Novena to

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Electronic Edition

CHARITY + IMMOLATION
J.M.J.F.
THROUGH MARY AND WITH MARY
THE APOSTOLIC ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
WILL TRIUMPH UNDER THE CROSS OF CHRIST

 

May it be for the glory of God!

Introduction

Because we are living in an era of great apostasy, many of the faithful cannot see the path that is most blessed and that leads safely to salvation. The complete Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help published here clearly illuminates that path.

On July 28, 1976 the Heavenly Father, speaking to Maria Concepcion Zuniga Lopez, said, "I am all-powerful and I can revoke an order of Mine; and I can and I want to. Because for Me humans are My littlest children, the most beloved. That is why My Son, Jesus, has taught you saying, ‘Ask and it shall be given to you.’ "

And as regards the particular devotion to Our Lady under Her title of Perpetual Help, She Herself on the same day said, "I live among you almost continually. I love all of you with a predilection because you honor MY PORTRAIT and the invocation I Myself gave to that image the Apostle St. Luke painted with so much filial affection. I have given that image the promise of bearing My Perpetual Help. . .the Unitive Holy Spirit, Who is always seeking to attract souls to Marian devotion, inspired you with this because the Divine Father has charged Me [with the duty of] uniting the world in the one and true Church which. . .My Son founded with His Disciples."

Years ago, when speaking of these times, Our Lord, addressing the Pope through his messenger, said, "It is the hour of the linking of souls. The Immaculate Mother of Perpetual Help! Behold the chain! With Her and through Her all nations will come to you. She is the Star of Triumph, Sign of Peace and Ark of the Eternal Covenant. Her promises are My promises. The love of all races is united under Her maternal mantle. . .May the blessed image of the Virgin be the Papal standard. And I will establish the union of peoples and of races in the bosom of My Church."

Brief Summary concerning the History of the Image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

 

The miraculous image of the Mother of God under the title of Perpetual Help was venerated as early as the 15th century on the Isle of Crete. At that time a pious merchant from that island found himself obliged by the invasion of the Turks to abandon his native land. Fearing the sacred image would fall into the hands of the impious persecutors of the Catholic religion he took it with him to preserve it from sacrilegious profanations.

After a dangerous voyage, during which Our Lady of Perpetual Help preserved the ship carrying Her holy image from inevitable shipwreck, the devout merchant arrived in Rome where he died a few days later in the home of a friend. Before dying he delivered the precious image to his friend, begging him to offer it for public veneration in one of the churches of Rome. But his friend, held back by human considerations, did not fulfill that sacred charge and kept the holy image in his power.

The Blessed Virgin appeared to him three times, ordering him to expose Her image for the veneration of the faithful in some church in Rome. And as many times that imprudent man refused Her. After a new apparition of Our Lady, accompanied by tremendous threats, that unfaithful trustee fell sick and died.

The widow of this unhappy man persisted in keeping the precious picture in her home. Several admonitions were necessary to convince her to fulfill the Divine will. Our Lady appeared twice to a little daughter, just a few years old, of that lady and asked her to tell her mother that the Virgin of Perpetual Help wanted Her image to be honored publicly in a church situated on the Esquiline Hill.

The church indicated by the Virgin was that of St. Matthew, which was in the care of the Augustinian Fathers. This time the orders of the Mother of God were carried out. The image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was venerated in St. Matthew’s Church for a period of 300 years.

At the end of the 18th century St. Matthew’s Church was destroyed by revolution and the holy image disappeared, remaining hidden for a period of 60 years. In the year 1866 a series of events directed evidently by Providence had as their result the discovery of the sacred image. Pope Pius IX, of holy memory, moved by these events, ordered the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help to be placed in the Church of St. Alphonsus Mary Liguori, which was built over the ruins of St. Matthew’s Church.

Since that day, through the intercession of Our Lady, miracles that made its ancient shrine so celebrated have again begun to be verified. The veneration of the miraculous Virgin was propagated in an admirable manner. The venerable Vatican Chapter, moved by the singular favors the Virgin of Perpetual Help was wont to grant Her devotees, crowned Her solemnly with a diadem of gold usually offered to the most miraculous images. The devotion to Our Lady was propagated with miraculous rapidity in all Catholic towns and came to be a favorite devotion of Christian hearts everywhere.

To the examples cited in this booklet we attribute purely human faith in accordance with the decree of Urban VIII.

Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help

ACT OF CONTRITION

My Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, my Father and Redeemer, behold at Thy feet a poor sinner who has so grievously afflicted Thy loving Heart. O lovable Jesus, how could I have offended Thee and filled with bitterness the Heart that loves me so and has spared no effort to attain my love? How great has been my ingratitude! But, O my Savior, be consoled, be consoled, I say to Thee. Now I find myself repentant, such grief I feel for the afflictions I have caused Thee I would like to die of pure sorrow and contrition. O my Jesus! Who could make me weep for sin as Thou hast wept for it in Thy mortal life! My soul is oppressed for having offended Thee.

Eternal Father, in satisfaction for my offenses I offer Thee the affliction and the sorrow the Heart of Thy Divine Son has felt for them.

And Thou, O loving Jesus, grant me such horror for sin that from now on it may make me avoid even the most trifling of faults. Depart from my heart, earthly affections. I do not want to love anything now but my most bountiful Redeemer. O my Jesus, help me, strengthen me and pardon me.

My Mother of Perpetual Help, intercede for me and obtain for me the pardon of my sins.

PREPARATORY PRAYER

to be said every day

O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Who to inspire us with boundless confidence hast been pleased to take the sweet name of Mother of Perpetual Help, I beseech Thee to come to my aid always and everywhere, in my temptations, after my falls, in my difficulties, in all the miseries of life and, above all, at the hour of my death. Grant me, O loving Mother, the desire, nay more, the habit always to have recourse to Thee, for I feel assured that, if I am faithful in invoking Thee, Thou wilt be faithful in coming to my assistance. Obtain for me, then, this grace of graces, the grace to pray to Thee without ceasing and with childlike trust so, by means of my constant plea, I may ensure Thy Perpetual Help and final perseverance. Bless me, O tender and solicitous Mother, pray for me now and at the hour of my death. Amen.

FIRST DAY

MEDITATION

The Title of Perpetual Help

Among the innumerable titles under which Christian piety is pleased to invoke the Blessed Virgin there are few as likely to lift our hearts and fill them with unlimited confidence as the sweet name of Mother of Perpetual Help, a name so pleasing to Her.

To convince you of this, consider on the one hand what the life of man is and on the other hand what the name of Our Lady of Perpetual Help means.

Truthfully, what is life but a chain of miseries, dangers, afflictions and labors? In the temporal order who is exempt from illness or from poverty? Who is there who does not have to weep? In the spiritual order who knows how on every occasion to be on guard against the great misfortune of sin, against the snares of lukewarmness, against the coaxing of temptations? Who does not weaken from time to time in the service of God, in the practice of virtue and who does not tire at times in the path of good? Finally, what Christian does not tremble at the thought of the decisive and difficult moment of death, of the purifying fires of Purgatory?

In view of such miseries and necessities the soul, overwhelmed, feels herself weakening and would like to burst into tears. But, upon hearing the sweet name of Mother of Perpetual Help, she becomes serene, takes courage and continues joyfully on her path toward eternity.

Why? Because she then feels her lamentations are not lost in a desert but that they find a gracious echo in the Heart of a Mother Who desires and is able to help her. In truth, the Virgin of Perpetual Help means a remedy for all the evils afflicting us -–a remedy not just for a day, but perpetual, from the cradle to Heaven, help in everything and help at all times.

Perpetual Help means consolation in afflictions, in poverty, in illness, in labors; strength to give up sin, whether mortal or venial, and not to fall into it again.

Perpetual Help means fidelity in the service of the Lord and of the Virgin Herself and, therefore, final perseverance.

Perpetual Help means courage in the practice of virtue, special protection in the terrible hour of death, prompt and efficacious relief in the dreadful prison where just souls who are still indebted to Divine Justice suffer before entering the heavenly homeland.

Perpetual Help means that, even when circumstances or situations occur where everything seems hopeless, there is still one certain recourse – the protection of the Blessed Virgin.

Meditate and ask for what you wish to obtain from Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

JOYS

Thou art Perpetual Help benign,
Come, therefore, I implore Thee;
Come hasten to assist me,
O Mother sweet and kind!

Hear, O Virgin pure,
Our fervent prayers of love
That fly to Thee above
On the altar where I kneel.

Come hasten to assist me,
O Mother sweet and kind!

Stained by guilt and sin
I bow my head and cry
And at Thy feet I sigh
For clemency and love. Come hasten. . .

Free my careless soul
From all its tepid ways
And set my soul ablaze
With fervor in devotion. Come hasten. . .

If my virtue wanes
When tempests howl and roar
My energies restore,
Beloved Morning Star. Come hasten. . .

Wretched in this vale
Of pain and tribulation
For heavenly consolation
I humbly beg of Thee. Come hasten. . .

To Thy faithful child
Encouragement provide
And toward virtue guide
His weak, unsteady steps. Come hasten. . .

Free my fickle heart
From all its lassitude

And grant it fortitude
To lead a sinless life. Come hasten. . .

In the final clash
With death in all its fright
How great my soul’s delight
If then I can exclaim, Come hasten. . .

In Purgatory’s fire,
Dear Mother, please be sweet;
Great Lady, I entreat,
Alleviate my pains. Come hasten. . .

Grant me, Mother dear,
As fond farewell to Thee
To sing unceasingly
With love and praise to Thee:

Come hasten to assist me,
O Mother sweet and kind!

 

EJACULATORY PRAYER

O Mother of Perpetual Help, may Thy name never depart from my lips nor forsake my heart.

EXERCISE

A visit to the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, reciting ten Hail Marys and commending to Her all your necessities and those of your family.

PRAYER

O Mother of Perpetual Help! For the ingratitude with which until now I have repaid Thy mercies and those of God I deserve as just punishment Thy depriving me of Thy favors for an ungrateful one is no longer worthy of fresh favors. But, O my sweet Mother, no matter how great my ingratitude is, Thy kindness is even greater. Do not disdain, therefore, to help a poor sinner who confides in Thee! Thy Heart overflows with charity for all and never has one heard it said that any unfortunate soul has left Thy feet without having his tears dried. Do not forget my miseries. Intercede for me before the God of goodness Who refuses Thee nothing and prove once more that Thou art worthy of the sweet name of Perpetual Help.

EXAMPLE

During the last years of the 15th century when the Turks were afflicting the Christians on the Isle of Crete with bloody persecutions a pious merchant was obliged to abandon his native soil forever and seek safe asylum under the skies of Italy.

The vessel conveying him had scarcely reached the high seas when it was lashed by a violent tempest and in a few moments the hurricane tore off its sails and the raging waves destroyed its rudder. The crew, seeing their ship lost and made a plaything by the waves, terrified and struck with fear awaited the death that would give them the depths of the ocean for their tomb.

In the midst of that frightful scene only the merchant of Crete appeared to be serene. There was courage in his words and confidence glowed in his eyes. And as the fury increased the pious traveler ran to the ship’s interior, found his luggage and, uttering sighs of hope, returned to the deck carrying in his hand the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

"Look," he exclaimed, addressing the afflicted crew, "Behold the Star of the Sea, behold the beacon of navigators. Let us invoke Her in our afflictions. She will save us."

Upon saying these words the merchant lifted the precious image before the terrified crewmembers who grouped themselves on their knees around his feet.

"Petitions arise from the earth and prodigies descend from Heaven," according to Augustine.

And sure enough, the travelers had hardly invoked Mary with that powerful cry of faith when the hurricane stopped the course of its winds and the great ocean calmed its waves. The sun shone in the skies and the ship, rocked by the gentle breeze, went on to drop its anchors on the beautiful shores of Italy.

This was the first wonder the miraculous image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help manifested before the face of Christianity. She wanted to commence Her favors in a vanquished tempest to teach us that, in all the torments of life, no matter how lost we feel ourselves to be, She will always be our life, our sweetness and our hope.

May the Virgin of Perpetual Help be loved, praised, invoked and eternally blessed! May She be my hope, my love, my Mother, my refuge and my life. Amen.

SECOND DAY

Act of Contrition and Preparatory Prayer from the First Day

MEDITATION

Our Lady of Perpetual Help helps Her devotees to cease sinning

Among men titles are no more than vain designations that do not correspond to reality. In Many, on the contrary, titles are always an expression of the most obvious truth. And thus the Blessed Virgin is called and is truly the Perpetual Help of all the unfortunate who have recourse to Her. Consider, however, that there is one class of unfortunates for whom the most loving Mother seems to reserve Her most tender glances and whom She makes the special object of Her most compassionate concern. They are the poor sinners and it is easy to understand the reason behind that predilection.

The greater the misfortune of a child the more maternal love increases. Well then, what greater misfortune is there than that of being separated from Jesus and being chained to the shameful slavery of the devil? By losing sanctifying grace the unhappy one has made himself the target of divine anger. The ire of God clamors against him and, if death should surprise him, oh, what a calamity! His lot would be among the reprobate.

That is why the kindest of mothers pours out on Her children, the sinners, all the treasures of the mercy and tenderness of Her maternal Heart. She attracts them with the sweetness of Her name – Mother of Perpetual Help, with the fame of Her miracles and even with Her merciful glance.

How many sinners have not felt moved and converted on exchanging glances with this miraculous Virgin! That glance, filled with sadness and compassion, seems to say to the sinner, Unfortunate one! How long? How long will you afflict with your offenses the tender Son you see in My arms? How long will you offer Him gall and vinegar, rendering His passion and death useless? How long will you afflict Me, your Mother, and thrust into My Heart, one after the other, most cruel swords? How long will you persist in running toward the eternal abyss? My child, how long. . .?

Tender words only the heart hears. Wondrous words that illuminate the understanding, soften the hardened heart, melt it and finally wrest from it that cry of the repentant prodigal, "I have sinned, my God. Forgive me, forgive me." His tears flow abundantly, the Virgin presents them to Her beloved Son and the sinner is converted.

Say if it is not so, you who have found before Her image repentance, life, pardon, peace and joy in your heart. Is it surprising then that among the wonders the Virgin of Perpetual Help works every day the stupendous conversions due to Her intercession number in the thousands? So certain it is that a pious writer said, "I do not know of any more efficacious nor more rapid means to obtain the conversion of a sinner than to inspire in him a tender and sincere devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help."

And why would that wonder-working image want to be entrusted to a congregation of missionaries, accompanying them to the most remote towns and going in search of straying sheet in the most unknown and forgotten cottages?

Thus, beloved sinner, no matter what the number or the gravity of your faults, no matter how hardened your heart, all is not yet lost for you. Lift your spirits! Take courage! Have recourse to Our Mother of Perpetual Help and you will obtain forgiveness. She is the most safe refuge of the sinner who sincerely wants to return to his God. Tell Her, then, with all your heart, "O Mother of Perpetual Help! Filled with confidence in Thy kindness and mercy, I throw myself at Thy feet. I come wounded with the arrow of repentance. My having offended God grieves me. My Mother, obtain for me true repentance and forgiveness."

You will see that this benign Mother will make you return to grace and to friendship with your God. Amen.

Meditate and ask. . .Recite the Joys

EJACULATORY PRAYER

O Mother of Perpetual Help! Obtain for me the pardon of my sins and the grace of weeping for them until death.

EXERCISE

Recite the "Hail, Holy Queen" for the conversion of the most hardened sinners.

PRAYER

O Mother of Perpetual Help! Seeing myself so contemptible and stained I should not dare to come to Thee and call Thee my Mother. But I do not want my miseries to deprive me of the consolation and the confidence I feel penetrating me upon uttering Thy sweet name. I do not deserve Thy hearing me. I am a miserable sinner. But, oh, the evil is done. Thou canst remedy it. I beg Thee earnestly, my Mother, to come to my aid and to have mercy on me. I know Thou lovest even the most miserable sinners and Thou goest in search of them to save them. I deserve Hell, it is true. I am the most miserable of sinners. But Thou dost not need to come in search of me. I present myself spontaneously before Thee with the firm hope that Thou wilt not reject me. Behold me here at Thy feet. Help me, my Mother. I will not depart from Thy feet until Thy Son has said to me as to Magdalene, "Thy sins are forgiven thee."

EXAMPLE

Among the many wonders Our Lady of Perpetual Help performed on the island of St. Maurice (Africa) the following conversion is noteworthy.

A young woman was rolling down the slopes of vice. To give free reign to her passions she had abandoned her paternal home. Be assured it is impossible for a human creature ever to have fallen into an abyss of corruption as deep as this unfortunate young islander.

Her desolate mother bewailed in silence with bitter tears the perdition of her daughter. She had recourse to the Virgin of Perpetual Help to obtain the conversion of the young woman. She began a novena.

And on the second day, lo and behold, the young girl happened to pass by the Church, entered it and found herself in front of the image of the Blessed Virgin. In spite of herself the image attracted the glances of the unhappy sinner. That was sufficient to overcome her. Torrents of tears flowed from her eyes, her breast choked in sobs and the dart of repentance opened the way to the point of wounding this most hardened heart.

The loving and afflicted mother arrived at the Church to continue her novena. What was her surprise and joy on finding there her daughter! Transported with joy she flew in search of the missionary priest and returned with great haste in his company to admire that Magdalene bathed in tears at the feet of Mary of Perpetual Help, to Whom the wonder of her conversion was due.

This happened in the year 1871.

May the Virgin of Perpetual Help be loved, praised, invoked and eternally blessed! May She be my hope, my love, my Mother, my refuge and my life. Amen.

 

THIRD DAY

Act of Contrition and Preparatory Prayer from the First Day

MEDITATION

Our Lady of Perpetual Help assists Her devotees to overcome lukewarmness

Yesterday we saw how great is the tenderness of Our Lady with great sinners, but it is no less great with another class of souls in need, those who are called tepid and are in a state almost as dangerous as that of mortal sin.

Although these negligent souls, who at times frequent the Sacraments, do indeed wish to avoid mortal sin, nevertheless they do not try to serve God, filling their lives with voluntary venial sins. With superficiality they recite their prayers and carry out other devotions. They hear Mass, perhaps they go to Confession and receive Communion, but they do it out of routine and for human considerations, without fruit, without advancing in virtue. Anger, lies, murmuring, rash judgments, nasty words, envies, laziness, vanity, impurities, dangerous and useless conversations, disordered attachment to the things of the world and other similar faults easily find their place in the hearts of tepid persons.

Think of the great risk of being condemned for being in this state. St. Teresa saw the place in Hell for which she was destined if she were not more fervent. In the opinion of St. John Chrysostom we must have more fear of habitual venial sins than of mortal sin because, says this great saint, mortal sin is monstrous and in itself inspires horror, while tepidity leaves us calm and unconcerned.

And was it not perchance against tepidity that Our Lord has proffered these tremendous words, "I would that thou wert cold," that is, that you would be in mortal sin! Who would believe it if God Himself had not said it? "But, because thou art lukewarm. . .I will begin to vomit thee out of My mouth."

Who does not have a horror of vomit? That is why St. Gregory writes, "I do not despair of seeing a sinner, as yet unconverted, saved, but rather for the salvation of a soul that has fallen into tepidity."

A terrible sentence the doctors confirm when they teach that it is almost impossible for a tepid soul to be converted. O careless soul! It is sufficient to commit an habitual sin deliberately to be tepid and to find oneself in this danger. What will become, then, of you who commit so many faults with as much ease as the thirsty swallow water?

But then, the soul who finds herself in that state will say to me, "Is there then no remedy for me and must I abandon myself to despair?"

O unfortunate soul! It is difficult for you to be converted. But with all that do not despair. Consider that what is impossible on earth is not so in Heaven. If you wish with all the earnestness of your will to throw off this dismal yoke, I will tell you a way as efficacious as it is easy. Lift up your glance. Contemplate the image of your most kind Mother of Perpetual Help. Do you not see a brilliant star on Her forehead? It is the symbol of your hope. Place your confidence in Her, begin to serve Her with fidelity and you will feel your heart transformed. Devotion to this Mother of fair love is incompatible with culpable negligence. Oh, how many souls have given up their tepidity on the same day they have begun to be Her devotees!

What is lacking to you is the powerful love that fears to displease the lovable Jesus, for She is the Mother of this fervent charity that beautifies souls. She wishes to grant it to you more than you want to receive it. Do you want the miracle of Cana reenacted for you? Invoke Her with love. She will present you to the Divine Infant Who rests in Her arms, saying to Him, "Vinum non habent." (They have no wine.) "My Son, see this poor soul who does not have true love."

And then your coolness will be converted into fervor as the water was converted into wine. Our Lady will inspire in you a living desire to consecrate yourself without reserve to the Lord. She will give you a special delight in meditating on eternal truths. She will communicate to you a singular devotion to the August Sacrament of our altars. And thus you will be able to break the chains that imprison you and again be the delight of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Meditate and ask. . .Recite the Joys

EJACULATORY PRAYER

O Mother of Perpetual Help! Do not let me fall into tepidity and, if by mishap I may have fallen into it, quickly lift me from it.

EXERCISE

Before ending the novena make a serious and fervent Confession, as if it were your last.

PRAYER

Behold me here, O my Mother! I am one of those unhappy souls who deserves to find myself abandoned by Thy Son and by Thee in the miserable state of tepidity in which I have lived so many years. But the new lights He imparts to me today through Thine intercession and that mysterious voice calling me to serve Him with fervor are signs He has not yet abandoned me. O Mother most kind! I have no fervor. I do not love Jesus as I should love Him. And, nevertheless, I want to be all His. Help me to consider venial sin in extreme horror. Make me fervent. Pray, do not cease praying for me so I leave my tepidity and serve God with fervor until attaining Heaven where I will be safe from all danger of losing God, sure of loving Him always and of loving Thee, also, O Mother of Perpetual Help, for all eternity. Amen.

Do you see, O man! Whoever you may be and in whatever occupation you find yourself, you have no reason to be discouraged. Find in Our Lady of Perpetual Help a most kind Mother Who helps you in your miseries if you confide in Her. She will help you continually until seeing you one day seated at Her side in Heaven.

May Thou be blessed, then, Lord, for in Thine infinite mercy Thou hast given us Thy Blessed Mother as a refuge and opportune aid in every tribulation. And blessed is She Who is the Perpetual Help of the exiled children of Eve in this valley of tears. O Mother of Perpetual Help, what consolations, what sweetness the soul feels on pronouncing Thy name! For the tongue that utters it, it is an exquisite honey; for the ear that hears it, an harmonious melody; and for the heart that savors it, the most pure and holy joy.

EXAMPLE

A figure of tepidity, consumption, that terrible illness that even today mocks human science, afflicted a young North American woman for five years during two of which she was unable to get up from her bed. Both lungs were affected and one of them almost completely lost. Several eminent doctors had declared there remained no hope of saving her and no more could be done than to alleviate the poor sick girl’s sufferings.

But she, having heard of the extraordinary cures due to the invocation of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, felt herself inspired with a great confidence in Her. And she begged her mother to begin a novena in the Church of the Redemptorist Fathers where the miraculous image was venerated.

On the ninth day, when the mother was preparing herself to go and make the last visit to the image, the sick girl asked permission to accompany her. The poor mother, believing the girl was delirious, abstained from giving in to her. But, behold, at that moment the young girl arose and dressed without anyone’s help. She accompanied her joyous mother to the church and, after having prayed with a fervor easy to imagine at the foot of the altar of her Heavenly Liberator, she returned to her house perfectly cured.

Great was the surprise of the doctor on making his usual visit when he found the sick girl up. But that surprise reached its peak when he found out that in the morning she had left the house.

"My daughter is cured, my daughter is cured!" the mother repeated, transported with joy.

The doctor, who was a complete unbeliever, examined the lungs scrupulously and recognized that they were healthy and intact. When he had been told of all that had happened he could do no less than exclaim, "Well then, if there are such things on earth that can be called miracles, surely this is one of them."

May the Virgin of Perpetual Help be loved, praised, invoked and eternally blessed! May She be my hope, my love, my Mother, my refuge and my life. Amen.

Fourth Day