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ANCIENT MARIAN DEVOTIONS: OUR LADY OF CONSOLATION

Our Lady of Consolation

“Our Blessed Mother has been invoked under the beautiful title of Our Lady of Consolation since the fourth century – and probably for even longer than that. History records that St Eusebius of Vercelli, who was a heroic defender of the doctrine of Christ’s Divinity in an age when Arianism was gaining influential followers, brought back an icon of Our Lady of Consolation from Egypt in 363 when he was returning from exile.

Turin

This icon was presented to the city of Turin. Later St Maximus, Bishop of Turin 380 – 420, established a small Shrine to house the icon in a church dedicated to St Andrew. Here it became a popular centre of Marian devotion in the city. However, the following years brought a cycle of destruction, then restoration, followed by neglect, then revival.

During these troubled times a new shrine was built, only to be destroyed again during an invasion of the Barbarians. In 1104 the icon was found buried unharmed beneath some ruins and once again the faithful of Turin could honour Our Lady of Consolation in her shrine. Many miracles were attributed to her intercession and over the succeeding centuries the church in which the icon now is displayed has been reconstructed, embellished and added to, and has been elevated to the status of a minor basilica. The devotion to Our Lady of Consolation became widespread in Europe.

West Grinstead

The English Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead, Sussex is officially affiliated to the Turin Shrine. Although the church itself was built comparatively recently, it stands in a rural area which is steeped in Church history.

After the Reformation, the local major landowners, the Caryll family, were secret Catholics and welcomed priests who came disguised, at the risk of their lives, to minister to them and to the faithful throughout England.

The Priest’s House, with hiding places to shelter the priest if any investigating authorities were in the area, was originally a tiny cottage. There was also a hidden chapel intended to provide temporary safety for worshippers.

Eventually the government policy towards Catholics changed and instead of the risk of the death penalty, financial sanctions were imposed. The Caryll family remained faithful to the Church and eventually followed the Stuart Royal family to France, where they had an honoured place at the Court in Exile.

Monsignor Denis

When the Caryll estate in Sussex was sold in 1754, the Priest’s House at West Grinstead was given to the Church to ensure that a Catholic presence would continue there. Strange to say, the historical situation was soon reversed, as French Catholic priests fled to England to escape the French Revolution, and some found refuge at West Grinstead.

It was difficult for French speaking priests to minister to a rural English congregation and sadly local fervour declined. Eventually, however, following the establishment of a Catholic Diocese of Southwark (which included Sussex) a priest from Brittany, Mgr Jean Marie Denis, was appointed to West Grinstead and, encouraged by the Bishop, worked hard to revitalise the parish.

A new place of pilgrimage

It was Mgr Denis’s inspiration to establish the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation at West Grinstead in 1876. He chose this title because the Shrine at Turin was an ancient one and was blessed with special privileges and Indulgences. Through affiliation, the Shrine at West Grinstead shares those privileges.

The combination of history enshrined in the Priest’s House and devotion to Our Blessed Lady under the ancient title Our Lady of Consolation excited wide interest and pilgrims began to visit and pray there and they continue to do so today.

Developments in Turin

Whilst the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead, in England was developing and attracting pilgrims, there had been developments at the Shrine in Turin. In 1880 a young priest, Father Giuseppe Allamano, was appointed Rector of the Shrine at the age of 29. Although his father had died when he was only three years old, his early years had been privileged with the example of at least two future saints: one being his uncle, later to become St John Cafasso, and the other being Don Bosco, later to become St John Bosco. The latter was his teacher and spiritual director.

Father Giuseppe had benefited from these early influences and, by the time he was installed as Rector of Our Lady of Consolation Shrine in Turin, he had a number of years’ experience of directing seminarians and newly ordained priests of the diocese. He was a dynamic Rector of the Shrine and enhanced its reputation and influence, but his achievements were not limited to that holy place.

Consolata Missionaries

Father Giuseppe was led by his intense devotion to Our Lady and his zeal for evangelisation to found the two religious missionary congregations that we know as the Consolata Fathers and Brothers (1901) and the Consolata Sisters (1910). They were soon active in Africa and now are spread across the world. Father Giuseppe, better known to us today as Blessed Joseph Allamano, died in 1926 and was beatified in 1990 by Pope St John Paul II. We may hope that he will soon be a canonised saint. The Consolata Missionaries eagerly await this and have dedicated the year 2014 to their founder. They are praying that the miracles required to support the Cause of his canonisation will soon be identified and they urge us all to ask his intercession.

The Consolata Icon

Blessed Joseph Allamano spent many hours in prayer at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Turin. The holy icon was a source of inspiration for him, and his prayer led him beyond the ancient representation, to the reality of Our Lady’s loving concern for the needy, the sick, the forlorn, the lost… a loving concern as alive today as it has been through the ages.

It seems appropriate that the icon at Turin is not replicated at West Grinstead, which has its own distinct painting … Our Lady is not limited in time or space. Her title of ‘Consolata’ reassures us of her motherly love and her attentiveness to us whenever we call on her, wherever we may be.

Our Lady of Consolation, pray for us.

Blessed Joseph Allamano, pray for us. “

– This article was published in the “Little Way Association” magazine (hard copy) Issue no. 94. For subscriptions and donations, please visit the Little Way Association’s website http://www.littlewayassociation.com (external link)

 

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2015 in Devotions

 

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NEVER LET A DAY PASS WITHOUT MEDITATING ON THE PASSION OF CHRIST

Let us meditate on the Passion

“In the opinion of Saint Bonaventure, meditation on the Passion is the first and most important of all devotions. And did not all the saints make the sorrows of Jesus Christ the constant object of their contemplations? Thus, to all souls who wished to advance in the love of God, the seraphic Doctor gave the advice never to let a day pass without meditating on the Passion.

According to Saint Augustine, it is more advantageous, and more meritorious for heaven, to shed a single tear at the remembrance of the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, than to fast every week for a year on bread and water. The Venerable Louis de Blois says that a meditation, even a simple reading on the Passion, is more beneficial to the soul than any other exercise of piety whatsoever. Nay, more, according to Saint Francis de Sales, all love, which has not its origin in the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, is frivolous and dangerous.

‘Behold Him,’ cries the same saint, ‘behold this Divine Saviour stretched on the cross as on a pyre of honour, on which He dies for love of us, a love more agonising than death itself. Ah! why do we not fly to Him in Spirit, to die on the cross with Him, Who has been pleased to die for love of us. I will hold Him, we should exclaim, and I will never leave Him; I will die with Him, burning in the flames of His love; the same fire will consume the divine Creator and His miserable creature. My Jesus is all mine, and I am all His; I will live and die on His bosom, and nothing shall tear me from it!”

– St Alphonsus, in Laverty & Sons 1905 (eds)

Some of the numerous ways of meditating on the Passion of Christ:

– Assisting at Holy Mass

– Reading the Passion of Christ in either of the four Gospels and praying about it to Our Lord

– Reading the Bible passages about the Suffering Servant (Isaiah)

– Looking prayerfully at the crucifix for about a quarter of an hour, thinking at all times of His inexhaustible, selfless love for us (if possible, kneeling)

– Making the Stations of the Cross in Church

– Reading the Stations of the Cross (see ‘devotions’)

– Praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary (see ‘devotions’)

– Meditating on Our Lord’s Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (see ‘devotions’)

– Praying the fifteen St Bridget prayers on the Passion of Our Lord (see ‘devotions’)

– Praying the Seven Dolours of Mother Mary (see ‘devotions’)

 

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SHORT MEDITATIONS ON THE WAY OF THE CROSS

THE 14 “CONSIDER…” MEDITATIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST

(These reflections can be used as Stations of the Cross. In this case, pray at each station: “We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.” The following act of contrition may be used: “I love You, Jesus, my love above all things. I repent with my whole heart of having offended You. Never permit me to separate myself from You again. Grant that I may love You always and then do with me what You will.”)

I. JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH
Consider how Jesus, after having been scourged and crowned with thorns, was unjustly condemned by Pilate to die on the Cross.
(Our Father; Hail Mary; Glory be; to be repeated after each meditation.)

II. JESUS RECEIVES THE CROSS
Consider how Jesus, in making this journey with the Cross on his shoulders, thought of us, and offered for us to his Father the death he was about to undergo.

III. JESUS FALLS FOR THE FIRST TIME
Consider the first fall of Jesus under his Cross. His flesh was torn by the scourges, his head was crowned with thorns; he had lost a great quantity of blood. So weakened he could scarcely walk, he yet had to carry this great load upon his shoulders. The soldiers struck him rudely, and he fell several times.

IV. JESUS IS MET BY HIS BLESSED MOTHER
Consider this meeting of the Son and the Mother, which took place on this journey. Their looks became like so many arrows to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly.

V. THE CROSS IS LAID UPON SIMON OF CYRENE
Consider how his cruel tormentors, seeing that Jesus was on the point of expiring, and fearing he would die on the way, whereas they wished him to die the shameful death of the Cross, constrained Simon of Cyrene to carry the Cross behind our Lord.

VI. VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS
Consider how the holy woman named Veronica, seeing Jesus so ill-used, and bathed in sweat and blood, wiped his face with a towel, on which he left the impression of his holy countenance.

VII. JESUS FALLS THE SECOND TIME
Consider the second fall of Jesus under the Cross; a fall which renews the pain of all the wounds in his head and members.

VIII. THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM MOURN FOR OUR LORD
Consider how these women wept with compassion at seeing Jesus in such a pitiable state, streaming with blood, as he walked along. ‘Daughters of Jerusalem’, said he, ‘weep not for me, but for yourselves and for your children’.

IX. JESUS FALLS THE THIRD TIME
Consider the third fall of Jesus Christ. His weakness was extreme, and the cruelty of his executioners excessive, who tried to hasten his steps when he could scarcely move.

X. JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS
Consider the violence with which Jesus was stripped by the executioners. His inner garments adhered to his torn flesh, and they dragged them off so roughly that the skin came with them. Take pity on your Saviour thus cruelly treated.

XI. JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS
Consider how Jesus, having been placed upon the Cross, extended his hands, and offered to his Eternal Father the sacrifice of his life for our salvation. Those barbarians fastened him with nails, and then, securing the Cross, allowed him to die with anguish on this infamous gibbet.

XII. JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS
Consider how Jesus, being consumed with anguish after three hours’ agony on the Cross, abandoned himself to the weight of his body, bowed his head and died.

XIII. JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS
Consider how, after our Lord had expired, two of his disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, took him down from the Cross and placed him in the arms of his afflicted Mother, who received him with unutterable tenderness, and pressed him to her bosom.

XIV. JESUS IS PLACED IN THE SEPULCHRE
Consider how the disciples, accompanied by his holy Mother, carried the body of Jesus to bury it. They closed the tomb, and all came sorrowfully away.

 

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“I DO NOTICE PEOPLE STILL GOING AROUND THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS…”

QUESTION: “…I do nontice people still going around the Stations of the Cross… When did the devotion of doing the Stations of the Cross begin? … Would you recommend it as a practice for Lent?

ANSWER: The answer to your second question is that I would certainly recommend it as a devotional practice for Lent. Lent is a time of prayer and penance in preparation for Easter – for Christ’s death and Resurrection. The Stations of the Cross, prayed at home or in the church, with their focus on the suffering of Christ as he made his way to Calvary is an ideal prayer and practice for Lent.

When did this devotion begin? The devotion to the passion of Christ actually began with the Crucifixion but it developed into its present form through the efforts of Franciscan Friars in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Franciscan preachers and writers began spreading the devotion worldwide, publicising the spiritual richness of the devotion.”
– This article was published in “Saint Martin Magazine” issue March 2004. For subscriptions please visit http://www.stmartin.ie (external link).

 

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“I AM A LAWYER AND I CAN TESTIFY THE EFFICACY OF THE ROSARY”

“The devotion of the THREE HAIL MARYS is a very simple yet most efficacious devotion. Everyday, recite Three Hail Marys, adding the invocation: ‘O Mary, my Mother, keep me from mortal sin.’ Many people recite the Three Hail Marys as part of their morning and night prayers. To practise this devotion in time of danger, stress, special need or temptation, it is a sure means to obtain Our Lady’s help.

• Thank you for curing me from a sickness through my devotion to the 3 Hail Marys. (M.P., Goa)

• I am grateful to Our Lady for granting my requests through the faithful devotion to the 3 Hail Marys. (T., Chennai)

MARY WAS THERE

• My mother was hospitalised for a month and 13 days. For 22 of those days she was in ICU and the doctors had given up on her. We could not take her home as we could not arrange for a nurse to help her with tube feeding. She eventually came around and we could bring her home. She is now eating normally through her mouth and is fine. I prayed the 3 Hail Marys before leaving for the hospital. I am most grateful. Thank you, dear Jesus and Mother Mary and continue to shower on us your blessings. Keep my mother under your protection. (C.C., Goa)

• My sincere and heartfelt thanks for the many blessings and favours received through faithfully praying the 3 Hail Marys. Specially healing my baby niece who was hospitalised for dengue. Her blood count had gone down and kept fluctuating. We were all worried for our one-year-old baby. As always, I trusted in the 3 Hail Marys and once again it worked for me. I thank you dear Mother Mary for getting my niece out of the ICU and then from the hospital. (V.D., Mumbai)

• Many thanks to Mother Mary, Help of Christians for helping my brother and curing him of his throat problem and for the other favours received. Thanks for curing my brother of a minor surgery he had to undergo. (Mrs B.C., Mumbai)

• I am 78 years and I can testify to the efficacy of the Rosary. I recited the 15 mysteries when I was in distress and immediately my pain and discomfort ceased. Being a lawyer I can admit that the Rosary has produced inexplicable results by reinforcing my stand on various issues very successfully. I am deeply indebted to our dear Mother and her intercession. (A.G. D’M., Mumbai)

• I am grateful to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and Our Blessed Mother for saving my house and for getting a gas leak at my house attended to, in time and at no cost. (M.W.D., Pune)
– This article was published in “Don Bosco’s Madonna” issue June 2013, Vol. 15, No. 02. For subscriptions or to assist Seminarians please visit http://www.dbmshrine.org (external link) or http://www.donboscosmadonna.org (external link).

 
 

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“I CAN ONLY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT MOTHER MARY WAS THERE”

“On the night of 29th December 2012 at about 10.45pm the jeep in which 7 of us were travelling hit a tree which was in the middle of the road due to the road widening. My uncle who was driving was blinded by the headlights of the oncoming cars and lost control of the jeep which hit the tree.

HEAD-ON COLLISION IN THE DARK

None of us was seriously injured. My uncle and aunt in the front row did get hit in their chest, stomach and legs, my cousin, husband and myself were only slightly injured on the legs and hands. We were able to go home from hospital within 2 days. The fire brigade had to axe the jeep to get my aunt out of the debris. Looking at the state of the vehicle I can only acknowledge that Mother Mary was there and I am most grateful to her for protecting us with her prayers. Praying the 3 Hail Marys [daily] to Mary Help of Christians kept us safe. – Mrs. A. L. D’S., Mumbai”

– This reader’s letter was published in “Don Bosco’s Madonna” issue August 2013. (Full name published in the magazine). For subscriptions please visit http://www.donboscosmaadonna.org (external link).

 
 

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MORE TESTIMONIES AND THANK YOU’S FOR THE DEVOTION OF THE THREE HAIL MARYS

“The devotion of the THREE HAIL MARYS is a very simple and yet most efficacious devotion. Every day, recite Three Hail Marys, adding the invocation: ‘O Mary, my Mother, keep me from mortal sin.’ Many people recite the Three Hail Marys as part of their morning and night prayers. To practise this devotion in time of danger, stress, special need or temptation, is a sure means to obtain Our Lady’s help.

• My heartfelt thanks to Jesus and Mother Mary for the innumerable favours received and the blessings bestowed on my family through faithfully praying the 3 Hail Marys. Thank you Mother Mary for taking care of me during my illness and helping me to recover quickly. Also thanks for helping me to get a job soon. Both my sons are doing well now. Oh, mother, always protect our family from every danger and sickness. (E.D’C, Mumbai)

• I prayed the 3 Hail Marys when my father was in the ICU, I was touched by the wonders worked. I am most grateful. (A., Goa)

• On 4th January I came back home because I had chicken pox. I remained there for four weeks. I prayed the 3 Hail Marys during this time. Mary helped me, providing strength and helping me recover. By the time the four weeks were over I was fit enough to return to the hostel. I am very grateful to Mother Mary for all her goodness. (M.A., Chennai)

• Thank you Mother Mary for all the favours granted and for being with us at the time of pain. (B/A & family)

• My sincere thanks to Mary Help of Christians, Don Bosco and Dominic Savio, through faithfully praying the 3 Hail Marys I received the final settlement from work. I prayed fervently for 2 years and now finally it has come through. Do continue to bless me always and help me to carry out my daily chores and responsibilities. (C.A., Goa)

• My wife and I are grateful to Our Lady for the success in the law exams and for other favours received which we gratefully acknowledge. (Dr O.A. and D.A.)

• I am grateful to Mother Mary; faithfully praying the 3 Hail Marys I received countless blessings for 35 years. I had been saved from many accidents. I always pray the 3 Hail Marys before leaving the house and Mother Mary has guided me in my work. Thank you Mother for granting all my favours. (C.M., Mumbai)

• While travelling by train I was struck on the head by a huge bundle of clothes from the rack above. I am in the habit of praying the 3 Hail Marys while I travel. I remained unharmed and I believe it was the gracious protection of Our Lady. I am most grateful. (M.P., Mumbai).
I These testimonies and “Thank You’s” were published with full names in “Don Bosco’s Madonna” issue September 2013. To support the Shrine of Don Bosco’s Madonna in Matunga – Mumbai – India including seminarians, or to subscribe to the magazine please visit http://www.donboscosmadonna.org (external link) or http://www.dbmshrine.org (external link).

 
 

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