Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Pope Pius IX, and The Redemptorists

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Pope Pius IX, and The Redemptorists.

The Story of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

In 1498, the picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was in a church on the island of Crete, in Greece. The picture had been there for some time and was known to be miraculous. One day a merchant from Crete stole the picture of Our Lady. He hid the picture among his things, boarded a ship and set out to sea. When a great storm arose the terrified sailors begged God and Our Lady to save them. Their prayers were heard and they were saved from shipwreck.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help A year later, the merchant went to Rome with the picture. There he got a disease and became terribly sick. He asked his Roman friend to take care of him. The merchant grew worse and realized that he would soon die. He called on his friend and with tears in his eyes, begged his friend to do him one last favour. When the Roman promised to do so, the weeping merchant continued, “Some time ago I stole a beautiful, miraculous picture of Our Lady from a church in Crete! You will find it with my belongings. I beg you, please place it in some church where the people will give it much honour.” In time the merchant died. The Roman found the picture and showed it to his wife. She wanted to keep the picture, so she put it in her bedroom. Continue reading

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help

(1863)

The image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help measures around 50 centimeters (25 inches) high. It is in the Byzantine style, painted on wood with a gold leaf background. The Virgin is there with Her divine Child; each of them has a golden halo. Two Angels, one on the right and the other on the left, present the instruments of the Passion to the Child Jesus who is frightened, whereas the Blessed Virgin looks at the pathetic scene with calm, resigned sorrow.

The image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help had long been venerated on the Isle of Crete. The inhabitants of that island, fleeing a Turkish invasion, took it with them to Rome. By the invocation of Mary under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the ship transporting Her holy image was saved from a terrible storm.

On March 27, 1499, the portrait of the Virgin of Perpetual Help was carried in triumph through the streets of Rome. Preceded by the clergy and followed by the people, it was placed over the main altar of St. Matthew’s church, near St. Mary Major. Thanks to the care of the Augustinian friars, the holy image became the object of a very popular devotion which God rewarded for several centuries with many miracles.

During the disturbances of the French Revolution (1789-1793), the French troops occupying Rome destroyed St. Matthew’s church. One of the friars serving in that sanctuary had the time to secretly remove the miraculous Madonna. He hid it so well that for sixty years, no one knew what had become of the famous painting.

God permitted a concourse of providential circumstances which led to rediscovery of the venerated image. In 1865, in order to return the holy picture to the same spot it had been prayed to before, Pius IX gave orders to have it taken to the Esquiline Hill, in St. Alphonsus Liguori’s church, built on the site of old St. Matthew’s. On April 26, 1866, the Redemptorists solemnly enthroned Our Lady of Perpetual Help in their chapel.

From that time on, thanks to the zeal of the sons of Saint Alphonsus and the countless miracles obtained in their pious sanctuary, devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help has had an extraordinary development. To acknowledge and perpetuate the remembrances of these precious favors, the Vatican Chapter crowned the holy image in great pomp on June 23, 1867.

In 1876, Pope Pius IX erected an Archconfraternity in St. Alphonsus’ church under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Today the Blessed Virgin is invoked by this name throughout the Western Church.

SS. John and Paul

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SS. John and Paul, Martyrs

THEY were both officers in the army under Julian the Apostate, and received the crown of martyrdom, probably in 362, under Apronianus, prefect of Rome, a great enemy of the Christians. These saints glorified God by a double victory: they despised the honours of the world, and triumphed over its threats and torments. They saw many wicked men prosper in their impiety, but were not dazzled by their example. They considered that worldly prosperity which attends impunity in sin is the most dreadful of all judgments; and how false and short-lived was this glittering prosperity of Julian, who in a moment fell into the pit which he himself had dug! But the martyrs, by the momentary labour of their conflict, purchased an immense weight of never-fading glory: their torments were, by their heroic patience and invincible virtue and fidelity, a spectacle worthy of God, who looked down upon them from the throne of his glory, and held his arm stretched out to strengthen them, and to put on their heads immortal crowns in the happy moment of their victory. An old church in Rome, near that of SS. Peter and Paul, bore the name of SS. John and Paul, as appears by the calendar published by F. Fronto. They have a proper office and mass in the sacramentaries of St. Gelasius and St. Gregory the Great; also in the ancient Gallican Liturgy. In England the council of Oxford, in 1222, ordered their festival to be kept of the third class; that is, with an obligation of hearing mass before work. How famous the names of SS. John and Paul have been in the church ever since the fifth century, is set forth at large by Rondininus. 1 1
The saints always accounted that they had done nothing for Christ so long as they had not resisted to blood, and by pouring forth the last drop completed their sacrifice. Every action of our lives ought to spring from this fervent motive, and consecration of ourselves to the divine service with our whole strength; we must always bear in mind that we owe to God by innumerable titles all that we are; and, after all we can do, are unprofitable servants, and do only what we are bound to do. But how base are our sloth and ingratitude, who in every action fall so much short of this fervour and duty! How does the blood of the martyrs reproach our lukewarmness! 2

Note 1. De SS. Joanne et Paulo, eorumque Basilica vetera monumenta, in 4ot. Romæ, 1707. See the hymns of Florus, deacon of Lyons, on SS. John and Paul in Mabillon, Annal. t. 1, p. 402.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VI: June. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. June 26.

Saint Peter Julian Eymard on Eucharistic Adoration

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Saint Peter Julian Eymard on Eucharistic Adoration

Throughout his Priestly life St. Peter Julian Eymard worked to promote devotion and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In 1856 he founded the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament a Religious Order devoted to the adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Here are some of his thoughts on the importance of Eucharistic Adoration in our lives: Continue reading

Saint William of Monte-Vergine

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Saint William of Monte-Vergine.

[Founder of the religious congregation of that name.] HAVING lost his father and mother in his infancy, he was brought up by his friends in great sentiments of piety; and at fifteen years of age, out of an earnest desire of leading a penitential life, he left Piedmont, his native country, made an austere pilgrimage to St. James’s in Galicia, and afterwards retired into the kingdom of Naples, where he chose for his abode a desert mountain, and lived in perpetual contemplation, and the exercises of most rigorous penitential austerities. Finding himself discovered, and his contemplation interrupted, he changed his habitation and settled in a place called Monte Vergine, situate between Nola and Benevento, in the same kingdom; but his reputation followed him, and he was obliged by two neighbouring priests to permit certain fervent persons to live with him, and imitate his ascetic practices. Thus, in 1119, was laid the foundation of the religious congregation called de Monte Vergine. The saint died on the 25th of June, 1142, and is mentioned in the Roman Martyrology. His congregation, to which he left no written rule, was put under that of St. Benedict by Alexander III. See his life by Felix Renda: Helyot, Hist. des Ord. Relig., and Papebroke, t. 5, Jun. p. 112.

June 25. Rev. Alban Butler. 1866. Volume VI: June. The Lives of the Saints