Sep. 2: OUR LADY OF GOOD HOPE
Ten years went into the making of the statue; finally it stood complete, 151 feet high; it was time for America to do her part, to build the pedestal that would shoulder it. America was strangely indifferent; France sent the statue across the ocean; but its arrival brought it no glory. The statue was put into a warehouse, until America was roused and the LIBERTY was dedicated on Bedloes Island, October 28, 1886. There she stands today, more brightly than ever, nimbus of flood lights glowing in the night, thousands of admirers yearly climbing up through her to look out upon the world through the windows set in her crown. For all her beauty and massiveness, this Lady of Liberty is no match for the LADY given by God to the world, a Lady who would forever symbolize the unity of God with the world He created, and the mutual love of both for liberty, liberty to do good. Before time began, God's plans were made. From the limitless resources of the Blessed Trinity came all the wealth needed in preparing her. She would be a gift worthy of God, a Lady of Good Hope to all people, a woman formed of innumerable virtues, fixed in place by grace, conceived to stand in the gateway of a world redeemed, and hover protectingly over that world's traffic. Only a brief wisp of God's wishing went into the making of OUR Lady; but it was an omnipotent wisp that magnificently fashioned in Flesh the love of the Blessed Trinity for liberty of all souls. And the world did its part in accepting Our Lady, built a pedestal of devotion to exalt her, set her up for all to see and marvel at, learn to love her beauty and her significance to all. Yet to this day the world is strangely indifferent to its privilege. God sent Mary to earth with an entourage of angels; but her arrival brought no glory--for a time she was left in a stable, afterwards insulted and sometimes dishonored; her pedestal of devotion is not complete. All signs, however, indicate that there is still room for hope. Little by little the efforts of Mary's crusading champions are waking the world and bidding it work earnestly to enthrone her as she deserves--with the Incarnate Flame of God's love blazing in her arms--and the nimbus of her sanctity glowing in our darkness as a symbol of Hope. Through Our Lady of Hope, millions climb up yearly to look in upon and to enter Heaven. The verse, written at the base of America's statue of Liberty, a beacon of hope to those of foreign shores, can be indelibly engraved at Mary's feet: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to be free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shores, Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me, I lift my lamp besides these golden doors." Thirty-nine years prior to the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, the bishops of The United States had officially recognized the Mother of God as our patroness and dedicated this country to Mary's Immaculate Conception in 1847; she has been the hope of our nation from the very beginning when explorers and settlers sought refuge here. She brought hope to despairing souls and hearts and we have always accepted Mary as our life, our sweetness and our Hope. On Wednesday, December 8, 2010, which is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Most Reverend David Rickin, Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, decreed with "moral certainty" that the events, apparitions and locutions given to Adele Brise in October of 1859 near Champion, Wisconsin, do exhibit the substance of supernatural character, and approved these apparitions as worthy of belief (although not obligatory) by the Christian faithful. This historic decree concerning the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is a first for the United States, where no other appearances have been validated. Two alleged apparitions in the US that were examined by the Church and formally declared to be false are Necedah, Wisconsin and Bayside, New York.
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Sep. 3: OUR LADY OF THE DIVINE SHEPHERD
This feast is celebrated in a number of places and by certain religious communities and congregations: Capuchins, Marists and others, on widely different dates. It is a special festival of the shrine of Our Lady of Brebieres, a very old sanctuary near Albert France, formerly much resorted to by the shepherds. The pilgrimage here was revived after 1870; the statue was crowned in 1901, and devastated in both world wars. The basilica has again been rebuilt. The collect of the Mass prays that by following the Good Shepherd on earth, we may reach the pastures of eternal life with Mary in Heaven.
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Sep. 4: OUR LADY OF A HAPPY JOURNEY
We are all on a journey, a journey to Heaven, our eternal home. On the way we must detour occasionally to be "about Our Father's business". These side-jaunts are little diversions made happy in the knowledge that we do all for the Love of God. Our Blessed lady is our model in this as in all other matters; she too, as we know from Holy Scripture, went on happy journeys to do the will of God and aid in our redemption. Her presentation in the Temple--mutually joyful and sacrificing for her and her parents; her Visitation after the angel's visit to her at the Annunciation, joyful to Elizabeth, and to John the Baptist, who, as Scripture tells us "leaped for joy" in his mother's womb; in response to the educt if Augustus, the arduous but happy journey to Bethlehem when Mary was "with child"; the anxious hands of Herod, mingled with the happy assurance of safety; the destitute, but eager and joyful return to Nazareth; the annual loss-resulting journey to the Temple when Jesus was twelve years old, and the joy of finding him among the doctors in the Temple; the happy participation in the unique-miracle at the wedding feast of Cana; the three journey-filled years of Christ's public life as Mary followed with joyful love and humility His every action; the soul-crushing death-march to Calvary, consoled by His infinite Love for us her children; the unparalleled, bereaved, lonely, return from His borrowed grave, happy in the thought that now He could suffer no more; the joyful trips to His post-resurrection rendezvous with those He loved; the thrilling trip to the Mount of the Ascension; the relaxing journey with John to her new home in Ephesus; and, finally, her ecstatic entrance into Heaven. Regardless of the fact that this is a "vale of tears" in which we journey on, all sorrow can be turned into joy here below, if we, handclasped with Mother Mary, skip along at her side on life's journeyings and find happiness as she did, in doing the Father's will.
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Sep. 5: OUR LADY OF THE WOODS
The little tiled picture of Our Lady, found in 1621 at Galloro, marked the site of an older Church built there in her honor and long since ruined, probably by one of the periodic invasions by foreign troops. The tile was discovered by a small boy named Santi Bevilacqua, who was and orphan and lived with his uncle at L'Ariccia. Santi had been sent to watch the sheep, and was in the nearby brambles picking berries when he saw a low stone wall half-hidden in the brush and decided to investigate. He followed the wall and at one point fell into the brambles. When he picked himself up, he saw a picture of the Madonna painted on the wall. Being a pious child, he knelt and said a prayer; then, the following day he returned with a bouquet of flowers. Soon a number of his friends were coming with him to the Madonna in the woods. They brought flowers and sang hymns as they went along. This did not impress the neighbors, who feared for their fruit with so many children passing by. Finally, the children set about making a path that would let them into the brambles by an easier way, and in the course of their construction unwisely set fire to the brush. Quite a fire ensued and they were forbidden to go into the brush or into the woods to play. Sometime after this Santi was playing in his carpenter shop and fell asleep in a corner near a pile of lumber. The lumber fell on him as he slept and he awoke only in time to cry out to the Madonna of the Woods to save him. His frightened uncle, unpiling the lumber, discovered the boy unhurt and demanded to know who had saved him. The boy told him again about the Madonna at Galloro. The uncle made inquiries, and found that there was indeed a wall there which had once formed part of a church. There was an attractive little tile on one side of it, showing the Madonna. He set about rebuilding the church. Research revealed that the tile had been painted by a monk of Grotta Ferrata and that the church had been a pious venture of a good woman. There had been a dispute of the ownership of the land, and the church was abandoned. The years had converted the site into a wilderness again. Santi's uncle with great perseverance and with the help of the Madonna, got the funds together and started rebuilding the church. Others helped, and in time a chapel was build, and also a home for priests. Santi went there to live, so that he could serve Masses at the shrine. By 1633, there were fifteen Masses said daily, and the pilgrims were coming in such droves that a fine new church had to be built. The site was nearby but it required the moving of the picture, which was set into the stone wall. It took much skill and prayer to move the picture without damage, but it was finally accomplished by a devout group of workmen, chanting litanies as they worked. Plague and cholera passed by Galloro when people prayed at the shrine of Our Lady. These and other miracles endeared her to the people, and it is still a place of pilgrimage, Our Lady of the Woods.
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Sep. 6: OUR LADY OF BETHLEHEM
The little town where Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, lies on a ridge five miles south of Jerusalem; the stable cave, venerated from very early times as the scene of the divine birth and the events that followed, is under the eastern end of the great church of the Nativity. This is substantially the Emperor Constantine's fourth-century basilica, as restored by Justinian. On the floor of the cave is a red star, surrounded by an inscription: "Here Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary." The mystery of Bethlehem is full of love and sweetness. It would have been perfectly natural for Jesus to have been born in a palace, but he was born in a cave, in the hold of a rock, into which Mary and Joseph were forced to retire. It was indeed a sorrowful thing for both Mary and Joseph to have nothing more of earth to offer the King of the World and Creator of the Universe. But Bethlehem had its joys too, most sweet and consoling: The shepherds, simple souls--came to adore the Infant King; Mary rejoiced at seeing their homage and the willing offerings they made to her Jesus. Some days later the magi came--we are not sure of the place, since scripture simply says, "the star stood still over the place where the Infant was"; it is in the arms of Mary that they found the Divine Babe. We may often share in the joy of the Magi; whenever we seek Mary, we find Jesus with her, and when we seek Jesus, we find His Mother, too. When we seek Him, we know that His conversation is sweet; His consolation ravishing; His peace superabundant; and His love ineffable. To find Jesus in the arms of His Mother, to unite oneself to Mary's sentiments as she presses Him to her heart--what ravishing moments. That wonderful moment in which all else is forgotten, in which we no longer desire anything else, not even heaven--for with Jesus and Mary we already possess Heaven here on earth.
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Sep. 7: OUR LADY OF ZYROWICZ
Our lady is honored under this title at a Ruthenian sanctuary near Novogrudok, Lithuanian-Poland, where in the seventeenth century there was a monastery of the eastern monastic order: it was resorted to by both Orthodox and Catholics. The icon was much revered by the martyred bishop St. Josaphat Kuntevich (d. 1623). In 1719 a copy of the icon was found in the monastery of the Ruthenian monks in Rome. They enshrined it in their church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus. Miracles were reported here, and it became so well known that the Romans referred to the church as Santa Maria del Pascolo. The Basilian monks of St. Josaphat still guard the image in that church. The original was set up about 1475, and is mentioned in the Russian menologies.
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Sep. 8: : THE NATIVITY OF MARY
In the “Apocryphal” writings we read that the Virgin Mary was sprung from the royal family of David and educated at Jerusalem in the Temple of the Lord. Her father’s name was Joachim and her mother’s Anna. Her father’s family was of Galilee and her mother’s was of Bethlehem. By some, Joachim is described as exceedingly rich. Tradition is unanimous that Mary was an only child, an heiress, and, therefore, so many of the eligible men were eager to obtain her hand in marriage. Joachim and Anna lived chastely without any children for about twenty years, in the favor of God and the esteem of men. They vowed that if God should favor them with any issue, they would devote it to the service of the Lord, for which reason they went every season of the year to the Temple. Again, the “Apocryphal” tells us that both Joachim and Anna suffered much because of their childlessness, for to be thus was considered a punishment from God. However, their prayers and sacrifices were rewarded and being informed by an angel that they would have a child, they offered ten she-lambs and twelve tender calves to the Lord in the Temple. And Anna brought forth, and inquiring of the midwife, she was told it was a girl, and she said: “My soul has been magnified this day.” And she laid her child down. The days having been fulfilled, Anna was purified, and gave the breast to the child and called her name Mary. In Mary’s soul from the very beginning was the bliss of heaven; in the first instant of her conception, Mary, by a singular grace and privilege granted by God, was preserved exempt from all original sin. “Thou art all fair, O my Love, and there is not a spot in thee.” And “Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as any army set in array.” Holy Mother Church has selected September 8, as the day to celebrate the feast of Mary’s Nativity, THEOTOKOS DEIPARA [which means] Mother of God. She surpasses all in that she is the mother of her Creator—giving her sanctity and greatness.
Joachim and Anna bestowed the name of Mary on their little daughter, and she has become “Our Lady”, the greatest lady of all. What a happy choice of name! Mary is of all names the most common and the least vulgar, the name which is never really given, but lent, to those who have the honor to bear it, for it belongs by particular right to her who was the first to make it glorious. “O MARY! How great is thy name!”
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Sep. 9: OUR LADY OF PUY
On the road which passes the shrine of Our Lady of the Thorn, high up in the Jura Mountains, there is the shrine of Our Lady of Puy. All crusaders passed this on their way to the Holy Land on pilgrimage to rescue the Holy Places from the hands of the infidel. There was scarcely a knight who did not go to bid farewell to Our Lady of Puy and ask her to care for his dear ones, should he not return. Close to this shrine lived a wealthy nobleman, lord of a beautiful, spacious castle in the gorge, who offered hospitality to all while they made their devotions to the Mother of God and entrusted themselves body and soul to the Gracious Virgin Mary. Le Puy claims to be the place of the earliest vision of the Blessed Virgin. She appeared to a sick woman in the first century, A.D. In 1254 Saint Louis IX gave an ebony image of Mary to the cathedral there. It has continued to be a place of pilgrimage, though the original image was burnt at the [French] Revolution. The list of holy and great men who came as pilgrims is as impressive as the numbers of ordinary people. Pope St. Leo IX declared that the Mother of God is nowhere given a more special and filial veneration. Le Puy observes a privileged jubilee or holy year whenever Good Friday falls on the feast of the Annunciation; this does not happen often—the last time was in 1932, and the next time will not be this side of the year 2000. In 1860 a large statue of Our Lady of France was blessed at Le Puy; it is made of the metal of over two hundred pieces of artillery, captured by the French at Sevastopol in the Crimean War. Before the rise of Lourdes, Le Puy, Chartres, and Liesse were the greatest Marian centers of France. When the consecration of the shrine of Puy was to take place, it was made known to the Bishop that it had been consecrated by angels; the doors opened of themselves; the bells rang of themselves; the candles were found lighted and the Holy Chrism which the angels had used was found still fresh upon the altars and the walls. Although St. George was its first Bishop and had marked out the site of the church, the church was not built till the year 221. Mary herself gave the charge of it to St. Evodius, Bishop of Vosi, who was ordered by Our Lady to transfer his episcopal see to Puy.
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Sep. 10: OUR LADY OF TRU OR TRUT
The church of Our Lady of Trut is near the city of Cologne in Germany, and was built by Otho I; that is under his reign by order of St. Heribert, Archbishop of Cologne, on the very spot where formerly pagan idols had been worshipped. To atone for this, a shrine to the Mother of the True God was erected and has remained a place of pilgrimage and of miracles. Among the many miracles which Mary is accredited with at this shrine, two are mentioned in the life of St. Heribert. During the time of a great drought, he went to the altar of Mary, and resting his head in his hands, he prayed fervently and long. When he left the church, rain was falling in torrents. Another time his prayers induced Mary to spare the people from the plague then raging all around.
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Sep. 11: OUR LADY OF HILDESHEIM
A noble youth named Eskil was sent by his father, the prince, to Hildesheim, a city of Saxony, to study; but he gave himself up to a disorderly life. He fell dangerously ill and received Extreme Unction. While in this state he had a vision; he found himself shut up in a fiery furnace, and believed himself already in hell; but he seemed to escape from it by a hole, and took refuge in a great palace, in a room of which he saw the most Blessed Virgin Mary, who said to him: "Presemptous man that thou art, dost thou dare to appear before me? Depart hence, and to that fire which thou hast deserved." The young man then besought the Blessed Virgin to have mercy on him; and then addressed himself to some persons who were there present, and entreated them to recommend him to Mary. They did so, and the Mother of the Divine replied, "But you do not know the wicked life that he leads, and that he does not even deign to salute me with a Hail Mary." His advocates replied, "But, Lady, he will change his life"; and then the young man added, "Yes, I promise in good earnest to amend, and I will be thy devout client." The Blessed Mother's anger was appeased, and she said to him, "Well, I accept thy promise; be faithful to me, and meanwhile, with my blessing, be delivered from death and hell." With these words the vision disappeared. Eskil returned to himself, and, blessing Mary related to others the grace which he had received, and from that time he led a holy life, always persevering in great devotion to Our Lady. He became archbishop of Lunden in Sweden, where he converted many to the Faith. Towards the end of his life, on account of his age, he renounced his archbishopric, and became a monk in Clairveaux, where he lived for four years, and died a holy death. He is numbered in the Cistercian annals amongst the Cistercian Saints. Most certainly God will not condemn those sinners who have recourse to Mary, and for whom she prays, since He Himself commended them to her as her children. This most benign Lady only requires that the sinner should recommend himself to her, and purpose amendment of his life. The Blessed Virgin told St. Brigid, "However much a man sins, I am ready immediately to receive him when he repents; nor do I pay attention to the number of his sins, but only to the intention with which he comes to me: I do not disdain to anoint and heal his wounds; for I am called, and I am truly, the Mother of Mercy."
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Sep. 12: THE HOLY NAME OF MARY
MARY! a name so lofty, in the regal majesty of its sound and meaning--Mary, Maria, Miriam! It is a name as familiar to us as the name of our Mother, as the bells of the church, as the peaks of the mountains which send their friendly greetings to the valleys below. MARY! a thousand times we have prayed, sung, wept this name, in good and evil days. Millions of women are called by that name and it weaves a golden thread around even the plainest woman. MARY! holding on to this name, grope the way through the darkness of life and death. It is the rosy dawn heralding the rising sun, JESUS, in the Gospels as well as in the hearts of men. A beautiful wreath of interpretation has grown around this name; the name MARY is supposed to stem from the word, "yam"--sea; "mar", "mir", "mor"--bitter sea, mistress of the sea, or the best known, "star of the sea". Others find profound meaning by tracing Mary to "moras", --hope; "mar" the bitter one; "maron" the exalted one, "moren", the rising one, "marsh", the enlightener, "mor", myrrh. All these are ingenious but are not etymologically tenable. In all probability, the name MARY goes back to the Egyptian language. The sister of Moses and Aaron, born in Egypt like her brothers, is the only woman mentioned in the Old Testament with this name. It can be derived from the Egyptian root, "mir", love, and "jam", jahu", Yahu, Yahwe, God' so that Mirjam means "God-loving" or beloved of God". In Mary's time it was more common to derive the name from maron, the Exalted One, corresponding to our Madonna, Notre Dame, Our Blessed Mother or Our Blessed Lady. "The name of Mary", says St. Anthony of Padua, "is sweeter to the lips than the honeycomb, more delightful to the ear than a sweet song, more entrancing to the heart than the purest joy". "Surely", says St. Bernard, "the Mother of God could not have been given a name more appropriate, nor one more impressive of her high dignity. Mary is in fact the beautiful and brilliant star which shines upon the vast and stormy sea of the world." How we should honor this holy name; we should always invoke God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, through this name. Tenderly must Jesus have spoken the name of His Mother. How His Sacred Heart was moved when He was called the Son of Mary. "Mary, how sweetly falls thy name Oft do I say in holy love Thy name when none are near. Sing oh, my lips, and loudly proclaim, Oh Mary, my Mother, how sweet is thy name. Sweet as the warbling of a bird, Sweet as a mother's voice; So sweet to me is thy dear name; It makes my soul rejoice. Bright as the glittering stars appear, Bright as the moonbeam's shine, So bright in my mind's eye is seen "MARY--a beautiful name in Heaven! MARY--a beautiful name on earth; MARY--Through whom God does leaven Human suffering with spiritual birth; MARY--name of Queen and Mother; MARY--name of penitent and saint; MARY--whose life gave to another consoling courage with ne'er a complaint. MARY--name of many a loved one; MARY--through Jesus, our Brother; MARY--we seek when day is done, Our beloved and loving dear Mother." Never cease to plead with her Son through His Mother's holy name; ever call on God the Father for pity and help in the name of His perfectly created, Mary! Pray to the Holy Spirit in the name of His beloved to strengthen, guide and bless us. MARY! MARY! MARY!
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Sep. 13: OUR LADY OF ZELL
The places dedicated to Mary are the best proof that Mary gives help today to souls and bodies. The glorious pilgrim church at Zell, built in the midst of the Styrian mountains, is the Lourdes of Central Europe. The various peoples of the broad Danubian area have made it the goal of their pilgrimages. King Louis the Great of Hungary had the basilica built in gratitude for a victory won over the Turks: An army of 20,000 men defeated over 80,000 Turks. Jewels, crowns, garments were brought to the Great Mother at Zell. Untold thousands of Austrians, Hungarians, Croats, Slovenes, Czechs have knelt there before Mary's picture, each feeling that his nationality was under the special protection of Mary. In Mariazell, a lamp of pure silver burns before the altar. It is the gift of the Empress Maria Theresa. She was mother of a great empire and brought her sorrow to Mariazell to the Mother of God. Mariazell is the West's shrine nearest to the Iron Curtain; it nestles in the beautiful mountains 50 miles southwest of Vienna. It is mantled in snow most of the winter and is the haven for skiers. St. Lambrecht and the Benedictines established Mariazell in 1157. By order of Emperor Ferdinand III it was built into a large baroque structure. No castle of Our Lady was more honored and enriched by the Hapsburghs. An average of 300,000 annually make a pilgrimage to the shrine and pray that Mary will again turn back the hordes from the East as she did for Louis the Great nearly 500 years ago.
ALSO: Sep. 13: THE FEAST DAY OF OUR LADY OF SILUVA (LITHUANIA)
First widely known apparition of the Mother of God in Europe - Click here
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Sep. 14: OUR LADY OF EINSIEDELN
Not very far from the Swiss city of Zurich stands the village of Einsiedeln, small in size, but large in importance. The name of the village means "hermitage" and refers to the very early Middle Ages when Saint Meinrad hit upon this spot in the search through the Gloomy Forest or Wood, for a quiet place where he could build a cell and meditate and pray, far from the noise and distraction of the world. St. Meinrad's cell then became a place of pilgrimage, and the clear woodland spring in which he quenched his thirst became a fountain of miraculous power. In the fifteenth century when the good hermit had long been done to death by two villanous thugs, a chapel was built on the site of his ruined cell and in the chapel was placed a simple wooden statue of the Holy Virgin and her Child. In the centuries that followed, the Madonna of Hermits or of Einsiedeln turned black, and from then on her miraculous powers to heal the sick and the crippled became firmly established. A great convent sprang into being around her, a vast complex of buildings housing many hundreds of monks. A new chapel of Grace was finally built for her in the most elaborate baroque style, and a huge church constructed over it, protecting it as a very percious and wonderful thing. This Chapel of Grace stands of course on the site of the former chapel which had been built where the ruins of St. Meinrad's cell had stood. The convent became the residence of the highest princes of the Church, the repository of all that was rare and beautiful in illuminated manuscripts, gold and silver church plate, painting, and enbroidery. During the First World War, when a change of residence for the Pope was discussed, it was Einsiedeln which was chosen to receive him in case of necessity. The doorway and pillars near the Chapel of Grace are today hung thick with crutches, canes and braces of all kinds, discarded by happy pilgrims who have been cured by Our Lady of Hermits. Every year thousands of pilgrims come to the village from all over the world. In olden times they came on foot. Now they arrive by train and proceed up the village street in a body, chanting appropriate music. Time was too, when they went up the cobbled street on their knees. Pausing in front of the mighty church with its imposing curved and colonnaded entrance, they drank from every one of the 12 spouts of St. Meinrad's fountain, murmuring special prayers as they did so. Then into the church they streamed and knelt at the wrought iron screen which is in front of the chapel of Grace and behind which stands the Madonna and her Child, both robed in costly silks and crowned with gold and flashing jewels. A wave of religious fervor swept through the crowd, the singing grew ecstatic, tears rolled down some faces. The organ notes pealed out--the service over, the pilgrims poured out of the church and across the street to the various inns waiting to receive and refresh them. The next day accounts were afloat of extraordinary cures that had been effected in the night, and as some details became known, the faithful rejoiced that in spite of our sceptical age, miracles are still wrought at St. Meinrad's hermitage by Our Lady of Hermits at Einsiedeln.
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Sep. 15: SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY
The Seven Sorrows of Mary as accepted today are the following:
1. PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE
Forty days after Christ's birth, Mary presented Him in the temple. The aged Simeon, a just and devout servant of the Lord, took Jesus into his arms, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, exclaimed: "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
2. FLIGHT INTO EGYPT
No sooner did the heartless Herod hear that Jesus, the Infant King of the Jews, had been born, then he sought His life. But an angel of the Lord appeared to St. Joseph in a dream and warned: "Arise, take the Child and His mother and flee into Egypt, and remain there until I tell thee."
3. THE LOSS IN THE TEMPLE
The third sword that pierced Our Lady's heart was the three-day loss in the temple. At the age of twelve, Jesus went with Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem. Only when they were returning did Mary and Joseph realize that Jesus was not with them. They hurried back and for three days sought Him among friends and relatives. Finally, they found Him in the temple, listening to the teachers there and asking them questions.
4. THE WAY OF THE CROSS
Her fourth great sorrow we remember in the fourth station of the Way of the Cross. Mary meets Jesus carrying His cross to Calvary. What a mournful meeting. Imagine the pain in Mary's heart to see her Jesus groaning and staggering under the cruel cross. What an anguish to see the One she loved so dearly being tortured by the taunts of the crowd as well as the weight of the heavy wood. And all the while she was prevented from helping him.
5. JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS
But the sword will plunge still deeper. She must see Him shamefully stripped of His garments, rudely thrown upon the cross, and then hear the sickening pounding of the hammer. Helpless and heartbroken, she must stand beneath His deathbed watching Him writhe in torture, listening to His parting words, listening for His parting breath.
6. JESUS IS LAID IN THE ARMS OF HIS MOTHER
And now comes the moment when they take Him down from the cross. As each nail and each thorn was pulled from His body, it was a new blow to the heart of His Mother. How she must have hugged Him to her heart. How she must have tried to kiss Him back to life.
7. JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB
The seventh sword was to witness that broken body laid in the grave. It was a Mother putting her child to bed. What a grief-stricken good-night that was. Mary must have wished that she could bury her heavy heart with Him. During Passiontide, on the Friday before Palm Sunday a second feast of Mary's Dolors is held which emphasizes particularly the four last mentioned above.
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Sep. 16: OUR LADY OF GOOD NEWS
On the spot where today stands in Palermo the church of Holy Mary, there was once an inn for pilgrims. It is related that a pilgrim, wishing to make a fire to warm himself, picked up a piece of old board, encrusted with dirt. It had been used to cover a wall. He attacked the board with an axe but could not break it or even chip off a single splinter. He struck it at one angle then another, but it was no use--he could not even make a dent in the board; it seemed to be held together with invisible nails. Astonished, everyone presumed the board must conceal some divine secret. So they cleaned the dirt from it and discovered a painting--an image of Our Lady with the Infant Jesus nestled on her right arm. She was being crowned by two graceful little anges. The pilgrims lost no time in getting the story of this strange happening to the Archbishop, and he ordered a procession of the clergy to bring the image to his palace. The Archbishop himself cleaned the board further and as he worked, the features of the Mother and Child became clearer and more distinct. The Image was placed on the altar of the archbishop's palace and venerated with deep affection by all of the people. This marked the beginning of miracles; the fame of which flowed out not only through Sicily, but through all of Italy. A confraternity was instituted and with the gifts of the faithful, a church was erected for the Queen of heaven. Once while Pignatelli, the Viceroy of Sicily, was going to the church, a messenger who had traveled far, came to him. Pignatelli called out, "Do you bring good news?" "The very best", answered the messenger. Hearing this Pignatelli dismounted, took the letters from the messenger, entered the church and there read them. The Viceroy and the whole court had been in great anxiety because the Emperor of the Saracens--their principal enemy--had moved many troops from Africa against the Christian army and naval forces. The news that the letters contained was that the Saracens had withdrawn and peace negotiations had been successful. So, the Viceroy having received such happy news about the Saracens' threat, paid thanks to the Queen of Heaven; then the Viceroy said to all present, "This church that has the name of Holy Mary, will in the future be known as Holy Mary of Good News, because within it such good news has been received." Thus he ordered and thus the church was named.
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Sep 17: OUR LADY OF THE CANDLES
When white men came for the first time to the Canary Islands, the natives presented them with a mystery that no one has ever solved, the presence on the islands of a statue of Our Lady. The natives had discovered the statue in 1400, found in a cave by two shepherds taking refuge there from a storm. The men had never seen a statue before and thought it was alive. They motioned for the stranger to go away, for the sheep would not enter the cave for fear; when it did not move, one of the men took a rock and threw it at the statue; instantly his arm stiffened and began to pain. The other shepherd went close to the statue; it neither moved nor spoke. The man puzzled, took out his knife and tried to cut its finger; his own began to bleed. Terrified, the two men fled, leaving their sheep. They reported to their chief that a great god lived in the cave; he commanded them to bring it to him. When they touched the statue, they were instantly healed of their wound and ailment. They carried the statue to a house and tried to honor it the best they could. A few nights later they were surprised to hear beautiful music, and to see strange beings, all alight, setting candles around the strang "god" and lighting them. The natives had never seen candles. A special house was built for the stranger and for fifty years there was beautiful music, light and lovely fragrance surrounding it--explainable by no one. They made offerings of fruit and flowers and noted that the light "beings" kept the candles burning around the crude altar. In 1520 a native boy was captured and taken to Spain; he returned after a few years, and told them about Christianity; when missionaries came, the people were prepared to receive them. Christians on a nearby island, recognizing whom the statue represented, begged the natives of Tenerife to let them have it; the pagan natives refused, claiming she had brought them good fortune. The Christians decided to steal the statue, feeling it should be in Christian hands. They succeeded, brought it to the church, set it on the high altar and surrounded it with burning candles. In the morning the statue had turned her back to the congregation and no amount of pulling could get it front again. Serious sickness invaded the island; sorry and frightened, the Christians took the statue back. The natives had not missed it, since another had stood in its place the entire time the original was gone. Devotion to the Lady of the Candles spread rapidly through Spanish countries to South America and the Phillipines. The original statue is made of heavy reddish wood, which had never been identified; it is 3 and-a-half feet high; the eyes follow the beholder, and the color of the cheeks sometimes changes. The hair is uncovered, golden and worn in braids. The Babe has a golden bird in its hands. Our lady holds a candle in her hand. Since there are no bees on the island, the candles are a mystery, too. A few days before the feast of Candlemass in 1497, great quantities of a particularly pure wax were found at various places on the island. Several times since, the same thing has happened. People gather the wax and save it for pious souveniers. It is sometimes found in the shape of loaves, weighing ten or twelve pounds. Another mystery concerns the candle stumps which even today are found near the cave. Some are set up on the rocks of the beach. Wax and wicks are of strange materials, which the good people of the neighborhood insist, could only come from heaven.
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Sep. 18: OUR LADY OF SMELCEM
Our Lady of Smelcem, in Flanders, was made conspicious by shepherds observing that their sheep bent their knees before the image. This occasioned Baldwin, surnamed Fair Beard, to choose this place to build a church in thanksgiving for having been cured from a malady from which he had suffered for seventeen years. "There must be something wrong at the end of the field over there," observed the shepherd boy to his companion. "Why, what makes you think so?", questioned the second lad. "The sheep topple forward. Look! Let's go see". Carefully the boys made their way through the grazing flock searching the ground as they neared the place. They watched. Each sheep coming to a certain spot went down, front legs bent and nose touching the ground, then gracefully and quickly it arose and continued to graze. Suddenly the boys saw a small statue of the Virgin in the niche of the rocks marking the end of the pasture. This is the story of Our Lady of Smelcem.
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Sep. 19 OUR LADY OF LA SALETTE
On September 19, our Blessed Mother appeared in south-eastern France, to two children, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Mathieu, who were taking care of a few cows on the slope of a mountain which rises above the village of La Salette. Their attention was drawn to a globe of light a short distance away. While they gazed, the globe opened and they saw a woman seated on some stones which surrounded the bed of a dried stream. Her elbows rested on her knees, her face was buried in her hands, and she wept. The children were frightened and did not know what to do. When the Lady arose and in the sweetest of tones said, "Come near, my children; be not afraid. I am here to tell you great news." The children obeyed and when they were close, they saw that her countenance was of rare beauty, though her eyes were filled with tears. They saw that her shoes were sparkling white, the buckles on them were square and golden. Encircling the soles were tiny roses which did not crush as she stood on the tips of the blades of grass. Her apron was golden and it reached to the bottom of her full white dress. Her arms folded before her were concealed within broad straight sleeves which reached beyond her fingertips. Along the border of her plain white kerchief crossed on her breast, ran many-colored roses both large and small, and besides these was a flat, thin gold chain about an inch in breadth. Her face was so resplendent with light that the noon-day sun lost its brightness for the children; her complexion was a pale white such as those who have been bowed down with suffering. Her beauty was radiant, so dazzling, so scintillating, that Melanie was frequently rubbing her eyes, thinking that by so doing she might see the better, while Maximin could see her face but vaguely. Her headdress was white and above it, a royal diadem wreathed with roses of many hues glittered, while on her bosom rested a golden crucifix, with the pincers and hammer of the Passion. Her majestic beauty was ravishing; her face exceedingly beautiful--yet profoundly sad. It was not earthly. Mary stood with her head bent toward the children. Her mien, her manner, reassuring, kind, but sorrowful. They listened to her voice; a voice far sweeter than the sweetest melody: "If my people do not submit, I shall be forced to let go the hand of my Son. It is so strong, so heavy that I can no longer withhold it. How long a time do I suffer for you? If I would not have my Son abandon you, I am compelled to pray to Him without ceasing. And as to you, you take no heed of it. However much you pray, however much you do, you shall never recompense the pains I have taken for you." Then she told them that the two things which at that time pained her Son most were neglect of Sunday observance and blasphemous language. She foretold a great famine, and asked the children to make known her message. She walked off a bit, lifted her gaze toward heaven and vanished. Next day a miraculous spring was found where Mary stood.
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Sep. 20: OUR LADY OF THE SILVER FOOT
At Toul in Lorraine there is an image, which according to an ancient tradition, informed a woman, in the year 1284, of an act of treachery which was being planned against the city, and as a sign of it, the image put out its foot, which was found changed into silver. The woman informed authorities, and the plot was averted; but the image of Mary retained to this day--its silver foot as proof of help when confidence is placed in her intercession. Pilgrimages are made to the Lady of the Silver Foot; prayers answered, graces bestowed and miracles wrought.
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Sep. 21: OUR LADY OF PUCHA
Our Lady of Pucha is in the kingdom of Valentia. The image was found around the year 1228, by means of seven stars which were seen shining on this spot; and which made people dig into the earth, where they found the image of the Blessed Virgin buried. It was brought up and solemnly installed in a beautiful shrine, where, ever since, Mary has been honored, and has reciprocated by working miracles for her devotees.
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Sep. 22: OUR LADY OF RANTON (Also called "Compassion")
The country around Ranton was a hazard for travelers because of the many marshes. In pagan times people used to invoke the protection of Jupiter when going through this district, a fact which is still commemorated in the name of a small town called Pas-de-Jeu. When Christianity was introduced, the altar of Jupiter became Mary's altar. The cult of Our Lady of Compassion, better known as the good Lady of Ranton, dates back to the beginnings of Christianity. A legend that is common to the stories of many early shrines is also told about this one. A laborer found a statue in the marshes, one that had been hidden during the Norman invasions. A chapel was built to house the statue and was increased in size according to the needs of the pilgrims. Although the chapel was rather poor, at the time of the Revolution, the Revolutionists pillaged and profaned it then sold it. The person who bought it, did so, only to save the statue. At the beginning of the nineteenth century this shrine was again opened to public worship and was later given over to the diocese in which Ranton was. Around 1864 the old chapel was threatened with ruin; the parish of Ranton was unable to take upon itself the work of reconstructing it. A zealous and energetic priest who had been cured by Our Lady of Ranton when a boy of 17, Father Briant, set himself to the task of architect, contractor and mason. The first stone was blessed in 1867. It was only in 1871 after the Franco-Prussian War ended, Father Briant returned from captivity and the work was finished. It is now again a place of pilgrimage and miracles.
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Sep. 23: OUR LADE OF VALVENCRE
Our Lady of Valvencre is in Spain. The statue was found in an oak tree. Our Lady apparently has a preference for oak trees, since this is one of several statues found in or on an oak tree. On that very spot today is seen the magnificent church which Alphonsus IV, King of Castile, built in honor of the Mother of God, and which houses the image. She, the valiant woman of Scripture, desired her children, her clients and her devotees to share in a spiritual manner, in the strength and the power of this mighty tree, which is certainly a symbol of her.
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Sep. 24: OUR LADY OF RANSOM
This feast of Our Lady of Ransom originated with the Order of Blessed Mary of Ransom (Mercedarians), founded in the thirteenth century in Spain for the redeeming captives from among the Moors. It was extended first to all Spain and then, in 1696 to the whole Western Church, to be kept on September 24, having in view the ransoming of the faithful from the bondage of sin and Hell. It is not altogether clear why this feast should have been chosen for this distinction; it is associated with a vision of Mary to St. Peter Nolasco (d. 1258), the actuality of which has been seriously contested. Cardinal Prosper Lambertini defended the authenticity of the vision; but on becoming pope, as Benedict XIV, it was his intention to have suppressed the feast so far as the general calender was concerned. (It was in fact removed from the Benedictine calendar in 1915). This historical uncertainly detracts not at all from the dignity of our Lady invoked as "of Ransom" or "of Mercy", who is especially venerated in Spain. She is the patronness of Barcelona, where a famous statue of her is the resort of pilgrims, and there is another well-known shrine at Puig near Valencia. There is a confraternity, a scapular, and a novena of Our Lady of Ransom. The invocation of Mary under this title for the return of the English people to Catholic unity has nothing to do with the historical and liturgical aspects of her feast. Our Lady of Pity was an old name for her in England, expressing a cognate idea to "ransom," and she may be regarded as interceding for that country's release from the bonds of religious terror.
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Sep. 25: MADONNA, DIVINE SHEPHERDESS
In 1703 Mary was given the title Divine Shepherdess, bestowed upon her by Father Isidore of Spain after a vision in which the Blessed Mother appeared to him as a shepherdess. Father Isidore was born of a rich and noble family of Seville, in 1662. He was the pride of his family and looked upon as a prince among his associates. At the age of nineteen he entered the Capuchin Order. He was devoted to Our Lady from childhood and much more so after entering the religious life. After completing his studies he was sent to a monastery in Cadiz. Here he, with Father Feliciano, erected small shrines to Our Lady along the roadways. They taught the people how to sing the rosary walking along the street. This custom Father Isidore brought with him on returning to Seville. In such a worldly atmosphere this came as a surprise to the people. Cantina and tavern loungers found themselves sliding out the taverns and joining him, to become part of the sheepfold of Mary. During one of these street tours Christ's words, "I am the Good Shepherd" flashed across the Father's mind. That night he had a vision of the Blessed Virgin. She appeared as a young shepherdess with a crook in her hand and a large straw hat falling over her shoulders. The next morning the priest hurried to an artist's shop in a suburb of Seville, telling of his vision; he gave Miquel de Tovar, the artist, an order that a picture he painted of Our Lady as she had appeared to him. "Our Lady", he said, sat on a rock under a tree. Her face radiated divine and tender love. Over a red tunic she wore a jacket of white sheepskin such as shepherds wore; from her shoulders hung a blue mantle. A large straw hat, held by a ribbon, dangled over her left shoulder. Near her right hand was a shepherd's crook, symbolic of the love and care she gives her children. In her left hand she held a rose, while the right hand rested on the head of a lamb, which had sought shelter in her lap. The flock of sheep which surrounded her carried, in their mouths, the Virgin's flower. After months, the painting was completed. The admiration of the Spanish for Our Lady as a Divine Shepherdess quickly spread. Practically every church had set aside a corner for the Divine Shepherdess, and the paintings of her became so numerous that the Capuchin Fathers made a collection of them. In the convent in Seville there is today a museum dedicated to this unique and charming representation of Mary. In this museum there is also a fine statue carved by the famous sculptor Francisco Gijon, so natural and so beautiful that it appears almost lifelike. In place of the simple costume of the shepherdess the statue is glorified by a lavish white satin gown. On her dark hair she wears a wide-brimmed straw hat decorated with large daisies. There are also engravings; medals, embroideries and even laces which give evidence of this widespread devotion. The details may vary in these works of art, but Our Lady is always recognizable by the presence of a crook and a hat. At times the hat is large and of straw; at other times it is of felt and shaped according to the styles of the day, which gives uniqueness to this interpretation of the Blessed Mother as the Divine Shepherdess.
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Sep. 26: OUR LADY OF THE WELL
Hungkialou, China, witnessed in 1945 what appears a Marian miracle. One day while the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception were singing Vespers, one of the lay teachers dashed into the chapel. Whe seized Sister Alacoque's arm, and fairly dragged the good nun out of the pew. "Quick", she gasped, "one of the girls has fallen down into the well." Sister Alacoque hurried to the well. Peering down, she saw to her amazement, the little girl with head just above the water. Her hands were folded and she was praying: "Holy Mother, save me! Holy Mother, save me!" It took fifteen minutes for the workmen to arrive. Chain and rope were then lowered into the well. The little girl slipped her foot into a loop of the chain, grasped the rope with both hands and was drawn out of the well. The girl's story was this: "When I fell into the well, I went way, way down under the water,." Her hair was dripping wet. "I called on our Blessed Mother to save me, and right away I was lifted to the surface. I found something solid under my feet, so that I could stand with my head above the water. I kept on asking Our Lady to help me, until they pulled me out of the well." Later, the workmen measured the depth of the water. It was fourteen unbroken feet!
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Sep. 27: OUR LADY OF HAPPY ASSEMBLY
Le laus (pronounced Lows) is a little village in southeastern France, 60 miles to the southeast of Grenoble. The story of Mary's shrine there centers around a young woman named Benoite Rencurel, who was born on September 29, 1647 of humble parents in the little village of St. Etienne, not far from Le Laus. Her father died when whe was seven and after his death her mother found life rather difficult. So, when Benoite was 12, she went to work on a neighboring farm, tending the farmer's sheep. Each day while the flock grazed she spent a few minutes praying to the Blessed Virgin at a little wayside chapel. One day, in 1664, Benoite led her little flock into a small valley near St. Etienne and there toward the end of the afternoon, a Lady and Child appeared to her, standing on top of a rock - a large rock - known locally as Les Flours. The Lady did not speak to Benoite, but smiled in a very friendly way and after a few minutes Lady and Child vanished. However, similar apparitions continued almost daily for two months. Of course, rumors of what was occurring gradually spread around the neighborhood Countryside. Finally M. Grimaud, a district magistrate, questioned Benoite at length and suggested that if the lady appeared again, Benoite should ask her who she was. The girl agreed; on the very next day the Lady appeared, she asked her to please say who she was -- was she the Mother of God? The Lady answered: "Yes, I am Mary, the Mother of Jesus. My Son wishes to be especially honored in this valley but not on this spot." With these words she vanished. Benoite did not see her again for a few days. On September 29, While tendiing her flock at another pasture, Pindreau, a very brilliant light suddenly appeared on top of some rocks. In the center of the light stood the Blessed Virgin. She told Benoite to go to Le Laus, where she would find a little chapel, filled with a delicious perfume, and there she would also see her. Benoite soon found herself at the little chapel of Our Lady of Good Meeting or Happy Assembly (Notre-Dame de Bon Recontre) and going in where she saw the Blessed Virgin over the high altar, on which stood her image. And the Virgin said to Benoite, "On this spot I wish a church built -- a privileged sanctuary, wherein many sinners will repent. Means will not be wanting, despite the poverty of the country people around." The news of this event soon spread; crowds came to the little chapel, which was too small to contain them. So in 1665, Msgr. Lambert, Vicar General of the Archdiocese, gave permission for a church to be built over the little chapel. Since there was very little money available with which to hire workmen, the villagers and peasants for miles around carried the stones and built the walls aided by the many pilgrims who came to worship and remained a while to help in the building of the church. In 1692, during an invasion by the Duke of Savoy the church was partly destroyed, but the statue of Our Lady of Happy Assembly was not damaged. The church was soon repaired and restored. In 1716 a new statue of the Virgin was carved and enshrined behind the main altar of the church. It is said that Benoite wished the new statue to be named Our Lady of Happy Assembly of Laus. The original statue was transferred to a chapel behind the main altar. In 1885 Pope Pius IX gave official recognition to the title of Our Lady of Laus of Happy Assembly, when he ordered the new statue to be solemnly crowned. Benoite Rencurel died on December 28, 1718, and was buried in a vault in front of the altar in the church at Le Laus.
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Sep. 28: OUR LADY OF VICTORY (US)
Many lives would have been lost and the great cornerstone of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception would have been destroyed on its way to Washington, D.C., in the year 1920, if it had not been for a manifest intervention of the Mother of God. In September, 1920 the cornerstone of the National Shrine was being transported by motor truck from New Hampshire to Washington. Imposing ceremonies had been planned for the formal laying of the stone. Three cardinals, 70 bishops, hundreds of priests, members of the diplomatic corps and officials of the Federal Governmment and the district were to participate. The motor truck was to stop at important cities on the way, for local ceremonies, among them New York City on September 16. The ceremonies were to be conducted on the steps of the United States Subtreasury on Wall Street. The program was to begin promptly at noon and the mayor to give the opening address from the steps; the motor truck containing the cornerstone was to stand directly in front of the building. Late the evening before, some motor trouble halted the truck, mysteriously; and in spite of frantic efforts, it became evident that by no possibility could the truck reach New York in time for the ceremony. The truck remained immobile and the ceremonies were deferred to a later date. At noon just as the Angelus was ringing on the day planned for the event, a terrific bomb explosion scattered death and destruction in all directions from the Subtreasury Building. Police records show that 34 persons were killed and over 300 gravely injured. The street near the explosion was ripped open. Ace investigators disclosed that a time bomb containing approximately 100 pounds of TNT, set to explode at noon of the ceremonies, had been concealed in an open truck close to the steps of the Subtreasury Building. The bomb, as well as the "unsolved mystery" of the night before regarding the motor trouble, remain a mystery, but lovers of Our Lady know that SHE saved the cornerstone for her National Shrine from destruction in a most singular way, seeing to it that the truck was delayed. The stone reached Washington in time for the ceremonies there, however. In 1947 a lovely church was erected within a stone's throw of the spot on which the explosion occurred. The parish numbers about 300, but about 1500 people attend daily the four Masses, and on Holydays there is an attendance of 20,000 at 19 Holy Masses. Wall Stree executives and employees of various faiths contributed generously toward this church and according to the pastor, "they render outstanding service on church committees." The land on which the church stands was purchased for one-hundred and twenty-thousand dollars, made available by Cardinal Spellman, from a bequest of the Late Mahor Edward Bowes to the Archdiocese of New York. A more fitting name for the church could hardly be found, than the one it bears: it is the Church of OUR LADY OF VICTORY.
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Sep. 29: OUR LADY OF TONGRES
The story of Our Lady of Tongres goes back to the First Crusade, and concerns a knight by the name of Hector who, becoming blind while on a crusade, was obliged to return home. One night in the year 1081 while Hector was living in retirement in Tongres, angelic voices were heard in the garden of his Castle, and lights were seen among the shrubs. The next morning his servants found in the garden a lovely statue of Our Lady. he ordered it brought into the castle and had it set up in his private oratory. Here he prayed all night before it, and arranged a procession on the following day in honor of the Royal Visitor. That night the statue disappeared, only to be found on the following morning, in the garden. Hector, gave orders that it was to be covered with a shelter, and sent word to the bishop of the place to ask what to do about it. The bishop came himself, and convinced that the oratory was the place for the statue, had it placed. It returned that night itself to the garden. The bishop offered Mass at the outdoor altar next day, and authorized the knight to build a small chapel there. It became a popular shrine of the neighborhood. In 1090, King Phillip of France, at war with the Flemish, was camped near Tongres. An angel appeared to Hector in sleep and told him to go to the aid of the King of France. Hector roused his servants and to their terror ordered them to bring out his armor and his sword and arm him for the battle. They set out dubiously to accompany him to the camp of the French King. The armies drew up for battle on the feast of St. John the Baptist. Hector told his officers to turn him with his face toward Tongres, where his beloved statue was; and in sight of all he recovered the use of his eyes. Hearing of the miracle, the Flemish King and his army fled in terror from an array which seemed to have Our Lady on its side. After this miracle, Hector spent his entire fortune in enlarging and enriching the shrine. It soon became known throughout Christendom, and was sought by people in trouble, especially in time of plague. A confraternity, enriched with great privileges was established at this time. During the French Revolution, a duplicate statue was kept in the church and the real one was hidden in a wall until the trouble was over. The statue was restored to the church as soon as the revolution was past, and it was crowned with special Papal commendation in 1881.
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Sep. 30: OUR LADY OF BEAUMONT
The shrine of Our Lady of Beaumont is in Lorraine, Fance, between Domremy and Vancouleurs. It is a small church probably dating from the 11th century, though the date of its founding is now lost in the mists of time. It is thought that it might have been built for a monastery of Benedictine monks, but was subsequently sold to a man named Geoffrey de Bourlemont. It is known that Joan of Arc liked to go to Our Lady of Bermont on pilgrimage on Saturdays when she was a little girl, and also often during the week, to offer candles and flowers to Our Lady. Although a small chapel, it has great importance, as it was here that Joan of Arc commended the affairs of France to the Queen of Heaven and Earth, and it was here that Mary ordered Joan to take up arms to deliver her country of France from the hands of the English. The full name of the town of Domremy is actually Domremy-la-Pucelle, in memory of Joan of Arc, and the church is about two miles from Joan’s hometown.
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