Friday, May 8, 2015


OUR LADY of PERPETUAL HELP is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary as represented in a celebrated 15th-century Byzantine icon.

The icon has been in Rome since 1499, and is permanently enshrined in the church of Sant'Alfonso di Liguori, where the official Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help text is prayed weekly.

Due to the Redemptorist Priests, who had been appointed as both custodians and missionaries of this icon by Pope Pius IX in 1865, the image has become very popular among  Catholics in particular, and has been very much copied and reproduced.

On 23 June 1867, the image was granted a Canonical Coronation and its official recognition of the Marian icon under its present title. The Redemptorist priests are the only religious order currently entrusted by the Holy See to protect and propagate a Marian religious work of art.

In 1878, the Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston, Massachusetts obtained a certified copy of the icon being the first in the United States. Between 1927 and 1935, the first American novena service dedicated to the icon was recited in Saint Alphonsus "The Rock" church in St. Louis, Missouri and various other Redemptorist stations around the United States.

The feast day of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is celebrated on June 27, with novena devotions held every Wednesday. Under Pope Pius XII's Pontificate, our Mother of Perpetual Help was designated as the national Patroness of the Republic of Haiti and Almoradi, Spain. Many Haitians credit the Virgin Mary under this title in performing miracles to prevent a cholera and smallpox outbreak which ravaged the country in 1882.

Modern Version- Daniel Mitsui
The icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is an example of the Western influence on Eastern art. Especially in the 12th and 13th centuries, as Franciscans traveled through the eastern Mediterranean, this influence became evident in a new class of icons called Cardiotissa, from the Greek word kardia, which means heart. Cardiotissa, then, refers to a type of icon which shows tenderness, compassion, and mercy. Our Lady’s face, though serene and dignified, shows great sorrow in contemplating the sufferings of her Son.

The Child Jesus is not portrayed with the physical proportions of an infant, but appears almost as an adult in miniature form. This has been interpreted to indicate that He is God, having infinite knowledge. Yet He is human as well, for He clings to His Mother’s hand in fear, while gazing up toward the angel over His shoulder. One of His sandals has come loose, indicating the haste with which He had run to her.

Seeing the picture, should assure us of the loving concern and tenderness our Blessed Mother has for us, and her ardent desire to be a source of perpetual help to all who call upon her.

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