2024-02-19 GENERAL HOUSE

Memorare in the Snow

In February 1823, Marcellin Champagnat came close to fainting in the snow, but instead of losing hope, he prayed the “Memorare” and entrusted himself to the Virgin Mary.

This event recalls the exhausted itinerary under the snow that Father Champagnat and Brother Stanislaus made on their way home, after having visited Brother John the Baptist, who was ill.

Realizing that it was impossible to continue and that they were lost, Father Marcellin entrusted himself to Our Lady and began to pray the “Memorare”.

“True to the name that we bear, let Mary shape and inspire your spirituality (…) Mary, your sister in faith, walks with you on your spiritual journey and discreetly sheds light upon all that is unfolding” (Wherever You Go: The Marist Brothers’ Rule of Life, 28).

Prayer in PDF: English | Español | Français | Português


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help,
or sought thy intercession
was left unaided.

Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to thee,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to thee do I come;
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.


Here you can read the event as it appears in the Champagnat’s biography written by Jean-Baptiste Furet in 1856.

“In the month of February 1823, one of the Brothers of Bourg-Argental as seriously ill and Father Champagnat did not want his child to die without seeing him once more and giving him his blessing. The weather was bad and the ground covered with snow, but he was not deterred from making his way on foot to visit the patient, once he heard of his dangerous state. After consoling the Brother and blessing hi m, he made ready to return to La Valla, despite the efforts to dissuade him because of the great quantity of snow which had fallen that same day, and the blizzard that was still raging. However, drawing on his courage, he chose to resist the pleading of the Brothers and the advice of his friends. He soon had reason to regret that choice.

With Brother Stanislaus at his side, he started for La VaHa, across the mountains of Pilat; but they had walked for hardly two hours when they lost their way. As there was no trace of a path, they were forced to rely on luck or rather on the protection of God. A violent wind hurled the snow into their faces, making it so difficult to see that they didn’t know whether they were going backwards or forwards. After wandering for a few hours, the Brother became so worn out that Father Champagnat had to take him by the arm to lead him and to help him keep his feet. 1t wasn’t long, however, before he himself benumbed with cold and smothered with snow, felt his strength failing and was obliged to stop.

“My friend”, he admitted to the Brother, “we are finished, if the Blessed Virgin doesn’t come .to our aid; let us have recourse to her and beg her to rescue us from the danger we are in of losing our lives in these woods and this snow.” The words were scarcely out of his mouth when he felt the Brother slip from his grasp and fall exhausted to the ground. Full of confidence, he knelt down beside him, (now apparently unconscious), and said the Memorare with great fervour. After that prayer, he tried to raise the Brother again and to get him to walk. They had to ken only a few steps, when they noticed a light shining in the distance; for it was night. They made in the direction of the light and arrived at a house, where they spent the night. They were both quite benumbed with cold, and the Brother especially was a long time recovering.

Father Champagnat declared, on several occasions, that if help had not arrived right then, would both have perished and that the Blessed Virgin had snatched them from certain death.”


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