A Feastday and Shabbas Table: Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Today is the feastday of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a grateful celebration of Mary's eternal motherly care for us. The icon that bears this name was orignally from Crete, and some say "the writer of the image (one "writes" an icon) used Saint Luke the Evangelist's portrait of Mary as inspiration." See here for more on this icon. What i found especially interseting was this point in its history:

"When Napoleon's army invaded Rome In 1812, many churches were destroyed, including San Matteo on the Via Merulana (where the icon was at the time). The icon mysteriously disappeared.

Fifty years later, a monk's mysterious dreams and the explorations of an inquisitive little boy lead to the discovery of the icon, hidden away in the attic of an Augustinian oratory at Santa Maria in Posterula.

Upon hearing of the rediscovery of the icon, Pope Pius IX, who remembered praying before the picture in San Matteo as a small boy, ordered that it should again be displayed on the Via Merulana pilgrims' route. This time, it was housed in the new Redemptorist church of San Alphonsus, built on the ruins of San Matteo. It can be seen there today."

I love that it is part of a pilgrim's' route still. And this is brought home even more since this icon shows Mary too as "'Stella Maris", Star of the Sea (notice the star on her forehead). And every sailor --aka pilgrim-- sure knows the deep draw to that peace and comfort of the stars upon the sea. A nice Stella Maris prayer, from here:

Hail, bright star of ocean,
God’s own Mother blest,
Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest.

Taking that sweet Ave
Which from Gabriel came,
Peace confirm within us,
Changing Eva’s name.

Blessed Feastday Everyone,
And a Peaceful Shabbas and Joyful Sabbath

(Images from here, and here )

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