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

MARCH
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  30  31


March 1:  OUR LADY DELLA CROCE
There is a sanctuary of the Madonna on the Bergamo Road, about a mile away from the city of Crema, Italy.  The structure is a circular form, with four additions in the shape of a cross, which gave rise to the name:  “Holy Mary of the Cross”.  The sanctuary is located in a place where, in years gone by, there stood a dense little wood called “Il Novelletto”.
In the late 15th century a young woman named Caterina Uberti lived with her brother in the city of Crema.  When she arrived at marriageable age, her brother induced her to wed one Bartolomeo Petrobelli; it was an unfortunate arrangement – Caterina was good and pious; Bartolomeo was quite the opposite, tending toward the wicked and corrupt.  The marriage was unhappy for Caterina and uncomfortable for Bartolomoleo – his rather crude and brutal ways shamed her, while her refined and holy life was a silent reproach to his somewhat scandalous mode of living.  So, after a year of turmoil,



Bartolomeo decided to kill Caterina.  Having made up his mind, he lost no time in carrying out his evil design.
He suggested that they journey to Bergamo and visit his parents; she agreed, and in the late afternoon of April 3, 1490, they mounted their horses and set forth from the city.  When they arrived at the wood about a mile from Crema, Bartolomeo left the highway and rode into the forest; Caterina was puzzled, but not knowing what else to do, followed him.  When they reached the middle of the wood, Bartolomeo dismounted and made Caterina get down from her horse.  Then, without warning, he drew his sword, raised it and fiercely brought it down, intending to split her head with one clean cut.  Instinctively she drew up her arm to ward off the savage blow, saved her head, but lost her right hand – the poor severed hand hung from the stump of her arm by a strip of skin, and Bartolomeo brutally tore it off and flung it to one side.  He then slashed at her like a maniac until she fell to the ground in a pool of blood; thinking her dead, he leaped on his horse and fled.  Caterina was not dead, nor was she afraid to die, though she felt her time was short.  With all her dying heart she wished for the Last Sacraments; so she prayed to the Mother of God, who heard her prayer.  A glow of light pushed back the gathering darkness and a beautiful lady approached her.  Reaching down, the Lady took her by the arm and helped her rise – the blood stopped flowing and new life coursed through her mutilated body.  The Lady bade Caterina follow her, but Caterina asked if she might look for her lost hand.  The Lady promised it would be returned to her in due time.  Taking Caterina to a hut, she told her these people would help her and then vanished.  The kind peasants did all they could for Caterina, and the next morning they placed her on a rude stretcher and tenderly carried her back to Crema.  As they passed through the wood, one of the men found the severed hand and returned it to Caterina.  They took her to the Church of St. Benedetto, where the pastor, after hearing the story, anointed Caterina who died there.  The story spread rapidly; some believed, others doubted that the Blessed Virgin worked such wonders.  A young eleven year old boy, living in Crema plagued with an unhealable abscess on a foot, begged to be taken to the wood to put his foot on the spot where the Lady appeared.  His mother and a group of relatives carried him there, and he was instantly cured, all abscess traces gone.
Many other sick and infirm came also and were cured.  The people erected a small chapel on the spot and placed in it a plaster image of Our Lady.  More favors followed; many offerings were made by the faithful and in a few years a fitting sanctuary to the Madonna was completed by 1500.  Later a fine new statue of Mary was enshrined in the Sanctuary and in 1873 it was crowned with a gold crown by order of the Vatican.

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March 2:  APPARITIONS OF OUR LADY
The apparitions of Our Lady are so numerous that they have almost come to be taken for granted.  Perhaps that is just where the fault lies.
Many of the apparitions of the Virgin have been of a private nature, that is, they have been made for the benefit of a single person or a few individuals.  But no one can doubt that the famous revelations at Lourdes, Of La Salette, and more recently apocalyptic wonders at Fatima were all of universal import. 
At La Salette our Blessed lady wore the clothing of mourning, carried the instruments of penance, and she wept for a sinful world.  She begged for penance and for the observance of the Sunday rest and worship.  She warned the people that they would be scourged for their sins.  She entrusted to the children of the apparition, secrets which were dutifully conveyed to the Pope.  It is generally believed that the first world conflict of 1914-18 was predicated by the Blessed Virgin in these visions.  Twelve years after the miracles of LaSalette, came the wonderful visitation of Lourdes.  These revelations at Lourdes doubtlessly were a confirmation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception and also served as a solemn protest from Heaven against the widespread sins contrary to Christian modesty. 
At Fatima men were told to do penance, to pray, especially the Rosary, and lastly, Our Lady asked for a consecration of the entire world to her Immaculate Heart.  Many thousands of the Faithful the world over have answered the appeal of the Blessed Virgin.  The daily Rosary became common to many Catholic families.  The Holy Father consecrated the Church and the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in October, 1942.
It remains for the individual Catholic to rally to the cause of truth and justice and peace.  Our only hope now is in our Faith.  Perhaps this is the “eleventh hour”, but it is not too late. 
Let us turn to Mary, who is, after God, our only hope.  “Mary, come quickly, we need you!”

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March 3:  OUR LADY OF ANGELS OF TOULOUSE
In the year 1212, three merchants from Angers were passing through the forest of Bondy in France, when they were set upon by robbers.  After being robbed, they were bound to trees and left to their fate.
Since it was a wild and lonely place, known to be the haunt of robbers, their chances of rescue were few.  They prayed earnestly to God and our Lady, and, after a day and a night, angels came and released them.
Near the place where they had been bound, the men discovered a spring, which they considered to be miraculous.  They determined to set up a shrine of Our Lady on the spot, in thanksgiving for their deliverance.
The first statue they put into the shrine was intended only to be used temporarily until something better could be made or purchased.  However, almost immediately there began a stream of miraculous cures among those who prayed before the rough little statue.
The same statue remains today, but it has been richly clothed and decked with jewels.  In 1260 the little chapel was enlarged to enclose also the spring.  In 1663 the chapel was rebuilt and redecorated, and so remained until the French Revolution, when it was destroyed.  However, it was rebuilt in 1808.
One of the many thank-offerings in the chapel is a ship suspended above the altar, as an ex-voto from a group of sailors who were saved from shipwreck at the intercession of Our Lady of the Angels.

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March 4:  OUR LADY OF GUARD (Notre Dame de la Garde)
Late one afternoon during the thirteenth century, a solitary French fisherman was fishing off the harbor of Marseille.  Before he became aware of it, a terrific storm burst upon him.  His boat tossed around like a shell, and filled with water faster than he could bail it out.  His rudder was lost; his mast snapped; cutting free the rigging with a knife, he saved himself from capture.  Everything looked hopeless, and he felt he could never get back to the harbor.  He thought of the family he would never see again and cast a despairing look at the city, the huge rock standing like a sentinel or guard on the Mountain which overtopped the city and harbor.
Dimly through the gloom he saw the figure of a lady, dressed in white, standing firmly on the very top of the rock.  She seemed to be extending her hand as if she would help him to the shelter and safety of the harbor.  At once it came to him that the Lady so calmly defying the wind and rain, could only be the Blessed Mother, so he prayed to her to help him.  Almost immediately his boat ceased its wild tossing, righted itself and pushed by a friendly gust of wind, raced into the calm water of the harbor until it drove onto the shore at the very foot of the mountain.  Falling on his knees, he poured out his thanks to the Blessed Virgin then hurried home to his worried family.
The story of his rescue through the assistance of Our Lady, quickly spread throughout the port.  It was remembered that other sailors, on numerous occasions during severe storms, had also seen the figure of the Lady on top of the rock.  Always when she had appeared, the angry seas had calmed and their craft had ridden safely into the shelter.
Soon everyone came to believe that the rock was the spot on which the Blessed Virgin would appear whenever her help was desperately required.  In thanksgiving to her the sailors of Marseille, in 1213-1218, erected a chapel on top of the rock.  In it they enshrined a lovely statue of Our Lady.
Around 1544, the chapel was replaced by a large church and the statue transferred to it.  Sometime during the French Revolution (1789-1799) the statue was destroyed, but during the 1830’s a new statue was dedicated.  That Mary did not confine her help to sailors, was proved in 1832, when a severe epidemic of cholera struck Marseilles; the people decided to appeal to Mary.  Forming a procession, they climbed the mountain, removed the statue from the chapel, brought it down, and solemnly carried it through the streets of the city.  Almost immediately the epidemic waned, and in a few days vanished.  So they called Mary, Our Lady of Help – the sailors called her Our Lady of Mariners.
Some years later, as the fame of the shrine on top of the mountain spread, with more and more people coming up to pay their respects, it acquired still another name – Notre Dame de la Garde – Our Lady of the Guard or Guardian.
In Marseilles, today, the hill of Notre Dame de la Garde is topped by a basilica, at an altitude of 550 feet, built in 1864.  This commanding site has been occupied by a chapel since 1214.  The interior has a multitude of sailor’s votive offerings and model ships are hung in all parts of it.  A statue of the Virgin and Child dominates the city from its place on top of the western tower.

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March 5:  OUR LADY OF GOOD HELP
Dedicated to Our Lady of Good Help, Notre Dame de Bonsecours for 300 years has been the sanctuary for seamen leaving Montreal for the seven seas.  A wooden chapel was built in 1657; replaced in 1675 by a building whose foundations serve the present church which was erected in 1771. 
Over the entrance is inscribed:  “If the love of Mary is graven in your heart, forget not a prayer in passing.”  Our Lady of Good Help is a beautiful little Church, with fine paintings.  On the walls are mosaics of Marguerite Bourgeoys, who inspired the first chapel: and of Maisonneuve, founder of Montreal, said to have felled the first oak for the chapel.
A narrow stairway, lined with pilgrims’ acknowledgments, leads to an aerial chapel set in the roof.  Here is a facsimile of the Santa Casa, the house of the Virgin reputedly carried by angels from Nazareth to Loretto.

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March 6:  OUR LADY OF NAZARETH
Using our imagination and historic facts, we presume, the cozy house of Nazareth was Mary’s workshop, where she cared for the simple needs of Jesus and Joseph.  Her good taste made the furnishings more attractive.  Her frugality allowed the family budget to be balanced.  “Full of grace”, her graciousness radiated everywhere.  Frequently she would drop into Joseph’s workshop to show her interest in what he was making.  She knew that God the Father had given all things to mankind to use.  Therefore man had to apply to these things his skill and labor so that he might enjoy and use them for many purposes.  Nazareth was a labor union because all hearts were united in love.  There was cooperation.  There was pride in the finished product which should command a fair price in the market place.
At Nazareth there was love, not selfish love, but love of others.  Today accent is laid on justice, which gives every man his due; but love gives over and above what justice decrees.
Mary of Nazareth understands what is needed for the integrity of woman, for her dignity, the honor of the young girl and the protection and education of the child.
Under Mary’s loving eye the young Christ grew in “age, wisdom and grace with God and man”.
Prayer was the dynamo of Nazareth, sending currents of grace throughout the world.  Our work, too, can be made a humble offering in the sight of God.  Through prayer, and work and sacrifice, we can “Magnify the Lord” as Mary did.
The Holy House of Nazareth had three bed chambers, small - just enough room to contain a couch, a chest, a chair or stool and a little walking space.  The floors were of hard waterproof concrete.  The kitchen was combined with the common room, where there were chairs, stools, a table or two and cupboards to provide reasonable comfort.  The walls were painted in a conventual sense.  There were storage facilities for grain and cereals.  There were skin containers, terra cotta jars for cooling water, some small basins, buckets and tubs; a griddle, a few pans, some metal forks, knives and an assortment of ceramic ware.
Mary of Nazareth will always remain the Immaculate, glorious Mother of us all; she adjusts herself to each nation, each people; she is in brief, our perpetual help, our dearest Mother and mighty advocate at the throne of God.

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March 7:  MADONNA OF THE STAR
From the beginning of his voyage, Columbus had ordered that the “Ave Maris Stella” (Hail!  Star of the Sea) be sung daily for Our Lady’s protection.  Despite all adversities encountered, the Star of the Sea heard their prayers, and on October 12, land was sighted.  Columbus named the archipelago to the east of Cuba:  “Sea of Our Lady” and called the largest island “Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception.”  An enthusiastic welcome awaited Columbus on his return; the bells rang out and the inhabitants of Palos came to the riverside to do him homage.  But the great discoverer refused all congratulations until he had fulfilled his vows to Our Lady, made on the unknown seas.  As soon as the ship cast anchor, Columbus and his men walked in procession to the nearest shrine of Our Lady to thank her, the Star of the Sea, for having guided them on their voyage, protected them from the dangers of the deep.
The title Our Lady Star of the East presents Mary in a role of great significance and importance for our day, when wars and rumors of wars fill the earth, and men go about in fearful expectation of the things that are coming on the world.  The division of the world into two camps of East and West threatens war to the death for both.  The failure of human effort to achieve a lasting peace has brought despair to the hearts of many men:  but where man has failed, God can still prevail.  Our Lady alone gives hope that the bellicose East may be pacified, not by war but by peace itself.
There is a beautiful painting of Our Lady, Star of the East; it depicts her giving the blessing of peace.  She is praying, “They have no peace”, as once she prayed, “They have no wine.”  We dare hope with St. Antoninus that “It is impossible that the Mother of God should pray in vain.”
Our Lady is Star of the East because of her eastern origin.  The West, which like the beloved disciple, John, has taken Mary into its home, tends to forget that Mary is the royal daughter of an eastern race.  The East first naturally recognized her greatness and preeminence.
She is the Morning Star which weds love of nature and love of God, combining religion and beauty.  The Morning Star is the Star of the East which shines before the sun with the light of the sun, in the dark of the night.  St. Anthony sings, “O Virgin of Light, no star is so bright.”  The Star of the East is the herald of dawn in the darkest hour of night.  Mary is the Mother of a Holy Hope for the world.  Mary is the only star that shines in the dark soul-night of Russia’s godlessness, and she alone, Our Lady Star of the East, predicts the dawn of the Sun of Justice, Christ, our Lord.  “Russia will be converted” are her words, “If you do penance”.  If you will convert yourself, God will convert Russia; thus will result a double conversion, a turning to God of both East and West, and in God they can be peacefully one.  “She alone, has destroyed the heresies of the whole world.”  All Mary’s paths are peaceable.  Again as in ages past, she is Star of the East.

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March 8:  OUR LADY OF VIRTUES
All her lovely life long, Mary lit candles of the ten principal virtues which the Gospels attribute to her; namely:  purity, prudence, humility, faith, piety, obedience, poverty, patience, charity, compassion; candles which Our Lady lit to illuminate the pathway the children of God must travel to their eternal rendezvous with Him.
Mary lit a candle of purity on the day of her Immaculate Conception and kept it trimmed and aglow until the angel escorted her to Paradise. 
When God sent the angel Gabriel to communicate to Mary the good news of the Divine Maternity; she knew this would mean ineffable joy and unutterable sorrow – she could have withdrawn her consent; instead, she lit the candle of obedience and submission to God’s will:  “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord.  Be it done to me according to Thy word.”  We have here a model of ready acceptance, on God’s authority, of what was naturally impossible.  Vowed to virginity, she did not doubt God’s promise that she should become the mother of His Son; she knew it to be possible with God.  She BELIEVED the Archangel Gabriel, she believed St. Joseph; she believed in and adored a God in swaddling clothes.  Well could her cousin Elizabeth call her “blessed” – because she had believed.
HOPE filled Mary’s heart on the first Holy Saturday, when the Apostles and disciples were mortally afraid that the cold tomb would not give up its dead.  Hope carried Mary high through the disappointments and frustrations that invariably beset the children of God, journeying toward the promised Heaven; and because she hoped in Him, she has become OUR hope.
Mary lit the candle of CHARITY.  At a time when might was right and tyranny clamped its iron grip upon the “little people” to terrorize them.  Mary fulfilled to perfection the new commandment of brotherly love.  Her heart was literally overflowing with love of God, love for men, love for God’s wonders wrought in her most humble person.  Charity prompted her to visit her aged cousin, although it meant a tiresome journey of seventy miles from Nazareth to Ain Karim.  Charity led her to solicit a miracle from her son at the wedding feast of Cana, Charity urged Mary to accept the death of Jesus, for the remission of the sins of mankind.  Mary has always loved us and still loves us – the combined loves of all earthly mothers past, present and to come, is like a block of ice in comparison with Mary’s love for one single soul.
Mary lit the candle of courage.  It took rare fortitude to travel to Bethlehem; to arise at midnight and head toward Egypt and exile.  What courage when the Jewish mob clamored for the death of her Son!  To take the taunts, the finger-pointing, the malicious gossip during the years of Christ’s public ministry; and pierced with sorrow, she nevertheless stood courageously at the foot of the cross.  Mary’s virtues are lovable, accessible.  She is the Mother of the Light of the World, who follows her, does not walk in darkness, but in the full effulgence of light that leads to sanctity.

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March 9:  OUR LADY OF SAVIGNY (FRANCE)
About the year 1112 the diocese of Avranches, established the foundation of the Abbey of Savigny in honor of the Blessed Mother.  This day commemorates the event.  The blessed Vitalis, hermit, was the first abbot.
When Serlo was abbot of Savigny, a monk while saying Mass in honor of Our Lady, to whom he had a deep and tender devotion, beheld the Virgin’s hand making the sign of the cross over the chalice at the consecration of the wine.  At the same time a deliciously sweet fragrance surrounded the monk.  Thereafter as often as he recalled this, he was refreshed by the sweetness of the scent which encompassed him at the time.
Mary’s presence was frequently experienced at this shrine, particularly during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and numerous miracles were wrought, prayers answered and graces bestowed for the asking.

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March 10:  OUR LADY OF THE VINE
The origin of this German shrine near Wurzburg, was toward the end of the fifteenth century when a vinegrower set up a small “pieta” as a wayside alter.
In 1504 attention was called to it in connection with the sudden cure of a man who had been hurt in a quarrel.  A small wooden chapel was built, then a stone one, and in 1613 this was enlarged.  The shrine was first called Our Lady in the Sandy Place, but is now known locally as Our Lady of the vineyards or of the Vine.  Dettelbach is a lovely example of a quiet, lesser-known German sanctuary.  For four hundred years, the Friars Minor cared for it, and the seal of St. Francis is stamped on the place.
The “pieta” is a very small image, only about eighteen inches tall’ it stands on a pedestal, beneath a marble canopy that towers up to the vault of the church.

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March 11:  OUR LADY OF THE FOREST
Brittany is a land noted for its pilgrimages and Our Lady of the Forest is one of the chief of them.  In 1419 a church took the place of a small chapel of Our Lady in the forest of Lesneven, and it became the center of a big ecclesiastical establishment, with a pilgrim shrine.
After a chequered history it fell into decay before the Revolution and suffered from fire.  In 1808 local people restored the ruined church and brought back a venerated image, which was crowned in 1888.  The pilgrimage has grown in popularity ever since; hardy woodsmen still recount the stories of miraculous cures and special graces and blessings received.

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March 12:  OUR LADY OF MIRACLES
From earliest times, the Franciscans have always honored the statue of the Virgin known as Our Lady of the Miracle.  Often the Franciscan Brothers and Priests knelt before the statue to beg the conversion of the people of Peru.
Shortly after the Spaniards settled in Cusco, the ancient Inca Capital, the Franciscans moved there and took the statue with them.  The Spaniards had not been there long when the Indians, under Mancoll, rose in revolt and laid siege to the city.  The religious and the Spaniards reduced in number, took refuge in a shed where they were attacked by the Indians with missiles and arrows which set fire to the shed.  The men inside would have perished in the fire, but Our Lady visibly extinguished the flames.  The Spaniards erected a church in thanksgiving and the statue was returned to Lima.
A second miracle took place on November 27, 1630.  A violent earthquake shook the city of Lima.  Confusion and terror reigned everywhere.  Suddenly some Religious and many faithful saw the image of the Virgin move to the high altar and stop before the Blessed Sacrament, in an attitude of supplication, asking pardon and mercy.  The quake ceased and all of Lima was one voice in praising the Virgin of the Miracle who had saved the city from destruction.  Church dignitaries and faithful have had a great devotion to the Lady of the Miracles.  The two Franciscans, St. Francis Solano and the Venerable Friar Juan Gomez both had a great devotion to Our Lady under this title.  A pious association, which took its name from the Virgin Mary of the Miracles was established and was enriched with spiritual graces by many Roman Pontiffs.
In 1952 the Holy Father gave permission for the crowning of the image, for which many persons offered jewels and brilliants.  The Spanish Embassy sent a mantel embroidered in Madrid to be placed on the statue for the occasion.  This is the latest of the Virgin statues in Peru to be crowned.  (1960).

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March 13:  OUR LADY EMPRESS
Such excellence as shines in the Mother of God is the reason for her power over the world – the world below, the world above.  With energy she works for the spread of the kingdom of God, now openly, now hiddenly, but, always.
“Glory be to thee, O Empress of the World!  Bring us with thee to the joys of heaven.”  Not often does Mary work spectacular miracles, like Jesus, she lets her pity cure diseases and avert disasters.  She rescues her beseeching children from worldly ruin, time and time again.  But when the history of the world is revealed on the last day, it will be in the spiritual world that Mary’s power will be most noteworthy.
How often mothers mediate between children in disgrace and irate fathers.  Mary is such a Mother.  Enemies to man’s salvation she slays with her tremendous power.  Human pride that seeks by untruth to change the teachings of Christ, she battles with her humility.  Satan she crushes beneath her immaculate heel.
All blessings fill the earth in Mary’s prayer.  Her life is our BENEDICITE.  “Bless the Lord” is her continual cry.  Queen of Angels she can command their glorious song. 
Empress of the World, she can exact tribute of praise from crystal waters and high flying clouds, from sturdy mountains and flowered fields.  Sun, moon, and stars obey her behest to adore Him; she is Empress.
Lady of Light, she can bid night as well as day extol His glory.  Not only suns obey her but winds and storms; not only brightness and clear blue skies, but darkness of deep midnight.
Mistress, Empress of Earth, trees lift hands to God for her, flowers bend in worship before their Lord at her command.  Birds sing Hosanna, and from furred creatures she may demand devotion for God, her Lord.
As Mother of Men, she can hymn praise with them:  “Bless God, the Father, the Spirit, the Sanctifier.”
Blessed now, more than before, since her voice can call us to His love.  Because of her, we dare raise confident voices; because of her, He will hear and be glad.  Now, with her we may sing more eloquently than Ananias, Azarias, Misael, than all the psalmists and singers of ages before He came through her.
It is her voice for which He listens now – the sole unsinning one – who prays with Christ:  “Blessed, O thrice-blessed be God now.  Blessed be God forevermore.”  Because He joys to hear her, He joys too, to hear us.  To praise God with Mary is to be heard with delight.

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March 14:  OUR LADY OF de la BRECHE
Near the city of Chartres every year a procession takes place in thanksgiving to Our Lady for having delivered the city of Chartres when it was besieged by heretics in the year 1568. 
It was during this siege that not a cannon ball or musket ball fired by the enemy at the image of our Lady, placed upon the Drouaise Gate, struck the statue; although marks of the cannon and musket balls are seen two or three inches from the image.  “I shall place enmity between thee and the Woman.  She shall crush thy head…” is indeed verified at the shrine of la Breche.

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March 15:  SOUS TERRE VIERGO OR OUR LADY OF THE UNDERGROUND
In the city of Chartres, 55 miles southwest of Paris, Our Lady is honored under three titles, among them, Our Lady of the Underground.  All three titles have their origin at the spot today occupied by the Cathedral of Chartres.
On the spot where the Cathedral of Chartres now stands, the Druids raised a prophetic statue of a virgin, and called it Virgini Pariturae (who would bear a son).  The Druids were a fraternity of priests, religious teachers and judges who ruled the Celtic inhabitants of ancient Gaul (France now), Britain and Ireland.  They did everything they could to uphold the national cause against the Roman conquerors and urged the people to rebel.  Tiberius, Emperor from 14 A.D. to 37 A.D., and Claudius, Emperor from 41 A.D. to 54 A.D., deemed it necessary to officially forbid the practice of the Druid religion.  At the time Julius Caesar was in Gaul (58-49, B.C.) the Druids had a place of worship at Chartres, and even then, they had an altar in a grotto on a hill now occupied by the Cathedral; this altar was dedicated to the “Virgin who would bring forth a son” – traditionally also at that grotto there was a wooden statue to this (Pagan) virgin.  It is natural to wonder where the Druids got the idea of this virgin.  There are several theories on the idea; they might have learned it from the Jews, who, after the conquests of Alexander scattered all over the earth [or they may have been a segment of the Jews themselves who kept their prophecies and traditions with them]; they might have received it from a revelation direct from God; they may have gotten it from ancient tradition running back to the early patriarchs and prophets. 
Regardless of whence it came, it is certain that when the Christian missionaries arrived in Chartres, they found the ancient shrine there.  The Christian missionaries transferred the shrine into one dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God.  All down the centuries, through building, fires, and rebuilding of the several churches, the original Druid grotto was called Our Lady of the Underground, since it was kept in the crypt (underground) of the Cathedral of Chartres.  In 1650, the grotto underground was walled up and, at that time, a small chapel was built close by the crypt, and the statue of Our Lady of the Underground was transferred to it.
In 1793, during the French Revolution, the revolutionists removed the statue and burned it, badly damaging the chapel.  In 1857 the underground shrine was restored and a new statue carved of stone placed in it.  So, Our Lady is still Our Lady of the Underground.  And how fitting today that she has such a title; for so many of our Communist-domineered people must certainly worship in secret, they are of the “underground”, so to say, and have a Mother also thus titled.

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March 16:  OUR LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN
“For with Thee is the fountain of life.”  Mary is the rock whence God, this divine fountain of life, flows as it were into the world.  Such is the mystery of the Incarnation that God became Man from His Virgin Mother, much as a life giving spring flows from the massive cliffs.  How beautifully this is illustrated to our present age by the fountain of Lourdes, the life-giving spring for so many of the sick, which was pointed out at the Grotto to St. Bernadette by Our Lady herself a century ago.  And by the many other fountains which at Our Lady’s bidding sprang up from the earth as healing waters for all who believed in her power and trusted her intercession and love.
This purest fountain which gushes from the solid rock six feet below the Grotto of Massabielle, is fed from the far Alpine peaks which rise majestically to inaccessible heights and are clothed in the blinding brilliance of eternal snows.  So Mary, the Immaculate, has brought from heaven to this lowly earth, God Himself.  From her is begotten in time the All-Holy One Who is The Eternal Wisdom, the Joy and the Life of the elect.
“With thee, O Mother, is the Fountain of Life – thou art the channel of the Divinity, thou art the Mother of God.  Now assumed into Heaven, from thy immaculate hands as from the unfailing fountain of purest waters of Massabielle flow all graces to the sin-parched earth.”  “Come and drink of this water; come and wash in it”, is your invitation to mankind – for in Christ Whom you bring us, we are living waters of everlasting life, and we are made white when washed in the Blood of the Lamb.
The fountain of Lourdes has grown into a mighty river to inundate the whole world with divine grace.  It is turned into light each evening during the candle-light procession, with the triumphant, “Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!”
As the years go on the consciousness of mankind, Mary appears resplendent as the Lady of Light as she did at Fatima; as the Woman clothed with the sun; the great Apocalypse sign seen in the firmament of this modern age.  Simultaneously there appears the dragon, the red dragon, who would devour her seed.  The little fountain, the many waters, the light and the sun – prophetically speak to us of Mary, who brings to the sin-darkened world, Christ, its true and only Light and with Him the promise of our final victory over Satan and the powers of darkness.

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March 17:  OUR LADY OF IRELAND or MADONNA OF IRELAND
During the difficult times of Oliver Cromwell, one of the bishops forced to leave Ireland was Dr. Lynch, Bishop of Clonfert.  He travelled about Europe and finally came to Hungary in 1654.  He was kindly received by John Pusky, Bishop of Byer, and eventually became auxiliary bishop of the diocese.
Ten years later Bishop Lynch planned to return to his native land.  Almighty God prevented this; during his dying hours he gave to the Bishop of Gyer his only material treasure—the picture of the Madonna of Ireland.  Soon after, as a memory of the Irish Bishop, the picture of Our Lady was hung on the wall of the Cathedral at Gyer.  Years passed.  On the feast of St. Patrick, while large numbers of the faithful were present in the Cathedral, an awe-inspiring event took place.  A bloody sweat was observed to come over the figure of the Blessed Lady in the picture.  Drops of blood fell onto the Infant Jesus; as the bleeding continued for three hours.  Linen towels, which are still retained under glass, at her shrine, were used to wipe the blood from the blood-perspiring face.
In the archives of the Cathedral of Gyer, there is a document written in 1697 on parchment, relating this event.  It is signed not only by the clergy and the laity who were present at the Mass, but by the mayor and the councilmen, by the governer, Lutheran and Calvanist preachers, a Rabbi—over one hundred signatures represent eye-witness to the miracle.  In 1874, Pope Pius IX granted a plenary indulgence on the feasts of St. Patrick and the Assumption, before which feast public novenas are held.
In 1913 Archbishop Schrembs of Toledo, visited Byer in Hungary.  He saw the beautiful painting and was deeply moved when told of the wonderful event.  He requested a copy for the many Irish Catholics in his diocese who would be happy to learn the history and to possess the picture of Our Lady of Ireland.  The copy was placed face to face with the original and then given to Bishop Schrembs.  On August 23, 1914, Archbishop Schrembs dedicated the new St. Stephen’s Church in Toledo, Ohio.  The Hungarian people had paid about 2/3 of the expenses of the building.  The bishop presented the Madonna to this church, saying, “I am convinced that the picture will be treasured in a Hungarian Church just as much as it would be in and Irish one.”  Both Hungarians and Irish were thrilled.
The image depicts Mary crowned as queen and before her, lying on several circular pillows is the Infant, also crowned as the Little King, and covered with royal robes.

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MARCH 18:  OUR LADY OF MERCY OF SAVONA
For over 400 years penitential pilgrimages have been held annually during Passiontide through the streets of Italy’s beautiful seaport, Savona.  These wend their way up the valley of San Bernardo to the shrine of the Mother of Mercy.  Though the spaciousness and magnificence of the great basilica and its eight superb side-chapels, enriched by numerous papal indulgences, would captivate the eye, the pilgrims linger not until they have reached the crypt beneath the chancel of Mary’s Church, bearing the inscription, “Worship in this place where once her feet stood.”
Here in an alcove beneath the altar, upon which the actual rock of the apparition stands, is a marble figure of the Mother of Mercy as she appeared to Antonio Botta on March 18, 1536.  Pipelines divert the water of the stream, some of which now flows into a marble basin beside the altar rail.
Antonio, an ordinary laborer, was on his way to the hills a few miles above Savona, going to his work as usual.  At this point, for some unknown reason, where his path was crossed by a small mountain stream, he felt impelled to kneel for a moment.  At once a clear melodious voice called his name.  Startled, the peasant looked up and beheld a beautiful lady standing on a small rock in the midst of the stream and surrounded by a brilliant light.
“Do not be afraid”, said the Lady, “Antonio, it is I, Mary.”  Antonio remained on his knees spellbound as the lady continued, “Tell your confessor that he must bid the people to fast on the next three Saturdays in honor of the Mother of God.  You must go to confession and receive the Sacraments.  Return here on the fourth Saturday, for I have more to say to you.”
Antonio hastened to give the message to the priest.  The news spread quickly and many priests and people heeded Our Lady’s call to prayer and penance.
On the fourth Saturday, Antonio returned to the brook.  Promptly the Mother of Mercy appeared with hands extended as if in welcome.  She looked at him a moment and then spoke:  “Go to Savona and renew my instructions with greater insistence, calling all to leave their sins and vices.  Bid all to make three processions of penance, because my Son is greatly stirred in anger towards the world because of its iniquities.”  The better to persuade the people, Antonio asked for a sign; but Mary said, “Go, I will give them an inward sign so that when they hear these things they will believe them without other signs.  Many will be inspired to do as I ask.”  Raising both hands as if in blessing, the Lady added three times:  “Mercy, and not justice, my Son.”  Then she vanished, leaving a sweet fragrance which permeated the place for some time.
As Antonio hastened to the bishop’s house, to relate what had occurred, he recognized the Lady’s sign.  Everywhere he saw people running out into the streets repeating the same words, “Mercy and not justice!” and “Have mercy, O Thou, our most holy Advocate!”  They hurried to the churches, rang the bells, crowded around our Lady’s altars, singing hymns, praying and honoring Mary, Mother of God.  From that day to the present pilgrimages to the Mother of Mercy at this Sacred spot have never ceased.  Within a few months a small church was built, and later this was enshrined within a very large one, the present basilica.  The sick are brought upon stretchers, bathed in the waters of the stream; many wonderful cures have been wrought.
By order of Napoleon, Pope Pius VII was imprisoned July 6th, 1809 and led captive to Savona where he was kept till 1812.  During those hard years the Pope found solace in the Mother of Mercy, making a solemn vow that if he were released, he would, with his own hands, crown her image there.  Mother of Mercy heard his prayers and Pius VII kept his promise on May 10, 1815,
When he went in procession with cardinals, bishops, Italy’s royalty and a multitude of people, to the shrine, celebrated the Mass himself, blessed the crown and placed it on Mary’s brow.

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MARCH 19:  OUR LADY OF THE CAPE
Father Luke Delilets was sent to the little town of Cape de la Madeleine on the St. Lawrence River in the province of Quebec.  His new parish was rich in history but poor in faith.  His church, built in 1714, was a century and a half old and it had replaced the original chapel built in 1659.  By the middle of the nineteenth century, the people of the district had become extremely lax.
One evening Father Desilets went into his church and found, before the statue of the Virgin, a small pig with a rosary between its teeth.  “There,” the priest said, “men drop their beads, but the very beasts pick them up!”  He knelt before the statue and promised to spend the rest of his life spreading devotion to the rosary.  Immediately afterward there was a remarkable rebirth of piety among his people.
In time there was need for a larger church at the Cape.  The men of the parish crossed the river, quarried and prepared the stones for the new edifice.  The parish could not afford a barge to bring the stones across the river, and the river is so wide and swift at the point that it does not freeze every year.  Beginning in November, 1877, the parishioners recited the Rosary every Sunday after High Mass in petition for freezing weather.  The beginning of March they became discouraged, but the pastor himself continued to pray.
On the evening of March 14, a warm wind began breaking up the ice farther down the river.  It came floating in huge chunks.  Ice accumulated behind the cape.  By March 16, it formed a mass reaching almost from shore to shore.  All that night in the bitter cold more than 50 men worked to reinforce the causeway.  The work was dangerous because the current was swift and much of the ice was soft.  Far into the morning a dim light shone from one of the rectory windows.  “There is nothing to fear”, the men said to each other.  “The Curé is reciting his beads.  His Aves are holding us up.”  From then on the causeway of ice was called the Bridge of Rosaries.
For eight days the men brought the stones over the Bridge of Rosaries on their sledges; pools swirled a few feet from the path across the ice, but there were no accidents.  On the eighth day the weather turned warmer; the stones had been hauled.  Father Desilets ordered the work to stop; in the afternoon the passage was swept away.  The new church was built, and the ancient chapel dedicated to the Queen of the Rosary, on June 22, 1883.  On dedication evening Father Desilets and two other priests knelt in the church where that day the statue of the Virgin had been moved from the side to the main altar.  As they knelt, the priests saw the downcast eyes of the statue open wide and look up to heaven!
Father Desilets died a month later, his work was accomplished.  The miraculous statue called Our Lady of the Cape, was crowned in 1904 by authority of Pope Pius X.  In 1909 the Bishop of Canada proclaimed the chapel to be a National Shrine to the Blessed Virgin.  The shrine is visited by about 230,000 pilgrims each year.

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March 20:  OUR LADY OF CALEVOURT
The image of Our Lady of Calevourt at Uekelem, near Brussels, began to work miracles in the year 1454.  This induced the erection of a magnificent chapel to Our Lady in the year 1623. 
The Infanta of Spain, Isabella, Clara Eugenia, devoutly visited the shrine the same year.
The image of Our Lady is known under various titles, due to the fact that Mary gives aid, even miraculous aid, when called upon for help.
We are told that during the Protestant Reformation, the figure was taken to Flanders and hidden away by a Catholic family.  In due course it fell into the hands of Protestants.  This Protestant family received numerous graces and blessings which they attributed to the presence of the holy image in their house.  They were reconciled to the Church as a result.
In 1623 a Spanish captain was given the statue with instructions to place it into the hands of Archduchess Isabella.  The arrival of the statue in Brussels is related under several incidents.  The same day the ship arrived, the Infanta (Isabella) won a battle against the Hollanders.  The Princess sent the statue back to Brussels where the townspeople placed it in the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Good Success.  From that time on Mary traveled from place to place, but always her image was saved and restored to Belgium where she now reigns peacefully over her loved people.

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March 21:  OUR LADY OF BRUGES
At a shrine in Flanders, dedicated to Mary, it is reported that a lock of the Virgin’s hair is preserved.  It is said to have been brought there by a Syrian Bishop named Mocca.
This shrine is likewise said to have its famous relic of the Holy Blood, which is the center of much pilgrimage.  The precious relic was brought from Palestine by Thierry of Alsace on his return from the second crusade.  From 1150 this relic has been venerated with much devotion.  The annual pilgrimage attended by the nobility in their quaint robes takes place on the Monday following the first Sunday in May – not only the Flemish nobility take part, but also thousands of pilgrims from all over Christendom.
Every Friday the relic is less solemnly exposed for the veneration of the Faithful.  As mentioned above, the shrine is dedicated to Mary, for it was she who gave her own blood to her Divine Son, the God-Man.
As at all the Marian shrines, miracles take place through the intercession of the Mother of God.

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March 22:  OUR LADY OF CITEAUX
A certain young man entered the Cistercian Monastery at Citeaux.  He had been softly brought up and found the religious life very hard, especially the coarse fare that was served in the refectory.  He almost died of hunger, for he could not force himself to eat the food.  He prayed to Our Lady with great fervor to help him overcome this weakness of the flesh.
One night after he had prayed even more earnestly than usual, he fell asleep with the piece of bread, given him for his evening meal, in his hand; it was so hard and sour he could not eat it.
Our Lady, full of tenderness for the young souls who seek to follow her Son in the narrow way of religion, had compassion on him and came to him, saying:  “Come, my son, rise up and follow me; I will give you that food of which you stand in need.  Now shall you eat and be satisfied, for the bread I will give you is the banquet which my Son spread for His friends.”
He rose up full of joy at these words; and she took him by the hand, and led him to the place where the great crucifix was hung, whereon Our Lord and Savior shows His Five Sacred Wounds.
“Look,” she said, “here is your feast made ready, for My Son died to make all things sweet to you.  Take this crust of bread, which you so much dread, and dip it into His wounded Side, which was pierced for you, and thereby you shall know the savor of that food wherewith poverty is nourished for His sake.”
When with great awe and reverence he dipped his crust in the Wound of Our Savior’s Side, our Lady said to Him, “Ecce Panis Angelorum,” and when the novice ate of the crust, an exceeding, great peace entered his soul; his hunger was stilled, and he was refreshed in body and mind.  It seemed to him the sweetest food he had ever tasted.  Kneeling down, he gave thanks to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother, filled with love to endure the hardships of holy poverty; for he now knew that Our Lord can give that which makes sweet the bread of tribulation through the virtue of His Most Sacred Passion.
This shows the prudence of Our Blessed Mother in a true manner; she chose this gentle and persuasive way to correct the monk of his weakness, when all other means might have failed.

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March 23:  OUR LADY OF VICTORY OF LEPANTO
The battle fought on August 5, 1716, between the Austrian army of Prince Eugene and the Turks at Peterwardein in Hungary, was won through the power of Mary.
To help equip the Christian army against the Turks, Pope Clement XI emptied the Papal treasury.
The Turks had come up like fire from the East, plundering, raping, enslaving, threatening to master the whole of Christendom, but had been defeated at Lepanto through the power of the Rosary.  In 1716, Mary, Queen of Victory, was chosen to guide and protect her children again.  The two armies met on the morning of the feast of Our Lady of the Snows; the Christian army was outnumbered ten to three; the enemy had the advantage of position; but the Christian strength lay in the right of their cause and in Mary, who watched over them.  The battle was long and hot, but back of the lines, in the churches of Europe, people prayed; their prayers were heard.  That evening the sun set on a free Hungary.  Mary’s men had won the day; Mary’s banner floated victoriously over a Christian land.
The news filled the Christian world with joy, but nowhere more than at Rome.  In thanksgiving to the mother of God for her help, glorious, solemn, pontifical ceremonies of gratitude were held in the basilica of St. Mary.  Four Turkish standards, trophies of the victory, were presented in the sanctuary of Our Lady of Loreto.  After Lepanto, Pius V instituted the feast of the Holy Rosary in Rome, and Clement XI extended it to the world.
Today other more sinister errors eat at the heart of Christian culture:  Naturalism undermining man’s faith in God and in himself, Nationalism—Communism—is Mary’s enemy; it transforms the state into a god to which men must be sacrificed.  Men are children of God, sons of Mary, not slaves of the state.
Against the errors of our time, we must appeal to Mary; she is our guide, our Queen of Victories and of Peace.  For her and for her blessed son we struggle, and on her powerful intercession with the Prince of Peace we place our trust.
We struggle today to preserve our birthright as sons of God.  Never in her history has America been so evidently on God’s side.  And Mary, our Mother, the Queen of victory and of Peace, stands for our final victory, for our peace.  Victory and peace must and will be ours, if we cling to the Mother of God.  Mary will again crush the head of the Serpent, and this time, again, by means of her Rosary, if we have recourse to her through it.

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March 24:  OUR LADY OF THE THORN
During the Middle Ages, when many a knight rode off to the crusades, never to return, among the many widows left behind was one of saintly repute on the heights of Jura.  She was devoted to the Mother of God, whose image in her chapel she kept constantly supplied with fresh flowers.  One day in wintertime she went searching in the woods for some fragrant twig to grace her Marian shrine.  Thorn trees do not bloom in winter, but our Lady’s devotee prayed that she might find a love-offering.  Naïve and childlike in her confidence in Mary, she was not surprised to find blossoms on a thorn tree.  Some days later, she went at dusk to get another fresh spray from the obliging thorn-tree, and found it all alight; she was troubled as she went through the woods, fearing it might be the light from a robber’s campfire.  She peered through the bleak winter-branches at the blossoms swaying in the breeze.  Hurriedly picking a branch she went home and told the chaplain her story.
He and an old servant went with her the following night, chanting hymns as they approached the radiant tree.  The chaplain parted the branches and saw a small statue of Our Lady, surrounded by a circlet of blossoms on the branch.  It was a small statue, not pretty, rudely carved of wood and painted in bright colors; yet there was no doubt about its identity as a statue of the Mother of God.  They took it home, rejoicing and fixed a niche for it in the chapel.  There the noble lady and her retinue watched and prayed until midnight.  In the morning, however, the statue had returned to the thorn-tree.  The lady feared in her humility that her own unworthiness sent the statue from her; but the chaplain assured her that Our Lady simply wanted to be honored in the place that she herself had chosen.
A chapel was built around the thorn-tree and the statue left in its original spot.  Its fame spread all over Europe, and for many years pilgrims turned from the more famous pilgrim roads to seek out the narrow gorge where Our Lady of the Thorn held court, and sprigs of the favored tree withered on many a chapel wall throughout Christendom.  Nuns, too came to the favored spot, and the noble Lady gave them her house for a cloister and built there an abbey church.  She herself joined the nuns and after a holy life, died at the foot of Our Lady’s altar.  Now grasses creep for many centuries over the stones worn smooth by sandaled feet of consecrated nuns, and the pilgrims ways are lost in the brush and the thorn.
Still, each spring, till Time is no more, the thorn trees bloom, and white petals testify to those who will listen, to the tale that no scientist would believe, the story of Our Lady of the Flowering Thorn.  If you wish to check on the details, you might go yourself to the forgotten valley near the highest peak of the Jura and walk among the ruins there.  As you kneel on the grassy stone that once formed the arch above the chapel window, say a prayer to Our Lady for the one from whom I heard the tale, for me, and for all lovers and devotees of Mary.

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March 25:  THE ANNUNCIATION OF OUR LADY
Absorbed in profound contemplation, the humble Virgin of Nazareth, Spouse of Joseph, the Carpenter, was pondering the ills which afflict humanity, at the same time fostering in her heart the most ardent longing for the advent of the Messiah promised by the prophets.  Suddenly a heavenly messenger presented himself to her.  It was the Archangel Gabriel who, bowing with reverence before her, said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.”  And the Virgin thought within herself what manner of salutation this might be.  Then the Angel went on to explain to her:  “Thou hast found grace with God.”  “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a Son; and the Lord will give Him the throne of David His Father…And He shall reign over the house of David forever and His Kingdom shall have no end.”
But Mary said to the Angel:  “How shall this be done, since I know not man?”  And the angel answering, said to her:  “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee.  And therefore also the Holy One which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God…”  The Angel awaited her reply.  Then Mary said, “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.”
FIAT—“Be it done” is a mark of desire, not of doubt.  Fiat may also be understood as a word of petition, for no one prays unless he believes and hopes to obtain.  God wished to be asked.  This Mary understood, when she said, “Be it done.”
The human mind will never understand perfectly how much the Incarnation accomplished in Mary at that moment.  When she was raised high above all angels and men, she abased herself as much as is possible to a creature.  Her greatness was equaled only by her humility.  Her blind obedience was the crowning act of her devotedness to God’s will all the years before the Annunciation.  It was the manifestation of her interior sanctity and beauty of soul which, as one of the Fathers has said, “ravished the heart of the Son of God and drew Him down to her bosom”.  This spiritual conception through faith and obedience was a far greater thing to Mary, we are told, than her conception of Him in the flesh.  Mary’s consent to be the Mother of God was given on our behalf, too.  This incarnation was a spiritual marriage between the Son of God and our humanity.
The mystery of the Annunciation reminds us of our indebtedness to Mary, as well as of her glories.
This feast of the Annunciation has left its impress on all the arts.  Religious and military orders have perpetuated this feast in many ways; the Angelus daily reminds us thrice of it.
We ought to revive interest in a feast as great as this; it is one of the greatest feasts of the year to a world which so badly needs Good News; the Irish call it “Lady Day”, and we simply call it the feast of the Annunciation.

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March 26:  OUR LADY OF SOISSONS
At a Benedictine Abbey of nuns in the city of Soissons, France, one of the shoes of Our Lady is believed to be preserved.
In the year 1128, a plague afflicted the city of Soissons.  For six consecutive days the victims went to the shrine of Our Lady and called out for help.  Mary appeared accompanied by the heavenly hosts.  Immediately the people who believed, were healed. 
The Bishop asked all who were healed to make a novena of thanks and to kiss the slipper of the Holy Virgin in the church.  Boso, a rustic servant of one of the knights of Soissons, came to the church for the festival which was to follow the novena.  While his companions gave gifts and talked of the slipper of Our Lady, he gave nothing and scoffed at the idea, muttering, “You are very foolish to believe this to be the Virgin’s slipper.  It would have rotted long ago”.  At these words, his blasphemous mouth was drawn toward his ear with such sharpness and pain, that his eyes seemed to slip out of his head.  A tumor covered his face and made it unfit for human use.  Roaring and writhing, he threw himself before the altar of Mary, begging for help.
The abbess Mathilda took the slipper and made the sign of the cross over the victim.  Immediately he began to heal.  The punished scoffer repented and gave himself up to the service of the Church of Soissons.  Many—the lame, the blind, the deaf, the dumb, the paralytics, were healed at the shrine.

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March 27:  OUR LADY OF FOGGIA
Sometime around the year 1001, in the country near Foggia, there was a forest of oak trees, on the outskirts of which lived an elderly peasant, poor and miserable of life.  He owned a team of oxen with which he worked the adjacent field and managed thereby to keep body and soul together.  He was quite a pious old chap, much devoted to the Blessed Virgin, who decided to repay him for his devotion and bestow her graces on him in a singular manner.  On a Saturday in the early spring, Mary appeared to him in the midst of the foliage of the oak trees; her garments were trimmed with stars from which dazzling rays of light shone forth.
The old man was startled at this unexpected and splendid sight—instinctively he removed his hat, threw aside the cane with which he supported himself, sank to his knees and began to pray.  His two oxen likewise bowed their heads in mute adoration.
The vision vanished and when the peasant raised his eyes he saw in the crotch of the tree a lovely statue of Our Lady.  Quickly he ran to his rude little hut, obtained a metal vase, filled it with oil and returning to the tree, hung it as a lamp on the branch in front of the statue.  It is said that the initial filling of the oil lasted for many years without any replenishment.  The rustic little lamp is still preserved in the present sanctuary.
Sometime after this occurrence, a little chapel was erected on the spot and many years later, the present sanctuary and shrine to Mary was built.

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March 28:  OUR LADY OF CASTELBRUEDO
It is related that every year on the day of the Annunciation, three lights of a blue color were seen, shining through the glass windows of the church at Olion in Catalonia.
Here Our Lady is venerated under the title of Our Lady of Castelbruedo.  The lamps and the wax candles were likewise lighted by invisible hands, and all disappeared three days after the feast, on the twenty-eighth of March.  Despite all investigation, the lights and their extinguishing could not be accounted for; but it was universally taken for granted that all this was to honor our Lady’s great feast.

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March 29:  OUR LADY “ARACOELI” – Altar of Heaven
St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven is the name of a Basilica in Rome.  It dates to the 6th century, and is located on the highest point of Capitoline Hill, on the site where a Sibyl is supposed to have prophesied to Emperor Augustus the birth of Christ.  The name “Ara Coeli” (Altar of Heaven) is based on a legend which tells how Augustus enjoyed a vision in which he saw the Virgin and Child standing on an altar of Heaven.  The chapel of St. Helena in this church is supposed to be on the very spot where the prophecy was made and where subsequently Augustus erected an altar to “the First-Born of God”.   On the high altar of the church is the Madonna of the Altar of Heaven, an image in Byzantine style.  Here is the legend:
At a certain time during the reign of Caesar Augustus (63 B.C. – 14 A.D.) the Roman Senate, wishing to vest him with a supreme honor, resolved to proclaim him god.  This pleased his vanity, but for some strange reason, he advised the senate to withhold the honor until he consulted the Sibyl of Tivoli regarding it.  She requested him to give her three days before she answered, during which she invoked “those on high” to enlighten her.  After the three days she said to the emperor, “Augustus, most powerful sir, hearken!  There is no one should be called god unless he is God’ you are only a man, though famous.  Another, who is truly God is about to descend upon the earth and He will assume flesh in the womb of a most Pure Virgin.”  Then a brilliant light shone forth from the sky; it churned and swirled, forming a halo.  Within its center Augustus saw a most beautiful Lady with a Baby in her arms.  She stood upon a splendid white altar and her figure was surrounded by little angels and from heaven a voice rang out, “This is the promised young girl who will give a Savior to the world, and that is the altar of the Son of God.”  Overcome by the marvelous sight, Augustus fell to his knees, with his forehead to the ground, remained a long time in silent adoration of the Mother and Child.  He announced to the Senate and all the people that he must renounce the title they proposed, and told of his vision.  Then he commanded that an altar be erected on the Capitoline Hill dedicated to the Only-Begotten Son of God and His Mother.  This legend is inscribed on the wall of the chapel of St. Helena.  The image of the Madonna of Ara Coeli was crowned on March 29, 1636.
The Church Santa Maria Ara Coeli is a great gathering place for Roman children during Christmas time.  The attraction is a life-size statue of the Christ child, carved by a Franciscan monk living in Jerusalem in the 15th century, and made of wood from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.  Being unable to finish it, the monk set it aside in a corner of his cell until he could get the proper color of paint; that night, the angels came and finished it for him.  Later the monk was recalled to Rome and he carried the statue with him, unfortunately his ship ran into a storm and was wrecked near the port of Leghorn.  The statue was lost, but floated to the shore where it was recovered and eventually found its way to the Church of the Madonna Ara Coeli.

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March 30:  OUR LADY OF AUVERGNE
One night, while St. Bonet, bishop of Clermont in Auvergne, remained in the church to pray, Our Lady appeared to him, holding a chasuble, and bade him offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Saint leaned against a pillar as if to hide himself; when the stone of the pillar became soft and formed a hollow place for him, which is seen to this day.  Mary, having obliged him to say Mass, gave him after it was over, the selected chasuble which she had brought from Heaven by angels.  This heavenly present is still to be seen at Clermont, where it is preserved with great care.

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March 31:  OUR LADY OF THE HOLY CROSS
Mary knew when the hour of her Son’s Passion was approaching; she noticed the ever increasing envy and hatred of the Chief Priests and the organized plot to kill Him.  When the Passion itself began, the Apostles kept her informed of what was going on; and when the death sentence was passed, she set out with the other holy women to be near Him.  On Calvary’s Hill she heard the nails being driven in; heard the words her Son spoke; then, as darkness came, she permitted John to lead her to the Foot of the Cross, and there took up her stand. 
This was her sacrifice—she provided the Victim.  Jesus on Calvary offered Himself to the Father; and Mary assisted, not only by the perfect union of her will and intention with His, but actually, “A Body Thou hast prepared Me”; and that Body came from Mary—with Blood drawn from her veins He redeemed the world.
As she stood there, her heart enlarged—He was dying for the whole world, for the whole human race, present, past and to come—she was His Mother; all His interests were hers.  Jesus addressed Himself to her:  “Woman behold Thy Son!”  He was dying.  He counted on her power of suffering to become the universal Mother.  He was dying and his legacy to His Mother was the whole human race.  He spoke to John as the representative of the human race:  “Behold thy Mother!”  He meant each and all of us; to each He said, “Behold thy Mother!”  And so all who will, have the right to take her to their own.  Jesus had ME in His mind, as well as St. John when he said, “Behold thy Mother!”  It was of me He thought and to me that He spoke.
It is my duty to love and cherish her, to support her and to take care of her—that is, to stand up for her and shield her from those who will NOT behold her as their Mother.

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