The devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help is an important patroness in many cities and countries worldwide, such as Haiti and the Philippines.
Latin America knows her too as Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro, or, Our Lady of Perpetual Succor. Many cathedrals, parishes, schools, hospitals, and organizations all over the world carry her name.
I never knew anything about the spiritual meaning of Our Lady of Perpetual Help other than it being one of the many Marian devotions. But a series of “God incidents” brought me closer to this particular devotion. Here is how it started:
My Story with Our Lady of Perpetual Help
A few years ago, my husband used to work in Baltimore. Downtown Baltimore seemed to me like a little Rome; you can find a Catholic Church on almost every corner. Next to his workplace there was a church called St. Alphonsus in honor of Alphonsus Liguori, a bishop and Doctor of the Church who founded the Redemptorists religious order.
St. Alphonsus is the patron saint of confessors and theologians, and the church named after him in Rome has the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In fact, the Redemptorists are the official caretakers of the original Our Lady of Perpetual Help icon and the foremost promoters of the devotion.
At that time, I had a weak relationship with my husband. We were upset with each other. My husband would go to Mass every day and soon befriended one of the priests and confessors there who advised him about our marriage.
Also, my mother-in-law was about to visit us from El Salvador, so my husband asked her to bring us a Catholic image for the house, nothing in particular. The image she brought us was an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
My husband put the image at the home altar, very visible and surrounded by holy water, candles, and souvenirs from places we have been.
A few months later we were planning a vacation in Italy, and the date we choose to go was June 27th . . . which happened to be the feast day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. We were not aware that it was her feast day, in fact, we still didn’t know very much about this Marian devotion at all.
When we arrived in Rome, we learned that day was the feast day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, so we went to visit the Church of St. Alphonsus Liguori, located between two of the Papal basilicas in Rome. This is the church that keeps the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help hung on the altar.
The icon is made of wood, no more than 20″ in height with a gold leaf background. I can’t believe I was right in front of this popular byzantine piece of art, full of symbolism, famous for been an instrument to grant graces and revelations. In short, it is proof of a living miracle.
Our Lady as an Intercessor of All Graces
Once inside the church I found myself in awe contemplating the Our Lady of PerpetualHelp icon, when suddenly, about 10 nuns came out of nowhere and seated themselves on the pew behind me. They began to pray the rosary. I tried to join this wonderful prayer group; I didn’t see their faces, but their presence inspired me with calm and kindness. Because I speak Spanish, understanding their Italian was easy for me.
I was praying with them, and by the seventh Hail Mary I found myself reciting the rosary in almost perfect Italiano. Immediately, I started to feel overwhelmed. My body temperature became warm and I started to cry. I got tears, but those that you have when you are happy. It was a spiritual joy and euphoria that can be only attributed to the Holy Spirit; it is like your body and soul respond to this strong feeling that makes you feel closer to God. As a common mortal, you can’t stand such a powerful sensation, and the only thing you can do is cry. It is beautiful. Usually, I don’t feel anything extraordinary when I go to church. Why did it happen this time?
My husband had a great experience in the church, too. He was praying near the front in one of the pews when a priest called him over. My husband was shy at first, almost afraid to be scolded because he was wearing shorts – which is not proper etiquette in Roman churches. But that was not the reason the priest called out to him. The priest called him because he needed help to carry the holy icon in a solemn procession for the feast day celebration. My husband felt honored by being asked to do this. It was such a privilege.
This is just a short version about what happened, but there are so many details to tell. After this spiritual experience, it seemed like we saw the Our Lady of Perpetual Help image everywhere. I started to tease my husband that she was following us!
Article is taken from : The Catholic Comppany