On December 11, 1865, the Holy Father, Blessed Pius IX. entrusted the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to the Superior General of the Redemptorists, Fr. Nicholas Mauron, with the instruction: “Make her known to the whole world!”
After cleaning and repairs, on April 26, 1866, the icon was carried in a solemn procession and placed above the altar in St. Alphonsus’ Church, Via Merulana, in Rome. The following year, 1867, was significant for the development of the cult of the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. In June, the icon was coronated. As 1867 was celebrated by the Catholic Church as the jubilee of the 1800th anniversary of the martyrdom of two apostles Peter and Paul, about half a million pilgrims from around the world came to Rome. Undoubtedly, many of them also participated in the coronation ceremony of the icon, and the news of this event spread throughout the world.
This is evidenced by the requests for copies of the icon, which began to come in the following years. In the General Archives, books are documenting the sending of hundreds of copies of the icon, which were touched to the miraculous original and sent with a special letter signed by the superior general. New prayer books in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Help were also printed during this time. The first prayer books, edited by Fr. Bresciani, were published already in 1886.
Thus the cult of the miraculous icon quickly crossed the borders of Rome and Italy. The fast development of the devotion to Our Lady was supported by the Redemptorists themselves, as they took copies of the icon wherever they went to preach missions or set up new communities.
The Icon of Perpetual Help is one of the best known and most loved images of Mary. Today, the Novena Devotions -in Churches and Chapels, in homes and hospitals, on TV and radio, and even on the internet – nourish the faith and prayer of millions of faithful people.