crown, placed on picture by order of the Holy See in 1867. It is a token
of the miracles wrought by Our Lady invoked under the title of "Perpetual Help".
Initial St. Gabriel the Archangel He holds the cross and nails.
Initials for "Jesus Christ".
Left Hand supporting Christ possessively: She is His Mother. It is
a comforting hand for everyone who calls on her.
Eyes are large for all our troubles. They are turned toward us always.
Sandal Perhaps the symbol of a soul clinging to Christ by one last thread-devotion
on Our Lady's veil. She is the Star of the Sea who brought the light of
Christ to the darkened world...the star that leads us to the safe port of Heaven.
Initial "St. Michael the Archangel." He is depicted holding the lance and
gall-sop of Christ Passion.
Mary's Mouth is small for silent recollection. She
Tunic, the color worn by virgins at the time of Christ.
Blue Mantle, the color worn by mothers in Palestine. Mary is both Virgin
Hands, turned palms down into his Mother's indicate that the Graces of Redemption
are in Her keeping.
Background is a golden symbol of Heaven, where Jesus and Mary are now enthroned.
The gold also shines through their clothing, showing the heavenly joy They can
bring to tired human hearts.
Initials for "Mother of God"
OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP
Look at the picture. Frightened by the vision
of two angels showing Him the instruments of the Passion, the Christ Child
has to run to His Mother, almost losing, in His haste one of the tiny sandals.
Mary holds him in Her arms reassuringly, lovingly. But notice Her eyes.
They look not at Jesus, but at us. Is this not a touch of genius? How better
express Our Lady's plea to us to avoid sin and love Her Son?
Christ's little Hands, too, are pressed
into Mary's as a reminder to us that, just as on earth He
placed Himself entirely in Her hands for protection, so now in Heaven He
has given into Her hands all graces, to distribute to those who ask Her.
Meaning of the Icon Our Mother of Perpetual Help
it got there is a long story...
Briefly, at the close of
the 15th century a merchant stole the picture from its shrine
on the island of Crete, miraculously weathered a tumultuous sea voyage
and finally brought it to Rome there, before he died he gave it to a Roman
friend, begging to have it placed on a worthy church. This friend neglected
Our Lady then
appeared, urging the Roman to comply with the request, threatening him
even with death. At his wife's bidding, however, the man paid little heed
to the apparition. Shortly after, he died.
Next Our Lady appeared
to the little daughter of the family. "Go to your mother and grandfather."
She commanded," and say to them: Holy Mary Of Perpetual Help warns
you to take Her from your house; else all of you will soon die." The girl
relayed the message to her mother. Panic stricken, the woman promised
Our Lady then told
the little girl just where the picture should be placed: in the
church "between the basilica of St. Mary Major and that of St. John Lateran."
In solemn procession, on March 27 1499, it was carried to the church of
St Matthew the Apostle. The same day a miracle occurred: a man's arm,
crippled beyond use, was completely restored.
So, for 300 years, the
picture hung over the main altar in the church of St. Matthew the Apostle,
loved by all, renowned far and wide for miracles.
Then came June, 1798. Napoleon
entered Rome. The church of St. Matthew was leveled to the ground. The
For sixty-four years it
remained hidden, almost forgotten, until… one day at recreation, in the
Redemptorist house in Rome, one of the Fathers mentioned having read,
in an old tomb, that their present church, San Alfonso, was built on the
ruins of St Matthew's where once was enshrined a miraculous picture:
Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The name startled FatherMichael Marchi.
He recalled as a boy having served Mass in the oratory of the Irish Augustinians
at Santa Maria in Posterula. There he had seen the picture. An old Brother
had pointed it out to him.
Some month later, in February,
Father Francis Blosi, S.J., preaching in the Gesus on "the lost
Madonna of Perpetual Help," told how it was Our Lady's wish that the picture
be enshrined in the church" between the basilicas of St. Mary Major and
St John Lateran." Word got back to the Redemptorist. The Superior General
was informed But he waited three more years. He want to be certain.
Finally, on December 11,
1865 the whole matter was presented to PopePius IX. On January 1866 the
miraculous picture was brought once more to the site of its former glory
the church between the two basilicas, now that of San Alfonso. Three months
later, it was solemnly enshrined. And on June 23 1867, it was crowned.
Perpetual Help Center
Redemptorists of New York
294 East 150th St. Bronx NY
We, who have been raised and educated in the Western
World, are accustomed to an imitation of nature in our Art. This is not
so in the Easternor Byzantine World, especially in their religious art.
They visualize all creation as a manifestation of God and because of that
idea their art by-passes the simply natural and portrays the supernatural
Once we appreciate these facts, a new
world of spirituality bursts upon us. The beauty and mystery of an Icon,
of the Byzantine world is only captured in the gentle contemplation of
its spiritual message. A message that immerses itself into the soul of
the beholder and transforms that soul into the realm of the supernatural.
The ancient and worldwide-venerated Icon of Perpetual Help is such and
The artist, who creates an Icon is
a holy and theological man. His purpose is not only to please the human
emotions of a person but most importantly to illuminate the soul with
Divine truth and direct it on to its final destiny. The Icon of Perpetual
Help representing Christ and His Mother, contains the three theological
essentials found in all true Icons. Through the Incarnation, man becomes
a Son of God by sanctifying grace. The spiritual world becomes a reality.
Through - With - In - Christ a new creation takes place.
Profound truths only affect us after
prayerful meditation over a long period of time. Contemplate the Icon
of Perpetual Help. Slowly its spiritual secrets will unfold before your
soul and its great truths will rule your life forever.
Christ the Focal point of All. Mary,
a human like ourselves, cooperating with her faith, hope, and charity
in His great act of Redemption, is the Mother of God- Mother of the Church-
Our Mother of Perpetual Help.