“Mondays with Mary” – A Marian Image Painted by Saint Luke (Our Lady of Expectation, India)

According to traditions within the Catholic Church, it has been said that Saint Luke, the author of the Gospel that bears his name, the same author of the Acts of the Apostles, and a companion of Saint Paul, drew a variety of paintings and icons of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Not only was he a trained physician, historian and theologian, but he was also a talented artist.

In the Eastern Church, he is raised to high esteem as the original “iconographer” – the man responsible for the first icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You will often see paintings throughout the centuries of St. Luke in front of an easel, painting a portrait of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus.

Although there are four specific icons that are attributed to Saint Luke, there are other opinions that he drew many more than just these four. The four often attributed to him are – Our Lady of Vladimir, Our Lady of Czestochowa, Salus Populi Romani, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. As you will see from this online catalog, there are the other paintings attributed to Saint Luke.

The reason I am focusing on this topic today is because in last week’s “Mondays with Mary”, I mentioned that St. Denis placed a portrait similar to Our Lady, which was said to have been drawn by St. Luke. In my research for last week’s blog post, I came upon this image of Our Lady (see image below) –

Our Lady of Expectation (India) – Saint Luke

You will find this image in the online catalog above under the title – Our Lady of Expectation (also an older feast I have written on numerous times). It is believed that Saint Thomas the Apostle, the apostle to India, carried this “scapular” like image, strapped like a breastplate to his body, as he went to India to bring the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

This image is still venerated today in the main altar of St. Thomas Mount in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is the place where St. Thomas was martyred for the Catholic faith.

Devotion to Our Lady goes back to the time of the Apostles. Even though she is our Mother, she was first mother to the Apostles. Also see “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Mylapore, another Marian image and veneration in India.

Although I have written about some of these Marian images in the past as well as written about the Blessed Virgin in Sacred Art, I am going to continue for the foreseeable future to focus on the Lukan images of Our Lady in the aforementioned online catalog.

Our Lady of Expectation…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of the Fields

Traditionally, today in France, February 26, is the memorial of Our Lady of the Fields, also known as Notre-Dame des Champs. Instituted by St. Denis in the middle of the third century, this Marian title has withstood throughout the centuries, beginning in the early days of Catholicism in France.

Our Lady des Champs, during the ancient years, was dedicated to Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility, and motherly relations. During this time, St. Denis was Bishop of France. He had a great love and devotion to the Blessed Mother. According to tradition, St. Denis drove out the demons from the Temple of Ceres and then consecrated the building to Our Lady placing inside an image of the Madonna similar to the one after St. Luke’s painting (next week’s Mondays with Mary). Catholics in Paris have honored this image for centuries under the title – Our Lady of the Fields.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is a woman of simple beauty, approachable – always leading us closer to our Son, Jesus Christ. She is humble and holy. She is the defining woman of creation and her simple beauty gives honor to the Heavenly Kingdom, for she is our Mother. St. Denis knew this well. He placed her in the former temple and Parisians have been honoring her ever since.

A simple flower of the field is the lily. The white lilies (Madonna lilies) and their beautiful fragrance represent Mary’s perfect purity, love, and humility to God’s divine economy. They are often seen during the Easter season when they represent the Resurrection of Christ.

If you can read French, I encourage you to look at the parish website in the Archdiocese of France.

Our Lady of the Fields…Pray for Us

Source: Roman Catholic Saints – Our Lady of the Fields (website).

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Lourdes: Prayers, Saints, Popes and Miracles

Yesterday, in the Latin lung of the Catholic Church, we celebrated the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and although this Sunday takes precedence over any particular feast or memorial, it is also the day in the liturgical calendar where we honor Our Lady of Lourdes.

Just like with Our Lady of Fatima, I know many Catholics that have a particular devotion to the Blessed Mother at this particular pilgrimage site. Over the past six years of writing on this blog, I have written on Our Lady of Lourdes a total of 7 times (including this one today).

Unfortunately, like many other Marian sites, except for Our Lady of Guadalupe, I have not personally been on pilgrimage, but many friends have been and often have brought me items back from these holy sites. One of my cherished items is a small glass container of holy water that was purchased at the Marian Pilgrimage Shrine of Lourdes in France. You can read about it below in the post titled, “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Lourdes.

Our Lady of Lourdes

Since I have written many times in the past on Our Lady of Lourdes, for today’s “Mondays with Mary”, I am going to list the posts I have written on this widely devoted Marian pilgrimage site and title for Mary. Between prayers, lives of the saints, Papal activities, and a host of miracles, Lourdes remains to be one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the Catholic Church, if not entire world. Yesterday, the 70th approved miracle was declared valid, although countless pilgrims have claimed miracles not officially reported or approved.

If you haven’t read these posts in the past or you are new to my website/blog, I hope you will read these posts to give yourself a better understanding of Our Lady of Lourdes and the importance this shrine plays in the Catholic Church today –

1. “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Lourdes  

2. “Mondays with Mary” – Pope Benedict XVI on the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes 

3. “Mondays with Mary” – Saint Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes  

4. Our Lady of Lourdes 

5. “Mondays with Mary” – The Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes by Pope St. John Paul II 

6. “Mondays with Mary” – Prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima

Our Lady of Lourdes…Pray for Us 

“Mondays with Mary” – The Marian Prayer of Saint John Vianney

Saint John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests, notably known as the Curé of Ars, is a saint that I have drawn from many times in my writings. His simple yet profound sayings have impacted me in the course of my life, most especially the last twelve years or so. I was first introduced to him in 2006, then in 2009, I was reintroduced through a small booklet with many of his quotes contained in it. If you are unfamiliar with this great French saint, I would encourage you to read more about him. To read my other post about him and the Blessed Mother, read that one here.

St. John Vianney was asked once how long he loved Our Lady, his response, “I loved her almost before I could know her.” If I was a betting man, I imagine many of the saints would say the same exact thing about the Blessed Virgin Mary. So, for today’s “Mondays with Mary”, here is a Marian Prayer written by the Curé of Ars –

O most holy Virgin, Mary, who evermore stands before the most holy Trinity, and to whom it is granted at all times to pray for us to your most beloved Son; pray for in all my necessities; help me, protect me, and obtain for me the pardon of all my sins. Help me especially at my last hour; and when I can no longer give any sign of the use of reason, then encourage me, make the sign of the cross for me, and fight for me against the enemy. Make in my name a profession of faith; favor me with a testimony of my salvation, and never let me despair of the mercy of God. Help me to overthrow the tempting enemy.

When I can no longer say: “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I place my soul in your hands,” I ask you to say it to me; when I can longer hear human words of consolation, comfort me. Leave me not before I have been judged, and if I have to atone for my sins in purgatory, pray for me earnestly; and admonish my friends to procure for me a speedy enjoyment of the blessed vision of God. Lessen my sufferings, deliver me speedily, and lead my soul into heaven with you: that, united with all the elect, I may there bless and praise my God and you for all eternity. Amen. (Split into two paragraphs for easier reading).

 O, Most Blessed Virgin Mary…Pray for Us

Saint John Vianney…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Prompt Succor

Throughout much of your Europe, there are many shrines and devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, however, here in the United States there isn’t as many. One of the great Marian devotions associated particularly with this country is today’s Marian feast – Our Lady of Prompt Succor. She is also celebrated on January 8.

In the year 1727, a group of Ursuline Nuns from France began a monastery and school in New Orleans. Mother Madier asked the Bishop for teachers, since teachers were short at the time in the city. Since he was also short-handed, he could not provide any help to the Ursuline Nuns. Mother Madier then decided to write to Pope Benedict XIII asking for help, but, he was a prisoner of Napoleon. She then prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary and said that if she received help from Our Lady she would then honor her in the city of New Orleans under the title – Our Lady of Prompt Succor.

After one month of praying to Our Lady, Mother Madier received a letter from the Holy Father granting her request for more nuns to come to New Orleans. It should be noted that receiving news from Europe so quickly, even more rare from the Pope, was unheard of at this time and was considered miraculous. To fulfill the promise that she had made, Mother Madier commissioned a statue to be built with Our Lady holding the infant Jesus in our arms. Our Lady of Prompt Succor became the instant intercessory for not only the Ursulines, but the entire city of New Orleans.

Statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in National Shrine

Years later a fire threatened the Ursuline monastery. In hopes that the fire would not take the monastery, one of the sisters took the statue to a window and offered up this prayer – “Our Lady of Prompt Succor, we are lost if you do not come to our aid.” Quickly, the wind changed direction turning the fire away from the monastery. After this happened, it became tradition, even among today’s residents of New Orleans, that when a hurricane is bearing down upon the city, they pray for the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor did not only help the Ursuline Monastery with the fire, but she is credited with assisting the American army with the War of 1812. In the final days of the war, New Orleans had British troops marching upon it for an epic battle. The future President of the United States, then, General Andrew Jackson asked for the Ursuline Nuns to pray for him as well as the city of New Orleans. He needed prayers since the American soldiers were outnumbered. The Mother superior at the time had the statue moved to the Chapel and with many people of the city, the Ursuline Nuns began to pray for Our Lady’s intercession. Just as the battle started, it had ended, and with only seven American soldiers dying. General Jackson state, “The divine providence of God through the intercession of Our Lady of Prompt Succor has shielded us and granted us this stupendous miracle.”

The first Catholic Church in Sulfur, Louisiana, was a mission of the Immaculate Conception for twelve years before it was named a parish in the 1919 – it was then dedicated to Our Lady under the title that miraculously saved the city multiple times over. On June 13, 1928, the Holy See approved and confirmed Our Lady of Prompt Succor as the Patroness of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. For nearly 100 years, the people having been praying to Our Lady’s intercession at the parish in Sulfur, Louisiana.

To visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, please click here. To ask for Our Lady’s intercession through this title, please visit this website. There is also the prayer against hurricanes.

Our Lady of Prompt Succor…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – The House of Mary in Ephesus

In the past, I have written on the Council of Ephesus as well as the Marian Dogma that was declared at that council, namely, Mary as the Theotokos (God-Bearer). Focusing on this theme, for the first “Mondays with Mary” of 2018, I want to briefly tell you about Mary’s House in Ephesus.

Although some claim that she never left Jerusalem or what we know as the Holy Land region, there are others who believed she lived in Ephesus at some point. She traveled there with St. John the Apostle when he went to preach the Gospel message, as did all the Apostles to different regions of the world at that time. Remember, Jesus gave Mary to St. John on the Cross as his own Mother. It was now his duty to care for her as a son would care for his mother. This also proves that Jesus did not have any other brothers and sisters, because if did, they would have cared for Mary, and not the Apostle John.

For many years, what is believed to be the House of Mary in Ephesus was not known, that’s until when the 19th century German nun, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, had visions of Mary living in the area around Ephesus. Following the descriptions from the apparitions in the book, The Life of Mary, a French priest, Julien Gouyet, in 1881, traveled to the area to locate the alleged home. Although he found ruins, he was told by his superiors back in France not tell anyone of his findings. However, the land was purchased by the French and preserved.

In 1891, ten years after the initial expedition, some French priests traveled to the area, with the Emmerich’s book in-hand to seek out the ruins of the house of Mary. With the blessing of the Bishop of Smyrna, the expedition continued and they located what was believed to the house of the Virgin Mary while she lived in Ephesus. Although the home is claimed to be in Ephesus, it’s actually on the Hill of Nightingales known as Koressos, near Ephesus.

The house is built in the Roman architecture style, composed of mainly stones. When it was discovered initially it was essentially ruins, but over the years, it has been rebuilt. The original two-stored house consisted of an anteroom, bedroom, prayer room, and a room with a fireplace. Today, only part of the structure is open to visitors. It also looks more like a church than a house. As you exit the church area, a place can be found called – “Water of Mary.” The salt water that comes from this spot is known to have powers of healing, and be drunk by all. In 1902, it was claimed that an apparition by Mary had occurred. Since that day, healings have happened on the site.

During the first year of the reign of Pope St. John Paul II, after visiting the site himself, the Polish Pope encouraged the Christian faithful to visit the shrine. Before John Paul II, many other Popes recognized and promoted the house of Mary, but many people outside of Rome had any idea it even existed.

Pope Leo XIII, after blessing and visiting the shrine in 1896 on pilgrimage, became a devout defender of the house of Mary.

In 1914, Pope St. Pius X granted permission for a plenary indulgence to visit the shrine.

In 1951, after the dogmatic declaration of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven Body and Soul, Blessed Pope Pius XII authenticated the previous plenary indulgence by Pope St. Pius X and declared the house of Mary in Ephesus a Holy Place.

In 1962, Pope St. John XXIII endorsed the same indulgence and that the house was a Holy Place.

In 1967, Blessed Pope Paul VI would visit the house of Mary in Ephesus. Since his visit and the visit of Pope St. John Paul II, the number of visitors to the shrine have increased. It has become a place of pilgrimage and devotion for many faithful Christians. Many people have also read the account for themselves by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich and have visited the site.

On November 29 2006, Pope Benedict XVI visited the shrine. Just over a year ago, on November 28, 2016, Pope Francis visited the house of Mary in Ephesus, just as his predecessors had done before him.


Ephesus.us. “EPHESUS.” House of Virgin Mary, http://www.ephesus.us/ephesus/houseofvirginmary.htm.

“House of Virgin Mary in Ephesus.” Ephesus Travel Guide, http://www.ephesustravelguide.com/house-of-virgin-mary.html.

“Library : Pope Encourages Pilgrimages To Mary’s House in Turkey.” Library : Pope Encourages Pilgrimages To Mary’s House in Turkey | Catholic Culture, http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3473.

275th “Mondays with Mary” 

“Mondays with Mary” – Seven Days before Christ was Born: What was Mary Expecting?

Historically, in the Liturgical Calendar, December 18 is the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although this feast is no longer officially in the liturgical calendar, faithful Catholics in the Latin Church still honor this day. The Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the feast anticipating the coming of Jesus Christ on Christmas. In the Spanish Catholic Church, it is still a very popular feast. To read more about it, I encourage you to visit Catholic Encyclopedia – New Advent.

The writing of this blog article has become somewhat of a tradition for me as a writer. This is now the fourth edition of this particular topic and article. The reason I return to this each year is because I think it’s an important topic, and each year, I get new thoughts from different Mom’s. In the future, my fiancée, will be able to share with me her thoughts on what she was feeling one week before our first child was born.

Trying to determine what the Blessed Virgin Mary was anticipating one week before giving birth to Jesus is difficult since her thoughts have been not revealed to us in the Sacred Scriptures. It’s pure speculation at this point. We know the account Saint Luke tells us in Chapter 2 of his Gospel, however, we don’t know much more than this part of the story.

As human beings, we might ask ourselves some questions about this time in the Blessed Mother’s life – was it difficult on Mary to be away from her family and her mother during this time? Even though the birth of Jesus was miraculous, as was his conception, what was Mary feeling? Did she know what was to occur? Was she ready for it? Did she think she would be a good mother? Was she fearful in any way? Did she really completely trust the will of God?

Knowing what we do know about the Blessed Virgin Mary, her own Immaculate Conception, and the Annunciation, tells us that she did completely put her trust in God, just as she had done nine months prior. Mary is the great sign of perfect faith and joy for us, all the time, but especially during the Season of Advent where we are called to wait and to hope.

Our Lady of Expectation

We may not know exactly what Mary was expecting one week before the birth of Christ, here are two testimonies from mothers sharing what they were feeling one week prior to having their child –

Monica said – “The week before my first child was born, I was ready! Ready and waiting, full of excitement and anticipation – and I was exhausted. I remember being so uncomfortable I couldn’t sleep. During the night, I would lay awake wondering about who he/she would be, and praying that child would be exactly what we needed in our live to help perfect and grow us into the people of God had intended us to be. Knowing that this child would be exactly who God had in mind for us gave me great peace and hope and joy, and a ready willingness to be this child’s mother. I also prayed that God would give me the grace to be the mother He intended for this child and I begged then as I beg now for the wisdom and strength to raise a child who will love God above all else and whose goal in life is heaven.”

Cathy said – “The experience for my first born was the polar opposite of the experience for my last 10. I was terrified for the first. My good friend had just had a baby and I saw her in labor. I also attended Bradley classes that I stopped going to because everyone spoke of their bad experiences. I was very excited during my whole pregnancy that I was going to have a baby but as labor approached, all I could think about was the pain I would have to get through. I spent a full day in the weeks leading up to the birth, in bed crying and terrified knowing that it was impossible to turn back. The baby could not stay inside of me forever. When labor finally started, I was still afraid. My was labor was longer than it should be been because I was holding back. Still afraid. My daughter was born and I was happy as can be but still could not understand how many women could do that more than once. I attribute most of that to having a very impersonal hospital and doctor experience.  

Everything was different for the next 10 children. The same friend who I saw in labor found a beautiful Filipino Doctor who went to daily mass in San Francisco. She and I both went to him for our second children and he was excellent. He was personable, funny, and he knew what he was doing. I was excited to have a baby and when labor started I found a crucifix that fit perfectly into my hand. It must have been belonged to a priest who lived in the rectory my husband and I lived in that year. The church had closed and we were housesitting. When I picked up the crucifix, tears welled up in my eyes and I was very excited.

In the hospital, the doctor came in and asked me if I drank jet fuel because the labor was so short. When he told me to push, I told him that I was afraid because my last labor was so long. He said simply said, “that won’t happen this time.” I trusted his confident reassuring words and my first son was born in one push. I looked at my husband in shock and then we both laughed because that was way too easy. I held the same crucifix for the next nine children and every experience was the same. I learned how debilitating fear is and how it makes much more sense to put my trust in God. He always takes care of us, just as He promised.”

If you are a mother, and you are open to sharing with us your experience, please do so in the comment box.