
O duae gemmae caelestes, Maria, et Ioannes. O duo luminaria divinitus ante Deum lucentia, vestris radiis scelerum meorum effugate nubila. O ye two celestial jewels, Mary, and John. O ye two lights divinely shining before God. Chase away by your bright beams the clouds of my offenses.
Vos enim estis illi duo, in quibus Deus Pater per Filium suum specialiter aedificavit sibi domum et in quibus ipse Filius Dei unigenitus ob sincerissimae virginitatis meritum, dilectionis suae confirmavit privilegium in cruce pendens, uni vestrum ita dicens: <<Mulier ecce filius tuus>>: deinde ad alium: <<Ecce mater tua.>> For you are those two in whom God the Father through His own Son, specially built His own house, and in whom the only-begotten Son of God as the reward of your most sincere virginity confirmed the privilege of His love while hanging on the Cross, saying thus to one of you: "Woman, behold thy son," and then to the other, "Behold thy mother."
In huius ergo tam sacratissimi amoris dulcedine, qua tunc ore Dominico, velut mater et filius ad invicem coniuncti estis, vobis duobus ego miserrimus peccator commendo hodie corpus et animam meam: ut in omnibus horis atque momentis, intus et exterius firmi custodes, et pii apud Deum intercessores mihi existere dignemini. In the sweetness therefore of His most sacred love, through which by our Lord's own mouth, as mother and son you were joined to each other, I, a most wretched sinner, commend this day to you my body and soul, that at all hours and moments, inwardly and outwardly, you would vouchsafe to be unto me steadfast guardians and devout intercessors before God.
Credo enim firmiter et indubitanter fateor, quia velle vestrum velle Dei est et nolle vestrum nolle Dei est; unde et quicquid ab illo petitis sine mora obtinetis. Per hanc ergo tam potentissimam vestrae dignitatis virtutem poscite, quaeso, mihi peccatori, corporis et animae salutem. I indeed firmly believe and accept beyond any doubt that one who wants to be yours will belong to God and one who does not want to be yours will not belong to God, for you can obtain whatever you ask from God without delay. By virtue of your most powerful worthiness, beg, I beseech you, for the well being of my body and soul.
Agite, quaeso, agite vestris sacris precibus, ut cor meum invisere, et inhabitare dignetur spiritus almus, gratiarum largitor optimus, qui me a cunctis vitiorum sordibus expurget, virtutibus sacris illustret, et exornet: in dilectione Dei et proximi mei perfecte stare, et perseverare me faciat: et post huius vitae cursum ad gaudia ducat electorum suorum benignissimus paraclitus. Qui cum Deo patre et filio coaeternus et consubstantialis cum eis et in eis vivit et regnat omnipotens Deus in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Plead, I beseech you, plead for me by your holy prayers that the loving Spirit, the best giver of graces, may vouchsafe to visit my heart and dwell therein, the self same Spirit who may thoroughly purge me from all filth of vice, lighten and adorn me with sacred virtues: who would cause me to stand perfectly and to persevere in the love of God and my neighbor, and, after the course of this life, may this most benign comforter bring me to the joys of His elect, He, who with God the Father and the Son is co-eternal and consubstantial with them and in them, liveth and reigneth as Almighty God, forever and ever. Amen

Oratio Sancti Bernardi ad Deiparam Virginem
Prayer of St. Bernard to the Virgin Mother of God

Unlike the Memorare, which was not written by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), Confessor, Abbot, and Doctor of the Church, this prayer was written by him.
PER TE, O Maria1, accessum habeamus ad Filium, o benedicta inventrix gratiae, genetrix vitae, mater salutis, ut per te nos suscipiat, qui per te datus est nobis. Excuset apud ipsum integritas tua culpam nostrae corruptionis, et humilitas Deo2 grata nostrae veniam impetret vanitati3. Copiosa caritas tua nostrorum cooperiat multitudinem peccatorum, et fecunditas tua gloriosa fecunditatem nobis conferat meritorum. Domina nostra, Mediatrix nostra, Advocata nostra: tuo Filio nos reconcilia, tuo Filio nos commenda4, tuo Filio nos repraesenta. Fac, o benedicta, per gratiam quam invenisti, per praerogativam quam5 meruisti, per misericordiam quam peperisti, ut, qui te mediante fieri dignatus est particeps infirmitatis et miseriae nostrae, te quoque intercedente participes nos faciat gloriae suae et beatitudinis6, Iesus Christus, Filius tuus Dominus noster, qui est super omnia Deus benedictus in saecula. Amen. O MARY, blessed lady who found grace, mother of our life and our salvation, may we have access to thy Son through thee, so that He who was given to us through thee, may receive us through thee. May thy purity excuse the fault of our corruption. May thy humility, which is pleasing to God, implore pardon for our vanity. May thy abundant charity cover the multitude of our sins, and may thy glorious fruitfulness confer upon us an abundance of merits. Our Lady, our Mediatrix, our Advocate, reconcile us to thy Son, commend us to thy Son, and present us to thy Son. O blessed Lady, through the grace thou hast found, through the prerogatives thou hast merited, through the mercy thou didst give birth to, grant us that by thy intercession, He, who deigned to share in our infirmities and misery, will makes us sharers of His glory and blessedness, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, who is above all blessed God forever. Amen.

From the Coeleste Palmetum (1741) and Orate Fratres (1900). Tr. MWM.
The C.P. has the curious differences listed below:
1 [O Maria] is omitted from the C.P.
2 The C.P. has: tua Deo tam.
3 The C.P. adds: ac superbiae.
4 The C.P. reverses these: tuo Filio nos commenda, tuo Filio nos reconcilia.
5 The C.P. omits: invenisti, per praerogativam, quam.
6 The C.P. has: faciat nos beatitudinis et gloriae suae.

Oratio Sancti Sophronii ad Benedictam
Prayer of St. Sophronius to the Blessed Virgin Mary

This prayer is taken from the writings of St. Sophronius (c 560-638), Patriarch of Jerusalem. The prayer here appears in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary and in the second reading of the Office of the Readings for the common of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Liturgy of the Hours.
VERE benedicta tu in mulieribus, quoniam Evae maledictionem in benedictionem commutasti; quoniam Adam, qui prius iacebat exsecratione perculsus, ut per te benediceretur, effecisti. TRULY, thou art blessed among women, for thou hast changed Eve's curse into a blessing; and Adam, who hitherto lay under a curse, has been blessed because of thee.
VERE benedicta tu in mulieribus, quoniam benedictio Patris per te affulsit hominibus, eosque a vetere maledicto liberavit. TRULY, thou are blessed among women, for through thee the Father's blessing has shone forth on mankind, setting them free of their ancient curse.
VERE benedicta tu in mulieribus, quia per te progenitores tui salutem inveniunt; tu siquidem genitura es Servatorem, qui divinam ipsis salutem comparabit. TRULY, thou are blessed among women, for through thee thy forebears have found salvation. For thou wert to give birth to the Savior who was to win them salvation.
VERE benedicta tu in mulieribus, quoniam sine semine eum protulisti fructum, qui benedictionem terrarum orbi elargitur, ipsumque a maledictione spinas germinante redimit. TRULY, thou are blessed among women, for without seed thou hast borne, as thy fruit, Him who bestows blessings on the whole world and redeems it from that curse that made it sprout horns.
VERE benedicta tu in mulieribus, quia, mulier naturali condicione cum sis, Dei tamen Genetrix re ipsa fies. Etenim si qui ex te nasciturus est, secundum veritatem, Deus est incarnatus, ipsa iure meritoque diceris Deipara, quippe quae Deum verissime paris. Amen. TRULY, thou are blessed among women, for, though just a woman by nature, thou wilt become, in reality, the Mother of God. If He whom thou art to bear is truly God made flesh, then rightly do we call thee, Mother of God, for thou hast truly given birth to God. Amen.

O Virgo et Mater Sanctissima
Most Holy Virgin and Mother

O VIRGO et Mater sanctissima, cuius animam in divini Filii tui passione doloris gladius pertransivit, et quae in gloriosa eius resurrectione perennem triumphantis laetitiam percepisti; impetra nobis supplicibus tuis, ita sanctae Ecclesiae adversitatibus Summique Pontificis doloribus consociari, ut optatis etiam consolationibus laetificari cum ipsis mereamur, in caritate et pace eiusdem Christi Domini nostri. Amen. MOST holy Virgin and Mother, whose soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the Passion of thy divine Son, and who in His glorious Resurrection wast filled with never-ending joy at His triumph; obtain for us who call upon thee, so to be partakers in the adversities of Holy Church and the sorrows of the Sovereign Pontiff, as to be found worthy to rejoice with them in the consolations for which we pray, in the charity and peace of the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Raccolta #385. (Pius X, Rescript in his own hand, Jan. 25, 1906).

Sancta Maria, Succurre Miseris
Holy Mary, be Thou a Help to the Helpless

Composed by Bishop Fulbert of Chartres (ca 951-ca 1029), it appears in his Sermo IX, De Annuntiatione Dominica. The prayer appears in the Roman Breviary for various Marian feasts. A partial indulgence is attached to this prayer
SANCTA MARIA, succurre miseris, iuva pusillanimes, refove flebiles, ora pro populo, interveni pro clero, intercede pro devoto femineo sexu: sentiant omnes tuum iuvamen, quicumque celebrant tuam sanctam commemorationem. Amen. HOLY MARY, be thou a help to the helpless, strength to the fearful, comfort to the sorrowful, pray for the people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all holy women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy sacred commemoration feel the might of thine assistance. Amen.

From the Raccolta #349, Roman Breviary. Encr. Ind., #52.

Salve a nobis, Deipara Maria
Hail, Mother of God

From a homily delivered at the Council of Ephesus (431 AD) by St. Cyril of Alexandria, bishop (370-444 AD). It was at the Council of Ephesus that Mary was defended and dogmatically proclaimed as being Theotokos, the Mother of God. The following was adapted from St. Cyril's writings found in the Office of the Readings for the feast of the Dedication of Saint Mary Major, August 5th.
SALVE a nobis, Deipara Maria, venerandus totius orbis thesaurus, lampas inextinguibilis, corona virginitatis, sceptrum rectae doctrinae, templum indissolubile, locus eius qui loco capi non potest, mater et virgo, per quam is benedictus in sanctis Evangeliis nominatur, qui venit in nomine Domini. HAIL, Mary, Mother of God, glorious treasury of the whole world, inextinguishable lamp, crown of virginity, scepter of orthodoxy, indissoluble temple, place of Him whom no place can contain, mother and virgin, through whom the Gospels said "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord".
Salve, quae immensum incomprehensumque in sancto virgineo utero comprehendisti: per quam sancta Trinitas glorificatur et adoratur; per quam pretiosa crux celebratur et in universo orbe adoratur; per quam caelum exsultat; per quam angeli et archangeli laetantur; per quam daemones fugantur; per quam tentator diabolus caelo decidit; per quam prolapsa creatura in caelum assumitur; per quam universa creatura, idolorum vesania detenta, ad veritatis agnitionem pervenit; per quam sanctum baptisma obtingit credentibus; per quam exsultationis oleum, per quam toto terrarum orbe fundatae sunt Ecclesiae, per quam gentes adducuntur ad paenitentiam. Hail, for thou hast possessed in thy holy virginal womb the infinite and immeasurable one; thou, Mary, through whom the Holy Trinity is glorified and adored; through whom the precious Cross is celebrated and throughout the world adored; through whom the heavens rejoice; through whom the angels and archangels are glad; through whom demons are put to flight; through whom the tempter, the devil, is cast down from heaven; through whom fallen creation is restored to heaven; through whom all struck with the madness of idolatry have come to the knowledge of the truth; through whom holy Baptism is given to believers; through whom the oil of gladness is poured out; through whom the Church is established throughout the world; and through whom the nations are lead to repentance.
Per quam unigenitus Dei Filius iis, qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedebant, lux resplenduit; per quam prophetae praenuntiarunt; per quam Apostoli salutem gentibus praedicarunt; per quam mortui exsuscitantur; per quam reges regnant, per sanctam Trinitatem. It was because of thee that the only-begotten Son of God shined forth His light upon those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; the prophets prophesied; the Apostles preached salvation to the nations; the dead are raised; and kings reign by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Ecce igitur omnia gaudent; contingat autem nobis ut unionem revereamur et adoremus, ac indivisam Trinitatem tremamus et colamus, Mariam semper Virginem, sanctum videlicet Dei templum, eiusdemque Filium et sponsum immaculatum laudibus celebrantes: quoniam ipsi gloria saecula saeculorum. Amen. Behold all creation rejoices! May we revere and adore this union of God and man in the Son of Mary, and as we tremble at and pay honor to the indivisible Trinity, let us sing the praises of Mary ever Virgin, the holy temple of God, and of God Himself, her Son and spotless Bridegroom, for to Him be glory forever. Amen.

Liturgia Horarum

Sanctissima Virgo de Cenaculo
Our Lady of the Cenacle

SANCTISSIMA Virgo de Cenaculo, Mater nostra, immaculata Maria, impetra nobis, humiliter deprecamur, Spiritus Sancti dona, ut in caritate viventes et in oratione unanimiter perseverantes, duce te et magistra, ad maiorem Dei gloriam, exemplo et opere animarum saluti adlaborare et ad vitam ingredi mereamur aeternam. MOST Holy Virgin of the Cenacle, our Mother, Mary immaculate, obtain for us, we humbly pray, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that we may live in charity and persevere with one accord in prayer, under thy guidance and teaching, to the greater glory of God, and that we may labor both by word and deed for the salvation of souls and may deserve to enter into everlasting life.
Adsis propitia, nostra Domina de Cenaculo, in praesenti necessitate et tua nos virtute succurre, ut eam, quam enixe rogamus, gratiam omnipotens et misericors Deus tuis precibus indulgere dignetur. Amen. Graciously be near us, O our Lady of the Cenacle, in our present needs, and succor us by thy power, that Almighty God may be pleased to grant us, through thy pleading, the favor we earnestly pray. Amen.

From the Raccolta #410. (S. C. Ind. Dec. 14, 1889; S. P., March 15, 1934).

An indulgence of 500 days

Deus, qui per immaculatam conceptionem
O God, Who by the Immaculate Conception

On March 31, 1876 Pius IX authorized the following antiphon, versicle and prayer in honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The prayer below is the collect for the feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8)
Ant. Haec est virga in qua nec nodus originalis, nec cortex actualis culpae fuit. Ant. This is the rod in which there was neither knot of original sin, nor rind of actual guilt.
V. In conceptione tua, O Virgo, immaculata fuisti.
R. Ora pro nobis Patrem, cuius Filium peperisti.
V. In thy conception, O Virgin, thou wast immaculate.
R. Pray for us to the Father, whose Son thou didst bring forth.
DEUS, qui per immaculatam Virginis Conceptionem dignum Filio tuo habitaculum praeparasti, quaesumus, ut qui ex morte eiusdem Filii tui praevisa eam ab omni labe praeservasti, nos quoque mundos, eius intercessione, ad te pervenire concedas. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin didst make ready a fitting habitation for Thy Son, we beseech Thee that Thou who didst keep her clean from all stain by the precious death of the same Thy Son, foreseen by Thee, mayest grant unto us in like manner to be made clean through her intercession and so attain to Thee. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Raccolta #410. (S. C. Ind. Dec. 14, 1889; S. P., March 15, 1934).

Immaculate Mother of God

Written by St. Vincent Pallotti (1798-1850), founder of the Pallotines

IMMACULATE Mother of God, Queen of heaven, Mother of mercy, Advocate and Refuge of sinners, behold, I, enlightened and inspired by the graces obtained for me abundantly from the divine treasury through thy maternal affection, resolve this day and always to place my heart into thy hands to be consecrated to Jesus.

To thee, therefore, most Blessed Virgin, in the presence of nine choirs of Angels and all the Saints, I now give it. Do thou, in my name, consecrate it to Jesus; and out of the filial confidence which I hereby make profession of, I am certain that now and always thou wilt do all thou canst to bring it to pass that my heart may ever wholly belong to Jesus, and may imitate perfectly the example of the Saints, and in particular that of Saint Joseph, thy most pure Spouse. Amen.

From the Raccolta #370 (S. P. Ap., July 27, 1920 and Sept., 1936).

An indulgence of 3 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this devotion is repeated daily for a month.

O Pure and Immaculate

Written by St. Ephrem the Syrian (306-373). St. Ephrem is especially noted for his Marian Hymns which are an important source of Catholic Dogma. Pope Benedict XV officially declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1920.

O PURE and immaculate and likewise blessed Virgin, who art the sinless Mother of thy Son, the mighty Lord of the universe, thou who art inviolate and altogether holy, the hope of the hopeless and sinful, we sing thy praises. We bless thee, as full of every grace, thou who didst bear the God-Man: we bow low before thee; we invoke thee and implore thine aid. Rescue us, O holy and inviolate Virgin, from every necessity that presses upon us and from all the temptations of the devil.

Be our intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgment; deliver us from the fire that is not extinguished and from the outer darkness; make us worthy of the glory of thy Son, O dearest and most clement Virgin Mother. Thou indeed art our only hope most sure and sacred in God's sight, to Whom be honor and glory and majesty and dominion for ever and ever world without end. Amen.

From the Raccolta #371.

An indulgence of 3 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this devotion is repeated daily for a month.

Thou Art All Fair, O Mary

V. Thou art all fair, O Mary.
R. Thou art all fair, O Mary.
V. And the original stain is not in thee.
R. And the original stain is not in thee.
V. Thou art the glory of Jerusalem.
R. Thou, the joy of Israel.
V. Thou art the honor of our people.
R. Thou art the advocate of sinners.
V. O Mary.
R. O Mary.
V. Virgin most prudent.
R. Mother most tender.
V. Pray for us,
R. Intercede for us with Jesus Christ our Lord .
V. In thy conception, Holy Virgin, thou wast immaculate.
R. Pray for us to the Father, Whose Son thou didst bring forth.
V. O Lady! aid my prayer,
R. And let my cry come unto thee.
Let us pray
HOLY Mary, Queen of heaven, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, and mistress of the world, who foresakest no one, and despisest no one, look upon me, O Lady! with an eye of pity, and entreat for me of thy beloved Son the forgiveness of all my sins; that, as I now celebrate, with devout affection, thy holy and immaculate conception, so, hereafter, I may receive the prize of eternal blessedness, by the grace of Him whom thou, in virginity, didst bring forth, Jesus Christ our Lord: Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, in perfect Trinity, God, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

From "My Prayer Book", Fr. Lasance, 1908, pp 554-556. Tota pulchra es, Maria can also be found in the Raccolta #359. (S. C. Ind., Mar. 23, 1904; S. P. Ap., Dec. 19, 1936).

An indulgence of 500 days

The Messenger from God's High Throne

The author of this hymn is Fr. Augustine Thomas Ricchini (1695-1779). A native of Cremona, Italy, he held several ecclesiastical offices and was a friend of Pope Benedict XIV. Fr. Ricchini first held the office of the Secretary of the Congregation of the Index, and then was the Master of the Sacred Palace. He was also an adviser to the Master General of the Dominicans from 1759 to 1778.

This hymn, along with its three companion hymns, In monte olivis consito, Iam morte, victor, obruta, and Te gestientem gaudiis are the hymns from the Roman Breviary for the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary (Oct. 7). The hymns were composed by Fr. Ricchini in 1757 and first appeared in the Dominican Breviary. Later, when the present Office was approved for the Universal Church in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII, these four hymns were added to the Roman Breviary.

The Feast of the Most Holy Rosary itself actually goes back to Pope Saint Pius V, who established this feast on the anniversary of the naval victory won by the Christian fleet at Lepanto over the Turkish fleet on 7 Oct., 1571. The victory is attributed to the intercession of the Mother of God, whose aid was petitioned through the prayers of the Rosary before the battle. The celebration of this feast day is an invitation to all to meditate upon the mysteries of Christ, following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was so singularly associated with the incarnation, passion, death, and glorious resurrection of her Son, the Son of God.

The subject of all four hymns are the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. The first three hymns deal with each set of Mysteries: the Joyous, the Sorrowful, and the Glorious. The fourth hymn is a short summary of the first three hymns. This, the first hymn of the series which is used in the Roman Breviary for first Vespers, deals with the Joyous Mysteries: The Annunciation (Lk 1:26 ff), The Visitation (Lk 1:36, Lk 1:38 ff), The Nativity (John 1:1), The Presentation (cf Lev 12:8, Num 18:16, Lk 2:24), The Finding in the Temple (Lk 2:46).

CAELESTIS aulae Nuntius,
arcana pandens Numinis,
plenam salutat gratia
Dei Parentem Virginem.
THE Messenger from God's high throne
his secret counsel making known
hails Mary, child of David's race,
God's Virgin Mother, full of grace.
Virgo propinquam sanguine
matrem Ioannis visitat,
qui, clausus alvo, gestiens
adesse Christum nuntiat.
The Mother Maid with joyous feet
her friend, John's mother, goes to greet;
he, stirring in the enclosing womb,
declares that Christ his Lord has come.
Verbum, quod ante saecula
e mente Patris prodiit,
e Matris alvo Virginis,
mortalis Infans nascitur.
The Word, who ere the worlds began,
from God the Father's thought forth ran,
of Mary, Virgin undefiled,
for us is born a mortal child.
Templo puellus sistitur,
Legique paret Legifer,
hic se Redemptor paupere
pretio redemptus immolat.
Christ to the Temple courts they bring;
the King's own law subjects the King;
the world's Redeemer for a price
is there redeemed, our sacrifice.
Quem iam dolebat perditum,
mox laeta Mater invenit
ignota doctis mentibus
edisserentem Filium.
The joyful Mother finds once more
the Son she mourned as lost before;
while doctors by His speech were shown
the mysteries they had never known.
Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
in sempiterna saecula.
All honor laud, and glory be,
o Jesu, Virgin-born to Thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
to Father and to Paraclete.

Latin text from the Roman Breviary, translation by Alan G. McDougall (1895-1964).

The Mount of Olives Witnesseth

Composed by Fr. Augustine Thomas Ricchini (1695-1779) in 1757, this hymn is used at Matins in the Roman Breviary for the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary (Oct. 7). It is the second of a series of four hymns for the feast. See Caelestis aulae Nuntius for historical details.

The subject of this hymn is the Sorrowful Mysteries: The Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, and the Crucifixion. The events surrounding the Passion of our Lord are recorded in all four Gospels: Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, and John 18-19, and thus form the basis for this set of mysteries.

IN monte olivis consito
Redemptor orans procidit,
maeret, pavescit, deficit,
sudore manans sanguinis.
THE Mount of Olives witnesseth
the awful agony of God:
His soul is sorrowful to death,
His sweat of blood bedews the sod.
A proditore traditus
raptatur in poenas Deus,
durisque vinctus nexibus,
flagris cruentis caeditur.
And now the traitor's work is done:
the clamorous crowds around Him surge;
Bound to pillar, God the Son
quivers beneath the blood-red scourge.
Intexta acutis sentibus,
corona contumeliae,
squalenti amictum purpura,
Regem coronat gloriae.
Lo! clad in purple soiled and worn,
meekly the Savior waiteth now
while wretches plait the cruel thorn
To crown with shame His royal brow.
Molis crucem ter arduae,
sudans, anhelans, concidens,
ad montis usque verticem
gestare vi compellitur.
Sweating and sighing, faint with loss
of what hath flowed from life's red fount,
He bears the exceeding heavy Cross
up the verge of Calvary's mount.
Confixus atro stipite
inter scelestos innocens,
orando pro tortoribus,
exsanguis efflat spiritum.
Nailed to the wood of ancient curse,
between two thieves the Sinless One
still praying for His murderers,
breathes forth His soul, and all is done!
Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
in sempiterna saecula.
All honor, laud, and glory be,
o Jesu, Virgin-born to Thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
to Father and to Paraclete.

Latin text from the Roman Breviary, translation by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Hugh Thomas Henry (1862-1946).

Now Hell is Vanquished

Composed by Fr. Augustine Thomas Ricchini (1695-1779) in 1757, this hymn is used at Lauds in the Roman Breviary for the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary (Oct. 7). It is the third of a series of four hymns for the feast. See the first hymn of the series, Caelestis aulae Nuntius, for historical details.

The subject of this hymn of the series is the Glorious Mysteries: The Resurrection (Mt 28:1 ff, Mk 16:1 ff, Lk 24:1 ff, Jn 20:1 ff), The Ascension (Mk 16:19-20, Lk 24:50-52, Acts 1:6-11), The Coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-41), The Assumption, The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin.

IAM morte, victor, obruta,
ab inferis Christus redit,
fractisque culpae vinculis,
caeli recludit limina.
NOW Hell is vanquished; every chain
of sin is broken; Christ again
returning, victor over death,
the gates of heaven openeth.
Visus satis mortalibus
ascendit ad caelestia,
dextraeque Patris assidet
consors Paternae gloriae.
We mortals saw Him, till He passed
into the heavens, where at last,
partaker of God's glory bright,
He sitteth on the Father's right.
Quem iam suis promiserat,
Sanctum daturus Spiritum,
linguis amoris igneis
maestis alumnis impluit.
From thence He sheds the promised boon,
the Holy Spirit, on His own
in fiery tongues of love, o'erspread
above each sad disciple's head.
Soluta carnis pondere
ad astra Virgo tollitur,
excepta caeli iubilo,
et Angelorum canticis.
The Virgin, from the flesh set free,
is borne beyond the stars; where she
receives from heaven's joyous throngs
the welcome of angelic songs.
Bis sena cingunt sidera
almae parentis verticem:
throno propinqua Filii
cunctis creatis imperat.
Twice six the stars that crown her brow;
the gracious Mother reigneth now
beside her Son's eternal throne
O'er all creation as her own.
Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
in sempiterna saecula.
All honor, laud, and glory be,
o Jesu, Virgin-born to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.

Latin text from the Roman Breviary, translation by Canon Winfred Douglas (1867-1944).

The Gladness of Thy Motherhood

Composed by Fr. Augustine Thomas Ricchini (1695-1779) in 1757, this hymn is used at second Vespers in the Roman Breviary and at Lauds and Vespers in the Liturgia Horarum for the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary (Oct. 7). It is the fourth of a series of four hymns for the feast. See the first hymn of the series, Caelestis aulae Nuntius, for historical details.

This hymn summarizes the themes of the first three hymns, namely the Joyous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.

TE gestientem gaudiis,
te sauciam doloribus,
te iugi amictam gloria,
o Virgo Mater, pangimus.
THE gladness of thy Motherhood,
the anguish of thy suffering,
the glory now that crowns thy brow,
O Virgin Mother, we would sing.
Ave, redundans gaudio
dum concipis, dum visitas;
et edis, offers, invenis,
Mater beata, Filium.
Hail, blessed Mother, full of joy
in thy consent, thy visit too;
joy in the birth of Christ on earth,
joy in Him lost and found anew.
Ave, dolens, et intimo
in corde agonem, verbera,
spinas crucemque Filii
perpessa, princeps martyrum.
Hail, sorrowing in His agony
the blows, the thorns that pierced His brow;
the heavy wood, the shameful Rood
Yea! Queen and chief of Martyrs thou.
Ave, in triumphis Filii,
in ignibus Paracliti,
in regni honore et lumine,
Regina fulgens gloria.
Hail, in the triumph of thy Son,
the quickening flames of Pentecost;
shining a Queen in light serene,
when all the world is tempest-tost.
Venite, gentes, carpite
ex his rosas mysteriis,
et pulchri amoris inclitae
Matri coronas nectite.
O come, ye nations, roses bring,
culled from these mysteries divine,
and for the Mother of your King
with loving hands your chaplets twine.
Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
in sempiterna saecula.
All honor, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.

Latin text from the Roman Breviary, translation by Abbot Oswald Hunter-Blair, abbot of Fort Augustus Abbey, Scotland (1853-1939).

Flos Carmeli
Flower of Carmel

Flos Carmeli was used by the Carmelites as the sequence for the Feast of St. Simon Stock, and, since 1663, for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. It also appears in an ancient metrical office of Carmel as an antiphon and responsory. Its composition is ascribed to St. Simon Stock himself (ca 1165 - 1265).
FLOS Carmeli,
vitis florigera,
splendor caeli,
virgo puerpera
FLOWER of Carmel,
Tall vine blossom laden;
Splendor of heaven,
Childbearing yet maiden.
None equals thee.
Mater mitis
sed viri nescia
esto propitia
stella maris.
Mother so tender,
Who no man didst know,
On Carmel's children
Thy favors bestow.
Star of the Sea.
Radix Iesse
germinans flosculum
nos ad esse
tecum in saeculum
Strong stem of Jesse,
Who bore one bright flower,
Be ever near us
And guard us each hour,
who serve thee here.
Inter spinas
quae crescis lilium
serva puras
mentes fragilium
Purest of lilies,
That flowers among thorns,
Bring help to the true heart
That in weakness turns
and trusts in thee.
fortis pugnantium
furunt bella
tende praesidium
Strongest of armor,
We trust in thy might:
Under thy mantle,
Hard press'd in the fight,
we call to thee.
Per incerta
prudens consilium
per adversa
iuge solatium
Our way uncertain,
Surrounded by foes,
Unfailing counsel
You give to those
who turn to thee.
Mater dulcis
Carmeli domina,
plebem tuam
reple laetitia
qua bearis.
O gentle Mother
Who in Carmel reigns,
Share with your servants
That gladness you gained
and now enjoy.
clavis et ianua,
fac nos duci
quo, Mater, gloria
coronaris. Amen
Hail, Gate of Heaven,
With glory now crowned,
Bring us to safety
Where thy Son is found,
true joy to see.

O Gloriosa Domina
O Heaven's Glorious Mistress

O Gloriosa Domina is the second half of the hymn Quem terra, pontus, aethera which was composed by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609), the Bishop of Poitiers. Both hymns are popular Marian hymns used in the Liturgy, Quem terra, pontus, aethera being used for the Office of the Readings and this hymn being used for Lauds in the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The hymn was a favorite of St. Anthony of Padua. Tradition has it that it was sung by St. Anthony's mother when he was an infant. It was such a favorite of St. Anthony, that it was constantly on his lips during his life and he sang it at his death.
excelsa super sidera,
qui te creavit provide,
lactas sacrato ubere.
O HEAVEN'S glorious mistress,
enthron'd above the starry sky!
thou feedest with thy sacred breast
thy own Creator, Lord most high.
Quod Eva tristis abstulit,
tu reddis almo germine;
intrent ut astra flebiles,
sternis benigna semitam.
What man had lost in hapless Eve,
thy sacred womb to man restores,
thou to the wretched here beneath
hast open'd Heaven's eternal doors.
Tu regis alti ianua
et porta lucis fulgida;
vitam datam per Virginem,
gentes redemptae, plaudite.
Hail, O refulgent Hall of light!
Hail Gate august of Heaven's high King!
through thee redeem'd to endless life,
thy praise let all the nations sing.
Patri sit Paraclito
tuoque Nato gloria,
qui veste te mirabili
circumdederunt gratiae. Amen.
To the Father and the Spirit
and to thy Son all glory be,
who with a wonderous garment
of graces encircled thee. Amen.

From the Liturgia Horarum, Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Quem terra, pontus, aethera
The God Whom Earth and Sea and Sky

This hymn was composed by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609), Bishop of Poitiers, and has been an important part of devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary since the early Middle Ages. Today it is used in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary daily as a hymn for the Office of the Readings and also as the hymn for Friday Lauds. In the Liturgy of the Hours it is found in the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the hymn for the Office of the Readings.
QUEM terra, pontus, aethera1
colunt, adorant, praedicant,
trinam regentem machinam
claustrum Mariae baiulat.
THE God whom earth, and sea, and sky
adore, and laud, and magnify,
who o'er their threefold fabric reigns,
the Virgin's spotless womb contains.
Cui Luna, Sol, et omnia
deserviunt per tempora,
perfusa caeli gratia,
gestant Puellae viscera.
The God whose will by moon, and sun,
and all things in due course is done,
is borne upon a Maiden's breast,
by fullest heavenly grace possessed.
Beata Mater, munere,
cuius supernus Artifex,
mundum pugillo continens,
ventris sub arca clausus est.
How blest that Mother, in whose shrine
the great Artificer Divine,
whose hand contains the earth and sky,
vouchsafed, as in His ark, to lie.
Beata caeli nuntio,
fecunda Sancto Spiritu,
desideratus Gentibus,
cuius per alvum fusus est.
Blest, in the message Gabriel brought;
blest, by the work the Spirit wrought;
from whom the great Desire of earth
took human flesh and human birth.
Iesu, Tibi sit gloria,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre, et almo Spiritu,
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.
All honor, laud, and glory be,
o Jesu Virgin-born, to Thee,
whom with the Father we adore,
and Holy Ghost for evermore. Amen

1 sidera

Angelus ad Virginem
Gabriel, from Heaven's King

Angelus ad Virginem is a popular Medieval carol that is still popular today. It is estimated to have been composed in the later part of the 13th century. It appears in the Dublin Troper (ca. 1360) and Chaucer mentions it in his Miller's tale. The translation below is a poem by Gerald Manley Hopkins, S.J. (1844-1889), who used the Latin text as a basis for his composition. While not literal, it does try to capture the feeling of the original Latin text.
ANGELUS ad Virginem subintrans in conclave
Virginis formidinem demulcens inquit:<<Ave!>>
Ave, Regina virginum, caeli terraeque Dominum
concipies et paries intacta salutem hominum,
tu porta caeli facta medela criminum.
Gabriel, from heaven's king
Sent to the maiden sweet,
Brought to her blissful tiding
And fair 'gan her to greet.
'Hail be thou, full of grace aright!
For so God's Son, the heaven's light,
Loves man, that He | a man will be | and take
Flesh of thee, maiden bright,
Mankind free for to make
Of sin and devil's might.'
Quomodo conciperem quae virum non cognovi?
Qualiter infringerem quod firma mente vovi?
Spiritus Sancti gratia perficiet haec omnia;
ne timeas, sed gaudeas, secura quod castimonia
manebit in te pura Dei potentia.
Gently to him gave answer
The gentle maiden then:
'And in what wise should I bear
Child, that know not man?'
The angel said: 'O dread thee nought.
'Tis through the Holy Ghost that wrought
Shall be this thing | whereof tidings | I bring:
Lost mankind shall be bought
By thy sweet childbearing,
And back from sorrow brought.'
Ad haec virgo nobilis respondens inquit ei:
<<Ancilla sum humilis omnipotentis Dei.
Tibi caelesti nuntio, tanti secreti conscio
consentiens et cupiens videre factum quod audio;
parata sum parere Dei consilio.>>
When the maiden understood
And the angel's words had heard,
Mildly, of her own mild mood,
The angel she answered:
'Our Lord His handmaiden, I wis,
I am, that here above us is:
And touching me |fulfilled be | thy saw;
That I, since His will is,
Be, out of nature's law
A maid with mother's bliss.'
Angelus disparuit, et statim puellaris
uterus intumuit vi partus virginalis.
quo circumdatus utero novum mensium numero;
post exiit, et iniit conflictum, affligens humero;
Crucem qua dedit ictum hosti mortifero.
The angel went away thereon
And parted from her sight
And straightway she conceived a Son
Through th' Holy Ghost His might.
In her was Christ contained anon,
True God, true man, in flesh and bone;
Born of her too | When time was due; | who then
Redeemed us for His own,
And bought us out of pain,
And died for us t'atone.
Eia Mater Domini, quae pacem reddidisti
Angelis et homini, cum Christum genuisti:
tuum exora Filium ut se nobis propitium
exhibeat et deleat peccata: praestans auxilium
vita frui beata post hoc exsilium.
Filled full of charity,
Thou matchless maiden-mother,
Pray for us to him that He
For thy love above other,
Away our sin and guilt should take,
And clean of every stain us make
And heaven's bliss, | when our time is | to die,
Would give us for thy sake;
With grace to serve him by
Till He us to him take. Amen

Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This commemoration was once recited at the end of Vespers from the Third Sunday after Epiphany to the Fourth Sunday of Lent and from the Third Sunday to the Last Sunday after Pentecost inclusively, except on Doubles and within Octaves. The opening prayer was composed by Bishop Fulbert of Chartres (ca 951-ca 1029) and is used for various Marian feasts.
SANCTA Maria, succurre miseris, iuva pusillanimes, refove flebiles, ora pro populo, interveni pro clero, intercede pro devoto femineo sexu: sentiant omnes tuum iuvamen, quicumque celebrant tuam sanctam commemorationem. Amen. HOLY Mary, be thou a help to the helpless, strength to the fearful, comfort to the sorrowful, pray for the people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all holy women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy sacred commemoration feel the might of thine assistance. Amen
V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Concede nos famulos tuos, quaesumus Domine Deus, perpetua mentis et corporis sanitate gaudere: et gloriosa beatae Mariae semper virginis intercessione, a praesenti liberari tristitia, et aeterna perfrui laetitia. Amen.
Let us pray
Grant, O Lord, God, we beseech Thee, that we Thy servants may rejoice in continual health of mind and body; and through the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, be freed from present sorrow and enjoy eternal happiness. Amen.
From the Third Sunday after Epiphany to the Purification the above versicle and prayer is replaced by: From the Third Sunday after Epiphany to the Purification the above versicle and prayer is replaced by:
V. Post partum virgo inviolata permansisti.
R. Dei Genetrix, intercede pro nobis.
V. After childbirth, thou didst remain a pure Virgin.
R. O Mother of God, intercede for us.
Deus, qui salutis aeternae, beatae Mariae virginitate fecundae, humano generi praemia praestitisti: tribue, quaesumus, ut ipsam pro nobis intercedere sentiamus, per quam meruimus auctorem vitae suscipere, Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium tuum. Amen.
Let us pray
O God, God, who by the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary hast given unto mankind the rewards of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may feel that she intercedes for us, through whom we have been made worthy to receive the Author of Life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son. Amen.

From the Manual of Prayers, Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, 1888

May We Be Assisted

Prayer asking for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is found in Liturgy of the Hours in the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
ADIUVET nos, quaesumus Domine, gloriosae tuae Genetricis semperque Virginis Mariae intercessio veneranda; ut quos perpetuis cumulavit beneficiis, a cunctis periculis absolutos, sua faciat pietate concordes: Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen. MAY we be assisted, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the worshipful intercession of Thy glorious Mother, the ever-Virgin Mary; that we, who have been enriched by her perpetual blessings, may be delivered from all dangers, and through her loving kindness made to be of one heart and mind: Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

Latin from the Liturgia Horarum. See also the Raccolta #347. (S. P. Ap., Feb. 6, 1934). An indulgence of 3 years

Grant unto us, Thy servants

DA nobis famulis tuis, Domine Iesu Christe, beatae Mariae Virginis Matris tuae semper et ubique patrocinio protegi. Amen. GRANT unto us, Thy servants, O Lord Jesus Christ, to be protected at all times and in all places by the patronage of Blessed Mary, Thy Virgin Mother. Amen.

From the Raccolta #91. (S. P. Ap., Oct. 7, 1940). An indulgence of 300 days

Invocations to Our Lady of La Salette
for private recitation

Our Lady of La Salette, Mother of God,
pray for us.
Our Lady of La Salette, Queen and Mother of men,
pray for us.
Our Lady of La Salette, Messenger of divine mercy,
pray for us.
Our Lady of La Salette, all - powerful suppliant,
pray for us.
Thou who restrainest the arm of the Lord angered against us,
pray for us.
Thou who sheddest so many tears on account of our sins and misfortunes,
pray for us
Thou who carest so much for us, in spite of all our ingratitude,
pray for us.
Thou who dost so lovingly invite us to have recourse to thee,
pray for us.
Thou who dost reproach us with our violation of Sunday, and with blasphemy,
pray for us.
Thou who dost complain so sorrowfully of the profanation of holy things,
pray for us.
Thou who dost so strongly recommend prayer, and especially morning and evening prayer,
pray for us.
Thou who dost condemn so severely our lusts and the shameful pleasures of the world,
pray for us.
Thou who dost remind us so touchingly of the Passion of Jesus,
pray for us.
Thou whose apparition is a source of salvation for poor sinners,
pray for us.
Thou who dost invite so pressingly the just to redouble their fervor,
pray for us.
Thou whose prophetic menaces have so justly alarmed the world,
pray for us.
Thou who dost promise so many blessings if we become converted,
pray for us.
Thou who didst cause to spring up at thy feet a fountain of miraculous water,
pray for us.
Thou who, after the example of Jesus, dost heal every infirmity,
pray for us.
Thou who dost desire to be honored and invoked throughout the world,
pray for us.
Thou who didst cause to many works of reparation to be undertaken and prosper,
pray for us.
Our Lady of La Salette, living example of charity,
pray for us.
Victim of penance and expiation,
pray for us.
Model of modesty and simplicity,
pray for us.
Standard of obedience and submission,
pray for us.
Source of burning zeal and of the apostleship,
pray for us.
Loving Mother of the poor and of children,
pray for us.
Light of the blind and of the ignorant,
pray for us.
Consolation of the sick and the afflicted,
pray for us.
Hope of the despairing,
pray for us.
Help of the Church Militant,
pray for us.
Advocate of the Church Suffering,
pray for us.
Glory of the Church Triumphant,
pray for us.
By thy bitter complaints of men's sinfulness, render us docile to the law of thy divine Son,
O Mary.
By thy abundant tears, obtain for us the grace to weep over our sins,
O Mary.
By thy maternal sufferings, obtain for us resignation in all our trials,
O Mary.
By thy apparitions and thy miracles, revive the faith of thy people,
O Mary.
By thy mysterious looks towards
Rome, make us more and more devoted to the Holy See,
O Mary.
By thy incomparable tenderness, make us love thee more and more,
O Mary.
By thy ravishing beauty, make us sigh after heaven,
O Mary.
By thy new assumption, draw us after thee,
O Mary.

V. Our Lady of La Salette, reconciler of sinners,
R. Pray without ceasing for us who have recourse to thee.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, Who, in Thy infinite mercy, didst send to us on the mountain of La Salette thy ever glorious Mother in order to remind us of our Christian duties, grant that, moved by her tears and docile to her warnings, we may appease, in this life, thy just anger by a sincere repentance, and that we may merit by our good works the grace to enjoy thee eternally in heaven. Thou Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.


Remember , Our Lady of La Salette , true Mother of Sorrows, the tears which thou didst shed for me on
Calvary. Remember also the care thou didst always take of me, in order to shield me from the justice of God. After having done so much for thy child, thou wilt not now abandon him. Animated by this consoling thought, I come to cast myself at thy feet, in spite of my infidelities and my ingratitude. Do not reject my prayer, O Merciful Virgin, but convert me, obtain for me the grace to love Jesus above all things and to console thee by a holy life, that I may, one day, be able to see thee in heaven. Amen.

(An indulgence of 500 days (S.P.Ap., Nov 7, 1927 and Dec. 12, 1933)

Litany of Our Lady of La Salette

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us, Jesus hear us. Jesus, grant our petitions
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy, Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Our Lady of La Salette, reconciler of sinners, Pray for us. *

Our Lady of La Salette, help of the just, *

Our Lady of La Salette, healer of the ill, *

Our Lady of La Salette, consoler of the afflicted, *

Our Lady of La Salette, who appeared to some poor children of the Alps to give us grave warnings, *

Our Lady of La Salette, who wept tears on thinking of man's sins, *

Our Lady of La Salette, who gave us the Lord's warnings so that we be converted, *

Our Lady of La Salette, who by Thy supplications holds back the arm of the Lord, who is angry with us, *

Our Lady of La Salette, who said: "If my people will not submit, I shall be forced to let go the arm of my Son", *

Our Lady of La Salette, who prays continually to Thy Divine Son that He be merciful to us, *

Our Lady of La Salette, who feels such great sorrow because of our sins, *

Our Lady of La Salette, who deserves all our gratitude, *

Our Lady of La Salette, who, after giving Thy warnings to the children of the mountain, said: "Well, my children, you will pass it on to all my people.", *

Mary, thou who have announced to men terrible punishments if they are not converted, *

Mary, thou who announces to them mercy and pardon, if they return to God, *

Mary, thou who promises abundant graces if we do penance, *

Mary, thou whose miraculous apparition has echoed throughout both worlds, *

Mary, thou whose miracles extend to all countries, *

Mary, thou whose cult grows each day, *

Mary, thou whose good works delight all thy children, *

Mary, thou who are not invoked in vain, *

Mary, thou who made a miraculous spring flow forth at thy feet, *

Mary, thou who, following the example of Jesus, gives sight to the blind, movement to the paralyzed, health to the ill, *

Mary, thou who consoles all the unfortunate, *

Mary, thou who appeared resplendent with light, *

Mary, thou who wore on thy breast the Crucifix and the instruments of the Passion, *

Mary, thou who has warned us to sanctify the Lord's Day if we are to avoid the terrible punishments, *

Mary, thou who said that work on Sundays and blasphemy especially excite the anger of God, *

Mary, thou who has reproached us for not keeping the fasts and abstinences of the Church, *

Mary, thou who has announced to us the plagues of God, if we continue to violate His commandments, *

Mary, thou who has recommended morning and evening prayers, *

By Thy powerful protection, deliver us from the evils which threaten us, O Mary!

Poor sinners that we are, convert us, O Mary!

In the accomplishment of our duty, help us O Mary!

In solid piety, strengthen us O Mary!

In the persevering practice of all the virtues, encourage us O Mary!

In our joys, be with us O Mary!

In all the events of life, obtain for us a perfect submission to the will of God, O Mary!


Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,  pardon us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,  grant our petitions!
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,  have mercy on us!

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

O God, Who does not cease showing us how agreeable to Thee is the devotion to the Most Holy Virgin, by the many miracles which her intercession obtains for us, grant us the grace to be always faithful to the teachings she gives us, that, after having observed Thy holy commandments in this life, we may have the joy of possessing Thee for all eternity. Amen

Indulgence of 40 days
(Monseigneur de Bruillard, 15 January 1852)



Consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

In 1942, the twenty-fifth anniversary of Fatima, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. That same year, he assigned the feast day to August 22, the octave of the Assumption. On May 4, 1944, he extended the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Universal Church.

Composed by Pope Pius XII in 1942 for his Consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to be recited annually on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, August 22nd.

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, Help of Christians, Refuge of the human race, conqueror in all God’s battles, we humbly prostrate ourselves before thy throne. We are confident of obtaining mercy, grace, and help in the present calamities, not for our own merits to which we make no claim but only because of the great goodness of thy Maternal Heart.

In this tragic hour of human history we confide, entrust, and consecrate to thy Immaculate Heart the Holy Church, Mystical Body of thy son, Jesus, which bleeds now from so many wounds and is so sorely tried. We consecrate likewise to thy Immaculate Heart the whole world torn as it is by deadly strife, afire with hatred and paying the penalty of its own wickedness.

Be moved to pity by the sight of so much destruction and ruin of souls, by the grief and agony of fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, brothers, sisters, and innocent children. Look with compassion on the lives cut off in the flower of youth, on the bodies mangled in horrible slaughter, on the many torn with anguish, and on all those in danger of being lost forever.

Mother of Mercy, obtain for us peace from God and the grace that is able in an instant to change the heart of man, the grace that brings and fosters peace, and makes it lasting. Queen of Peace, pray for us and give to the warring world that peace for which the nations long, a peace in the truth, in the righteousness, and in the love of Jesus Christ.

Turn their weapons aside and let peace possess their souls so that God’s kingdom may be set up in quiet order. Stretch out a helping hand to the unbeliever and to all who live in the shadow of death. Give them peace and grant that enlightened by the truth they may repeat with us before the one Savior of the world, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.’

Give peace also to the peoples separated from us by error or strife and in particular to those who have professed a special devotion to thee and in whose homes thine icon was always an object of veneration. It is hidden away now maybe to await the dawn of better days. Bring them back to the one fold of Christ under the one true shepherd. Grant perfect peace and freedom to the holy Church of God. Stem the flood of modern paganism. Let the love of purity increase among the children of God. Make us live as true followers of Christ, as zealous apostles, so that God’s servants may grow in merit and increase in number. And as the whole human race was consecrated to the heart of thy Jesus that through hope in Him He might become for all the sign and pledge of victory and salvation, so we in like manner consecrate ourselves forever to thee and to thy Immaculate Heart, O Mother and Queen of the world. This we do so that thy love and protection may hasten the triumph of God’s kingdom. Thus may all nations at peace with one another and with God proclaim thee blessed, and sing with thee from pole to pole the unending Magnificat of glory, love, and thanksgiving to the Heart of Jesus in which alone they can find truth, life, and peace. Amen.


Salutation to the Glory of Mary
By St. John Eudes

This salutation was found in a book belonging to St. Margaret Mary after her death, and was promoted faithfully

by Fr. Paul of Mall, O.S.B., Belgian Priest [1824-1896]


Hail Mary!  Daughter of God the Father,
Hail Mary!  Mother of God the Son,
Hail Mary!  Spouse of God the Holy Ghost,
Hail Mary!  Temple of the Most Blessed Trinity,
Hail Mary!  Celestial Rose of the ineffable love of God.
Hail Mary!  Virgin pure and humble, of whom the King of Heaven willed to be born and with thy milk to be nourished.
Hail Mary!  Virgin of virgins,
Hail Mary!  Queen of Martyrs, whose soul a sword transfixed,
Hail Mary!  Lady most Blessed! unto whom all power in Heaven and earth is given,
Hail Mary!  my Queen and my Mother!  my Life, my Sweetness, and my Hope,
Hail Mary!  Mother most Amiable,
Hail Mary!  Mother most Admirable,
Hail Mary!  Mother of Divine Love,
Hail Mary!  Immaculate; Conceived without sin!
Hail Mary!  Full of Grace!  the Lord is with thee!

Hail Mary!  Daughter of God the Father,
Hail Mary!  Mother of God the Son,
Hail Mary!  Spouse of God the Holy Ghost,
Hail Mary!  Temple of the Most Blessed Trinity,
Hail Mary!  Celestial Rose of the ineffable love of God.
Hail Mary!  Virgin pure and humble, of whom the King of Heaven willed to be born and with thy milk to be nourished.
Hail Mary!  Virgin of virgins,
Hail Mary!  Queen of Martyrs, whose soul a sword transfixed,
Hail Mary!  Lady most Blessed! unto whom all power in Heaven and earth is given,
Hail Mary!  my Queen and my Mother!  my Life, my Sweetness, and my Hope,
Hail Mary!  Mother most Amiable,
Hail Mary!  Mother most Admirable,
Hail Mary!  Mother of Divine Love,
Hail Mary!  Immaculate; Conceived without sin!
Hail Mary!  Full of Grace!  the Lord is with thee!
Blessed art thou among women! And blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

Blessed by thy Spouse, St. Joseph,
Blessed by thy Father, St. Joachim,
Blessed by thy Mother, St. Anne,
Blessed by thy Guardian, St. John,
Blessed by thy Holy Angel, St. Gabriel,

Glory be to God the Father, who chose thee,
Glory be to God the Son, who loved thee,
Glory be to God the Holy Ghost, who espoused thee,
Glorious Virgin Mary, may all men love and praise thee,
Holy Mary, Mother of God! pray for us and bless us, now and at death in the Name of Jesus, thy Divine Son!


Prayer in honor of

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament

O Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, thou glory of the Christian people, joy of the universal Church, salvation of the whole world, pray for us, and awaken in all believers a lively devotion toward the Most Holy Eucharist, that so they may be made worthy to partake of the same daily. Amen.

An indulgence of 500 days (Pius X, Audience, December 9th, 1906)


St. John Eudes, great promoter of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Our wish, our object, our chief preoccupation must be to form Jesus in ourselves, to make his spirit, his devotion, his affections, his desires, and his disposition live and reign there. All our religious exercises should be directed to this end. It is the work which God has given us to do unceasingly.

Saint John Eudes

Let us therefore give ourselves to God with a great desire to begin to live thus, and beg Him to destroy in us the life of the world of sin, and to establish His life within us.

Saint John Eudes

Father of mercies and God of all consolation, You gave us the loving Heart of your own beloved Son, because of the boundless love by which You have loved us, which no tongue can describe. May we render You a love that is perfect with hearts made one with His. Grant, we pray, that our hearts may be brought to perfect unity: each heart with the other and all hearts with the Heart of Jesus....and may the rightful yearnings of our hearts find fulfillment through Him: Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Collect from Saint John Eudes' Mass, Gaudeamus, 1668

The Christian life is a continuation and completion of the life of Christ in us. We should be so many Christs here on earth, continuing His life and His works, laboring and suffering in a holy and divine manner in the spirit of Jesus.

Saint John Eudes

The air that we breathe, the bread that we eat, the heart which throbs in our bosoms, are not more necessary for man that he may live as a human being, than is prayer for the Christian that he may live as a Christian.

Saint John Eudes

A Christian has a union with Jesus Christ more noble, more intimate and more perfect than the members of a human body have with their head.

Saint John Eudes

The Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary

By St. Louis Mary De Montfort


St. Louis De Montfort, universally known for his True Devotion to Mary, embellished the Little Crown by adding to each Hail Mary a distinctive invocation in praise of the Blessed Virgin's excellence, power, and goodness, ending with the joyful strain, "Rejoice, O Virgin Mary! Rejoice a thousand times!"

St. De Montfort gave the Little Crown as a morning prayer to both his religious families, the Montfort Fathers and the Daughter of Wisdom. He heartily recommends it to all who embrace the holy and loving slavery to Jesus through Mary. Thus the world over, from the lips of Mary's favorite children the Little Crown rises like fragrant incense to our Blessed Mother's throne in Heaven and returns to earth in showers of Divine benediction. Since the Blessed Virgin is the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, St. Louis prefaces the Little Crown with an invocation to the Holy Ghost.


Come Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle within them the fire of Thy love!

V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.

O God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit dost instruct the hearts of
the faithful, grant us by this same Spirit to relish what is right and
ever to rejoice in His consolation, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


[To honor the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin, her ineffable Virginity,
her purity without stain and her innumerable virtues.]

1. Our Father, Hail Mary.
Blessed art thou, O Virgin Mary, who didst bear the
Lord, the Creator of the world; thou didst give birth to Him Who
made thee, and remainest a Virgin forever.
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; Rejoice a thousand times!

2. Hail Mary.
O holy and immaculate Virgin, I know not with what
praise to extol thee, since thou didst bear in thy womb the very
One Whom the Heavens cannot contain.
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; Rejoice a thousand times!

3. Hail Mary.
Thou are all fair, O Virgin Mary, and there is no stain in thee.
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; Rejoice a thousand times!

4. Hail Mary.
Thy virtues, O Virgin, surpass the stars in number.
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; Rejoice a thousand times!

Glory be to the Father.


[To honor the royalty of the Blessed Virgin, her magnificence, her
universal mediation and the strength of her rule.]

5.  Our Father, Hail Mary.
Glory be to thee, O Empress of the world! Bring us with thee to the joys of Heaven.
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; Rejoice a thousand times!

6. Hail Mary.
Glory be to thee, O treasure house of the Lord's graces! Grant us a share in thy riches.
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; Rejoice a thousand times!

7. Hail Mary.
Glory be to thee, O Mediatrix between God and man!Through thee may the Almighty be favorable to us. Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; Rejoice a thousand times!

8. Glory be to thee who destroyest heresies and crushest demons! Be thou our loving guide. Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; Rejoice a thousand times! Glory be to the Father.


[To honor the mercy of the Blessed Virgin toward sinners, the poor,
the just and the dying.]

9.  Our Father, Hail Mary.
Glory be to thee, O refuge of sinners! Intercede for us with God.
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; Rejoice a thousand times!

10. Hail Mary.
Glory be to thee, O Mother of orphans! Render the Almighty favorable to us.
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; Rejoice a thousand times!

11. Hail Mary.
Glory be to thee, O joy of the just! Lead us with thee to the joys of Heaven.
Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; Rejoice a thousand times!

12. Hail Mary.
Glory be to thee who are ever ready to assist us in lifeand death! Lead us with thee to the kingdom of Heaven! Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; Rejoice a thousand times!

Glory be to the Father.


Let Us Pray.

Hail, Mary, Daughter of God the Father; Hail, Mary, Mother of God the Son; Hail, Mary, Spouse of the Holy Ghost; Hail, Mary, Temple of the most Holy Trinity; Hail, Mary, my Mistress, my treasure, my joy, Queen of my heart; my Mother, my life, my sweetness, my dearest hope ---- yea, my heart and my soul! I am all thine and all that I have is thine, O Virgin blessed above all things! Let thy soul be in me to magnify the Lord; let thy spirit be in me to rejoice in God. Set thyself, O faithful Virgin, as a seal upon my heart, that in thee and through thee I may be found faithful to God. Receive me, O gracious Virgin, among those whom thou lovest and teachest, whom thou leadest, nourishest and protectest as thy children. Grant that for love of thee I may despise all earthly consolations and ever cling to those of Heaven until, through thee, His faithful spouse, Jesus Christ thy Son be formed in me for the glory of the Father.  Amen.

The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary Devotion

In 1233, seven young men in Tuscany founded the Servite Order ("Order of the Servants of Mary"). They sought to spread devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary. The feast of the Our Lady of Sorrows was eventually instituted by a provincial synod of Cologne in 1413 as a response to the Protestant Hussites (the same Protestant sect that put sword gashes on the face of the Polish Our Lady of Czestochowa) and the seeds of devotion that was initiated by the Servite Order. Pope Saint Pius X placed the feast on September 15 so that it would closely affiliated with the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14. After the initial propagation of the Servite Order, Our Lady confirmed this devotion again by revealing to Saint Bridget of Sweden (died 1373) that those that pray a Hail Mary while meditating on her Seven Sorrows will receive the following Seven Graces from God:


  1. I will grant peace to their families.

  2. They will be enlightened about the divine mysteries.

  3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany
    them in their work.

  4. I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.

  5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.

  6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death; they will see the face of their Mother.

  7. I have obtained (this grace) from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.


  1. The prophecy of Simeon. (St. Luke 2: 34, 35)

  2. The flight into Egypt. (St. Matthew 2:13,14)

  3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple. (St. Luke 2: 43-45)

  4. The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross.

  5. The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus.

  6. The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross.

  7. The burial of Jesus.

(Say one Hail Mary while meditating on each Sorrow)
The Hail Mary: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen

To Our Lady of Sorrows

O most holy Virgin, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ: by the overwhelming grief you experienced when you witnessed the martyrdom, the crucifixion, and the death of your divine Son, look upon me with eyes of compassion, and awaken in my heart a tender commiseration for those sufferings, as well as a sincere detestation of my sins, in order that, being disengaged from all undue affection for the passing joys of this earth, I may sigh after the eternal Jerusalem, and that henceforward all my thoughts and all my actions may be directed towards this one most desirable object. Honor, glory, and love to our divine Lord Jesus, and to the holy and immaculate Mother of God. Amen.

(Composed by St. Bonaventure)


Fatima Prayers

"to save poor sinners, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart."


The Decade Prayer

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.
Note: This prayer is often added to the Rosary, due to Our Lady's request, right after each "Glory Be" prayer. This practice springs from the instructions of Mary given to the young children at Fatima.


The Sacrifice Prayer

O Jesus, it is for the love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary that I pray.


The Pardon Prayer

My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee! I beg pardon for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee.


The Eucharistic Prayer

Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, my God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament

Note: Say three times in imitation of the Fatima children


The Conversion Prayer

By your pure and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, obtain the conversion of the whole world!


The Salvation Prayer

Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation


The Angel's Prayer

O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners and the alleviation and deliverance of the holy souls in Purgatory.