Please join us for a Novena in
honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
Wednesday : after 8:00 a.m. Mass
History of the Miraculous
About the time that Columbus brought the “Santa Maria” to the
shores of the Americas, another sailing vessel was bringing this
wonder-working image to the shores of Europe. Who painted it, or
when, we do not know. It had been venerated in the isle of Crete
and from Crete it came to Rome. There it was retained by a private
family until our Blessed Mother herself appeared to the little
girl of the household and told her that she wished her picture to
be placed in a Church. She even designated the place “between my
beloved Church of St. Mary Major’s and that of my beloved son, St.
John of Lateran.”
On March 27, 1499, the picture
was exposed for veneration, as she ordered, in the Church of St.
Matthew where it remained for three long centuries drawing
pilgrims from all parts of the Christian world. In 1798 war
demolished the venerable structure, but the picture was not
allowed to perish. The good Augustinian Fathers, who all these
years had been in charge of St. Matthew’s, took it with them to
the new monastery granted them by Pope Pius VII in another part of
The very last member of their
order to be professed in old St. Matthew’s was Brother Augustine
Orsetti. In his new home he had as a frequent visitor a youth
named Michael Marchi, who later became a Redemptorist priest. The
Redemptorist's came to Rome in 1855 and built a Church in honor of
their founder, St. Alphonsus, on the site of the ancient St.
Matthew’s. The old Brother had often spoken to young Michael about
the Madonna in the monastery Chapel saying, “Don’t forget now-mind
me well-the picture in our Chapel is the one that was venerated in
old St. Matthew’s” It was indeed a miraculous picture.
So when Father Marchi told of the
miracle-working image in the Augustinian monastery, the
Redemptorist's petitioned Pope Pius IX to have the image placed in
the Church on the spot chosen by Our Lady herself. And the Pope in
granting the request said: “It is our will that this picture of
the Blessed Virgin be returned to the Church between St. Mary
Major’s and St. John Lateran’s.” At the same time he commanded the
Redemptorist's to “make her known” all over the world.
On April 26, 1866, a solemn
procession carried the miraculous Madonna to her chosen spot in
the Church of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, one of Mary’s
greatest lovers and defenders. Today the original painting reposes
in Rome while millions of replicas bring her and her PERPETUAL
HELP to all men everywhere.