Profile The feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians,
was instituted by Pope Pius VII. By order of Napoleon, the Pope was arrested on
5 July 1808, and imprisoned at Savona, Italy and Fontainebleau, France. In January
1814, after the Battle of Leipzig, he was brought back to Savona and set free
on 17 March, the eve of the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, the patroness of Savona.
The journey to Rome was a veritable triumphal march with the pontiff, attributing
the victory of the Church after so much agony and distress, to the Blessed Virgin.
He visited many of her sanctuaries on the way, crowning her images, and entered
Rome on 24 May 1814 to enthusiastic crowds. To commemorate his own sufferings
and those of the Church during his exile he extended the feast of the Seven Dolours
of Mary to the universal Church on 18 September 1814. When Napoleon left Elba
and returned to Paris, Murat was about to march through the Papal States from
Pius VII fled to Savona on 22 March 1815, where
he crowned the image of Our Lady of Mercy on 10 May 1815. Following the Congress
of Vienna and Battle of Waterloo, he returned to Rome on 7 July 1815. To give
thanks to God and Our Lady he instituted the feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians
for the Papal States on 15 September 1815; is was celebrated on 24 May, the anniversary
of his first return.
The dioceses of Tuscany region adopted
it on 12 February 1816, and it spread over nearly the entire Latin Church. They
hymns of the Office were composed by Brandimarte. It is the patronal feast of
Australasia, a double of the first class with an octave, and is celebrated with
great splendour in the churches of the Fathers of the Foreign Missions of Paris.
It has attained special celebrity since Saint John Bosco dedicated the mother
church of his congregation at Turin to Our Lady, Help of Christians. The Salesian
Fathers have carried the devotion to their numerous establishments, and prayers
for her intervention are credited with the miraculous cure of Blessed Artemide
Patronage Andorran security forces Australia
Austrialian military chaplains New York New Zealand Townsville, Australia, diocese
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