To celebrate the month of Mary, I thought I would talk a little about the patroness of the Hogar and how we have been celebrating Mary. If you don’t remember, the official name of the Hogar is Hogar Maria Auxiliadora. In English, Home of Mary Help of Christians.
Devotion to Mary Help of Christians is attributed to have started in the 1500s during the battle Lepanto when the people prayed the rosary for Mary’s intercession. There are other stories of battles being won through the intercession of Our Lady, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that an official feast day was declared. Pope Pius VII had been imprisoned by Napoleon, and after vowing to God that he would instate a feast to Mary if he was released, he kept his word when he safely returned to Rome. May 24 is now celebrated as the feast of Mary Help of Christians.
The Salesians are especially well known for having a devotion to Mary Help of Christians. St. John Bosco, the founder of the order, had a devotion to Mary, and he had a dream that the Church would be safe if they had a devotion to Mary Help of Christians and the Blessed Sacrament. The basilica that he had built was named after this particular aspect of Mary.
Earlier this month, the girls all worked on putting up posters to honor Mary throughout the Hogar. Each shrine-like area included a phrase from a prayer to Mary. Phrases included “Bless me, Mary,” “Protect me under your mantle,” and “May I live and die under you gaze.” It’s really beautiful to see the effort the girls put into it.
To be honest, I didn’t know much about Mary Help of Christians until I became a Salesian Lay Missioner, but I have begun to believe in the power of prayer to her. You see, when I became stuck in the visa application process and had to resubmit my application to a different consulate, I mailed in my application close to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I remember being at mass on that day and closing my eyes and imploring Mary Help of Christians to help with getting my visa. And what do you know, just a couple of weeks later, my visa had been granted.
Now, one time could be a coincidence, right? Well, that wasn’t the only time I earnestly prayed to Mary for help. There are actually 3 volunteers here right now, and one of them came about a month and a half after I arrived. Would you be surprised to hear that she also had issues obtaining her visa? In fact, I contacted her about 5 days before her flight, and she still had not received it, even though she had spoken to the workers, and they had assured her she would get it in time. So after hearing that, I prayed with a special intention during our rosary for Mary to help her receive her visa in time. Well, Nicole received a call 2 days before she was to leave that her visa was finally ready. They were about to put it in the mail, but it wouldn't get to her in time, so she drove 6 hours in one day to get pick up her visa. (The day before she flew to Bolivia). Some might say it was luck or a coincidence, but I believe Mother Mary was looking out for us volunteers.
So the next time you are feeling helpless in any situations, why don’t you try praying to Mary Help of Christians? She just might come to your aid.
We also say a daily rosary to honor Mary at the Hogar, which they conclude by saying the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If you have never heard of this litany, it goes as follows:
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us. God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Pray for us. (repeat after each line) Holy Mother of God, Holy Virgin of virgins, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church, Mother of mercy, Mother of divine grace, Mother of hope, Mother most pure, Mother most chaste, Mother inviolate, Mother undefiled, Mother most amiable, Mother most admirable, Mother of good counsel, Mother of our Creator, Mother of our Savior, Virgin most prudent, Virgin most venerable, Virgin most renowned, Virgin most powerful, Virgin most merciful, Virgin most faithful, Mirror of justice, Seat of wisdom, Cause of our joy, Spiritual vessel, Vessel of honor, Singular vessel of devotion, Mystical rose, Tower of David, Tower of ivory,
House of gold, Ark of the covenant, Gate of heaven, Morning star, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners, Comfort of Migrants, Comforter of the afflicted, Help of Christians, Queen of Angels, Queen of Patriarchs, Queen of Prophets, Queen of Apostles, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of Confessors, Queen of Virgins, Queen of all Saints, Queen conceived without original sin, Queen assumed into heaven, Queen of the most holy Rosary, Queen of Families, Queen of Peace,
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray, Grant, we beseech you, Lord God, that we your servants may rejoice in continual health of mind and body and, by the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, may we be delivered from present sorrow to delight in joy eternal. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
I find some of the Marian titles fascinating, and there are so many of them! What do you think of the litany?
That's all I have for now. Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!