Our Mother of Perpetual Help

Our Lady Of Perpetual Help

Our Lady or Our Mother of Perpetual Help, also known as “Our of Lady of Succour”, is a Byzantine icon, painted on wood, that dates to circa 13th Century.  

An “icon” is a depiction, or representation, of the image of a holy figure, usually a saint, Mary, Jesus or other religious figures, in the form of a painting.  In iconography, Mary is represented as the Hodighitria, the one who guides us to the Redeemer.  She is our “Help”, who intercedes on our behalf with her Son. 

This famous icon, according to tradition, was obtained by a merchant on the island of Crete and he had it shipped to Rome near the end of the 15th Century.  The ship was caught in a horrible storm that threatened the lives of the passengers and crew.  They prayed for Our Blessed Mother to save them, and they survived.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help


After the icon arrived in Rome, the merchant, who laid on his death bed, ordered that the image be displayed for public veneration.  His friend whom the merchant gave charge over the icon, received instruction in a dream to his little daughter, where the Blessed Mother appeared to her and requested for the image to be venerated in a Church between the Basilicas of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran in Rome.  The image was then placed at the Church of St. Matthew and became known as “The Madonna of Saint Matthew.”  

For the next three hundred years pilgrims flowed in to venerate the image and great graces flowed upon the faithful.

In 1812, after Napoleon’s army destroyed the Church of St. Matthew the icon was moved to St. Mary’s church in Posterula and was not cared for and forgotten.  

In 1866, Blessed Pope Puis IX, transferred the icon to the Church of St. Alphonsus.

The feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was designated by Pope Pius IX, as the Sunday before the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The icon was venerated by many Popes, who found, as did the child Jesus, many graces and consolations in her arms.

The first miracle recorded in association with the icon was in 1867, during a solemn procession through the streets when a young child was cured.  Many other miracles have been associated with the icon since.

To this day the Church of St. Alphonsus in Rome displays the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and faithful pilgrims from around the world visit the icon and pray for the guidance and assistance of the Blessed Virgin, who intercedes for us to her Son and keeps an ever-watchful eye on her spiritual children.


Let us pray…

Behold, O Mother of Perpetual Help,

at thy feet a wretched sinner,

who has recourse to thee and trusts in thee.

O Mother of mercy, have pity on me;

I hear all men call thee the refuge and hope of sinners:

be therefore my refuge and my hope.

Help me for the love of Jesus Christ:

hold out thy hand to a fallen wretch,

who commends himself to thee

and dedicates himself to be thy servant forever.

I praise and thank God,

who of His great mercy hath given me this confidence in thee,

a sure pledge of my eternal salvation.

Alas, it is only too true that in the past I have fallen miserably

because I did not come to thee.

I know that with thy help I shall conquer;

I know that thou wilt help me, if I commend myself to thee;

but I am fearful lest in the occasions of sin

I shall forget to call upon thee and so I shall be lost.

This grace, then, do I ask of thee;

for this I implore thee, as much as I can and know how to do;

namely, that in the assaults of hell

I may ever run to thy protection and may say to thee:

Mary, help me;

Mother of Perpetual Help, permit me not to lose my God.



Article written by Latrell Castanon for Christian Catholic Media

Latrell Castanon is a freelance writer who studied Catholic Theology at St. Joseph's College of Maine.


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