The Blessings of Mary: Text Only
Irish Ursulines, 1920 with IMPRIMATUR

First Half

The Conversion of a Hardened Sinner

A landowner at Bourbon-Lancy led so wicked a life that he was considered as one of those who are the disgrace of the parish in which they live. This man at length fell sick, and was pronounced by his physicians to be past recovery. The pastor of the parish received notice of this, and began to devise means for getting access to him in order to bring him to think of his salvation before it should be too late. He succeeded in getting admittance to the sick room, but the unhappy man showed himself insensible to everything that could be urged concerning the necessity of making his peace with God. He only replied by insolent expressions, regretting that he had not foreseen his sickness that he might have avoided it by committing suicide. Meanwhile it was easy to see that he had but a few hours to live. He dismissed his pastor with these words: "Go away. I forbid you to come any more to molest me." The pastor retired, his heart overwhelmed with grief to think how soon a reprobate was about to be lost.

We shall conclude the narrative in the Priest's own words: "I had proceeded a few hundred paces, and was about three-quarters of a mile beyond the house, entirely absorbed in thinking of the scene which I had just witnessed, when it came into my mind that the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Confraternity under the name of the 'Refuge of Sinners.' I addressed myself to this good Mother, as to my last refuge. It was midnight. I hastened to recite, almost in the middle of the fields, when all was calm around me, with all the fervour of which I was capable, the prayers of the Confraternity, the 'Memorare,' and several times, 'Mary, Refuge of Sinners, pray for us.' I terminated my invocations with the following: 'O Mary! if what one of your most devoted servants said of you is true, if it is true that you are the refuge of sinners, ah, I implore you, show it to me at this moment by saving that wretched man, ready to fall into the frightful gulf of Hell; the more unworthy he is, the greater will be your kindness and mercy towards him, the greater reason I shall have to bless you. O Mary! deign to come to the aid of your unworthy servant by rescuing him from the frightful position in which he is placed.'

"At that very instant I felt myself impelled to retrace my steps, and I had hardly gone back a little distance when I heard a man on horseback approaching me, riding full gallop. When he came near I asked him where he was going. He replied: 'To Bourbon to seek the Priest.' 'What for?' 'To hear the confession of M._____.' 'Stop, then, I am the Priest. So he has made up his mind?' 'Yes, it is he who asks for you.' I hastened to return. On my arrival I found the man completely changed. He stretched out his arms to me, saying, 'Reverend Father, I am at your service. Hear my confession and help me, I beg of you. I am the greatest sinner you have ever seen.' His wife, who was a good Catholic, expressed her joy at this happy change. I heard his confession, administered to him the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, and said for him the prayers of recommendation for a departing soul. He died a few moments after. Those present could never forget the event. I attribute it all to the Mother of Mercy."

Our Blessed Lady, Our Protectress

The Church, ever striving to give her children confidence in Mary, applies to our Blessed Mother those words of Ecclesiasticus (xxiv, 30-31): "They that work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting." Now, to avoid committing sin and to have eternal life is nothing else but living in the grace of God and dying in holy perseverance, which is a gift of God, a gift so great, according to the holy Council of Trent, that we cannot merit it by ourselves; but what is impossible, humanly speaking, becomes possible, and even easy, if we faithfully serve the Blessed Virgin. It is true that the life of man, and above all the life of a Christian, is a continual combat, and in order to fight victoriously we have need of courage. But of the Blessed Virgin it is said, "Prudence is mine and strength is mine" (Prov. viii), and we need only to fight under her standard to vanquish all our enemies. Whilst, on the one hand, the expressions used by the Church regarding Our Lady are full of gentleness and sweetness; whilst she calls her our life, our sweetness, and our hope; whilst the softest and mildest images are used to encourage us to have the most child-like love for her-----on the other hand, our confidence is made doubly great by expressions and images applied to her indicating extreme power, the greatest power a creature can possibly exercise. She is called "the Tower of David," a title taken from the Scriptures, where it is said that a thousand bucklers hang upon that tower, the armour of valiant men. What, then, have those to fear who fly to this tower where there is such an abundance of invincible armour? From thence we can defy all the rage of the demons, who at the sight of Mary are like a weak and contemptible troop flying before a strong army arrayed in order of battle. At her very name, uttered with devotion, temptation falls from us like a dart the point of which is blunted against an impenetrable shield.

Happy, therefore, are those who hear the voice of Mary, who from early youth labour to find her, who watch at the gate of her mercy, and continually attach themselves to her service; she will protect them in all situations of life; for according to a beautiful saying of Innocent III: "Mary is called the moon in the night, the aurora at the opening of day, the sun during the day." Like the moon, she scatters rays to enlighten them in the miserable night of sin; like the aurora, she is the messenger of salvation to those who have need of strength to arrive at grace; and she is the sun to those who possess grace but who still require succour not to fail. Mary is to us a chain of salvation to link us to her Divine Son. By keeping hold of this chain we shall never fall grievously, but shall persevere unto death in the practice of virtue, and die in holy perseverance.

A mother, naturally, is most ready to assist her children in their greatest need. If Our Lady has watched over us through life, doubtless she will not forsake us in death. She will stand by us in our last hour, lovingly watching us in our agony, as she stood by the Cross of her Divine Son. Great, indeed, will then be our need of her; the hour of death is that of the last and most terrible combat, but if Mary appears-----that tender and loving yet mighty mother-----the baffled demons will fly, the last temptations will be subdued like so many others, the soul of the dying will be filled with sweet peace and calm. It is a happy thing for the children of Mary to reflect that to assist the dying is one of the special offices which the Saints have always regarded as belonging to the Blessed Virgin, as she herself revealed to St. Bridget, speaking to her of those who have honoured her in this life; her words were: "Then will I, their most dear Lady and Mother, meet them in death, that they may have consolation and refreshment."

Our death will be precious in the sight of the Lord, if we have had the happiness to live in the service of this good Mother. How sweet, then, will appear the bonds which attached us to her! We shall find the chains we carried in her service were chains of love; we shall only feel them by their reminding us that our slavery was a blessed one. Let us, therefore, renew our fervour and devotion to Our Blessed Lady, and be assured that at our death she will procure us great consolation. Let us remember that she is the Virgo Fidelis, the Faithful Virgin, and that she will show herself such to those who have been faithful to pious practices in her honour, zealous defenders of her prerogatives, religious advocates of devotion to her, and, above all, fervent imitators of her virtues.

A Conversion Obtained Through the Rosary

A holy priest named Father Clement was called near midnight to hear the confession of a young nobleman who had just been attacked by apoplexy. He hastened to the house, found all in confusion, and the physicians in vain exerting their skill, the patient being totally unconscious. The night wore away in the midst of all this distress. At daybreak, the churches being open, the priest went to say Mass for the sick man at a chapel of the Blessed Virgin. Just as the Mass was over a servant came to inform him that his master had recovered consciousness. What was the joyful surprise of the religious when, on reaching the bedside of the nobleman, who had been unhappily notorious for his profligacy, he found him penetrated with feelings of the most lively compunction, asking mercy of God more by his sighs and tears than by his words, and offering up his life with heroic generosity in expiation of his sins. In these dispositions the sick man made his confession and asked for the Last Sacraments. The confessor, edified and affected, inquired of his penitent what could have prevailed with Our Lord to work in his favour this great prodigy of mercy. "Alas, Father," replied the sick man, in a voice broken by sobs, "alas, what is there that could have so prevailed with Him but mercy itself obtained by your prayers and perhaps by those of my deceased mother."

This good lady, who was held in reverence for her piety by the court and the city, had, when dying, called to her the young duke, her only child, and spoken to him much as follows: "I leave to you, my son, a great name and great property, but I exhort you less earnestly to maintain these than to be true to the title of Christian. What dangers do I not foresee for you, my son! Into what excesses, perhaps, will not the great fortune you are about to possess precipitate you! I am dying too soon, alas, for you; but the will of God be done. It is under the protection of the Blessed Virgin that I leave you. I implore her to take the place of a mother towards you. My son, if you preserve any remembrance of me for the remainder of your life, if from henceforth you wish to give any marks of attachment to your mother who loves you most tenderly, who in dying regrets life only for your sake, promise me you will do the only thing I am going to ask of you; it will cost you little: it is to say the Rosary every day."

"I promised this very sincerely," said the sick man to his confessor, after having given him the above details, "and I have done regularly what my mother so anxiously begged me to do. I acknowledge that it has been for ten years past my only act of religion." The confessor entertained no doubt but that this was a special protection of the august Mother of God who had obtained for his penitent this astonishing mercy from Our Lord. He exhorted him to redouble yet more his confidence in his Benefactress, and did not leave him till he had received his last sigh breathed forth in the same spirit of penance.

A Wonderful Cure Through the Intercession of Our Blessed Lady

In the month of November, 1880, a young woman about twenty-five years of age, of the parish of St. Joseph's, Preston, fell so dangerously ill that her life was despaired of. However, after receiving the Last Sacraments she rallied somewhat, but still suffered from an acute affection of the heart, pronounced incurable by the doctor, and had several other serious ailments. Whilst giving edification by her patience and resignation to the will of God, she clung to life, and desired to recover both to be better prepared for death and also to be able still to help her aged mother, of whom she was the only support. Her occupation had been that of working in a factory.

She made several Novenas for her recovery, but with no apparent result. One means indeed she had found out from the commencement of her illness for calming the palpitation of the heart in attacks of more than usual violence; and this was to press to her heart a medal of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. On the whole, instead of anything like improvement, she was gradually sinking, and the end was thought to be not far off. She was in this state when a Mission was opened in the parish by three Redemptorist Fathers, and placed by them under the special protection of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. The invalid felt deep regret that she was not able to attend it. She took a lively interest in it, and prayed for its success, and derived very much pleasure from listening every evening to the accounts her companions gave her of all they had heard in the church, and especially of the striking instances that were told of the merciful intercession of Our Lady. All this inspired her with renewed confidence in the Blessed Virgin.

The Mission closed on December 21st, and on Christmas Day the sick girl began a Novena, in which the members of the Sodality of Christian Doctrine and other pious persons took part. Instead, however, of getting any better she grew every day worse; her sufferings and weakness increased to such a degree that her mother thought her very near death. The morning of the ninth day arrived. Having to prepare for Holy Communion, she gave hardly any thought to her bodily condition. Shortly, however, after receiving Communion she realized with full consciousness that some great and wonderful change had taken place. She felt herself, in fact, no longer ill at all, but quite well, and yet was hardly able to believe that she had indeed recovered. She rose from her bed, and whereas before she could not have stood up without support, she now walked with ease and a firm step across the room, and called out to her mother, who was downstairs: "Mother, I am cured, I am cured!" She was, in fact, restored to perfect health. Dressing herself without further delay, and declining help, she went downstairs, and walked to the church to return fervent thanks to Our Lady. The following Sunday she assisted without difficulty at three Masses and at Benediction. In the course of a fortnight after her recovery she returned to her ordinary work in the factory. The doctor, after three examinations, pronounced her radically and completely cured.

It would be too long to speak here of the sensation produced among the inhabitants of Preston, Protestants as well as Catholics, by this miraculous cure, and to recount the happy results in the town and parish of devotion to Our Lady. For all this we must refer the reader to the letter of the Rev. J. Walmsley to the Very Rev. Father Manson, Superior-General of the Redemptorists, which appeared in La Sainte Famille, March, 1882, and from which this account has been abridged.

Confidence in Mary

A poor young soldier had received a bullet wound in the chest in General Foster's attack on Goldsborough, North Carolina, and was left for dead on the field. One of the ambulances, which were sent to bear the wounded men to the temporary camp erected after the battle, passed near him.

He was speechless, but not unconscious, and, while trying to staunch the blood, kept saying mentally: "Mother of God, I am in mortal sin; don't let me die without the priest." So it seemed a marvellous and direct answer to prayer when he heard the voices of the men now almost beside him. But they, perceiving that the end was fast approaching, said heartlessly: "Oh, there's no use in minding him; he will be dead before we can get him into the ambulance," and they went on, leaving him to his fate.

The poor fellow heard every word, and prayed the more earnestly to Our Lady not to let him die in his sins. The relief party had already gone a considerable distance when one of the men, more humane than the rest, said to his comrades: "I must go back to that poor fellow; I cannot let a fellow-soldier die like that without making an effort to save him." So he induced some of them to return with him, and when they came to the wounded man he had regained strength and speech enough to cry out: "I will not die, I will not die; for the love of God take me out of this."

Tenderly they raised him, and fixing him as comfortably as circumstances would allow, carried him on a stretcher to the camp where so many of his brother soldiers were struggling in mortal agony. When all the wounded men had been thus gathered together they were brought to the military hospital at Newberne, which was conducted by the Sisters of Mercy. When the doctors had examined and dressed the wounds of the poor soldier who had so fervently implored Our Lady's help, they told the Sisters that there was no possible hope of his recovery; that his death was imminent and might be expected at any moment. He had lapsed into unconsciousness during the operation, so one of the Sisters took her station at his bedside, watching for a lucid interval in which to prepare him to meet his God.
And she did not watch in vain. After a little time she noticed him groping for something on which, when he had found it, he fixed his eyes with such a contented expression that she bent over him to find the cause and speak some words of comfort, and saw him grasping tightly-----his scapulars.

"Thanks be to the Mother of God, Sister," said he; "she heard my prayer, and did not desert me!"

Then in broken accents he told of his terror lest he should die in the condition in which he had been left on the battleield, and of his oft-repeated prayer-----"Mother of God, I am in mortal sin, don't let me die without the priest." "And now, Sister," he continued, "will you send me the priest without delay? I know I have not long to live, and it's many a year since I went to confession."

The good chaplain of the hospital hurried to the bedside of the dying man, and the interview was not a short one. With the utmost fervour the soldier made his peace with God, was anointed, and received Holy Viaticum and, after the Sister had helped him to make his thanksgiving, he told her that, although from boyhood he had led a wild and reckless life, he had always preserved some remnant of the love for Our Blessed Mother which his own Irish mother had endeavoured to plant in his heart when he was a child. On enrolling himself in one of the militia companies formed so rapidly in those troubled times, he had procured a pair of scapulars with the first articles of his uniform, thus placing himself under the protection of her who was to protect him so visibly in the end.

His touching prayer to Our Lady, when left among the dead and dying, was prompted, no doubt, by the scapulars to which he clung so fervently; and she "to whom no one ever had recourse without obtaining relief" inspired his soldier companion to go back to him before life was extinct, and strengthened him miraculously until his soul was renewed in the Blood of the Lamb.

After the great efforts consequent on his reception of the Sacraments he seemed to rally for a few hours, but then sank into a state of complete exhaustion, and on the evening of the second day after his arrival at the hospital his soul went forth to meet the merciful Judge, Who, through His Mother's intercession, had granted so rare a grace to a poor sinner.

Our Blessed Mother

One of the sweetest graces Our Lord gave us was at the close of His life when, in the person of St. John, He made His Mother ours, she who had stood by the Cross and willed the death of her Son because it was God's will. God's interests and hers were one. After the long training of the thirty years she had lived with Jesus she had no self left. Imagine what it must have been to have lived with and watched Our Lord for thirty years; how she had imbibed His spirit, and when the time of parting came, as we look into those two human faces, and human hearts, we understand that God does not want our human hearts to be crushed, but sanctified.

At some period of our life we have probably felt what it was to have a door close on us, which closed an epoch in our lives; as when that door of the cottage of Nazareth closed on Mary at her parting with her Son. Some day the door must close on us for the last time-----when we die; and we shall then certainly make a retrospect of our lives if we have time; and the only way in which that retrospect can give us joy is, if we can truly feel that we have immolated self. Mary felt as she looked back on those thirty years that there had been no self-----all had been purely for God. After the death of Our Lord He went to give joy to the souls in Limbo; but He left His Mother in desolation; and when He arose and came to His Mother, she revelled in His joy and glory, as only one divested of self could. In proportion as she had shared His sorrow, and sufferings, and labours, she partook of His joy. It was on His account that she rejoiced.

And what has Mary done for us? She has loved us, taken joy in us, and interest in our work. From our very birth she has had her arms round us. What have we done for her? Can we look up and say sincerely: Yes, I have done something for her in my life; I have always been glad to do or say whatever could promote her honour? Still, with all this we have many times given her pain. But there is this about wrongs done to Mary-----we may have pained her, but we have never made her angry. God created her without anger. She is a reproduction of His kindness, His mercy, His love, His compassion; but not of His justice. Even with the cruel executioners she was not angry; and when we do things that would make another mother angry, the pain we cause her only makes her turn her eyes in pity to Our Lord with a prayer for us. As she is never angry, never resents our injuries, it is a deeper motive of shame and sorrow to us if we have ever dishonoured her by our thoughts, words, or actions-----that is, if our heart is in the right place. A Saint calls her "prayerfully omnipotent," because God never refuses the prayer she makes. Once her love
has been poured out upon us it is never withdrawn; she never denies our claim, but ever looks upon us with loving compassion.

There is no misery she cannot reach, no wound she cannot heal; and if we cling to her robe, and ask her to take our hand in hers, and so lead us to her Divine Son, we shall be sure of our welcome from Him.

What an inducement this is to try to spread devotion to Our Lady. If you can succeed in making one soul love her more, if you can teach it to trust her, to lean on her, to recourse to her, what a great thing you have done! A soul that loves Mary will love chastity, and its guardian, modesty; will lead a holy life, and die a happy death. How great must be the power of Mary, when she seems able to use her "prayerful omnipotence" to turn even the free-will of man! If not, how could she promise that those who die wearing her scapular should never see eternal fire? If she has not in her hands the means of changing hearts, she would never have promised this grace-----for salvation means dying with contrition. God will do anything to save a soul that loves His Mother, or that has loved her.

The Conversion of a Dying Sinner

At Cracow, in Poland, in 1901, a sinner lay dying. He had been a great criminal, having spent his live in terrible evil-doing, even, as it was said, to the shedding of human blood. Nevertheless, though about to meet his God, and seemingly well aware of it, he persistently refused to prepare himself.

Many pious persons were praying for him; several priests had tried to gain access to him, but he had given orders that not one of them should be allowed to enter his room. However, a member of a religious order, who had been at college with him, determined, if possible, to save the soul of his former comrade, and contrived to evade the command, on the plea of oldtime friendship.

As soon as he saw the sick man the priest was convinced that to endeavour to reason with him would avail nothing. Therefore, with a resolution born of necessity as well as piety, the priest took the easiest, and in his opinion the most efficacious, means of softening the heart of the reprobate. He fell on his knees beside the bed and began to recite aloud the "Hail Mary." He was answered by a blasphemy. He continued, however, to repeat the prayer, and the invalid, too weak for further remonstrance, resigned himself to listen to it. After some time the dying man opened his eyes and said, in a voice weak but perfectly rational: "I would like to make my confession." The priest, though overjoyed, was much surprised. Great as had been his faith and confidence in the Mother of God, he was not prepared for so sudden a change. The sick man repeated his request, which was immediately complied with.

After his confession, he asked the priest to open a drawer in his table. There, among his papers, he directed him where to find a small picture of the Blessed Virgin. "It is a souvenir of my Mother," said the contrite sinner. "She gave it to me, enjoining me never to part with it. In order to please her I took it from her dear hands. I have often been on the point of destroying it when sorting my papers, but could never bring myself to do so." He took the picture, pressed it to his heart, and then kissed it fervently, tears streaming from his eyes. He received Holy Viaticum with joy and fervour, full of gratitude to her who is so justly called the Refuge of Sinners.

Mary, the Mother of God

The nature and degree of the respect, veneration, or homage we are bound to pay to any person is measured by the dignity of the person either in rank or character. The poorest have a right to a certain respect as the creatures of God; all Christians, because they are followers of Christ; the just, because they have the grace of God; Saints, because they are the friends of God; kings, because they are the ministers of His providence. In short, the possession of any gifts or attributes proceeding from God implies we should respect the possessors of them in proportion, beginning with the lowest and ascending to the highest. What degree then of respect are we bound to pay to the Blessed Virgin? To answer the question, we must ask who she is, because on that depends the measure of respect we must accord to her.

We have to reply that she is the Mother of God. Our respect for her is limited and marked out by the dignity of that office and the holiness which it implies. First, therefore, think of God, that infinite and eternal Being, in Whose sight Angels and men, and the whole creation, or a million creations more perfect than this, are as nothing; and then call to mind the fact that Mary is the Mother of God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, and that to Him she can say with truth: "You are my Son; it was in my womb and of my substance You were formed; I have given You life and brought You into the world." The Mother of God can say so much to her Son; estimate her dignity and the consequent respect due to her from this truth. For nine months the Eternal Word dwelt in her womb and was part of herself; His infancy was spent in her arms on her virgin breast, and He was fed with her milk. His hidden life, those thirty years of which we know so little were spent with her. So much at least we know of them that Jesus Christ, our God, lived with His Mother all those years in the same house, at the same table, in the same state of life, shared her poverty, and was obedient to her. Wherever we seek Christ there we find Mary. We see her associated with Him in the prophecy which announced Him at the sentence of the Fall; we see, side by side with the types which foretold Him in the Old Testament, types also which foretold her.

When He is born, and the shepherds and the Magi of the East come to adore Him, with whom do they find the Child? With Mary His Mother. At her entreaty He works His first miracle. In the years of His ministry, in His suffering life, in His glorious life, Mary shares with Him His labours, His suffering and His glory. Every pang that he suffered wounded her maternal heart; every glory that He won made her maternal heart joyful. She is, therefore, near Him. We cannot think of Him without her, and therefore we must reverence her as one inseparable from God.
She is, moreover, as we should expect of a mother, like her Son, and in proportion to that likeness must be our veneration for her. Jesus possesses in an infinite degree goodness, wisdom, power, and mercy. Mary possesses these attributes in a higher degree than all Angels and men. Jesus is essential goodness; Mary is created goodness. Jesus is wisdom; Mary is the seat of wisdom. Jesus is the Father of mercy; Mary is "the Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope."

Jesus is omnipotent, and, in a certain sense, so is Mary-----as the dispensatrix of His graces, all-prevailing by her sweet motherly prayers:

"With eyes on Christ for ever set, And lips, whose fearless pleading hath never known denial yet----- Though always interceding."

If Jesus is King and Father and Advocate of men, Mary is Queen and Mother and Mediatrix. If He is the Way, she is the "Gate of Heaven," the mystical ladder of Jacob's dream. If He is the Author of grace, she is the Mother of grace. If He is the Sun from whence all light comes, she, like the moon, beams with sweet and reflected radiance over the Church of God.

A Cure Through Our Lady, Help of Christians

The following wonderful answer to prayer occurred in 1877:

Giuseppa Longhi was then ten years old. She had been paralysed for a long time in consequence of violent convulsions; her right arm was lifeless, she could not stand erect, and had lost the power of speech. All the remedies prescribed by physicians were unavailing. Her pious mother had recourse to Our Lady Help of Christians. On the 23rd of May, the eve of the Feast on which Holy Church invokes Our Lady under this sweet title, the poor woman carried her afflicted child to the shrine of Valdocco to implore a hitherto hopeless cure. She then went to Dom Bosco that he might read over the invalid the blessing of Our Lady Help of Christians.

It happened that the abode of the saintly priest was thronged with visitors that evening, and all were filled with compassion at the sight of the unfortunate child. Her sufferings were pitiful. She could neither stand upright nor sit, and, in spite of her mother's vigilant eye, she fell every moment to one side or the other. On seeing the crowd that preceded her, and considering her daughter's condition, the mother thought she could not wait her turn, and was preparing to leave with a heavy heart, when those present, forgetting their own necessities, offered to let her pass in before them.

Giuseppa was carried before Dom Bosco, and laid upon a sofa. Her mother explained her complicated ailments. The holy priest exhorted the poor woman to confide in the tender mercy of Our Lady, and told her to kneel down while he pronounced on the little invalid the blessing of Mary, "Help of Christians." He then told the child to make the sign of the Cross. She was about to obey with her left hand, but Dom Bosco quickly interposed: "No, not the left hand, my child. You must use your right hand in making the Sign of the Cross."

"Her right hand is paralysed," observed the mother. "Let us see if it is," said Dom Bosco. And he repeated his injunction to the little girl. To the astonishment of her mother, she then lifted her paralysed arm, raised her hand to her forehead, then to her breast and to her left and right shoulders.

"Good!" exclaimed Dom Bosco. "You have made the Sign of the Cross well, but you have not said the words. Now repeat the Sign and pronounce the words as I do myself -----In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

The child, who had been dumb for more than a month, found her tongue loosed. She repeated the sign and pronounced the words. Then in an ecstasy of joy she exclaimed: "Oh, Mother, the Blessed Virgin has cured me!"

On hearing these words, the overjoyed mother could only weep. Her joy and gratitude may be imagined. "Now that the Blessed Virgin has cured you," continued Dom Bosco, "make haste to thank her, and recite from your heart a 'Hail Mary' in honour of the Help of Christians." Giuseppa recited the prayer very devoutly, in a distinct voice. However, this was not enough: it remained to be seen if she could stand and walk. Until now she was powerless to do either. Dom Bosco told her to walk around the room. She did so several times with a firm step. In fact, the cure was complete and perfect. The little girl, unable any longer to contain her exuberant gratitude, rushed to the door and, throwing it open, showed herself to the people, who a few minutes before had beheld her an apparently incurable cripple.

"Thank Our Blessed Lady with me," she said. "Her mercy has cured me. I can move my hand; I can walk; and I suffer no pain now."

This spectacle and the words accompanying it caused indescribable emotion in all present. They gathered round the favoured child-----the miracolata-----as they called her----- some weeping, others praying aloud and giving glory to God. The mother and child hastened to return thanks at the shrine of Our Lady Help of Christians.

Our Lady Obtains Grace for Those Who Wear Her Scapulars

Some years ago a Missionary Bishop, Dr. Polding, was travelling in an unfrequented part of the interior of Australia. He fell ill on his way, and was nursed with admirable devotedness by a good widow. The venerable prelate, restored to health, promised her that at whatever time of the year, or in whatever place he might be, he would return at her request to administer to her the Last Sacraments.

Many years passed when, one day in autumn, a letter came begging the prelate to fulfill his promise. Without hesitation the Bishop set out on his journey. After having travelled many days he arrived at the house he had gone so far to seek. To his great astonishment he found it quite empty. While he was reflecting what he should do, his attention was arrested by the sound of a woodcutter's hatchet. He went immediately to the place whence the sound proceeded, and there he found an Irishman felling trees. Dr. Polding learned from him that the old lady, fearing some delay, had, though very ill, gone to seek spiritual help; but he could not indicate the direction she had taken. Understanding that it would be quite useless to go in search of her, the worthy Bishop sat down on the trunk of a tree, and, addressing himself to the woodcutter, said: "Well, my good man, after all, I have no intention of going back without doing something; kneel down, and I will hear your confession."

The Irishman began to excuse himself, alleging his want of preparation and his being a long time away from confession; but his scruples were overruled by the Bishop; and the woodcutter kneeling down, made a good and sincere confession, and, contrite and repentant, received the holy absolution for his sins. He promised the Bishop that he would go to the nearest chapel on the following Sunday and receive Holy Communion. The good prelate then set out on his return, but had not gone far when he heard a dull, heavy noise, followed by some feeble groans. He returned in all haste and found his penitent crushed by the fall of a tree. The poor man was unable to speak; but the confession had been made in time, and the holy anointing was immediately proceeded with, and a soul was saved.
Now, what obtained this wonderful mercy of God that a Bishop should be called to a place hundreds of miles from his residence to open the gates of Heaven for this poor man who was about to be surprised by death? It was this: The Irish woodcutter, like most of his countrymen, always wore the scapulars of the Blessed Virgin, and, wherever he was, never forgot her, and this good Mother watched over him, though far away from priest and church, and did not permit that he should die without being reconciled to her Divine Son according to her promise: "Whoever dies whilst devoutly wearing this habit shall be preserved from eternal flames."

After Many Years

Innumerable are the instances of the power and goodness of Our Blessed Mother, even in our own times. We do not wish to assert that all these incidents are of a miraculous nature. Holy Church remains silent on the subject, and so do we, but these remarkable occurrences have been, and ever will be, the means of sanctification to thousands, the source of edification, the increase of reverence in our churches and chapels, and the revival of faith and confidence in tepid and lukewarm Christians. Indeed, they cannot fail to benefit souls by bringing home to them the fact that, notwithstanding the scepticism of the age, notwithstanding the almost insuperable obstacles we oppose to grace, God's arm is not shortened, the power of Mary's intercession is not lessened.

The following account of a remarkable cure is transcribed from an official report signed by the parish Priest and the Mayor of the district:

Marie Francoise Petitot lived at Pont de Roide, Besancon, in France. When she was eleven years old the loss of a near relative and other troubles consequent upon it, told on the sensitive child to such a degree that her health was seriously affected. She had never been strong, and now she seemed to lose all vitality, and gradually became a hopeless invalid. For some unexplained reason her feet became so contracted that she was unable to walk without great pain, and consequently spent the whole day on a sofa. After having tried every remedy human skill could suggest, she resigned herself to her fate, and remained in that sad and helpless condition for thirty-two years. She had long felt a great desire to make a pilgrimage to the famous shrine of Our Lady at Einsiedeln, but for many reasons was not able to carry out her intention. At last, on the 11th of May, 1850, she started, after many wearisome preparations, travelling in a little donkey carriage. She arrived at her destination on the 18th, and took up her abode at a small inn. The day following her arrival being the Feast of Pentecost, she was brought to the "Chapel of Favours" [Chapel of Grace] to hear Holy Mass, which was said at eleven o'clock. Just at the moment of the Elevation she felt an extraordinary change come over her, as if her whole being was transformed; her feet were loosened from their contracted position, and she found she could place them without difficulty on the pavement. She stood up at once, and falling on her knees, gave humble thanks to her Saviour Who had cured her through the intercession of His Blessed Mother. She was now able to return to her lodgings, leaning for support on two friends.

The news soon spread far and wide, and many people came to see for themselves the truth of this miracle. During the three days she remained at Einsiedeln she went to the Chapel regularly with only a slight support. On her homeward journey, as she passed through the Catholic cantons of Switzerland, the people came out to greet her, and, in fact, her return home was a triumphant procession in honour of the Blessed Virgin. Every now and then she would leave her donkey carriage and walk in front of the people to satisfy their devotion. In this way she arrived on the frontiers of France.

When she reached her village, which was six miles from the parish church, she was met by an immense crowd who had previously assembled at the church to hear Holy Mass in thanksgiving for the wonderful favour that had been vouchsafed to one among them.

Next day a solemn High Mass was celebrated in the parish church, in the presence of more than twelve hundred people, during which Marie communicated with great devotion. All could now judge for themselves that her cure was complete and genuine, as they saw her return from the Communion rails alone. After Mass all joined in a grand "Te Deum."

May this true and simple account increase devotion to, and trust in the goodness and power of Our Blessed Lady, who will on her part never fail to show herself a tender and solicitous Mother to all those who invoke her.

Our Lady Consoles a Dying Religious 

The Franciscan Chronicles relate the following: A young nobleman named Adolphus had renounced his principality in order to embrace the poverty of the Order of St. Francis. He was remarkable for many virtues, but especially for a great and tender devotion to Our Blessed Lady.

When in his agony, he was seized with fear of the judgment of God, before Whom he was soon to appear. At this moment the Mother of Mercy came to visit him with a band of the blessed, and reassured him with these consoling words: "Why dost thou fear death, my child, having been always so devoted to my service? Be of good courage. My Son Whom thou hast served with such great fervour after having sacrificed for Him all that thou didst possess in this world, will give thee the recompense merited by thy fidelity." Words which filled him with consolation and joy, in which state he gave up his soul to God. How many examples of this kind could we not quote!

The Cure of a Child at Lourdes

Lucie Renauld was cured at Lourdes at the age of fourteen, at the time of a French National Pilgrimage. She had been stricken with paralysis in her infancy, in consequence of which the growth of her left leg was stopped. To remedy this defect, Lucie, when four years old, wore a boot with a high heel. As she grew taller the height of the heel was gradually increased until it was about two inches. She was able to walk with the aid of a crutch, and at the age of eleven was placed in apprenticeship to a flower manufacturer. As years went by one thought took possession of her mind-----that if she went to Lourdes she would surely be cured. She could scarcely hope, however, to see her desire realised, for her father's hostility to religious practices in general, and to those of Lourdes in particular, was not easy to overcome. Finally, by some innocent little wiles she managed, without displeasing her father, to be admitted to the National Pilgrimage. While taking her fourth bath in the piscina she felt a movement in her shortened limb, and in an instant that member extended to the length of the other. In her bare feet the overjoyed child walked round the piscina. When a pair of ordinary shoes had been procured, she ran about as if she had always done so. The wonder, joy and gratitude of her relatives and friends when she returned home may be imagined.

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