1. When Mary visited her cousin [Lk. 1:39], the Holy Spirit inspired Elizabeth to say, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” [Lk. 1:42] To this, the Blessed Virgin Mary replied, “Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.” [Lk. 1:48]
2. In fulfillment of this marian prophecy, that from that day on, all generations throughout the centuries shall call her blessed, the Virgin Mary has inherited hundreds of glorious titles. The aim of this writing is to provide the readers with a number of popular Marian titles in order to affirm beyond any doubt that the prophecy found in Luke 1:48 has been and continues to be fulfilled.
3. The origin of the title “The Annunciation” is found in the Gospel of Luke, 1:26-38. In this biblical passage, the Evangelist, St. Luke, describes the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary.
4. On that day when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary, the prophecy found in the Book of Isaiah was fulfilled. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Look, the virgin is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name Him Immanuel.” [Is. 7:14] “Emmanuel” means “God is with us.” [Mt.1:23]
5. The Annunciation marks the moment when God entered the womb of the Virgin Mary and became man to set the world free from sin and the rule of Satan. The Church recognizes this Feast as the moment when the salvation of mankind had its beginning.
6. The celebration of the Annunciation can be traced back to Pope Gelasius in 496 A.D. In the tenth Synod of Toledo, 656 A.D., and Trullan Synod, 692 A.D., the Church spoke of this Feast as one that was universally celebrated in the Catholic Church.
The Assumption of Mary
7. On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary as an infallible Dogma of the Catholic Church. This Dogma affirms that “the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things.” (Lumen Gentium # 59)
8. The Catholic belief in the “Assumption of Mary” can be traced to St. Theodosius (d. 529 A.D.) during which time he wrote that this Feast was celebrated in Palestine before 500 A.D.
The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary
9. One reliable source of Catholic information states that the Feast of the Birth of Mary had its origin in Rome towards the end of the 7 th century.
10. Why is this Feast celebrated within the Church? What is notable about the Feast of the Birth of Mary is that it parallels the Feast of John the Baptist. While the Feast of all the Saints commemorates the day on which they (died) returned to the Lord, the Feasts of the Birth of Mary and John the Baptist place the emphasis on the day of their (birth) arrival in the world. This is because of their special mission in the history of salvation. Both, the Feasts of the Births of Mary and John the Baptist are in direct relationship with the coming of the Saviour in the world.
11. Through the celebration of the Feast of the Birth of Mary, we are provided with the opportunity to reflect upon the extent of the fullness of the grace of God that dwelled within the Blessed Virgin Mary at the moment of her birth. Secondly, we are provided with the opportunity to reflect upon the anticipation of the people who awaited the Incarnation and birth of the Divine Son of Mary. Thirdly, we are provided with the opportunity to honour the mother of Our Lord and Saviour.
12. September 8th commemorates the birth of one of the three Temples that the Lord God has chosen to dwell within since the beginning of human history. It is a Feast that links the Old Testament to the New Testament. In the days of the Old Testament, the people of the Jewish nation worshiped God in a Temple. The Holy Bible provides us with numerous references to the building, the destruction and the rebuilding of the famous Temple of Jerusalem.
13. Today, we find the physical Divine Presence of the Lord Jesus in the Sacred Tabernacles of the Holy Catholic Church. Before the Sacred Tabernacles, the Lord God is adored all year throughout the world.
14. Between the days of the Old Testament when the chosen people of God worshiped in the Temple and today when the Lord is worshiped before the Sacred Tabernacle within the Catholic Churches, there existed for nine months a Holy Temple that had been created by God for a very special purpose. This holy Temple was the womb of Mary. The womb of Mary is referred to as a holy Temple because, the manner in which God made His indwelling in the Blessed Virgin Mary, was not the same type of indwelling as is found in the saints.
15. While God is spiritually present in the saints, He was physically present in the immaculate womb of Mary. While the grace of God comes as drops of rain during the sanctifying process of the saints, in the case of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Divine grace was given to her in its fullness as a sudden deluge while she was in the womb of her mother.
16. Furthermore, the holy Temple of the Blessed Virgin Mary was the only one throughout the history of mankind that was truly a "living Temple." The first Temple and the present Tabernacle, both adorned in golden artwork, are physical structures in which dwells the Divine Presence of God. The womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary far surpassed such beauty and greatness. In its immaculate state, more valuable than gold, shining in splendour, it was an immaculate and living Temple in which dwelled the Living God.
The Holy Name of Mary
17. The Feast of the Holy Name of Mary was instituted in thanksgiving for the defeat of the Moslem Turks. In 1683, Vienna was besieged by an army of 550,000 Turkish invaders who had reached the city walls and threatened all of Europe. John Sobieski, the King of Poland, a religious prince, came to the assistance of Vienna with a smaller army on the octave of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After serving the priest during the celebration of the Holy Mass and having received Holy Communion, he rose against the enemy by stating, "Let us march with confidence under the protection of Heaven and with the aid of the Most Holy Virgin!" At the approach of King John and his army, the Turks were struck with a sudden fear and fled in complete disorder.
18. Following this great victory under the auspice of our heavenly Mother, in the Fall of 1683 A.D., Pope Innocent XI ordered that the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary be celebrated each year by the universal Church as a perpetual memorial of the victory of King John Sobieski of Poland against the enemy at Vienna, Austria. The purpose of this Feast is to remind the faithful that on September 12th of each year, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, they should recommend to God all the necessities of the Church while giving thanks to the Lord for His gracious protection and numberless mercies.
The Immaculate Conception
19. December 8th commemorates one of the Marian Dogmas that has been proclaimed by the Holy Catholic Church. Its origin can be traced to the 4 th century. In those early days of the Church, theologians believed and taught that by the grace of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary had been kept free of all traces of sin because she was to become the Mother of the Lord Jesus. This belief coexisted with the perpetual virginity of Mary, her sinlessness, and her Divine motherhood. Church history makes known to us that as early as the seventh century, there was a liturgical observance that proclaimed the Blessed Virgin Mary to be free from sin.
20. Centuries later, after consulting with all the Bishops of the world, Pope Pius IX pronounced and defined on December 8, 1854, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Ineffabilis Deus. This Dogma proclaimed that the Blessed Virgin Mary, "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."
21. In simple terms, this Dogma proclaims that:
21.1. The entire being of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her physical and spiritual natures, were created by God Himself at her conception; and,
21.2. She who was to become the tabernacle of the incarnation, was never subject to original sin, but was completely preserved from all the effects of the Adamic sin.
22. In other words, the whole being of the Blessed Virgin Mary was created by God immaculate in nature. Mary was the only new and second Eve who was created in an immaculate state that was equal to the state of holiness that the first Eve enjoyed prior to her having disobeyed the Lord God in the Garden of Eden.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary
23. While the devotion to the Virgin Mary was popular in the 17th century, it was not until 1805 that the Feast of the Pure Heart of Mary received formal recognition by the Church.
24. When Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the three children in 1917, she emphasized the need for steadfast prayers, true repentance and penance for the sins of men. Over and above this, she asked for the Consecration of the world to her Immaculate Heart in order to obtain peace in the world and the conversion of Russia.
25. Within a few years, the Holy Catholic Church officially recognized the apparitions of Fatima. Overnight, the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary reached every continent to find its way in most Catholic homes in the form of holy pictures, statues, medals, etc...
26. Following this, in 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Two years later, in 1944, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was instituted in the Western Church. In 1945, to promote devotion, the Vicar of Rome established the new Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on August 22nd and extended it to the Universal Church.
Our Lady of Beauraing
27. The Feast of “Our Lady of Beauraing” is also known as “Our Lady of the Golden Heart” Between November 29, 1932 and January 3rd, 1933, Our Lady appeared 33 times to 5 children in Belgium. She showed them her Golden Heart, asking the people to pray and do penance, promising, "I will convert sinners."
28. On the evening of November 29, 1932, Albert Voisin, age 11, his sister Fernande, 15, Andree, 15 and Gilberte, 9, Degeimbre, 9, approached the door of the convent to call for Gilberte Voisin, 13. Albert ran ahead of the girls and rang the door to the convent. While waiting for a sister to come to the door, he was looking towards the street and the railroad bridge.
29. He cried out, “Look! The Virgin, dressed in white, is walking above the bridge!” At first, the girls did not believe him. When they turned around, they saw the figure of a beautiful Lady in white walking above the bridge and the grotto by the convent with clouds covering her feet. The sister who answered the door could not see the Blessed Virgin Mary, but Gilberte Voisin did.
30. When the children told their parents, the Mother Superior of the convent, and most of the town’s folks, they were not believed. In prudence, the parish priest kept an open mind. However, the children continued to maintain that they had seen the Virgin Mary.
31. Once the word had spread throughout the town of Beauraing, the entire country and beyond, a small crowd began to gather at the hawthorn tree in the grotto where Our Lady continued to appear. They joined the children who would pray the Rosary whenever they saw the Virgin Mary.
32. Our Lady of Beauraing wore a white dress and veil, a crown, and, after people began to say the Most Holy Rosary at the grotto, she carried a rosary. It was not until Thursday, December 29th, that Mary revealed her Heart of Gold to Fernande. Later the Virgin would reveal her Golden Heart to the other children.
33. During one of the apparitions, the Virgin told the children to always be good. She requested that a chapel be built. Mary identified herself as, “I am the Immaculate Virgin.” She indicated that pilgrimages were to be made to Beauraing.
34. On January 3, 1933, a huge crowd of over 30,000 was present at the grotto for the Virgin’s last apparition to the children. On that day, when Mary appeared to the young seers, she said farewell and had a secret for each of them. Not one of the secrets has ever be revealed.
35. At Beauraing, Our Lady promoted prayer, the Rosary, living a righteous life, sacrifice, and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Many miracles have occurred at Beauraing, both physical and spiritual.
Our Lady of Charity
36. Around 1608, two brothers, Rodrigo and Juan de Hoyos, and a 10 year old slave boy named Juan Moreno, left Santiago del Prado (now known as El Cobre, named after the copper mines), Cuba in search of salt to preserve meat for the copper miners. Having traveled halfway across the Bay of Nipe they decided to put in for the night to wait out a strong storm. The next morning, it appeared that a small white bundle was floating across the water towards them. It turned out to be a 16 inches statue of Our Lady. Attached to a board, the statue was completely dry and bore the inscription “I am the Virgin of Charity.” A shrine was built immediately, and instantly became a pilgrimage destination.
37. At the request of the veterans of the War of Independence, “Our Lady of Charity”, also known as “Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre,” was declared the patroness of Cuba by Pope Benedict XV in 1916. Then the image was solemnly crowned in the Eucharistic Congress at Santiago de Cuba in 1936. Pope Paul VI raised her sanctuary to a basilica in 1977. Pope John Paul II solemnly crowned her again in 1998.
Our Lady, Help of Christians
38. The Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, was instituted by Pope Pius VII. By order of Napoleon, the Pope was arrested on 5 July 1808, and imprisoned at Savona and Fontainebleau, France. In January 1814, after the battle of Leipzig, he was brought back to Savona and set free on March 17th, the eve of the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy, the patroness of Savona. The journey to Rome was a veritable triumphal march with the pontiff, attributing the Blessed Virgin the victory of the Church after so much agony and distress. He visited many of the Marian sanctuaries on the way, crowning her images, and finally entered Rome on May 24, 1814, to enthusiastic crowds.
39. When Napoleon left Elba and returned to Paris, Murat was about to march through the Papal States from Naples. Pope Pius VII fled to Savona on March 22, 1815, where he crowned the image of Our Lady of Mercy on 10 May 1815.
40. To give thanks to God and Our Lady, after his return to Rome, Pope Pius VII instituted the Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, on September 15, 1815. Our Lady, Help of Christians, is the Patroness of Australia.
Our Lady of Czestochowa
41. The origin of the miraculous image of Our Lady in Czestochowa, Poland, is uncertain. According to tradition, the painting was a portrait of Our Lady that was done by Saint John sometime after the Crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus and it remained in the Holy Land until its discoverery by St. Helena of the Cross in the 4th century. The painting was taken to Constaninople, where St. Helena's son, the Emperor Constantine, erected a church for its enthronement. This image was revered by the people of the city.
42. The first Papal recognition of the miraculous image was made by Pope Clement XI in 1717. The crown given to the image was used in the first official coronation of the painting. The crown was stolen in 1909. Pope Pius X replaced it with a gold one encrusted with jewels.
43. The miracles attributed to Our Lady of Czestochowa are many and most spectacular. One example, on September 14, 1920, when the Russian army assembled at the River Vistula, in preparation for invading Warsaw, the Polish people prayed to Our Lady. The next day was the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Russians quickly withdrew after the image appeared in the clouds over Warsaw. In Polish history, this is known as the Miracle of Vistula.
Our Lady of Lourdes
44. Starting on February 11, 1858, the Virgin Mary appeared eighteen times in Lourdes, France, to a 14 year old peasant girl named Bernadette Soubiroux. Bernadette was the oldest daughter of one of the poorest families in the town, her father being unemployed. Sick with a cold, she still went out with her sister and another girl to fetch some firewood. During this outing, while the other two had wondered away, Bernadette experienced her first apparition of a lovely Lady at the Grotto of Massabielle. Upon seeing the Lady, who had a rosary draped over her right arm, Bernadette began to pray the Rosary. At the time, Bernadette did not know who the Lady was.
45. When Bernadette told her mother of the vision, she was not believed and forbidden to return to the site where Our Lady had appeared. Finally, her mother changed her mind and permitted her to go.
46. Our Lady told Bernadette that all must "Pray for the conversion of sinners," and do "Penance, penance, penance!" Our Lady also requested that Bernadette tell the priests to have people come to the location in a procession and to have a chapel be built there.
47. On February 25th, two weeks after the beginning of Her apparitions, Our Lady performed a miracle, making a new spring of water well up near Bernadette. The Lady told her to drink from it and wash herself in it. Since that day, many persons have been healed from all kinds of illnesses when they visited the Shrine at Lourdes and drank the water or bathed in it.
48. On March 25th, Our Lady of Lourdes revealed that she was the “Immaculate Conception.” Bernadette did not know the meaning of that title. This private revelation from the Virgin Mary was a confirmation to the Holy See that had declared 4 years earlier the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception to the Church and the world.
49. On January 18, 1862, Bishop Laurence, the Bishop of Tarbes, France, gave the solemn declaration: "We are inspired by the Commission comprising of wise, holy, learned and experienced priests who questioned the child, studied the facts, examined everything and weighed all the evidence. We have also called on science, and we remain convinced that the Apparitions are supernatural and Divine, and that by consequence, what Bernadette saw was the Most Blessed Virgin. Our convictions are based on the testimony of Bernadette, but above all on the things that have happened, things which can be nothing other than Divine intervention."
Our Lady of Fatima
50. From May 13th to October 13th, 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children, Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto in the Cova da Iria fields outside the village of Aljustrel, very close to Fatima, Portugal. Lúcia described Mary as "more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun."
51. Our Lady confided three secrets to the children, these being known as the Three Secrets of Fatima. She exhorted the children to do penance and to make sacrifices to save sinners. Over and above this, Mary asked them to say the Rosary every day, reiterating many times that the Rosary was the key to personal and world peace.
52. On August 13, 1917, the provincial administrator Arturo Santos (not a relative), believing that the events were politically disruptive, intercepted and jailed the children before they could reach the Cova da Iría on that day. The prisoners who were held with them in the provincial jail later reported that the children, while upset, were consoled by the inmates, and that they led the inmates in saying the Rosary. The children were removed one by one from the prison cell, interrogated, urged to reveal the secrets, and threatened to be boiled to death in a pot of boiling oil that had been prepared. None of the children revealed the secrets. They were later released.
53. On October 13, 1917, the last of the apparitions, a crowd believed to be about 70,000 had gathered at the Cova da Iria to see the promised sign that Our Lady would give to the world. On that day, there was a torrential rainstorm. Countless observers reported that the clouds broke, revealing the sun as an opaque disk spinning in the sky and radiating various colors of light upon the surroundings, then appearing to detach itself from the sky and plunge itself towards the earth in a zigzag pattern, finally returning to its normal place, and leaving the people's once wet clothing now completely dry. That event has come to be known as the "Miracle of the Sun".
Our Lady of Guadalupe
54. In 1531 a "Lady from Heaven" appeared to Juan Diego, a poor Indian, at Tepeyac, a hill northwest of Mexico City. She identified herself as the Mother of the True God, instructed him to have the bishop build a temple on the site and left an image of herself imprinted miraculously on his tilma, a poor quality cactus-cloth. This cloth should have deteriorated in 20 years but shows no sign of decay nearly 500 years later. It defies all scientific explanations of its origin.
55. When looking in the eyes of the image on the tilma, one can apparently see the reflection of what was in front of Our Lady in 1531.
56. In 1533, the first sanctuary was erected. In 1541, a Franciscan priest and early historian of New Spain reported that some nine million Aztecs had become Christians. It is interesting to note that only a few years earlier, in 1517, Martin Luther had divided the Catholic Church, causing a few millions to leave the faith. While the Church lost a few millions Catholics who abandoned their living faith in Christ, the Church gained far more members than it lost.
57. Pope Pius X proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe "Patroness of all Latin America". Pope Pius XI proclaimed her as the "Patroness of all the Americas". Pope Pius XII called her "Empress of the Americas" and Pope John XXIII "The celestial missionary of the New World" and "the Mother of the Americas".
58. On May 6, 1990, in the great Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico, Juan Diego was beatified by Pope John Paul II.
Our Lady of Hope
59. “Our Lady of Hope” is also known as “Our Lady of Pontmain.” The most popular devotions to “Our Lady of Hope” originate from her appearance to several children in Pontmain, France, on January 17, 1871. It should be noted that Our Lady of Hope was known by this title prior to this time. A canticle had been written in honour of her by the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of Hope in Saint-Brieuc, France.
60. Following Kaiser Wilhelm I’s ascending to the throne of Prussia in 1861 and his waging war against France on August 1st , 1870, the French army quickly fell to the superior force of the opposition. By December 27th, 1870, Paris had been invaded; now the Prussians were turning towards the western provinces of Normandy and Brittany. By January, 1871, the Prussian army was just a few miles from the town of Pontmain. The villagers feared for their lives. The local priest told the children to pray to the Virgin Mary for protection.
61. On the snowy evening of January 17th, the Caesar Barbedette, and his two sons, Eugene, 12 and Joseph, 10, were busy with their chores in the barn. The Barbedette family was one of the oldest families of the region and also one of the most devout. The Holy Mass, the Rosary, and other prayers featured prominently in their daily activities. With them was Jeanette Detais who regularly visited them for some neighborly talk.
62. Bored with the adult conversation, Eugene went to the barn door to check the weather. Gazing across the evening sky, he noticed an unusual sight over the roof of Augustine Guidecoq's house, some 70 feet away from him. The stars seemed to melt away and suddenly about five feet above the roof, there appeared a beautiful Lady. Eugene stood there entranced in the snow for about 15 minutes.
63. When his father and brother came out of the barn, only Joseph, age 10, could see the pretty Lady. Not being able to see anything, their father ordered them to return to feeding the horses in the barn. At a later time, when their mother was on the scene and the boys could still see the Virgin Mary, Victoria Barbadette suggested that they pray. When finished, and still unable to see Mary, Victoria accused the children of lying. She called upon Sister Vitaline in the hope that she would be able to see something. The religious sister could not see anything. Sister Vitaline called upon Francoise Richer, 11, and Jeanne-Marie Lebosse, 9, to come to her. Both children could see the Virgin Mary. Other children and adults came. The children could see Our Lady of Hope but the adults could not see her.
64. The children saw a message in gold letters appearing in the sky. It said, “But pray my children.” Continuing to unfold, the message said, "God will hear you in a short time" and "My Son allows Himself to be moved with compassion." By now, everyone was in prayer.
65. During that time, the Prussians were very close to Pontmain. When Our Lady said that it was over and she disappeared, General Von Schmidt had received orders from the Prussian High Command to halt his campaign and withdraw. Ten days later, an armistice was signed between France and Prussia. The miraculous intercession of our Blessed Mother had saved Pontmain.
66. The message of the Blessed Mother at Pontmain was one of hope. Through prayer, God will hear you in a short time. Jesus will allow Himself to be moved with compassion. With our Lady of Hope, we have assurance of never being abandoned.
Our Lady of Knock
67. In the 1870's, the county of Mayo, Ireland, was in great distress, enduring famines and economic dislocations produced by forced evictions that created another wave of Irish immigration.
68. On August 21st, 1879, there was another day of heavy rains in County Mayo. That evening, Margaret O’Beirne was sent by her brother to lock up the local Church. Completing her task, she noticed a strange brightness covering the Church. But she ignored this, having other things on her mind. Another member of her family, Mary O’Beirne, having completed a visit with the Church’s housekeeper, Mary, McLoughlin, was walking down the road from where she could clearly see the Church. Turning to Mary McLoughlin, Mary O’Beirne said, “O look at the statues.” Her companion responded that she was not aware that the priest had got new statues for the chapel. As they got closer, they noticed movement, realizing that they were not statutes, but people.
69. In this apparition, the two ladies saw the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist, dressed as a bishop. No one else saw the three heavenly visitors. Following this apparition, from visits to the Chapel at Knock, there resulted reports of healings that could not be explained. The Church responded by keeping a records of the healings until 1936. At that time, the head of the diocese of Tuam, Archbishop Gilmartin, authorized the publication of a pamphlet supporting devotion to the apparition at Knock.
Our Lady of La Salette
70. On Saturday afternoon, Sept. 19, 1846, two children , Maximin Guiraud , 11, and Melanie Calvat, age 14, were tending sheep for their employers near La Salette in the French Alps. During those days, the French Revolution was terrorizing the Church, blood being spilled during the reign of Napoleon. In the parish of La Salette, few were attending Mass and the sacraments were being neglected. Cursing was common, as was impurity, greed and self-indulgence.
71. While tending their sheep, Maximim and Melanie saw a brilliant light, brighter than the sun. As they approached, they noticed a “Beautiful Lady” seated on a rock and crying, with her face in her hands. In tears, she stood and spoke to them in their local French dialect. The Virgin Mary said, “Come to me, my children. Do not be afraid. I am here to tell something of the greatest importance.” She continued, “If my people will not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my Son’s arm. It is so heavy, so pressing that I can no longer restrain it. How long I have suffered for you! If my Son is not to cast you off, I am obliged to entreat Him without ceasing. But you take not the least notice of that. No matter how well you pray in the future, no matter how well you act, you will never be able to make up to me what I have endured for your sake.”
72. “I have appointed you six days for working. The seventh I have reserved for myself. And no one will give it to me. This it is which causes the weight of my Son’s arm to be crushing. The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son’s name. These are the two things which make my Son’s arms so burdensome. If the harvest is spoiled, it is your own fault. I warned you last year by means of the potatoes. You paid no heed. Quite the reverse, when you discovered that the potatoes had rotted, you swore, you abused my Son’s name. They will continue to rot, and by Christmas this year there will be none left.”
73. “If you have grain, it will do no good to sow it, for what you sow the beasts will devour, and any part of it that springs up will crumble into dust when you thresh it. A great famine is coming. But before that happens, the children under seven years of age will be seized with trembling and die in their parent’s arms. The grownups will pay for their sins by hunger. The grapes will rot, and the walnuts will turn bad.” Then Our Lady said, “If people are converted, the rocks will become piles of wheat, and it will be found that the potatoes have sown themselves.”
74. Our Lady asked the children if they prayed, to which they replied, very little. She insisted that they say at least their night and morning prayers. At the end of the day, the children repeated the story to each of their employers, the priest at La Salette and the governments officials who were investigating. When investigating the site, someone broke a piece of the rock on which Our Lady had stood. Suddenly, a spring of water emerged. Some of the water was given to a woman who was suffering a long-term serious illness. After completing her Novena on the ninth day, she was cured.
75. When Bishop Bruillard of Grenoble heard of this, he initiated an investigation of the apparition. In the meantime, there continued to be more miraculous cures. The people started going to Church again. They stopped swearing and working on Sundays. They turned their lives around.
76. Five years later, on Sept. 19, 1851, Bishop Bruillard determined that the apparition “bore in itself all the marks of truth and that the faithful are justified in believing it to be certain and indubitable.”
Our Lady Of Mercy
77. Tradition has it that around 1218 A.D., St. Peter Nolasco and James I, King of Aragon and Catalonia, experienced separately a vision of the Most Holy Virgin who asked them to establish a religious Order dedicated to rescuing the many Christian captives held by the Moslems. This Order of Our Lady of Mercy, approved as a military order in 1235 A.D. by Pope Gregory IX, was able to liberate thousands of Christian prisoners, and later became dedicated to teaching and social work.
78. The image of the Virgin of Mercy is very popular in Peru. It is venerated in the Basilica of Mercy in the capital of Peru. It was enthroned at the beginning of the XVII century and has been considered the Patroness of the capital. In 1730 A.D., Our Lady of Mercy was proclaimed "Patroness of the Peruvian Lands" and in 1823 A.D. "Patroness of the Armies of the Republic". On the first centennial of the nation's independence, the image was solemnly crowned and received the title of "Grand Marshall of Peru", on September 24, 1921, Feast of Our Lady of Mercy, which has since then been declared a national holiday. Every year, on that Feast, the army renders homage to her high military rank.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
79. In England, in 1251 A.D., the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Simon Stock. Giving him the Scapular, she said, "My beloved son, receive this Scapular for your Order. It is the special sign of a privilege which I have obtained for you and for all God's children who honor me as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Those who die devotedly clothed with this scapular shall be preserved from eternal fire.”
80. Simon Stock became a member of the religious Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
81. The Scapular, one of the three Marian Sacramentals (the Rosary, Scapular & Miraculous Medal) that are officially recognized by the Catholic Church, consists of two pieces of brown woolen cloths, usually embroidered with an outline of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and tied together by a string. It is worn over the shoulders. A shield in time of danger, it is considered as a badge of salvation. It is a pledge of peace and special protection, until the end of time.
Our Lady of Peace
82. Tradition has it that during 1682 A.D., some merchants found an abandoned box on the shore of Salvador's "Mar del Sur." They were unable to open the box because it was tightly closed and sealed. They concluded that it must contain something of value, and decided to take it to the City of San Miguel where they would find out how to open it. Tying the box on a donkey's back, they undertook the long and dangerous journey to the city where they arrived on November 21st. Intending to inform the local authorities of their find, when passing by the parish church, the donkey laid down on the ground. They were then able to open the box and were surprised to find that it contained a lovely image of Our Lady holding the Child. The origin of this image is still a mystery as it never was known for whom the box was intended, or how it came to reach the beaches of Salvador.
83. In those days, the inhabitants of the region were waging a bloody struggle. When they heard of the abandoned box, they put down their weapons and immediately ceased their fighting. Because of this incident and others that followed, each resulting in peace in the area, the image has received the title of “Our Lady of Peace.” Pope Benedict XV authorized the crowning of the image, this taking place on November 21, 1921.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
84. The picture of “Our Lady of Perpetual Help,” also known as “Our Lady of Perpetual Succor,” goes back at least to the fifteenth century. But no one knows exactly when it was painted or by who. Some scholars believe that the picture may be modeled after an ancient icon. According to a parchment attached to the painting, we learn how the painting originally got to Rome.
85. A merchant from the island of Crete heard of the many miracles that were associated with the painting. Wanting this power for himself, he stole the painting. Traveling to Rome, he suddenly fell ill. As he lay dying, he told a Roman about his theft, requesting that the picture be placed in a Church where it would help people.
86. The Roman took the picture to his home, his wife placing it in her bedroom. During this time, Our Lady appeared numerous times to the Roman, asking him to share the picture with others. The Roman ignored Mary’s request. Mary then appeared to his six years old daughter, indicating where she wanted the painting to be placed. At last, the Roman obeyed, and the picture was placed at St. Matthew Church in the care of the Augustinians on March 27, 1499. St. Matthew was a small church in an isolated area, far from the center of the city.
87. In 1798, for the purpose of stealing religious treasures, Napoleon's general ordered the destruction of 30 churches when the French invaded Rome. St. Matthew's was one of them.
88. After the soldiers left, those who loved Mary searched the ruins but could find any trace of the picture. There seemed to be no doubt that their beloved picture had perished with the church.
89. Nearly half a century later and miles away, an altar boy named Michael Marchi listened to a sacristan's tales of the past. The sacristan, named Augustine Orsetti, pointed to a picture of Mary in the chapel and said, "See that picture, Michael? It is old, very old. It used to hang in St. Matthew's Church, where many people came to pray to the Mother of God." The painting, he said, had been rescued at the last minute, hidden from the general in a humble cart, and transported secretly to this chapel. "Remember that," the sacristan told him. Michael Marchi remembered.
90. Years later, Fr. Michael Marchi, by then a Redemptorist, was in Rome. In 1853, Pope Pius IX commanded the Redemptorists to establish their world headquarters in Rome. After much searching and prayer, the Redemptorists bought a huge estate. When they inspected their new property, they found a house, barns, stables, gardens, and the ruins of an old church. Inquiring into the history of the church, the Redemptorists learned that its name was St. Matthew's, and that it once had housed a miraculous painting that had been lost.
91. Shaking their heads at the loss of such a treasure, Fr. Michael stunned everyone by saying that the picture still existed and he knew where it was. Three years later, informing the Pope Pius that Mary’s wish was that the picture be placed between St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran, where St. Alphonsus now stood, the Pope commanded the return of the painting. During its return, miracles were blessed upon those in the procession. Finally, the painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help had returned home.
92. Pope Pius IX did not give the picture to the Redemptorists Congregation as a gift. He gave it to them as a mission, telling them, "Make Our Mother of Perpetual Help known throughout the world."
Our Lady of Ransom
93. The name of “Our Lady of Ransom,” commemorated on September 24th , was changed to “Our Lady of Mercy” after Vatican II. See above for the history of this title.
Our Lady of Sorrows
94. The title of “Our Lady of Sorrows” is also known as “Our Lady of Seven Dolors.” It has its origin from the Gospel of John, Mary standing at the foot of the Cross [Jn. 19:25] and “Your own soul a sword shall pierce.” [Lk. 2:35] Other possible sorrows consist of: there being no room in the inn [Lk. 2:7], the massacre of the innocents [Mt. 2:16-18], the search for Jesus until the third day in Jerusalem [Lk. 2:41-50], Jesus' life threatened by the townspeople of Nazareth [Lk. 4:28-30], and Jesus' life threatened by the Jewish authorities. [Lk. 11:53-54]
95. The celebration and veneration of Mary's sorrows and compassion, based on the crucifixion scene goes back to the 4th century. Abbot Poemon contemplated Mary weeping over the Cross of the Savior in his Apothegms 144. Ephrem the Syrian, in 373 A.D., wrote a lamentation of Mary at the foot of the cross and so does Romanos the Melodist who in 500 A.D., wrote the “Hymn of Mary at the Cross,” engaging mother and Son in a dialogue regarding the mystery of the Cross.
96. In 1482 A.D., this Feast was officially placed in the Roman Missal under the title of "Our Lady of Compassion," highlighting the great love that our Blessed Mother displayed in suffering with her Son. In 1727 A.D., Pope Benedict XIII placed the Feast of Our Lady of Compassion in the Roman Calendar on the Friday before Palm Sunday. This Feast was suppressed with the revision of the Liturgical Calendar that was published in the Roman Missal of 1969.
Our Lady of Tears
97. While some believers associate the title of “Our Lady of Tears” with the title of “Our Lady of Sorrows,” its true origin comes from the apparitions at “Our Lady of La Salette” where the Virgin Mary was seen weeping because of the sins of the people. See “Our Lady of La Salette” above for the origin of this title.
Our Lady of the Angels
98. In the city of Cartago, Costa Rica, as was the custom in colonial days, the whites were segregated from the Indians and mestizos. Those who were not absolutely white were not allowed to enter the city, where a stone cross marked the limits. On August 2, 1635, Feast of the Holy Angels, a poor mestizo woman called Juana Pereira, in her daily search for firewood discovered a three inch high image of the Virgin, simply carved on a dark stone, placed conspicuously by the footpath. Juana happily picked up the treasure, with no idea that she would find it five more times in the same place, because the image kept disappearing from cupboards, chests and even the parish tabernacle, and on each occasion would return to the same rock where it had been found. It was evident to all that the Virgin wanted a center of worship there, where she could comfort the poor and humble.
99. In 1926 and in 1935, the image was solemnly crowned by his Holiness Pope Pius XI during which time he declared the beautiful shrine of the Queen of Angels as a Basilica.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament
100. In 1868, Saint Peter Julian Eymard gave Mary the title of “Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament” to honor her in her relationship to the Holy Eucharist and to place her before us as a model to us in our duties and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
101. Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament is the chosen and official Patroness of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Her Feast day is celebrated on May 13th , the date on which the new Congregation received Archdiocesan approbation in Paris in 1856.
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
102. During the night of July 18-19, 1830, in the convent chapel of the Daughters of Charity in Rue du Bac, Paris, France in 1830, Sister Catherine Labouré, a novice, was summoned to the chapel. There she met with the Virgin Mary and spoke with her for several hours. During the conversation Mary said, “My child, I am going to give you a mission.”
103. Beginning on November 27, 1830, Catherine received a number of progressive apparitions that were associated with how the Miraculous Medal should look. Our Lady explained that while she could obtain many graces for those who ask for them, many of those graces were not bestowed upon the people because they were not asking for them. Mary told Catherine, “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.”
104. Catherine explained the entire series of apparitions to her confessor, working through him to carry out Mary’s instructions. She never revealled to anyone that she was Mary’s instrument to advance the Miraculous Medal until soon before her death 47 years later.
105. With the approval of the Catholic Church, Medals were made in 1832 and were distributed in Paris. Immediately, the blessings that Mary had promised, began to shower down on those who wore her Medal. The devotion spread like wildfire. Marvels of grace and health, peace and prosperity, following in its wake. Before long people were calling it the “Miraculous” Medal. And in 1836, a Canonical inquiry undertaken at Paris declared the apparitions to be genuine.
Our Lady of the Pillar
106. After the crucifixion , resurrection and ascension of Jesus, his Apostles began to spread the message throughout Israel and shortly after, throughout the Roman empire. One of these Apostles, James, the Greater, reportedly traveled as far West as Spain to the village of Saragossa in North East Spain.
107. While Saint James was there, he became discouraged because of the failure of his mission. Tradition tells us that while he was deep in prayer the Blessed Virgin Mother appeared to him and gave him a small wooden statue of herself and a column of jasper wood, instructing him to build a church in her honor. "This place is to be my house, and this image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build."
108. The jasper column and the wooden statue can still be seen on special occasions at a Church that houses them. About a year after the apparition, Saint James arranged to build a small chapel in the honor of Mary, the first Church ever dedicated to the honor of the Virgin Mary. After James returned to Jerusalem, he was executed by Herod Agrippa in about 44 AD, he being the first apostle to be martyred for his faith. Several of his disciples took his body and returned it for final burial in Spain. The local queen, observing several of the miracles performed by James' disciples, converted to Christianity and permitted James' body to be buried in a local field. Eight centuries later, a cathedral in honor of St. James was erected after his gravesite was rediscovered by a local hermit. The hermit found the burial site after noticing an unusual star formation. The site for the cathedral was called Compostella (meaning “starry field”). To this day, it is a major pilgrimage site.
Our Lady of the Rosary
109. Saint Dominic (Domingo de Guzman) was a Spanish preacher who went to southern France to oppose the Albegesian heresy which was spreading rapidly. In 1208 A.D., while he was praying at a chapel in Prouille, France, Mary appeared to him and gave him the Rosary and urged him to preach it to all the people as a remedy against heresy and sin.
110. Saint Dominic founded an order of preaching friars who went on to halt the Albegesian heresy and establish monasteries all over the world. His religious Order is commonly referred to as the Dominicans.
Our Lady of the Snow
111. This title of Our Lady of the Snow originated as a result of a miracle of the snowfall that occurred during the night of August 4-5 in the year 358 A.D. on the site where a Basilica now stands.
112. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to two faithful Roman Christians, the patrician John and his wife, as well as to Pope Liberius (352-366), asking that a church be built in her honor on the site where snow would fall on the night of August 4-5. Pope Liberius traced the outlines of the church in the snow and the first basilica was built on that site. It was completed about a century later by Pope Sixtus III (432-440), after the Council of Ephesus in 431 A. D. at the time when Mary was declared to be the Mother of God.
Our Lady of Victories
113. The title of “Our Lady of Victories” dates back to a historic battle between Christian and Moslem forces at Leponto in 1521.
114. The Moslems had invaded much of Spain and were threatening to over run most of Europe and de-Christianize it. The threat was real and it all came together at a sea battle at Leponto. Realizing the importance of this moment, Pope Pius V called upon all Christians to pray the Rosary for the success of this battle. The Christian forces prevailed, Europe was saved for the Christian Faith and the Moslems were pushed back to Africa. In honor of the victory, the Pope declared Mary as the Lady of Victory and declared her Feast day to be held on October 7, the Feast of the Holy Rosary.
115. May this be a reminder to Catholics that the Blessed Virgin Mary has given a powerful weapon to prevail over the worldwide Moslem terrorists who view Christians as infidels, having made it their mandate to kill them all unless they convert to Islam.
Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
116. The title “The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” celebrated on November 21st, commemorates the presentation of Mary as a child in the Temple, where, according to tradition, she was educated. This title originated in the Orient around the 7th century. This Feast, recognized as a festival, is found in the constitution of Manuel Comnenus in 1166 A.D. It was introduced into the Western Church in the 14th century.
117. The Holy Bible tells us nothing about Mary’s hidden life. However, we learn from the Apocrypha, especially chapter seven of the Protoevangelium of James, dating prior to 200 A.D., that Mary was presented to the Temple at an early age. There we learn that her parents were Joachim and Anna. Saint Anna, while wanting to bring Mary to the Temple of the Lord, decided to wait until she was three years old. Upon her arrival to the Temple, the priest received Mary, blessed her and kissed her in welcome. Then he proclaimed, "The Lord has magnified thy name in all generations. In thee, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel." Mary was placed on the third step of the Temple and there danced with joy and all the house of Israel loved her. It was there that she was nurtured and her parents returned glorifying the Almighty.
The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary
118. According to Mosaic Law, when a mother gave birth to a child, she was considered unclean for a number of days, during which she could not go to the Temple. When the days were over, she was to bring to the Temple a lamb for a holocaust and a young pigeon or turtle dove for sin. If unable to offer a lamb, she was to take two turtle doves or two pigeons. Then the priest prayed for her and so she was cleansed. [Lev. 12:2-8]
119. Forty days after the birth of Jesus, Mary obeyed the Law, she redeemed her First Born from the Temple [Num. 18:15], and was purified by the prayer of Simeon the just, in the presence of Anna the prophetess [Lk. 2:22].
120. During the first half of the 4th century, this Feast was celebrated as the fortieth day after Epiphany. From Jerusalem, the Feast of the fortieth day spread over the entire Church. The Feast appears in the Gelasianum (manuscript tradition of the seventh century) under the new title of the “Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
The Queenship of Mary
121. The special Liturgical Feast of the “Queenship of Mary” was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on October 11, 1954 through his Encyclical Letter "Ad Caeli Reginam."
122. The Holy Catholic Church made this proclamation in view of the fact that throughout its history, whether in time of peace or war, the faithful have continuously addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. Following the tremendous destruction that occurred during World War II and considering the reality that the threat of a similar catastrophe filled the faithful with a great anguish, the Church turned to Mary, the Heavenly Queen, in the hope of her protection.
123. "From early times Christians have believed, and not without reason, that she of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God. He “will reign in the house of Jacob forever,” [Lk. 1:32] “the Prince of Peace,” [Is. 9:6] the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” [Rev. 19:16] And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that obtains between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme royal dignity of the Mother of God." (Ad Caeli Reginam; # 8)
124. "Hence it is not surprising that the early writers of the Church called Mary 'the Mother of the King' and 'the Mother of the Lord,' basing their stand on the words of St. Gabriel the archangel, who foretold that the Son of Mary would reign forever, [Lk. 1:32-3] and on the words of Elizabeth who greeted her with reverence and called her 'the Mother of my Lord.' [Lk. 1:43] Thereby they clearly signified that she derived a certain eminence and exalted station from the royal dignity of her Son." (Ad Caeli Reginam; # 9)
The Solemnity of Mary: Mother of God
125. When the Blessed Virgin Mary visited Elizabeth after the angel had appeared to her and told her that she would be the mother of Jesus, Elizabeth said, "And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?" [Lk. 1:43] Through Elizabeth who was full of the Holy Spirit, it was acclaimed that Mary had been chosen to be the Mother of God.
126. In 431 A.D, the Council of Ephesus affirmed that Mary was truly the Mother of God because "according to the flesh" she gave birth to Jesus, who was truly God from the first moment of His conception. The words that they used to affirm this truth are,
127. "We confess, then, our lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God perfect God and perfect man of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the virgin, according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy virgin to be the mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her."
128. Twenty years later, in 451 A.D. at the Council of Chalcedon, it was affirmed that the Motherhood of Mary was a truthful Dogma and an official doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church. The Council based its proclamation on the truth that “The birth of flesh reveals human nature; (while the) birth from a virgin is a proof of Divine power.”
The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
129. The Feast of the “Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary” finds its origin in the Gospel of Luke. Mary, having heard at the Annunciation that Elizabeth was six months pregnant, left her home to visit her. Upon her arrival, Elizabeth and John the Baptist were inspired by the Holy Spirit. During this visit, Elizabeth prophesied. Mary pronounced the "Magnificat." And then Mary remained with Elizabeth for some months.
130. While this Feast is of medieval origin, having been kept by the Franciscan Order before 1263 A.D., it was only universally adopted in 1389 A.D., when Pope Urban VI extended it to the entire Church.
131. These summaries of the many glorious titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary find their origin in the Holy Bible, Church traditions, early Church writings, proclamations of the early Church Fathers, a number of Popes, and finally through Church approved Marian apparitions and visions. Truly, God has used many means to glorify the Virgin Mary, ensuring that “all generations throughout all the centuries shall call her blessed.” [Lk. 1:48]
This completes the course "The Glorious Marian Titles." Marian titles number in the hundreds! A book can be written regarding the details that are associated with each one. It is hoped that this course has created a hunger within you so you may seek to learn more about the Virgin Mary and how she, after Jesus, may become the most important part of your life. May the grace of God always be with you in your spiritual growth.
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