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

Since this Saturday was the optional memorial for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I thought I would share with you briefly the prayer of Pope St. John Paul II to the Blessed Virgin Mary under this title. This prayer was originally published on August 15, 2004.

Pope St. John Paul in Lourdes, 2004

Pope St. John Paul in Lourdes, 2004

Hail Mary, poor and humble Woman,
Blessed by the Most High!
Virgin of hope, dawn of a new era,
We join in your song of praise,
to celebrate the Lord’s mercy,
to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom
and the full liberation of humanity.

Hail Mary, lowly handmaid of the Lord,
Glorious Mother of Christ!
Faithful Virgin, holy dwelling-place of the Word,
Teach us to persevere in listening to the Word,
and to be docile to the voice of the Spirit,
attentive to his promptings in the depths of our conscience
and to his manifestations in the events of history.

Hail Mary, Woman of sorrows,
Mother of the living!
Virgin spouse beneath the Cross, the new Eve,
Be our guide along the paths of the world.
Teach us to experience and to spread the love of Christ,
to stand with you before the innumerable crosses
on which your Son is still crucified.

Hail Mary, woman of faith,
First of the disciples!
Virgin Mother of the Church, help us always
to account for the hope that is in us,
with trust in human goodness and the Father’s love.
Teach us to build up the world beginning from within:
in the depths of silence and prayer,
in the joy of fraternal love,
in the unique fruitfulness of the Cross.

Holy Mary, Mother of believers,
Our Lady of Lourdes,
pray for us.

Amen.

For more catechesis on this important Marian feast, I would suggest reading the following blog posts I have written in the past – Our Lady of Lourdes“Mondays with Mary” – Saint Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes and “Mondays with Mary” – Pope Benedict XVI on the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Our Lady of Lourdes…Pray for Us 

Saint Bernadette…Pray for Us

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Nanteuil (France)

In light of the recent attacks in Paris, France, I felt that need to write about a Marian devotion that focused specifically on Our Lady in France. Although today’s “Mondays with Mary” is not as popular as Our Lady of Lourdes or the Miraculous Medal, Our Lady of Nanteuil is one the oldest shrines in the country going back to the late 1st century.

Tradition tells us that the first Christians in the area found a statue on the branch of an oak tree. Because it seemed to be an odd place, they removed the statue from the branch and put it on a wall close to a fountain. Impressed with their discovery of the Marian statue, they went to call their neighbors to show them.

After gathering their neighbors, they found out that the statue was not where they had put it, and hoped that nobody took it away. Some time later, the statue was found again in the original place the Christians found it – on the branch of the oak tree. They took this as a sign that Our Lady did not want the statue to be moved. Constructed around the oak tree, the first chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Nanteuil was built. In the twelfth century, a parish church was built to replace the very old chapel.

Although France would endure many struggles, the religious battles in the 16th century, and most tragically, the French Revolution, Our Lady of Nanteuil was nearly undisturbed. The one change that was noticeable on the statue at the time of the French Revolution was that the smiling face had now become a sad face. Some people even claimed to see tears coming from the eyes and rolling down the cheeks of the statue.

During the Revolution, a woman tied a rope around the neck of the statue and pulled it to the ground. The body broke apart but the head remain intact. Another woman looking for more loot threw the head aside. She was instantly punished with death.

Our Lady of Nanteuil Shrine

A good woman took the remains of the head and hid it until the French Revolution had ceased. At this time a new body was constructed and the original head was placed on top creating a new statue.

There are many miracles attributed to Our Lady of Nanteuil, but the one that is often recorded is of the little crippled boy. After three pilgrimages to the shrine, where his mother carried him from their home to their shrine and back again, the boy after the third trip was miraculously healed. Upon returning home, he was healthy and no longer crippled. The shrine gained a reputation of healing the sick, especially the illnesses of children.

Although many in France frequented the shrine, it was a favorite place to pilgrimage for King Louis XI, Venerable Olier, and Benedict Joseph Labre.

This week let us ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary under this title and the many other titles she has given to us to protect all citizens of nations that come under harms way due to terrorism. Also pray for the repose of the souls of those who were killed on Friday night as well as their families who are enduring this great trial and suffering at this time. Let us also remember the souls of those who were killed in Beirut, Lebanon.

Our Lady of Nanteuil…Pray for Us.

Our Lady of Lourdes…Pray for Us.

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal…Pray for Us.

Source:

Roman Catholic Saints (http://www.roman-catholic-saints.com)

Our Lady of Lourdes

Today is the optional memorial for Our Lady of Lourdes. It was on this day that the Our Lady first appeared to the fourteen year-old, St. Bernadette Soubirous. Overall, there were eighteen appearances to St. Bernadette. The very last one was on July 18, 1858. The general message of Lourdes is the call to repentance (conversion), prayer, and charity. 

Below are the three blog posts that I have written on in the past focusing on Our Lady of Lourdes – 

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 

Our Lady of Lourdes…Pray for Us.

Our Lady of Lourdes and Bernadette

 

 

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

This coming Tuesday is the feast day for St. Bernadette. She is famous for receiving eighteen visions at the grotto of Massabiele, beside the River Gave in Lourdes, France. This Marian apparition has become known as Our Lady of Lourdes. It is here on March 25, 1858, the Blessed Mother told Bernadette her name  – “I am the Immaculate Conception.” For more information on Our Lady of Lourdes and the Immaculate Conception click on the links.

Bernadette, a pet name by family and friends, was born on January 7, 1844 and christened Maria Bernarde. She was the oldest of six children born to Francis Soubirous and Louise Casterot. Bernadette was a fragile young woman who always had bouts with asthma and other ailments throughout her entire life. At the time of the first vision, her family was in a very poor state of life living in building that was nearly condemned. As a child, she was regarded as a slow student academically, but was a very good, obedient, and virtuous youth who took care of her brothers and sisters with gentle care, even though she suffered with physical ailments.

The apparitions at Lourdes did some good for her family, however, she endured great persecution and endless questioning once the visions has ceased only a few months after they had begun. To protect her from such harassment, the nuns at the hospice took her in and she resided with them for five years; however, people came to the hospice also asking her questions.

In 1864, she offered herself to the sisters of Notre-Dame de Nevers. She would not enter the novitiate of the motherhouse until 1866 since she had to endure attacks of sickness. Being away from her family and the grotto where the Blessed Mother appeared to her was difficult, but she was very happy with her sisters at Nevers. After residing at the motherhouse for only four months, she took sick and received last rites (now Anointing of the Sick), however, she recovered and worked as an infirmarian (nurse) and a sacristan. The asthma that she endured and suffered with her whole life led to other health complications.

On April 16, 1879, Bernadette Soubirous died – she was 35 years old. In 1933, Pope Pius XI canonized her a saint of the universal church. She is the Patron saint of Lourdes, France; bodily sickness; sick people, and shepherds.

Let us offer prayers for the intercession of Our Lady under her title at Lourdes and also ask for intercession from St. Bernadette for those who are burdened with illness and physical suffering.

St. Bernadette holy card

“Mondays with Mary” – Pope Benedict XVI on the Blessed Virgin Mary

This coming Thursday is the final day of the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, as many of you know. Over the past 9 months, I have written 45 “Mondays with Mary.” Nine of those forty-five have been written on Benedict’s understanding and writings on the Blessed Virgin Mary. To honor his papacy and great theological writings he has given us on Mary, I present the blog posts from Mondays with Mary.

Please continue to pray for Our Holy Father, the Cardinals who will gather in the conclave, the successor of Pope Benedict XVI, and the universal Church as whole. God is in complete control, so we must trust in this divine economy.

Number 5 – “Mondays with Mary” – In a Time of Crisis…Mary Should Not be Forgotten

Number 9 – “Mondays with Mary” – The Immaculate Mother and Pope Benedict XVI

Number 11 – “Mondays with Mary” – Mary of Nazareth and Hearing God’s Word

Number 18 – “Mondays with Mary” – Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI on the Assumption of Mary

Number 22 – “Mondays with Mary” – Mary, Seat of Wisdom

Number 25 – “Mondays with Mary” – Benedict XVI, the Year of Faith, and the Mother of God

Number 29 – “Mondays with Mary” – Mary: The Model of Prayer

Number 40 – “Mondays with Mary” – ‘Leads Us To Jesus’ (Pope Benedict XVI Homily at Altötting)

Number 44 – “Mondays with Mary” – Pope Benedict XVI on the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes

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

When I went to bed last Sunday night, I had scheduled my blog post – “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Lourdes to publish at 5:00 a.m. as I always do. Never did I think that Pope Benedict XVI would drop an ecclesiastical bomb on the world. Since the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes was overshadowed by the Holy Father’s announcement, I am choosing to re-post my writings on this memorial (see link above) as well as provide you with the words of Pope Benedict XVI from February 11, 2010, the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 18th World Day of the Sick –

“The Church, entrusted with the task of extending Christ’s mission in time and space, cannot neglect these two essential tasks: evangelization and the care of the sick in body and in mind. Indeed, God wants to heal the whole of man and in the Gospel the healing of the body is a sign of the deeper recovery that is the forgiveness of sins (cf. Mk 2: 1-12). It is therefore not surprising that Mary, Mother and model of the Church, is invoked and venerated as “Salus infirmorum Health of the sick”. As the first and perfect disciple of her Son, in guiding the Church on her journey she has always shown special solicitude for the suffering. Witness to this are the thousands of people who go to Marian shrines to invoke the Mother of Christ and find in her strength and relief. The Gospel account of the Visitation (cf. Lk 1: 39-56) shows us how, after the announcement of the Angel, the Virgin did not keep the gift she had received to herself but immediately set out to go and help her elderly cousin Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant with John. In the support that Mary offered this relative who was experiencing a delicate condition such as pregnancy at an advanced age, we see prefigured the whole of the Church’s action in support of life that is in need of care…

…The Liturgy of the Word today presents two main themes: the first is Marian in character and links the Gospel and the First Reading, from the last chapter of the Book of Isaiah, as well as the Responsorial Psalm taken from the Judith’s canticle of praise. The other theme, which we find in the passage from the Letter of James, is that of the Church’s prayer for the sick and, in particular, the sacrament reserved for them. On the Memorial of the apparitions in Lourdes, where Mary chose to manifest her maternal solicitude for the sick, the Liturgy appropriately echoes the Magnificat, the canticle of the Virgin who exalts the wonders of God throughout salvation history: the humble and the poor, like all who fear God, experience his mercy which overturns earthly destinies, thus showing the holiness of the Creator and Redeemer…

…The Church’s motherhood is a reflection of God’s tender love of which the Prophet Isaiah speaks: “As one whom his mother comforts, / so I will comfort you; / you shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (Is 66: 13). It is a motherhood that speaks without words, that awakens in hearts consolation, deep joy, a joy that paradoxically lives side by side with pain, with suffering. The Church, like Mary, preserves within her the tragedies of humankind and the consolation of God, she keeps them together on the pilgrimage through history. The Church down the centuries has shown the signs of the love of God who continues to work great things in humble and simple people. Suffering, when accepted and offered up, and solidarity, when sincere and selfless: are these not perhaps miracles of love? Is not the courage to face evil unarmed like Judith with the power of faith and hope in the Lord alone a miracle that God’s grace continuously inspires in so many people who spend their time and energy helping those who are suffering?”

As we watch the Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI come to a close, let us pray for his intentions, his life of prayer that he will engage, and the Church as a universal whole. Let us pray for the conclave of Cardinals that will gather in the weeks ahead, that through their guidance and understanding of the Church today, they will choose a worthy successor with the direction of the Holy Spirit. We are clearly living in epic times with epic Popes. Let us pray that Benedict XVI will continue to write for his knowledge, wisdom, and guidance can still impact the Church today…even if he is retired.

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of Lourdes

Thirteen years ago, when I was the youth coordinator at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Avondale, Arizona, one of my teenagers brought me back a small glass container of holy water that she purchased at the Marian Pilgrimage Shrine of Lourdes in France. She went on pilgrimage with her high school, Xavier College Preparatory. The school to this day continues to take students to Lourdes. I still have this small container (pictured here) Lourdes Holy Waterand it goes everywhere I live. It has traveled from Arizona, to Ohio, then to Texas, and now back to Arizona. It has become a permanent fixture in the small Marian “shrine” that sits on top of my dresser in my bedroom. I have yet to break the seal.

Today is the memorial for Our Lady of Lourdes in the liturgical calendar of the Latin Rite. The documented events of this Marian apparition began on February 11, 1858 when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a young peasant girl of 14 years of age. From February 11 to July 16, 1858, Bernadette received from the Blessed Virgin Mary eighteen apparitions. The heart of the message Bernadette received was a call for greater prayer and penance in reparation to God, and the conversion of sinners. One of the major proclamations from Lourdes is the importance of praying the Holy Rosary. Bernadette would often pray the Rosary during the times she witnessed the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Lady herself would then join in and pray the Rosary with Bernadette. The Rosary is not a prayer to Mary, but it’s a prayer focusing on the life and mysteries of Jesus Christ. So many of the saints throughout the centuries (like Padre Pio – this is for a friend who wears a ring with his image on it) have encouraged the lay faithful to devoutly pray the Rosary.

Our Lady of Lourdes Pilgrimage Site

The reason why so many faithful pilgrims flock to Lourdes is to touch the rock where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette and to see the spring that came from the rock that Bernadette drank and washed in. This spring has brought forth miracles of healing to 67 documented cases (approved by the Church). These cases have undergone intense medical investigations whereby they have been truly understood to be of a miraculous nature. This must occur so that those who claim they have been healed from the spring do not bring scandal to the faithful of the Church. It also assists the Church when they declare if the apparition site is authentic and bearing fruit. In a world that rejects the supernatural more and more, the physical signs of healing at Lourdes represent the saving power of God’s grace in today’s modern age.

The sixteenth apparition that occurred on March 25, 1885 confirms that Mary is the Immaculate Conception. Only four years before on December 8, 1854, Blessed Pope Pius IX declared with an infallible statement from the Chair of St. Peter that Mary, the Ever-Virgin Mother of God was conceived in a miraculous way in the womb of her own mother. Bernadette tells us:

“After having poured out my heart to her I took up my Rosary. While I was praying, the thought of asking her name came before my mind with such persistence that I could thing of nothing else. I feared to be presumptuous in repeating a question she had always refused to answer. And yet something compelled me to speak. At last, under and irresistible impulse, the words fell from my mouth, and I begged the Lady to tell me who she was. The Lady did as she had always done before; she bowed her head and smiled but she did not reply…I felt myself bolder and asked her again…for a third time, clasping my hands and confessing myself unworthy of the favor I was asking of her, I again made my request…at the third request her face became very serious and she seemed to bow down in an attitude of humility. Then she joined her hands and raised them to her breast…She looked up to Heaven…then slowly opening her hands and leaning forward towards me, she said to me in a voice vibrating with emotion: ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’!”

Wow! What an amazing experience for young Bernadette to witness and to be able to present it to the world. The part of this apparition that touches my heart is that Our Lady’s voice vibrated with such emotion when she declared her name. This apparition also shows us how important the sinless state of our Blessed Mother truly is in light of the dogma declared by the Church.

On this day of Our Lady of Lourdes, let us remember that we must always seek a deeper conversion each time we repent from our sins. Praying the Rosary is so very important since it’s the weapon against Satan (St. Pio of Pietrelcina).

Our Lady of Lourdes…Pray For Us!

Our Lady of Lourdes