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21 May

Saint Eugene de Mazenod
1789: Saint Marcellin Champagnat was baptised at the parish church in Marlhes, on the feast of the Ascension.

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help

 

Patroness of Haiti

Our Lady of Perpetual Help (or of Succour) or Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, associated with a Byzantine icon of the same name, said to be 13th or 14th century, but perhaps 15th century. The icon has been in Rome since at least the late 15th century, and is currently in the church of SantAlfonso di Liguori allEsquilino. In the Eastern Orthodox Church this iconography is known as the Theotokos of the Passion.The image is very popular among Catholics in particular, and has been much copied and reproduced. Reproductions are sometimes displayed in homes or elsewhere. Catholics have, for centuries, prayed to the Blessed Virgin that she intercede on their behalf with Christ. On the current Roman Catholic calendar of saints Our Lady of Perpetual Help is commemorated on June 27.The icon depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary wearing a dress of dark red with a blue mantle and veil. On the left side is the Archangel Michael, carrying the lance and sponge of the crucifixion of Jesus. On the right is the Archangel Gabriel carrying a 3-bar cross and nails. She has a star on her forehead, signifying her role as Star of the Sea. This type of icon is a later type of Hodegetria composition, where Mary is pointing to her Son, known as a Theotokos of the Passion. The Christ-child has been alarmed by a pre-sentiment of his passion, and has run to his mother for comfort. The facial expression of the Virgin Mary is solemn and is looking directly at the viewer instead of her son. Jesus is portrayed clinging to his mother with a dangling sandal. The Greek initials on top read Mother of God, Michael Archangel, Gabriel Archangel, and Jesus Christ, respectively. The icon is painted with a gold background on a walnut panel, and may have been painted in Crete, then ruled by the Republic of Venice. The Cretan School was the source of the many icons imported into Europe from the late Middle Ages through the Renaissance. The icon was cleaned and restored in 1866 and again in 1940.The earliest written account of the image comes from a Latin and Italian plaque placed in the church of San Matteo in Via Merulana where it was first venerated by the public in 1499. The writer of the icon is unknown, but according to legend the icon was stolen by a merchant from Crete who was sailing to Rome. The merchant sailed and hid the icon while traveling at sea, until a storm hit hard and the sailors prayed to the icon for help. When the merchant arrived in Rome he fell ill, and as his dying wish he asked a second merchant to place the icon in a church where it could serve as a visual image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.The second merchant confided to his wife about the icon. Upon seeing the beautiful icon, the woman refused to give it to the church but instead hung it in their home. Later on, the Virgin Mary appeared to the merchants daughter, requesting that the icon be turned in to a parish. Mary indicated to the little girl that the icon ought to be placed between the basilicas of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. The wife gave the icon to the Augustinian Friars. On March 27, 1499, the icon was transferred to the church of San Matteo where it remained for 300 years.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Perpetual_Help