Feast Days of Our Blessed Mother for Every Day of the Year
From
THE WOMAN IN ORBIT
Compiled by Sister Manetta Lamberty, S.C.C.
Copyright 1966

Click on today's date

FEBRUARY
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16
17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29


Feb. 1:  OUR LADY OF VICTORY
No text of Holy Writ seems more appropriate to the Crusade of Victory than the words of the beloved Disciple, St. John.  In them there is the ring of triumph.  His is the optimistic note…”This is the Victory which overcometh the world—our Faith”.  (1st, John V.5)
St. John lived in the world with problems closely akin to our own.  It was a time of oppression, injustice and slavery for many.  It was a time for false ideologies – a time when men enshrined as gods the very vices of the age.  Drunkenness was glorified as the god Bacchus.  Impurity was enshrined as the goddess Venus.
While atheistic Communism may have little to say, just now it follows the same principles, seeks to dethrone the true God, proclaims godlessness and defies ideologies abhorrent to all Christian teaching.












Like the pagan Roman Empire, the Communists seek to overrun the world, to despoil nations and to enslave whole populations.  Since history repeats itself on the international scene, are we not fortunate to have for our guidance the inspired words of one taught by Christ Himself, St. John?  What is so certain to assure us in our efforts to overcome the world?  It is the faith taught by Christ, handed down through His Apostles and delivered to us today by the Church of Christ, governed by Christ’s Vicar on earth, our Holy Father, the Pope.
St. John the Evangelist is called the “beloved disciple”.  He was the friend of Christ. It was He that stood at the foot of the Cross of Christ with Mary, our Co-redemptrix.  He received so to speak the codicil of Christ’s will to mankind.  Our blessed Savior gave to us in the person of St. John, Mary, as our Mother; “Son, behold thy Mother.  Mother behold thy son.”  St.  John felt the wave of love from the Sacred Heart of our divine Lord, as he rested on the Master’s Bosom.  He was the witness who saw Christ shed His most precious Blood for our redemption.  Who could be better qualified to give us in our time of conflict and uncertainty, a message of reassurance, that our Faith will triumph again over paganism and reign supreme.
We, the people of our time, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, families, must learn from history.  We must turn to prayer to overcome the problems that shadow our lives.  Without waiting for heavenly reward, we must find our hope, new hope, new strength and happiness in this world.  Wars, rumors of wars, political and religious enslavement, crime, divorce, shattered homes, juvenile delinquency, are not new to history, nor are they ever beyond the power of prayer.
Seven hundred years ago the Catholic world was menaced by the heresy of the Albigenses.  St. Dominic met the peril by his crusade of the Rosary under the protection of Our Blessed Lady.  So complete was the victory, that the Albigensian heresy is known today as only the time when our Blessed Mother conquered, in the annals of the dim past.  Yet, this heresy is comparable to the menace of atheistic Communism in our own time.  The weapon that eliminated the Albigensian heresy was the Rosary.  We have that same weapon in all its power now.
Our Lady herself in her apparition at Fatima indicated that the Rosary will do for us now what it did then; give us victory.  She even told the children at Fatima to pray for the conversion of Russia; that the storm center of the world is Russia, at a time (1917) when Russia was not seriously on the world horizon.  Mary confided to the children of Portugal, facts that had escaped the diplomats and political observers of the world powers.  The only remedy Our Lady suggested is prayer; the Rosary.  As she holds aloft this weapon and urges the world to the Crusade of her Rosary, may we not hear Mary repeat with the voice and optimism of St. John; “This is the victory that overcometh the world, our Faith”.

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Feb. 2:  PURIFICATION OF OUR LADY
Besides commemorating the presentation of Christ in the Temple, this day has another meaning, for it is called Candlemass Day.  The candle is one of the most widely used sacramentals in the Church; one blessed in a special Mass.
We use candles at Baptism, at Mass and other church services, at the ordination of a priest, the consecration of a bishop, at Easter, at Christmas to signify the coming of Christ.  Two blessed candles should be in every home, to use in times of sickness, death, storms and calamities.
In the blessing of candles the Church reminds us that the candles signify light; they are blessed for the service of men, for health of body and soul, for those who desire to carry them in their hands with honor.  Christ, the true Light and Fire of Charity, is asked to bless these candles; to dispel the darkness of “night”, to free us from the blindness of vice and to discern what is pleasing to Him and profitable for our salvation.
On the Feast of Mary’s Purification, we greet her with lighted candles—shining with faith and understanding, burning with love and zeal, as Sion welcomed Christ the King; today we go to Christ through Mary, to Christ, the new Light that gives Faith, Hope and Charity to us all.
The two-fold Jewish rites to which the Holy Family submitted on this occasion were the legal purifying of the mother after childbirth and the offering of the first-born male child to the Lord.  These laws were not meant for them, but all through life, they showed reverence for the Father’s Law buy fulfilling its obligations, and so the Mother submitted to the Purification in all humility.  Angels beheld in wondering awe what was the greatest event the Temple had ever witnessed.  It was nothing less than the second coming of the Lord to His Temple, which the prophets had foretold.  At the Presentation, God the Son made Man took possession of the Temple built for His Father’s glory, and so ratified the worship which is offered to God in sacred courts, churches.
This simple ceremony is the link between the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption; here the Savior renews the oblation of Himself; “Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldst not; but a body Thou hast fitted to me.  Then, I said:  ‘Behold, I come:  in the head of the book it is written of me that I should do Thy will, O God’”.
Jesus really begins His Passion in this mystery of the Presentation; and so, too, Mary begins her dolors.  It is by Mary’s hands that Jesus makes the oblation which is the prelude to His Sacrifice.  We reckon the Presentation among the joyful mysteries, but it is also first in place among Mary’s Sorrows.  Simeon enlightened by the Holy Spirit, understood the mystery and so, too, did Mary.  After his first transports of joy at seeing the Messiah, he blessed them and said to His Mother, “Behold this Child is set for the fall and 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.”  This prophecy reminds us that Mary is always to be associated with the destiny of Jesus, the one solitary partner of His lot, singled out to suffer with Him.  Heresies that pierced the Son have transpierced the Mother.  The early Church guarded the doctrines of Jesus by defining Mary’s titles; today those who repudiate the honor of Mary, turn from the Son also; in the mind of Satan as in the mind of the Church, the honor of Son and Mother go together.
This feast reminds us how intimately Mary is associated with her Son in the work of Redemption.  We welcome Her Child to our hearts with love and faith, we bless the Mother, too; for she “not spared her life by reason of the distress and tribulation of her people, but has prevented our ruin in the presence of our God”.

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Feb. 3:  OUR LADY OF SAIDENEIDA
Outside of Palestine the most famous sanctuary of the Mother of God in the Levant is at a convent of Orthodox nuns, --Dair as-Sagura, within the walls of an ancient fortress on a hill near Damascus.
The origins of this shrine are no longer known, but it goes back to before the separation of the Orthodox Church from Old Rome.
The tradition that associates the Emperor Justinian I (d. 565) is legend.  The icon of Our Lady of Saideneida is said to have been brought to its present home in 870, from Constantinople or Jerusalem.  The shrine was formerly well known in the West, where from about 1200 it was popularized by the stories of strange miracles that were related of the image; today it is much resorted to by Mohammedans as well as Christians.

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Feb. 4:  OUR LADY OF FIRE
The whole thing began and ended with Our Lady:  for eight days Pedro had lit a candle before his tiny homemade shrine; and thanks to the goodness of our Lady, Pedro was selling more beans and rice, more cake, more of everything than ever before.  More people crowded into his movie house; yes, the Little Madonna was helping.  Today Pedro would light his ninth and last candle for a favor, which, if granted would complete his happiness.  Pedro watched the candlelight dance happily and thought he saw Our Lady smile.  He blew a kiss to her and bounced heavily down the stairs to his dinner.
Suddenly from across the street the Padres’ cook screamed, “Fire!  There’s a fire in Pedro’s bar.”  The four Redemptorist Fathers rushed across the square; flames were shooting from the roof; smoke billowing from the windows.  Winds blew the flames toward the school and convent; people were trying to salvage Pedro’s goods’ people screaming threw belongings out of windows.  Tabagi had no fire department, so all hands capable tried to help wherever they could.  The four Padres organized groups to empty houses, to tear down burning fences, to form a bucket brigade and to keep the fire fighters supplied with water from the river.  The Padres at least were not hysterical.
At this point the Reverend Rector decided to follow the advice he had always preached in his sermons, “When you need help…any kind of help…go to Our Blessed Lady!”  when the whole scene looked darkest, he went round and gathered the people, led them into the church, where he began reciting the rosary, asking Mary to stop the fire.
Some might call it a daring thing to do; suppose the prayers were not heard?  But prayers are not heard unless there is confidence, childlike trust in the ability of Our Mother; and so, while half the town worked, the other half prayed.  From her square old picture over the main altar, Mary looked at the Pastor standing in the aisle with his rosary in his hand she looked past the kneeling nuns and the children.  She saw the people who came to the evening devotions to sing her praises.  She saw the flame that danced happily in her honor before the tiny homemade shrine…the same flame that had started the disaster in Pedro’s bar.
They had recited ten Hail Mary’s of the Rosary when Mary stepped in to answer their plea.  Suddenly the wind died down.  The flames subsided.  When the people came streaming out of the church after saying the rosary, they stared to see the excitement all but over.  People were now leisurely carting their belongings back to their houses.   No more shrieks or screams.  Tia Fora, the Padres’ old Negro cook, sat on the church steps and puffed on her pipe.  Shaking her old gray head, she agreed; “This was Tibagi’s worst fire in my seventy-five years.  Our Lady may hae started it, I do not know. But I’m sure it was she who put it out.”

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Feb. 5:  OUR LADY OF THE SHIELD AND SWORD
There are many examples in history of Our Lady being brought to fields of battle, or of a Marian device being displayed on military standards, and of subsequent victory being attributed to her intercession.
In his famous ATLAS MARIANUS (1672) , William Gumpenberg refers to an image of the Wonderworking Queen of Mount Baden or of the Shield.
Henry of Huntington (d. 1155) and other later writers narrate that when he overcame the Saxon invaders at the great battle of Mount Baden (circa 500), King Arthur bore an image of the Blessed Virgin on his shield.  The origin of the story was no doubt the statement of Nennius, early in the ninth century, that Arthur “carried the image of the ever-Virgin St. Mary on his shoulders and the heathen were put to flight,” at the Battle of Castell Guinnion.
Before the Reformation the church of St. Mary at Wedale (now Stow) in Scotland claimed to possess the remains of the Arthurian “image”; this relic was held in great veneration, and a spring nearby was known as the Lady’s Well.

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Feb. 6:  OUR LADY OF LOUVAIN
In the Belgian town of Montaigu, there is a shrine near Sichem in Louvain going back to the setting up of a small statue of Mary in an oak tree during the fourteenth century.  The statue disappeared in 1579, but was soon replaced by another, which became reputed as an occasion of miracles of healing.
The oak having died, it was cut down and the wood used for making reproductions of the image.
For the original, a church, sevensided in shape, was built, surrounded by a fortified enclosure.  (Montaigu was a hill of military importance).  The statue was very small and simple and decked out in clothes.  It is above the high altar which stands at the spot where formerly the oak grew.
Montaigu is still one of the most popular shrines in Belgium; there is another of the same name in France.

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Feb. 7:  OUR LADY MOTHER OF GRACE
Among the many miraculous images of the Mother of God through which she deigns to grant her favors, there is one in the monastery church of the Carmelites in Vienna, entitled the Mother of Grace, known also as Our Lady of the Bowed Head.
In 1610 a Carmelite, Dominic of Jesus-Mary, found among the votaries of an old altar in the monastery church of Maria delia Scala in Rome, an oil painting of the Mother of God, dust-covered and somewhat torn, which grieved him.  Taking it into his hands, he shook the dust off it, and kneeling down venerated it with great devotion.
He had the picture renovated and placed it on the shelf in his cell, where he made it the object of his love and supplications in favor of those who came to him in their necessities and afflictions.  One night while he was praying fervently before the picture, he noticed that some dust had settled on it.  Having nothing but his coarse woolen handkerchief he dusted it with that and apologized, “O pure and holiest Virgin, nothing in the whole world is worthy of touching your holy face, but since I have nothing but this coarse handkerchief, deign to accept my good will.”  To his great surprise, the face of the Mother of God appeared to take on life, and smiling sweetly at him, she bowed her head, which thereafter remained inclined.
Fearing he was under an illusion, Dominic became troubled, but Mary assured him that his requests would be heard:   he could ask of her with full confidence any favor he might desire.  He fell upon his knees and offered himself entirely to the service of Jesus and Mary, and asked for the deliverance of one of his benefactor’s souls in purgatory.  Mary told him to offer several Masses and other good works; a short time after when he was again praying before the image, Mary appeared to him bearing the soul of his benefactor to Heaven.  Dominic begged that all who venerated Mary in this image might obtain all they requested.  In reply the Virgin gave him this assurance:  “All those who devoutly venerate me in this picture and take refuge to me will have their request granted and I will obtain for them many graces; but especially will I hear their prayers for the relief and deliverance of the souls in purgatory.”
Dominic soon after placed the image into the church of Maria Della Scala so that more devotees of Mary could venerate it.  Many wonderful favors were obtained by those who honored and invoked Mary here.  Reproductions were made and sent to different parts of the world.  After the death of Dominic the original painting was lent to Prince Maximilian of Bavaria.  He gave it to the discalced Carmelites in Munich in 1631; they gave it to Emperor Ferdinand II of Austria and his wife Eleanore.  After Ferdinand’s death, Eleanore entered the Carmelite convent in Vienna and took the picture with her.  During the succeeding years the image was transferred to various places.  Today it is in the monastery church of Vienna Doabling.  September 27, 1931 it was solemnly crowned by Pius XI—its 300th anniversary of arrival in Vienna.

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Feb. 8:  OUR LADY OF VIRTUES
We first read of Mary’s virtues in the Book of the Patriarchs and the Kings of God’s people.  Mary could not fail to inherit all the glory of her ancestors, because not only did their blood flow in her veins, but Mary used them as models of virtue.  It is the incontestable truth that Mary’s faith was as strong as Abraham’s; her obedience as great as that of Isaac’s; and her gifts of gentleness and piety equaled those of Jacob.  Her purity equaled that of Joseph; her courage the courage of David; and her wisdom that of the great and peace-loving Solomon.  And so it necessarily follows that Mary is called the Mother of Mankind, as well as the First of All Women and, like Sara, the Mother of all Believers.  The beauty of Rachel, the fertility of Lia, the integrity and valor of Debora; the zeal, the fearlessness, the saintliness of Judith, the prudence and the happiness of Esther—all these admirable qualities we find united in our Queen as the line of all her ancestors meet in the center of her, for which they were formed and whom they symbolized.
These great men and women, so renowned in the Ancient Law, were models for Mary.  Their virtues shone in her soul with such added, unbelievable splendor, that there was the same difference between Mary and her models that there is between a real man and his portrait, between the architect’s plan for a palace and the palace itself, between a shadow and the object which caused it.
Love the lovable Mother of God; love her tenderly and constantly.  Honor her before men; speak of her with reverence and zeal.  Read about her often; perform works of piety in her honor.  Finally, pray often to her; ask for sentiments as tender as those which the most devoted and the most celebrated of her followers had for her, and all the virtues which made those followers so pleasing to her; so that, with Mary’s help her glory may in part at least be yours when you give up your soul with the name of Mary on your lips.  Then, the Gates of Heaven cannot fail to swing wide without delay, as the ark was opened for the dove which appeared bearing an olive twig in its beak.  In order to have that name which will bring us such happiness and salvation, on our lips, when we are dying, we must have it constantly in our hearts while we live.

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Feb. 9:  OUR LADY OF THE BELLS
On the octave day of the Purification, it is reported that the bells in the Cathedral of Saintes, France, rang out most sweetly of themselves.  The sacristans, having run to the church, saw several unknown men holding lighted tapers and melodiously chanting hymns in honor of the Blessed Virgin, who is venerated in a chapel of this church.  Approaching softly, they—the men who had run to the church—begged the last of these men carrying lighted candles, to give them one in proof of the miracle they had seen.  The light-bearers graciously complied.
This taper is religiously preserved in that church up to this day.

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Feb. 10:  OUR LADY OF THE DOVES
While the Pilgrim Virgin statue was touring Europe, three snow-white doves came unexpectedly as the procession passed through a tiny village.  No one could be identified as their owner and they did not seem to be lost.  They settled at the feet of the Madonna—soft, white doves, at home with Mary.
Day by day as the pilgrimage drew near its destination, the doves stayed on.  They left the statue only for short flights, and never all at once.  No minute passed that at least one of them was not at Our Lady’s feet.
When the procession neared the cathedral where the statue was to be enthroned, conjecture was made about the possible action of the doves.  Eager eyes watched them as strong arms carried the Madonna to her pedestal in the sanctuary.  Softly, the doves hovered over, undisturbed by the noisy devotion of the crowd of Latin enthusiasts for Our Lady—in Italy.  When the statue was finally set firmly and left free to them once more, the doves returned to their resting place, as before, at the feet of Mary.
High Mass began at once.  Through all the singing and incensing and preaching, the birds remained, watchful but not alarmed.  Only as the Mass reached its climax at the Consecration did they stir.  Then, as if by instinct, they left the statue and flew to the altar.  Upon the high crucifix they perched for the rest of the Mass.
Then, at the “Ite Missa est”, with one accord they flew from the Church and vanished.  The doves of Mary had escorted her to the palace of the King.
Earthly royalty selects eagles for insignia.  Mary, Queen of Peace and Mother of the Prince of Peace, selects doves.

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Feb. 11:  OUR LADY OF LOURDES
In 1858, there lived in the village of Lourdes, a little peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, 14 years old, uneducated, simple, poor, good.  On February 11, she was sent with two more girls to collect wood.  They walked to the Rock of Massabielle, where the two companions crossed a mountain stream; while Bernadette was removing her shoes to follow them she became conscious of a ravishing beautiful Lady, standing in the hollow of the rock, looking at her.  Bernadette fell involuntarily upon her knees, gazing enraptured at the lovely Lady, who smiled lovingly at Bernadette and then disappeared.
The mysterious Lady from heaven appeared in all, eighteen times to the little girl and among other things told her to drink the water from a mysterious fountain which had been up until then unknown.  Bernadette scratched in the sand at the spot indicated, and water began to trickle through the earth; after a few days there gushed forth every day 27,000 gallons of pure, clear spring water, and this flows still.  Bernadette was asked by the Lady who always showed her a sweet heavenly courtesy, to request the priest to have a church built on the spot, that processions should be made to the grotto, that people should drink of the water.  The main emphasis of her message was that the Faithful should visit the grotto in order to do penance for their sins and for those of the whole world.  In answer to Bernadette’s inquiry, “Who are you?”  the Lady answered, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Four years after, the Bishop declared upon an exhaustive and scrupulous investigation, to the Faithful, that they are “justified in believing the reality of the apparitions.”  In 1873, a basilica was built on top of the rock and in 1883 another church was built below and in front of the rock.  From 1867, when records began to be kept, until 1908, about 5,000,000 pilgrims had visited the grotto; now about 1,000,000 people visit Lourdes every year.  Although Our Lady never at any time promised that pilgrims who visited would be healed of their physical ills, remarkable cures began at once and have continued ever since.  Many of them are of such a character that they can be ascribed only to supernatural power.
Bernadette died in 1879 at the age of 35, and was later canonized.  The body of the blessed Saint can still be seen in its glass coffin, intact and incorrupt, looking as its photographs show, like a young woman asleep.  The chair at which she prayed; the altar where she received her First Holy Communion; the bed in which she slept; the room in which she lived—all can be seen at Lourdes.
Lourdes is the greatest shrine in the world.  Here one may obtain refreshment, courage, energy and inspiration to continue the age-old struggle of the great Catholic Faith against the forces of darkness and disintegration.  This great shrine, all its magnificent ceremonies, its physical healings, its spiritual miracles, and the streams of grace that are poured into the world through these things, were made possible through the faithfulness and the sanctity of a little peasant girl.

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Feb. 12:  OUR LADY OF IVERON
According to the legend, this icon was thrown into the sea by iconoclasts at Constantinople and years later washed up on the shores of Mount Athos.  It was taken to the monastery of Iveron (of the Iberians or Georgians) and enshrined.  There it is still venerated under the name of “Portaitissa”.
In 1648 at the request of the ailing Tsar Alexis, a copy was made with solemn ceremony, and taken to Russia, where it became as famous as the original.  The chapel where it was kept at Moscow was perhaps the most frequented shrine of the city, and the icon was often taken to preside at some public occasion, or at a wedding, at a sickbed, and the like.
The chapel was destroyed by the Bolsheviks at the revolution, but the icon was saved and is now again enshrined in a Moscow church.

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Feb. 13:  OUR LADY OF PELLEVOISIN
Pellevoisin is a little village not far from Tours in France.  In 1876, a young woman, Estelle Faguette, lay dying from tuberculosis—only five hours to live in the opinion of the doctors.  But on the 13th of February, when all were expecting her death, Our Lady appeared near the sickbed.  This occurred on three successive nights, and then, as Our Lady had promised, the sick woman was instantly cured on a Saturday.
During the visits, Our Lady frequently spoke to Estelle, her theme being that which she so often has expressed during the past hundred years:  “I am all-merciful and have power over my Son.  What distresses me most is the lack of respect for my Son.  Publish my glory.”
For some months after her miraculous cure, Estelle continued to live quietly at Pellevoisin.  She was at a loss to find the means of fulfilling the mission entrusted to her by Our Lady.  Her heavenly visitor, however, was watching over her, and Estelle was to see her again and receive more minute instructions as to what was required of her.  On the feast of Our Lady’s Visitation in the same year, 1876, as Estelle was praying in her room, she was granted another vision.  Our Lady, robed in white and wearing on her breast a white scapular with the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, appeared to her favored friend.  This was the first of a series of wonderful visions enjoyed by Estelle, ten in all.  Again and again Mary pointed to the great need for penance and expiation—a return to God.
During one of these apparitions, Our Lady, taking her white scapular in her hand, held it before Estelle saying, “I love this devotion”.  Immediately Estelle knew that her life’s work was to propagate devotion to the Sacred Heart by means of a scapular modeled on Mary’s.  On her last appearance, December 8th, Our Lady commanded Estelle to approach her Bishop and give him a copy of the new scapular.  “Tell him to help you with all his power, and that nothing would be more agreeable to me than to see this badge on each one of my children, in reparation for the outrages which my Son suffers in the Sacrament of His love.  See, the graces I pour upon those who wear it with confidence, and who help to make it known.
The Prelate in question, the Archbishop of Bourges, gave Estelle a favorable hearing and immediately set up a commission to investigate the whole matter.  The result of all this was the establishment at Pellevoisin in 1896 of an Archconfraternity under the title of Mother of Mercy, Our Lady of Pellevoisin.  The membership of this Confraternity has gone on increasing year after year, while Pellevoisin itself has become a center of pilgrimages for thousands of Mary’s friends.
Estelle lived her quiet peaceful life at Pellevoisin, neither desiring nor receiving any personal credit.  She died in 1929.

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Feb. 14:  OUR LADY OF THE HOT OVEN
Our Lady at Bourges, France, has that title, because in the year 545, a Jew is said to have shut up his son in a hot oven because he had received Baptism and communicated on Easter Sunday; the boy was taken out sound and whole, through the protection of Our Lady.
The boy is said to have been the son of a Jewish glassblower sent to school to learn his letters with Christian boys.  On a feast day with his companions, he partook of the Body and Blood of Christ.  Returning home, he related what he had done.  The horrified father threw him into the glowing furnace and heaped in wood to make it hotter still.  The mother hearing of the deed filled the city with her cries.  The Christians, praying to Our Lady, hurried to the glassblower’s house.
The boy, rescued unharmed from the hot oven, said the woman he had seen in church, holding a Child in her arms, protected him with her purple cloak.  The boy was baptized later and many of the citizens with him.
To commemorate the event of the miracle, a church dedicated to Mary was erected and was called the Lady of the Hot Oven.

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Feb. 15:  OUR LADY OF PARIS
There does not seem to be a great deal of information about Our Lady of Paris; it is an ancient title, and can be traced back to the 12th Century, when the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris) was begun.
During the 12th Century, an older church built by Childebert became too ruinous to be repaired, so Maurice, Bishop of Paris, decided to rebuild it and at the same time adorn Paris with a Cathedral that would outshine all those which had hitherto been built anywhere.
Plans were drawn up and work begun in 1162.  By the beginning of the fourteenth century it was finished, virtually as it stands today.  Sometimes during the building of the Cathedral, a statue of Our Lady was fashioned and installed in place.
To go back still further, some authorities say that veneration of the Blessed Virgin in Paris can be traced to the first apostles of the city.  Since St. Paul was in Gaul (France) during his travels, it may be assumed that this veneration dates to the first century of the Christian era.  And if Mary was venerated in Paris at that early date, it is possible that she was, even then, known as Our Lady of Paris.  Briefly, as long as Christian minds can be remembered, Paris was consecrated to the Virgin Mary, whom the inhabitants always venerated.

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Feb. 16:  OUR LADY OF THE THORN
The name of this shrine near Chalons-sur-Marne in France is due to a legend that had its origin in the devotion of the Augustinian canons of Saint-Victor, to the sinless Mother of God, unscathed among the world’s flames like the Burning bush.  During the Middle Ages the priests of St. Augustine had charge of this church.
The sanctuary decayed during the Wars of Religion and the Revolution, but it was restored during the nineteenth century, and the small medieval statue of Our Lady was repaired and replaced.  It is now once more a place of local pilgrimage.
The thornbush, burning  but unconsumed, from which God spoke to Moses, is used by the Church as a figure of Our Lady; and an antiphon at lauds on the feast of the Circumcision in the Little Office of Mary says:  “The bush which Moses saw unburnt we recognize as your glorious virginity:  Mother of God, intercede for us.”
Some Greek calendars have a commemoration of this under the title, Our Lady of the Thorn or of the Thorn-Bush.  St. Brigit writes, “This chosen Mother is appropriately likened to the bush which Moses saw all on fire, which yet remained unconsumed; for He who abode so long in the bush until He made Moses believe and carry out what He told him, to whom also when he asked His name said I AM WHO AM, this is my name forever; the same abode in His Mother’s womb for as long as other children must remain there before birth.  And as the Son of God took entire possession of the Virgin’s body in His conception, so did He come forth from her in His Nativity as the perfume yielded by the rose, in all the glory of His Godhead and manhood, the virginal glory of the Mother remaining untouched.”  By the bush which Moses saw is understood Our Lady that was afire and burnt not, she was mother without loss of maidenhood.
There is also a classical reference in English literature to this in Chaucer’s CANTERBURY TALES, when the Prioress invokes Our Lady’s help in the telling words:
O Mother maid, O Maid and Mother free,
O bush unburnt, burning in Moses’ sight.
Draw us to thee, let us thine own be;
Thy thorns protect us in God’s sight.

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Feb. 17:  OUR LADY OF CONSTANTINOPLE
Several of the Byzantine icons in southern Italy and Sicily are venerated under the title Our Lady of Constantinople.  The most celebrated, at Hodegretria, is in the cathedral at Bari.  It was crowned in 1772.  Another such icon is at Monte Vergine and there is one in the church of St. Matthias at Trier in Germany.
Monte Vergine is a very famous Benedictine sanctuary in the Campanian region of Italy; its religious history goes back to pre-Christian times, when there was a temple of Cybele there.  A chapel of the Blessed Virgin was built in the seventh century, and in 1119 St. William of Vercelli founded the monastery that still exists, high up on the mountain.  In the church is a large icon of the Mother and Child, “of Constantinople”, said to have been brought to Italy by King Baldwin of Jerusalem, and came into the possession of the monastery in 1310.  The dark figures strike out in a conspicuous manner from the gold background; the present lower part of the picture is a later addition.  There are some 200,000 pilgrims yearly to Monte Vergine, notably Whitsuntide time and September 1st.  In the United States at Seattle, Washington, there is a church dedicated to Monte Vergine, and also one at New Brunswick, New Jersey.

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Feb. 18:  OUR LADY OF LAON
The shrine or chapel of Our Lady of Laon was erected into a cathedral and founded by St. Remigius, Archbishop of Rheims, about the year 500, where he consecrated as his first bishop St. Geneband, his nephew.
Miracles were wrought there and, among others, we read that in the year 1395, there was seen on the steeple, the picture of a crucifix, the wounds of which bled.
The people of Laon took pride in their cathedral and tried to make it rival the great shrine of Chartres.  They did not succeed, but the result is the sum of an emotion, clear and strong as love and much stronger than logic and clearer; the charm of the Laon cathedral lies in its unstable balance; which without doubt Our Lady accepted in love as it was meant by her devoted children.

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Feb. 19:  OUR LADY OF GOOD TIDINGS
The statue honored at Lempdes, France, is one of those, known as the black virgin.  It is a very ancient piece and was formerly honored by numerous pilgrimages.  The chapel containing the image was sacked in 1793 and demolished in 1830.  A cross marks the place where it once stood.  The statue was then carried to the church at Lempdes.
At Nancy there is another shrine to Our Lady of Good Tidings.  In 1525 when Anthony, Duke of Lorraine, was defending his territory against the invasion of the Protestants, a little child was praying before the statue of Our Lady in the church of St. George.  The child, a deaf mute, suddenly heard a voice telling her to go and tell the duchess that her spouse would return victorious.  The child fulfilled the order.  “Ah, that is good news,” said the duchess, when she received the message.  The duke was victorious, and from that time on the statue was known as Our Lady of Good News.
Pilgrimages began to flourish and many miracles occurred.  A commission was named to verify the latter.  In 1742, the Church of St. George was torn down and the statue carried to the cathedral.  It is still venerated there, for it was rescued during the time of The Terror.

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Feb. 20:  OUR LADY OF BOLOUGNE SUR MER
In the year 636, a ship without oars or sails came into the harbor of Bolougne.  The ship bore a statue of Our Lady, and the citizens welcomed Mary to their city by erecting to her a shrine which reached its height of glory in the 12th Century.
Henry VIII is reported to have stolen the statue of Our Lady of Bolougne and taken it to England.  After many negotiations, the French managed to get it back.  The image had been stolen and hidden many other times, but always saved and returned.
World War II almost completely destroyed the statue.  In modern times, four exact replicas of our Lady of Bolougne toured France for more than seven years as a symbol of French devotion to Mary.  One of these was taken to Walsingham, England in 1948 and carried in procession by the “Cross-bearing pilgrimate” when many other statues and images of the Virgin visited England.
Bolougne was one of the most important Lady shrines of medieval France; among its noted pilgrims have been:  Henry III, Edward II, the Black Prince, John of Gaunt.  At the French Revolution, the statue was burnt to ashes and the church pulled down.  A new statue was made in 1803 and pilgrimages began again.  The image represents the Mother with the Child in her arms, standing in a boat, with an angel on either side.  At the Marian Congress in Bolougne in 1938, a custom began to take replicas of this statue “on turn” in France and abroad.  A branch of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Compassion at Bolougne has been established for the reconciliation of the Church of England.
The sanctuary church at Bolougne was badly damaged during World War II, and Mary’s image smashed; but the return, the “Great Return” of one of the copies of the statue which had been sheltered at Lourdes, took place in 1943, and the occasion will long be remembered by Mary lovers.
There is an ancient offshoot of this shrine at Boulogne-sur-Seine.

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Feb. 21:  OUR LADY OF GOOD HAVEN
In 1838, the crew of a vessel which had just arrived at Paimpol, in Frace, forty-eight in number, accomplished a vow they had made in a most perilous voyage from Newfoundland.
A terrific tempest had arisen, their sails were torn, and for three days they were in continual danger of finding a watery grave.  The ship began to fill with water, and all hope of safety seemed lost, when the crew, by common consent, turned their eyes to Mary, Star of the Sea, and asked for good haven.  They promised if she saved them, they would visit in the most suppliant manner the church at Paimpol, where there is an image of Our Lady much venerated by the people.  They had scarcely ended their prayer, when the weather became more calm and the waves began to subside.  Profiting by this providential change, they repaired their sails, and had a favorable wind till they reached the coasts of Brittany.  They landed in safety at Knod, toward the decline of day, and their first act was to prostrate themselves on the ground, and give God thanks for their return.  They then intoned the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, and advanced barefooted and bare-headed along the banks and through the streets of Paimpol, to the church of the Good Haven.  The people attracted in crowds by the novelty of the sight, followed them.  There were parents who went to give thanks for the return of their sons, and wives to thank Mary for restoring their husbands to them.  Tears streamed down every eye, and the immense multitude knelt down before the altar of that powerful Virgin, who had received from her Son power to command wind and wave.
The torches shed a dim light on the recesses of the sanctuary where stood the image of the Blessed Virgin, whose inclined head and extended arms seemed to say to all.  “Come to me, I am your Mother”.
These pious mariners with the most touching expression of sentiment, chanted the hymn, “Ave Maris Stella” in which they were joined in gratitude by the people.
“Bright Mother of our Maker, hail!
Thou Virgin ever blest,
The ocean’s star, by which we sail,
And gain the port of rest.”

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Feb. 22:  OUR LADY OF HELP
There are several shrines to Our Lady of Help, of Good Help, of Perpetual Help, Help of Christians, in Italy and in Latin America.
The one near Lucca in Italy, is said to have originated when an angry farmer said to his little son, “The devil take you!”  Whereupon the devil appeared, but was driven off by Our Lady in response to cries of the child’s mother—a story that presents certain difficulties.
At New Franklin, Wisconsin, there is a shrine to Our Lady of Good help which has for long been a place of local pilgrimage and is now beginning to be known further afield.  It has its origin about 1861, when a young Belgian, Adele Brisse, had a spiritual experience which many believe to have been a vision of Our Lady.  The school that Adele founded became a home for crippled children in 1933, run by the Sisters of St. Francis of Bay Settlement; the new chapel of Our Lady of Good Help is the center of the pilgrimage and cures have been reported.

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Feb. 23:  OUR LADY OF THE ROCKS
There are shrines of this or similar names, one of the best known being the Madonna del Sasso at Locarno in Switzerland.  The Franciscans established a house there in the thirteenth century.
One of the friars had a vision of Our Lady, and the pilgrimage church of the Annunciation was accordingly built there in 1616.  In the same country there is a pilgrimage chapel of St. Mary of the High Rocks (Marienkapelle zu hohen Fluen) in the Valais canton.  Here the statue of Our Lady is said to have been found floating in the River Rhone.
The shrine of Our Lady of the Rocks at Castel Sant’ Elia in the Italian region is approached by 144 steps.  These steps were cut from the living rock by a hermit of the eighteenth century, Joseph Rodio.  It took him fourteen years to do so.  At the top, in a little chapel, is an image of Mary that was crowned in 1896.  The place is still in charge of the Franciscans.

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Feb. 24:  OUR LADY OF DE GREBNEV
Grebnev possessed a picture of the Mother of God which was said to have been painted by St. Luke.  The picture is described as being three feet high and two and a half feet wide.  The panel is composed of two pieces, which by time have become slightly disjointed.  The Blessed Virgin’s Countenance is sweet; her head is covered with a blue veil.  She holds the Infant, who is most beautiful, seated on His Mother’s knee.  He holds a book in the left hand, and the right is held up in blessing.
The most celebrated miracle connected with this picture is which spread desolation everywhere.  Nothing was heard but weeping and lamentations; all over were seen the dead being carried to the grave by the dying.  (It is said that the disorder affected particularly the fibres of the brain and produced sneezing.  Hence arose the custom of saying, “God bless you” to those who sneeze.)  With the coming of Easter, the disease raged in all its fury.  The Holy Father, Pope Gregory the Great, assembled the faithful capable of leaving their houses (One-half of the inhabitants had died) and ordered a penitential procession for Easter Sunday.
The venerated picture was taken down and the praying crowds grouped around the holy image, went in procession through the city amid sobs and lamentations, bareheaded and with naked feet.  The impure air was dissipated, and the plague fled at the approach of the sacred picture.  The people and the Holy Father heard in the air choirs of angels saluting their Queen in the words of the “Regina Coeli”.  The angelic hymn was adopted by the Church and sung during the Paschal time—so the legend relates.

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Feb. 25:  OUR LADY OF GREAT POWER
Our Lady of Great Power is little known in America, unless among the pupils of the Ursulines in Quebec.  Generations of these, however, have dwelt within the walls of the Old Monastery during two centuries and more, since the arrival of the statue in the last years of the 17th century.
In the annals of the Ursulines of the Sacred Heart at Perigueux, France, where the statue was solemnly crowned, we find the origin of the devotion.  The devotion to Our Lady of Great Power began in the monastery of Issoudun.  There a holy Ursuline nun, Mother St. Peter, was inspired during her prayer to invoke Our Lady under this title.  She spoke of her inspiration to her Sisters and her Superiors.  The devotion was adopted with enthusiasm, and very soon it was decided that a statue be sculptured and a chapel built, dedicated to Our Lady of Great Power; she would henceforth be chosen as first and principal Superior of the Monastery.
The feast of the dedication took place February 25, 1673, and was celebrated with great pomp, as the chronicle testifies:  “After High mass two ecclesiastics carried the statue to the entry of the monastery where the nuns, in solemn procession, received it.  It was placed on a richly decorated litter and, to the chanting of hymns, psalms and canticles, it was brought to the prepared chapel.
“When the same statue was raised on its pedestal, the superior laid the keys of the monastery, the seals and constitutions at Our Lady’s feet, begging her, in the name of the community, to accept the gift of all hearts, and of the entire monastery and to allow them to look on her as their Superior forever.  Each rendered homage while hymns and canticles of thanksgiving were sung in Mary’s honor”.
Ever after, when a superior was elected, the ceremony was renewed and is still renewed in each Ursuline community every year on a principal feast of the Blessed Virgin; though homage is rendered only every three years, after the election or nomination of superiors.
The statue was carried off and profaned during the dark days of the French Revolution.  It was found and returned to the monastery at Perigueux; and the devotion continued fervently until 1892, when the bishop of Perigueux, in the name of the Sovereign Pontiff, placed a richly jeweled crown on the head of the Mother and the Child, and ratified the numberless and signal favors obtained through Our Lady of Great Power.
Through the Ursulines in Quebec, the devotion soon spread through the New World.  Before the altar in Quebec hangs the famous votive light promised to be kept burning as a token of thanks for favors granted to mother St. Agatha (Madeleine de Repentigny).  Relatives and descendants of this holy nun have kept the lamp burning.  One relative, Miss Anthon, had a new lamp made, an artistic gem, the work of the celebrated ecclesiastical goldsmith Calliat of Lyon, France.

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Feb. 26:  OUR LADY OF THE FIELDS
The title of Our Lady of the Fields and the devotion to Mary as such, takes us back to the earliest days of Catholic life in France.
We owe a great deal of our traditional devotion to Mary to St. Denys, the first Bishop of Paris.  The story is told that he drove the demons from a temple of Ceres, the pagan goddess of agriculture, and placed therein a Madonna modeled after St. Luke’s famous painting.  The Temple was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin whom Parisians have honored for centuries under the title of Our Lady of the Fields.
If the Blessed Virgin were a goddess she would be a very human goddess—simple and approachable, forgetful of her privileges and of her beauty.  Her constant humility adds to her charm.  St. Denys knew this well.  He found her so gloriously beautiful that he gave to her the place in the temple—and in the hearts of the people—formerly held by the pagan goddess.
“I am the Flower of the Fields”, the Holy Ghost has the Blessed Virgin say.  A flower of the fields has a simple beauty that charms us even more because it blossoms by itself without care or cultivation.  Our Savior Himself marveled at such a flower and of it He spoke these words of praise that have been repeated through the centuries:  “See how the lilies of the field grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these”.
But lilies soon fade and roses are hardly open before they begin to shed their petals before the wind.
The beauty of Mary is less perishable; it remains ever fresh and unchanged in the valley of our exile.

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Feb. 27:  OUR LADY OF LIGHT
Early in the 18th century, a Jesuit, father John Genovesi, lived in Palermo Italy.  At the beginning of his missionary career, he placed the souls over which he would have charge under the protection of the Blessed Mother, deciding to take with him to each of his missions an image of Mary.  Not knowing which image of Our Lady to use, he consulted a pious visionary telling her to ask Our Lady what she desired.  One day as this lady knelt in prayer, she beheld approaching her, the Queen of Heaven, surrounded by pomp, majesty and glory, surpassing anything else she had ever beheld in any of her visions.  A torrent of light was shed from the body of the Virgin which was so clear, that in comparison with it, the sun seemed obscure.  Yet, these rays were not painful to the sight; but seemed rather directed to the heart, which they instantly penetrated and filled with sweetness.
A group of Seraphs hovering in the air were suspended over their Empress and held a triple crown.  The virginal body was clothed in a flowing robe, whiter than the snow and more brilliant than the sun.  A belt inlaid with precious stones encircled Mary’s beautiful form, and from her graceful shoulders hung a mantle of azure hue.  Countless angels surrounded their Queen, but what most enchanted the contemplative soul, was the untold sweetness and grace and benignity shown in the motherly face of Mary.  She radiated clemency and love.  Upon her left arm she carried her Infant Son, whose divine features glowed with affability and love.  Our Lady told the pious woman that she wished to be represented as she was now under the title of MOST HOLY MOTHER OF LIGHT, repeating the words three times.
The Jesuit hired laborers to begin the work on the picture however, neither the pious lady nor the priest were able to direct it, and the result was that after completion, it did not answer Our Lady’s orders.  Our Lady directed the woman to look at the image, and seeing the mistake, she again betook herself to prayer and asked Mary to help her.  Mary appeared again, commanding the woman to supervise the work, giving directions, while Mary would aid in an invisible manner.  Pleased by the finished work, Mary appeared over it, and blessed it with the sign of the cross.
This wonderful treasure is now in the city of Mexico in the cathedral of Leon, formerly known as the Jesuit Church.  The back of the picture bears the authenticity and four signatures, including that of father Genovesi, SJ.  The painting was transferred from Palermo, Sicily in 1702 and placed on the altar in Leon in 1732.  The people of Leon have an innate devotion and great tenderness toward the Mother of God.  In 1849 they solemnly promised before the picture to make Our Lady of Light the patroness of Leon.  This promise was confirmed by Pope Pius IX; Leo XIII authenticated the crowning of the image of Our Lady of Light in 1902.

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Feb. 28:  OUR LADY OF SINNERS
St. Bernard tells us, “If you fear to have recourse to Jesus Christ because the majesty of God in Him overawed you and you desire another advocate with this Divine Mediator – then go to Mary.  She will intercede for you with her Son and He will most certainly hear her.  He will then intercede with the Father, Who can deny nothing to such a Son.”
“This divine Mother is the ladder of sinners, for by her they reascend to the height of divine grace.  She is my greatest confidence, the whole ground of my hope.”
Mary’s chief office in this world is to raise up sinners who have fallen from divine grace, and to reconcile them with God.  Our Lord revealed to St. Catherine of Siena, “that He had granted Mary to be a kind of bait by which He might catch men, end especially sinners, and draw them to God.”  This magnet, Mary, draws to God many obstinate hearts each day.  Even the most hardened hearts she reconciles to God.
St. John Chrysostom says, “Another purpose for which the Blessed Virgin was made the Mother of God was that she might obtain salvation for many who could not otherwise be saved.”  St. Anselm says, “Mary was raised to the dignity of Mother of God more for sinners than for the just.  For Jesus Christ Himself declares that He came not to call the just, but sinners.”  Holy Church sings, “You do not abhor sinners, for without them you would never have been worthy of such a Son.”  William of Parish invokes her thus:  “O Mary, because of all the gifts, the graces, the honors which you have received in the dignity of Mother of God, you are obliged to help sinners.  For, in a matter of speaking, you owe all to sinners.”  St. Augustine concludes, “If Mary was made Mother of God because of sinners, how can I, no matter how great my sins, despair of pardon.”  St. Andrew of Crete calls Mary “A pledge and security for our reconciliation with God.”
St. Bonaventure encourages a sinner in this manner, “If you fear because of your sins that God in His anger will be avenged, what should you do?  Go, have recourse to Mary, who is the hope of sinners.  And if you fear that she may refuse to take your part, remember, that she cannot do so.  For God Himself has imposed upon her the duty of helping the miserable.
St. Bernard says, in conclusion, “O sinner, whoever you are – whether imbedded in crime or grown in sin – do not despair.  Thank your Lord, Who in order that He might show His mercy, has not only given his Son for your advocate, but, to encourage you to greater confidence has provided you with a mediatrix who by her prayers obtains whatever she wills.  Go then, have recourse to Mary, and you will be saved”.

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Feb. 29:  OUR LADY OF SUPREME PARDON
In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, most of the kings were warriors.  They were interested in fighting rather than in being educated.  Many of them could hardly read or write.
The queens, however, were often educated.  Many of them could speak several languages; all of them were women of culture.  Queens, then, were frequently great powers in the governments.
If a man was condemned at a trial, and on the way to his execution he were to meet the queen, he could redeem himself in a very curious manner.  Throwing himself at the feet of the queen, he would beg mercy somewhat in the following way, by saying, “hail, queen, mother of mercy, my life and my hope.”
This is the picture in the mind of the Church, when she, too, greets Mary, the Queen of Heaven, in the great anthem, “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.  Turn then, most gracious advocate, thy merciful eyes upon us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.”
Sinners cast themselves at the feet of their heavenly Queen, for if earthly queens can be so powerful, granting such supreme pardon, why not the Queen of Heaven, she who is indeed and in truth, Our Lady of Supreme Pardon to us sinners.

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