Pray with Our Mother of Perpetual Help

Feast Day: June 27

June 27 is the feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (or Our Lady of Perpetual Help). One of the many Marian titles for our Blessed Mother, this feast day has origins in a specific piece of artwork thought to be created near Crete which has gained popular devotions around the globe.

Praying with Our Mother of Perpetual Help

Like the Child Jesus, we turn to our Blessed Mother in times of trouble. Devotions to Our Mother of Perpetual Help have lead to healings, miracles, and answered prayers. In the original Byzantine icon, Mary’s eyes are not on Jesus, they are on us. This reminds us we, too, are her children and, like the Child Jesus, we hold our faith in her protection and care.

O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke your most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying.

Novena prayer to our mother of perpetual help

Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a “global Madonna;” people of faith everywhere turn to her as their “Perpetual Help.” A popular form of prayer is the Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, which includes praying three prayers, and three Hail Marys after each prayer, for nine consecutive days.

Every year, the Redemptorists begin a special novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help around her Feast Day. Of course, Mary is always listening, so the novena can be prayed at any time of year. You can join in prayer with devotees around the world using the Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

History of the Devotion

This Marian title is associated with a 15th century Byzantine icon the Congregation of Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) were gifted by Pope Pius IX in 1866. Tradition says the icon was stolen from a Cretan monastery shortly after it was created in 1495, only to find its way to the church of St. Matthew in Rome where it survived destruction by Napoleon’s army in 1798 (“The Tradition of Our Mother of Perpetual Help,” The Basilica of The National Shrine of Mary, Washington, D.C.).

The icon is characteristic of Eastern art of the 15th century. It is an icon of mercy and compassion, exemplifying Christian virtues which assist us in understanding suffering. The icon is in the “Kardiotissa” style, in which the Virgin holds Christ in her arms above her heart, and is revered by Orthodox and Catholics (“Holy Monastery of Kera – Kardiotissa,” Orthodox Church of Crete).

“Aware that this growing Congregation was about to begin a period of growth that would carry them throughout the world, the pope commissioned [the Redemptorists] to make the icon known and proclaim, as had their founder, the glories of Mary, telling them: “Make her known throughout the world.”  Filled with a missionary fervor to share it, the Redemptorists made the icon a missionary, a painted Gospel, proclaiming through its color, symbols and figures, the abundance of God’s Redemption” (“Making Mary Known: With the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help,” The Redemptorists Baltimore Province, Baltimore, MD).

The original wooden icon is suspended on the altar of the Church of Saint Alphonse of Liguori in Rome and includes imagery of the archangels St. Michael and St. Gabriel carrying items associated with Christ’s Crucifixion: the lance, sponge, nails and a 3-bar cross (“Our Lady of Perpetual Help“, Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Brooklyn, NY).

“The Child Jesus knows with his divine Mind that the appearance of the angels is a prophesy of the suffering he will endure for our salvation. But he is also fully human, a little boy. He is frightened and he runs to His Mother for protection. She picks him up and holds him close to her bosom.”

Basilica of OUr Lady of Perpetual Help, Brooklyn, NY