Category: Marian Articles

Was This Statue Of ‘Our Lady Of The Forsaken’, Carved By Angels?  

Was This Statue Of ‘Our Lady Of The Forsaken’, Carved By Angels?  

She is the patroness of the city of Valencia, Spain, and the statue dates back to a priest’s desire to help the bullied. 

Legend tells, on 24 February 1409, a Friday at the beginning of Lent, a  mercedarian priest called Father Joan Gilabert Jofréwas on his way from the convent on Mercy Square to St. Catherine’s (Santa Catalina) cathedral church in Valencia, Spain to say Mass. On the way, on Silverworks Street, (now Martin Mengod Street) he witnessed the lynching of a mentally ill man and intervened to save the man. 

Father Jofre hurried over to the small crowd and demanded they stop hurting one of God’s children. Father Jofre rescued the man, who suffered from mental illness, and brought him to the Mercedarian monastery where he was given shelter and had his wounds tended to. The following Sunday at Mass, he preached his first homily about the mentally ill.

In the homily, he included a plea for funds to start a place to care for and shelter people afflicted with mental illness. 

A manuscript of Manuel Calvo dated 22 December 1848, reads:

“En la present ciutat ha molta obra pia é de gran caritat é sustentació: emperò una n’hi manca, que’s de gran necessitat, so es un hospital o casa on los pobres innocents é furiosos fossen acollits car molts pobres, innocents e furiosos van per aquesta ciutat, los cual passen gran desayres de fam e de fret e injuries, per tal como sa innocènsia i furor no saben guanyar ni demanar lo que han menester en sustentació de llur vida, e perço dormen per les carreres e perijen de fam e de fret, e moltes malvades persones no havent Deu devant sa consciència; los fan moltes injuries e senyaladament allà aon les troben endormits, los nafren i maten y algunes fembres innocents; aconteix així mateix que los pobres furiosos fan dany a mòltes persones anant per la ciutat. Aquestes coses son noties a tota la ciutat de València, perquè serià sancta cosa é obra molt sancta que en la ciutat de València fos feta una habitació ó hospital en què semblants folls é innocents estiguessin en tal manera que no anassen per la ciutat ni poguessin fer dany ni els en fos fet”.

Translated, the passage reads:

“In this city, one finds many very important pious and charitable works; however, there is one great need, and that is a hospital or a house where the innocent, the poor and the mad can be cared for. There are many such people wandering this city, suffering from cold and hunger because they cannot earn a living or ask for help. They sleep on the streets, starving and cold. Many wicked people, who do not have God in their hearts insult them, point at them when they are asleep, injure and kill them and rape innocent women. It also happens that some of those who are mad attack citizens on the streets. Everyone in Valencia knows this. It would be a very good thing, a very Holy work if Valencia were to build a house or a hospital where the innocent poor and the mad could be housed so that they would not be on the streets being hurt nor making trouble.”

He was so forceful in his words that the merchants, craftsmen, and businessmen at the Mass gave generously. The money became available, and before long a home and hospital were opened and dedicated to the Blessed Mother under the title of “Our Lady of Innocents.”

On August 29, 1414, a Brotherhood was founded and dedicated to caring for the mentally ill. It was called the Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Insane and the Forsaken Innocents.

A situation arose that resulted in the name soon being changed: A famine had struck the land, and many children had been orphaned. The Brotherhood quickly extended its care to not only the mentally ill but to the many orphaned children wandering the streets of Valencia. They refined the title, and the new dedication was to Our Lady of the Forsaken.

Father Jofre and his brother friars realized the hospital was lacking a prayer room. They built an oratory and when they were finished, knew it was missing something; that something was a statue of their patroness, Our Lady of the Forsaken. Since there was no such statue, they entered into prayer for help in acquiring one.

Legend has it that soon after, three handsome young men knocked on the door seeking refuge. They offered to carve the needed statue as payment for allowing them to stay. They only asked to be left alone to work for at least three days. The friars accepted the offer.

As the three days went by, the three young men remained locked inside the room. The Friars would listen by the door, but no sound was ever heard. At the end of the third day, they again knocked on the door, but there was no answer. Finally, they forced open the door only to find the three men gone. Who were these handsome men? Their identity was never discovered but most folks quickly came to believe they were angels sent by God. Thus began the legend called “Elferen els angels” — “Made by the Angels.”

What the Friars found in the center of the room was a magnificent statue that the men had created. Miracles began to happen, starting with the wife of a member of the Brotherhood. Paralyzed and blind, she was completely cured. 

The statue was considered “majestic and protective.” The people saw in the depiction of Our Lady a representation of goodness, mercy, and assistance.

In 1885 the statue was named the Virgen de los Desamparados or Our Lady of the Forsaken and declared the Patroness of Valencia.

Today, there is a Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken in Valencia, where the statue is on display. Every year on the second Sunday of May, a huge festival is held in honor of Our Lady of the Forsaken. As St. Bonaventure said:

When all human help fails, it is imperative that we not despair. For normally in this extreme situation, the divine help of Mary comes.

Virgen de Los DesamparadosOur Lady of the Forsaken, please pray for us.

When Roses Make The Devil Flee: A Fragrant Dominican Tradition.  

When Roses Make The Devil Flee: A Fragrant Dominican Tradition.  

Today is Rosary Sunday, which includes the blessing and distribution of what might seem a rather random sacramental.

With the Rosary, the Christian people sit at the school of Mary and are led to contemplate the beauty of the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae.


Why bless roses on Rosary Sunday

For many centuries, devotion to the Rosary has been entrusted by the Church in a special way to the Dominican Order. Even today, Dominican parishes observe Rosary Sunday with a public recitation of the Holy Rosary, the blessing of rosaries, and the blessing and distribution of roses (or rose petals). Now rose petals might seem a bit random for a sacramental, but there is a real genius to connecting this particular flower and the powerful prayer of Our Lady.


A rose by any other name

The name of the Rosary stems from the Latin word rosarium, meaning a garland or bouquet of roses. As early as the 4th century, Gregory of Naziansus speaks of “weaving a chaplet for the Virgin Mary.” Chaplet here means the same thing as crown or wreath. Further, according to 13th-century German and Spanish legends, a monk saw the “aves” he offered to Mary turn into a chain of roses. These Hail-Marys-seen-as-roses would be rendered into English as the Rosary.

What a lovely image! Pope Leo XIII says, “For as often as we greet Mary with the angelic salutation, ‘full of grace,’ we present to the Blessed Virgin, in the repetition of our words of praise, roses which emit the most delightful perfume.” Each prayer offered through Mary takes on the sense of a rose being lovingly arranged.


Evoking the Passion.

Lest our concept of the Rosary be reduced to the romantic sentimentality of presenting flowers, we ought to recall that roses have a darker side, too. The thorns of their stems should remind us of the crown our Savior wore during his passion.

Red petals evoke the drops of blood he shed. Their slender stalks? They recall the reed he held as he was cruelly mocked and the rods which beat him. Their leaves? The clothes stripped from his tortured body.

It is no accident that Christians would take the rose, which the Greeks associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and apply it to Mary. Mary leads us deeper into the mystery of the love of Christ, all the while reminding us that all true love requires sacrifice. For Christians, the rose is a catechism of the charity of Christ.


Sign of grace

Finally, roses are signs of the graces Divine Providence accords Mary to offer. Roses tumbled from the tilma of Juan Diego


A rose graced the Virgin’s brow at Knock. At La Salette roses crowned her head, a wreath of roses adorned her cloak, and a third garland surrounded her slippers. At Lourdes, St. Bernadette saw upon each of her feet a blossoming rose.

The repeated appearance of the rose indicates its privileged place in connection with devotion to Our Lady. Mary herself has chosen them as one of her signs.


Among the many things the rose represents, we should interpret them as manifestations of, says Pope Pius XII, “the fullness of her perfections and the delicacy of her goodness.”


Squander them not

Phrases like “gather ye rosebuds” and “stop to smell the roses” show us that the rose is synonymous with beauty and good fortune, but can be passed by or ignored.

Take advantage this October, the month of the Holy Rosary, to seize the bouquets of grace Our Lady wants to offer. Pick up the rosary, and lay your prayers at her feet.


Blessing of Roses

For the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (October 7).


From the Dominican Breviary.

O God, Creator and Preserver of the human race, who grant us the Holy Spirit with His seven-fold gifts, and who generously bestow eternal salvation:

Sanctify, we pray, and bless these roses. We present them before You today, and seek Your blessing upon them, to express our thanks to You, and our devotion towards the blessed Ever-Virgin Mary and her Rosary.


You created these roses as a source of pleasant fragrance and gave them to us to lift our spirits. Then through the power of the holy Cross pour out upon them Your heavenly + blessing.


Signed by the holy + Cross may they receive so powerful a blessing that in the houses and hospitals where they are taken, the sick may be healed. From the places where they are kept, may the powers of evil flee in fear and terror, nor may they presume again to disturb Your servants.


We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.


– Originally Written By  Fr. Patrick Briscoe.

As October Devotion Begins, This Story Might Inspire Someone.

As October Devotion Begins, This Story Might Inspire Someone.

As October devotion begins today, this story might inspire someone:

The girl! 

As I picked up her rosary beads to pray, tears came to my eyes. The tiny brownish beads felt strange and hard on my fingers. I had not prayed the rosary in years. I wasn’t even sure I could still remember the prayers correctly. I was not the praying type. But I was now determined to try. The little girl had been very clear when she gave me that one last instruction. It seemed God had given her that last moment of lucidity. I would never be able to forgive myself if I didn’t do as she asked…

***

I had begun the day full of confidence, without an inkling I would end up here. Being owner and CEO of chains of companies meant you constantly had to be at meetings and seminars on end. This was my life. I lived and loved it. Herbie, my wife had waved at me from the patio as Suleiman my driver drove me out of the compound that early dawn. Herbie was still donned in her nightie and she looked like she would be going right back to bed. Unlike Herbie, I was an early bird. I went to bed early and rose early. Today, I had a 7:00am flight to Abuja (Nigeria), and I left as early as 5:00am. I never joked with time.
We had just left the gate before Suleiman (the driver) started acting up, or so I thought. He drew the black luxurious SUV to the side of the street, put the car on park, and quickly went out of the vehicle. Before I could ask what the matter was, he was retching noisily into the gutter nearby. I waited about ten seconds before coming out of the car. 

“Are you okay?” I asked, as soon as I was standing by Suleiman’s side. 

“Yes sir!” He answered. But he didn’t seem fine to me. He was sweating profusely in that morning chill. He bent double again and continued emptying whatever he had inside his stomach into the gutter. 

“What did you eat?” I asked again, when it seemed he was done. 

“Oka, I nor know fah. Wallahi! But I nor peel pine Oka. Kai mana!” (Boss, I don’t know at all, but I don’t feel too good). 

“Are you sure?”

“Yaawah!”

“Okay, take me back to the compound and call me another driver.” I glanced at my gold-plated wrist watch. I had already lost close to twenty minutes. 

Suleiman looked at me with a pained expression on his face. “Oka, nor vex fah! Na only me dey today. Madam say na just to drive go airfort today.” (“Boss, don’t be offended, I’m the only driver available”). 

I rubbed my gradually balding head and straightened out the collars of my navy blue Tuxedo. I had two options – call a cab, or drive myself. I looked at my wrist watch again – forty minutes lost! 

“Okay, tell Madam I’ll leave the car at the airport garage. She can send someone to get it later.”

Yes sir.” Suleiman seemed relieved. He was wiping his mouth and trying to look smart in his chauffeur uniform. I waited for some more seconds before getting into the car and driving off in a rush… 

***

I knocked her over before I saw her. How was I to know there was a child in the middle of the road that early morning? I had been so occupied with the things I had to do as soon as I got to Abuja that I wasn’t really concentrating on the driving… 

***

She couldn’t have been more than twelve. The pain that tugged at my heart was too much to bear. She hadn’t given me any number to call. She hadn’t been able to talk much after the accident. I had driven like a maniac to a private hospital, with the child at the back seat, but it had been too late. 

Just before they had taken her into the ICU, she had pressed her rosary beads into my hands and looked straight into my eyes, “I forgive you,” she said, in a voice barely audible enough to hear. “Pray the rosary for me. I forgive you…”

Minutes later, she was dead. That was when I called Herbie… 

***

I was later to accept the fact that no one seemed to know the child. We went to media houses and put up announcements, hoping anyone would call with information about the girl. None came. I was completely dazed. It was the strangest day of my life. For the first time in my life, I, Chief Mike Anuforo had a situation I couldn’t handle. Not in my sixty years of existence had I witnessed anything like it. I had completely forgotten about the rosary till later that night when I switched the Cable TV to Channels Television. The plane I was to take to Abuja had crashed on landing, killing everyone on board. As Herbie prayed the rosary with me, amidst many tears, I realised that an angel had given her life for mine… 

THE END! 

© Oselumhense Anetor, 2017.

Please share!

As October Devotion Begins, This Story Might Inspire Someone.

As October Devotion Begins, This Story Might Inspire Someone.

As October devotion begins today, this story might inspire someone:

The girl! 

As I picked up her rosary beads to pray, tears came to my eyes. The tiny brownish beads felt strange and hard on my fingers. I had not prayed the rosary in years. I wasn’t even sure I could still remember the prayers correctly. I was not the praying type. But I was now determined to try. The little girl had been very clear when she gave me that one last instruction. It seemed God had given her that last moment of lucidity. I would never be able to forgive myself if I didn’t do as she asked…

***

I had begun the day full of confidence, without an inkling I would end up here. Being owner and CEO of chains of companies meant you constantly had to be at meetings and seminars on end. This was my life. I lived and loved it. Herbie, my wife had waved at me from the patio as Suleiman my driver drove me out of the compound that early dawn. Herbie was still donned in her nightie and she looked like she would be going right back to bed. Unlike Herbie, I was an early bird. I went to bed early and rose early. Today, I had a 7:00am flight to Abuja (Nigeria), and I left as early as 5:00am. I never joked with time.
We had just left the gate before Suleiman (the driver) started acting up, or so I thought. He drew the black luxurious SUV to the side of the street, put the car on park, and quickly went out of the vehicle. Before I could ask what the matter was, he was retching noisily into the gutter nearby. I waited about ten seconds before coming out of the car. 

“Are you okay?” I asked, as soon as I was standing by Suleiman’s side. 

“Yes sir!” He answered. But he didn’t seem fine to me. He was sweating profusely in that morning chill. He bent double again and continued emptying whatever he had inside his stomach into the gutter. 

“What did you eat?” I asked again, when it seemed he was done. 

“Oka, I nor know fah. Wallahi! But I nor peel pine Oka. Kai mana!” (Boss, I don’t know at all, but I don’t feel too good). 

“Are you sure?”

“Yaawah!”

“Okay, take me back to the compound and call me another driver.” I glanced at my gold-plated wrist watch. I had already lost close to twenty minutes. 

Suleiman looked at me with a pained expression on his face. “Oka, nor vex fah! Na only me dey today. Madam say na just to drive go airfort today.” (“Boss, don’t be offended, I’m the only driver available”). 

I rubbed my gradually balding head and straightened out the collars of my navy blue Tuxedo. I had two options – call a cab, or drive myself. I looked at my wrist watch again – forty minutes lost! 

“Okay, tell Madam I’ll leave the car at the airport garage. She can send someone to get it later.”

Yes sir.” Suleiman seemed relieved. He was wiping his mouth and trying to look smart in his chauffeur uniform. I waited for some more seconds before getting into the car and driving off in a rush… 

***

I knocked her over before I saw her. How was I to know there was a child in the middle of the road that early morning? I had been so occupied with the things I had to do as soon as I got to Abuja that I wasn’t really concentrating on the driving… 

***

She couldn’t have been more than twelve. The pain that tugged at my heart was too much to bear. She hadn’t given me any number to call. She hadn’t been able to talk much after the accident. I had driven like a maniac to a private hospital, with the child at the back seat, but it had been too late. 

Just before they had taken her into the ICU, she had pressed her rosary beads into my hands and looked straight into my eyes, “I forgive you,” she said, in a voice barely audible enough to hear. “Pray the rosary for me. I forgive you…”

Minutes later, she was dead. That was when I called Herbie… 

***

I was later to accept the fact that no one seemed to know the child. We went to media houses and put up announcements, hoping anyone would call with information about the girl. None came. I was completely dazed. It was the strangest day of my life. For the first time in my life, I, Chief Mike Anuforo had a situation I couldn’t handle. Not in my sixty years of existence had I witnessed anything like it. I had completely forgotten about the rosary till later that night when I switched the Cable TV to Channels Television. The plane I was to take to Abuja had crashed on landing, killing everyone on board. As Herbie prayed the rosary with me, amidst many tears, I realised that an angel had given her life for mine… 

THE END! 

© Oselumhense Anetor, 2017.

Please share!

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