June 27, is the feast day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, and the Madonna di San Matteo. We are reminded that Our Blessed Mother constantly intercedes for us with Jesus, Our Lord—in our times of struggle, pain, and difficulty.
Mother of Perpetual Help, you have been blessed and favored by God. You became not only the Mother of the Redeemer but the Mother of the redeemed as well. We come to you today as your loving children. Watch over us and take care of us. As you held the child Jesus in your loving arms, so take us in your arms. Be a mother ready at every moment to help us. For God who is mighty has done great things for you, and His mercy is from age to age on those who love Him. Our greatest fear is that in time of temptation, we may fail to call out to you, and become lost children. Intercede for us, dear Mother, in obtaining pardon for our sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace always to call upon you, Mother of Perpetual Help.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a title and devotion given to Our Blessed Mother, following an association with a Byzantine painting originating as early as the 13th century. Since that time, this golden image has inspired Catholics to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary for intercession with her beloved Son, Jesus Christ. The painting, as interpreted by art historians and theologians, represents a message of salvation and reparation: “You can come to me.” The icon, possibly painted in Crete by an unknown artist, depicts Our Blessed Mother, holding the infant Christ. To her right is the Archangel Michael, carrying the lance and sponge of the crucifixion. On her left is the Archangel Gabriel carrying the cross and nails used in the crucifixion. Also known as the Theotokos of the Passion, the icon suggests that Christ, even as an infant, knew of His passion and death, and is seeking the comfort of his mother.
The origins and early history of the painting are lost to record, but in the fifteenth century, the icon was first venerated at the Church of San Matteo. Prior to that, history suggests that the painting was stolen in Crete, and brought to Italy by a pious merchant, who eventually (possibly following an apparition of the Blessed Mother to his daughter) bequeathed the painting to the church, which was served for a time by the Hermits of Saint Augustine. The picture remained in the church for nearly three hundred years.
In 1812 the French invaded Rome and destroyed the church. The picture disappeared. Between 1863 and 1865 it was discovered in an oratory of the Augustinian Fathers at Santa Maria in Posterula. Under the direction of Pope Pius XI, the original icon was displayed for public veneration under the care of the Redemptorist Fathers at the Church of Saint Alphonsus (built on the original site of the destroyed Church of San Matteo), where it remains today.
Text shared from 365 Rosaries Blog
Powerful Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help
O MOTHER of Perpetual Help, Grant that I may ever invoke Your most powerful name, Which is the safeguard of the living And the salvation of the dying.
O purest Mary! O sweetest Mary! Let your name henceforth Be ever on my lips.
Delay not, O Blessed Lady, To succor me Whenever I call on you.
In all my temptations, In all my needs, I will never cease To call on you Ever repeating Your sacred name, Mary, Mary!
Oh, what consolations, What sweetness, What confidence, What emotion fills my soul When I utter your sacred name, Or even only think of you!
I thank the Lord For having given you, For my good, So sweet, so powerful, So lovely a name.
But I will not be content With merely uttering your name. Let my love for you prompt me Ever to hail you, Mother of Perpetual Help.
Mother of Perpetual Help, Pray for me And grant me the favor I confidently ask of you.