Devotion to Mary continues Print
Written by Mary Uhler   
Thursday, May. 26, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
mother of perpetual help

Marking 150th anniversary

It turns out that the year 2016 happens to be the 150th anniversary of the veneration of the icon of Our Mother (or Lady) of Perpetual Help. It was promoted in Ireland, so that might explain why my father — whose ancestors came from Ireland — was especially devoted to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

How did this devotion begin? Blessed Pope Pius IX presented the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to the Redemptorists for veneration in their newly-built Church of Sant’Alfonso in Rome in December 1865. A year later, the icon arrived in Ireland.

The Holy Father gave the Redemptorists a mandate: they were to promote devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help throughout the world.

Devotion spreads

It was from Limerick that devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help spread in time to new Redemptorist communities, as well as to churches and homes throughout Ireland.

Irish Redemptorists setting out off from Limerick took copies of the icon with them to Australia and New Zealand (1882), to the Philippines (1906), to Sri Lanka (1939), and to India (1940).

Devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help was already well established in Teresina (Brazil) when Irish Redemptorists replaced their American brethren there in 1964.

Devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help spread quickly to the United States. When the Redemptorists established a mission church near Boston, they dedicated it to Our Lady under this title and received from Rome the first copy of the icon which had been touched to the original and blessed.

On Pentecost Sunday, May 28, 1871, the icon was carried in a procession to the Boston church, where it was enshrined above the main altar.

Miracles occur

No sooner had the icon been displayed for public veneration than miracles began.

Between 1871 and 1884, according to Fr. John Byrne, C.Ss.R., “No less than 331 well-authenticated cures had been reported, some of which had been wrought in favor of people living so far away as West Virginia and Texas.”

In 1886 alone, from January 1 to May 31, he said that “31 cures, apparently beyond the power of nature to effect, were reported.”

Encouraging devotion

In the United States, Liguori Publications, a Redemptorist ministry, has become the primary distributor of Perpetual Help materials, books, pamphlets, prayer cards, articles, and icons in North America.

The Redemptorists commissioned a Missionary Icon in 2016 to visit parishes and be accompanied by a three-day mission inspiring people to have a greater relationship with the Mother of God.

The devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help is also appropriate during this Year of Mercy, since the devotion emphasizes care and compassion.

For more information and materials about this devotion, go to the website