The picture of Our Lady of the Bowed Head (Our Lady of Grace) is kept in the Church of the Viennese Carmel. This is the image’s moving story:
A picture of Our Lady of Grace was discovered at Rome in about 1610 by the Venerable Dominic of Jesus and Mary (1559-1630). One evening, when Dominic was walking past an old house that was to be converted into a convent, an interior impulse attracted him to a heap of debris.
After closely examining the rubbish, his eyes fell upon this oil painting, which was torn and covered with dirt. Grieved at seeing a picture of the Heavenly Mother in such a miserable condition, he took it to his cell and repaired it.
One night, while praying for a particular favour as he knelt before the holy image, he noticed that dust had settled upon it. While he was gently removing the dust, the face of Our Lady suddenly became animated. She smiled at Dominic and nodded her head in token of her gratitude.
Dominic feared that he was the victim of a diabolical illusion, but the Queen of Heaven dispelled his uneasiness with the following words: “Fear not, my son, for your request is granted. It will be accomplished and will be part of the recompense that you are to receive for the love that you bear to my Divine Son and myself.”
When Our Lady invited Dominic to make another request of her, he asked for the release of one of his benefactors from Purgatory. The Holy Virgin promised to grant this request if several Masses and good works were offered for the soul. Shortly afterward, the Blessed Mother appeared with the soul of the benefactor, who had been delivered from Purgatory.
The Blessed Mother promised Dominic, “All those who implore my protection, devoutly honouring this picture, will obtain their petition, and will receive many graces. Moreover, I shall hearken in a special manner to the prayers that shall be addressed to me for the relief of the souls in Purgatory.
Since Dominic wanted others to venerate the image and receive the benefits of the Holy Mother’s promises, he placed the picture in the Church of Santa Maria della Scala. It was afterwards moved to different locations and can now be found in the Church of the Viennese Carmel.