Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with a 15th-century Byzantine icon and a purported Marian apparition.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also known as Our Lady of Succour, is celebrated by the Universal Church on her feast day of June 27th. 

The devotion to this Marian title began in the thirteenth century, surrounding the traditional Byzantine style painting (icon) of Our Lady of Perpetual help. Its style in Byzantine fashion is composed of rich regal colors and full of Church symbolism. The icon depicts Mary, the Mother of God holding Jesus, Her Divine Child surrounded by the Archangels presenting them with the instruments of His Passion.

At the end of the fifteenth century the icon was brought to Rome by a pious merchant. Upon his death he requested the image be exposed in a church for public veneration. The church of San Matteo (St. Michael) was chosen as its home. Crowds flocked to the church to venerate such a beautiful image and for over three hundred years many graces were obtained through the intercession of our Blessed Mother. 

In 1812 the French invaded Rome and the Church of San Matteo was destroyed. The Augustinan Hermits who serviced San Matteo took the  picture, which disappeared and remained neglected for forty years until a series of providential events led to its rediscovery. 

As a young boy, Pope Pius IX,  prayed before the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in San Matteo, and hearing of its disappearance became interested in its rediscovery. At the time the former grounds of San Matteo had become the grounds of a Redemptorist convent founded by St. Alphonsus Ligouri. The Father General approached Pope Pius IX, about the loss of such a priceless article and the Pope agreed that it was God’s will the Icon be exposed once again for public veneration there in the chapel of their convent, named after its founder, St. Alphonsus. Writing a letter to the Augustinian priests, the Pope requested the Icon be relinquished to the Redemptorists to be placed back in view of the public. 

In January of 1866 the Icon was restored to its place in St. Alphonsus’s church. The same geographic location as it was so many years before. Upon its return the picture was enthroned over the high altar.

After the Icons return many pilgrims once again flocked to Rome to venerate such a Holy Image. Reports of miraculous healing spread rapidly throughout the city and soon the whole church was filled with abandoned crutches, canes and special votive offerings to Our Lady asking for her intercession. Two weeks after its exposition Pope Pius IX came to visit the shrine. After venerating the Image quietly for a time he exclaimed “How beautiful She is!” 


Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help

O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O Purest Mary, O Sweetest Mary, let thy name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me whenever I call on thee, for, in all my needs, in all my temptations I shall never cease to call on thee, ever repeating thy sacred name, Mary, Mary. 

O what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence, what emotion fill my soul when I pronounce thy sacred name, or even only think of thee. I thank God for having given thee, for my good, so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely pronouncing thy name: let my love for thee prompt me ever to hail thee, Mother of Perpetual Help.


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