The Name of Holy Mary
be holy is the first and foremost task of the Christian. A
certain minimum of holiness is necessary for salvation, but
the higher degrees of holiness are the aspiration and hope
of all true lovers of God. Nothing bestows upon man greater
worth and dignity. The beginning of Christian holiness was
given us in baptism, and it is the win of God that we guard
and develop it. Therefore St. Peter writes, "As the
One who called you is holy, be you also holy in all your behavior;
for it is written, 'You shall be holy, because I am holy'"
(1 Pet. 1: 15). As Mary is our leader to Christ,
so she is our leader to holiness. The more we appreciate and
desire her guidance, the more freely she can act. Hence our
first petition in the litany is: Holy Mary, pray for us.
St. Paul tells us that by baptism we have been transformed
into Christ, when St. Peter speaks of the Christian as having
been made a partaker in the divine nature, when St. John reminds
us that we are children of God, all these inspired writers
state the same truth: we have been raised to a higher order
of life, we have been incorporated into Christ the Holy One,
we abide in Him and He in us, we live because of Him as He
lives because of the Father. This divine life is the most
precious treasure given into our care. In virtue of this life
we are holy, but we are to become more holy from day to day,
"for this is the will of God, your sanctification
" (i Thess. 4: 3).
the Mother of the Holy One and full of grace, must be holy;
the Queen of all saints must possess the highest degree of
holiness. This holy Mother is also our Mother, and she desires
nothing more than to see her children resemble her and her
divine Son. Therefore we turn to her more than to any other
saint in our efforts to become holy. In doing this we are
encouraged by the beautiful words of Pius XII: "There
is no one who has followed in the footsteps of , the incarnate
Word more closely and with more merit than she; and no one
has more power over the Sacred Heart of the Son of God and
through Him with the heavenly Father. ...Since she is, therefore,
Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope, let
us all cry ,to her, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears,
and confidently place ourselves and all we have under her
patronage. ...She teaches us all virtues; she gives us her
Son and with Him all the help we need, for God wishes us to
have everything through her " (Mediator Dei).
is no agreement as to the exact meaning of the name of Mary,
and many interpretations of it have been given. Among these
interpretations the most popular must be said to be: Mistress
and Star of the Sea.
Mother of Christ Mary exercised authority over her divine
Son; should she not have been given authority over her spiritual
children, the other Christs? Having co-operated with her divine
Son in the sacrifice of our salvation, should she not have
authority over those toward whose salvation she contributed
so much? Let us listen to the way in which holy Church speaks
of this authority on the feast of Mary, the Mediatrix of all
graces. In the antiphon for the Magnificat of the first
Vespers she puts these words on the lips of Mary: "Behold,
my Lord has delivered all things to me; there is nothing that
is not subject to my power, nothing that He did not turn over
to me. " In the antiphon for the Benedictus we
hear the words of God conferring this authority upon her:
"Without thy authorization no one in the whole land
shall move hand or foot. " But Mary's authority is
kind and gentle, loving and appealing. She is like her divine
Son meek and humble of heart; she loves those over whom she
rules and uses her authority only to make them happy for time
is often compared to a journey across a sea agitated by violent
storms, with waves rising to frightening heights and falling
to abysmal depths. The strong winds of temptations and adversities
blow all around us. We feel that we are in danger of losing
life and all. Yet we are not left without hope. There is a
star in the sky that lights up our way and shows us the right
course through the raging waves: Mary, the Star of the sea.
This star is ever shining in peaceful radiance, untouched
by the fury of the storms, ever pointing to heaven; it speaks
to us of eternal peace that awaits us in the heavenly homeland.
It remains for us to look up to this star and to follow its
guidance; it is the only way to peace and safety. The love-inspired
words of St. Bernard will ever remain true: "0 you
all who are tossed about on the stormy waters of life and
exposed to its violent tempests, do not turn away your eyes
from this bright star of the sea, if you would not be swallowed
up by storm. When tornado-like temptations assail you and
your boat is drifting upon rocks, look up to the star, call
upon Mary. When buffeted by the billows of pride, of ambition,
bitterness, envy, look up to the star, call upon Mary. When
anger or avarice or the violence of sensual passions beat
upon the boat of your soul, look up to Mary. When feeling
crushed by the burden of sin, appalled by the foulness of
a guilty conscience, terrified by the thought of the judgment
to come, sinking into an abyss of sadness, a whirlpool of
despair, then think of Mary, call upon her holy name. Following
her you will never go astray, invoking her you will never
lose hope, thinking of her you will make no mistake. ...Thus
you will learn by your own experience how truly it is said
that the Virgin's name is Mary - Star of the Sea "
of the Most Holy Name of Mary, second nocturn).
Our Lady's Litany, by Rev. A Biskupek.
The Green Scapular
principal earthly character now has the habit of the Sisters
of Charity in common with her predecessor in this role,
Catherine Laboure. Sister Catherine remained in obscurity
all her life, an obscurity which deepened with the years.
Our Lady's next intermediary was to be quite the opposite.
The endowment of heroic virtue was to be her only trait
in common with her sister-religious.
Justine Bisqueburu was our Lady's choice for the Green Scapular,
as Sister Catherine was her choice for the Medal of the
Immaculate Conception. They were contemporaneous Sisters
of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.
contrast to Sister Laboure's oblivious retirement, Sister
Bisqueburu was to head military hospitals in Paris and Algiers,
she was to be seen spending three days and three nights
on the battlefield of Mentana, would organize ambulance
corps in Rome, and accompany Pius IX on walks in his private
nothing is known of her life prior to her entry into the
Sisters of Charity. Two coincidences stand out in the foreground
of her career: on her journey from Pau to Paris to embrace
the religious life, she was accompanied by Father Aladel,
her future spiritual director, who had also been the director
of Sister Catherine Laboure. She entered the seminary there
on November 27,1839, on the ninth anniversary of our Lady's
Miraculous Medal apparition to St. Catherine.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death!
Sister Justine was making her entrance retreat when she
was favored with her first vision of our Blessed Lady before
the Blessed Virgin's statue in the retreat hall on January
28, 1840. This sister was at prayer when our Lady appeared
dressed in white, her feet bare and showing just below the
hem of the white gown over which there was a mantle of blue.
Unlike most of her other apparitions, she wore no veil,
but instead her hair hung loose about her shoulders. She
was holding her heart in her hand, from the top of which
leapt flames of fire. The sister was awe-struck by her heavenly
beauty and majesty. Four or five times during the year,
on principal feasts of the Blessed Virgin, the vision reappeared.
During meditation on September 8, 1840, feast of the Nativity
of Mary, our Lady held her heart in one hand and a green
scapular in the other. It was not the conventional type
of scapular, but only one rectangular piece of green cloth,
fastened to a green string to be placed about the neck.
On one side of this was a picture of our Lady as she had
appeared previously. On the other, in the words of Sister
Justine, there was 'a heart all ablaze with rays
more dazzling than the sun, and as transparent as
crystal." The heart, emitting flames and pierced
with a sword was surrounded with a circular inscription,
over which was a gold cross. The inscription was an ejaculatory
prayer: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now
and at the hour of our death.'
green scapular, or "Badge of the Immaculate Heart of
Mary," as it is variously called, was to be an instrument
for the Daughters of Charity to be used in the conversion
of sinners and infidels, especially in the matter of obtaining
for them the grace of a happy death, Sister Justine was
told. The interior voice also made known to her that they
were to be made and distributed as soon as possible. The
report of the apparition and the requests of our Lady were
reported to Sister Justine's superior with the utmost of
caution and deference.
same vision reoccurred on August 15, 1840, and September
13,1841. A message was sent to Father Aladel. He apparently
thought nothing of it and dismissed the whole matter. Nothing
was done about the making and distribution of the scapular.
In a vision of May 3,1842, after her Holy Communion thanksgiving,
the Blessed Virgin complained of this to Sister Bisqueburu.
Our Lady said she was displeased because of the delay. This
message was conveyed to Father Aladel and he seemed to rush
matters. At last the scapular was made, but not in large
quantities, and its use seemed to be experimental and without
enthusiasm. In successive apparitions during 1846, our Lady
complained many times of the protracted delays and lack
of confidence with which the scapular was used. In desperation,
Sister Justine wrote her superior: "It is absolutely
necessary that Father Aladel attend to the Scapular, that
he should disseminate it and do so with confidence. Heretofore,
I am sure, he did not attach great importance to it. He
was very wrong. True, I do not deserve to be believed,
for I am only a poor girl in every respect. May I entreat
him to do this, not for my sake, but I ask him in the name
of Mary to do it for these poor souls who die without
knowing the true religion; yes, if it be given with
confidence, there mil be a great number of conversions.
...Answer me, I beg of you, as soon as possible;
we cannot lose any time."
Green Scapular was to be different from every other scapular
in one respect. It was not a habit or insignia of any confraternity,
and therefore no formula or imposition was necessary. It
had merely to be blessed by a priest and worn like a medal,
and the wearer was obliged to say once a day the prayer
inscribed on it: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray
for us now and at the hour of our death.' In the case
of sinners or infidels, the scapular could be placed in
a bed or room, or sewn or slipped unknown to the person
into his clothing, and the benefactor could say the prayer
in his stead. Different kinds of rays fell from the Blessed
Virgin's hands in the vision, signifying that the graces
obtained from its use would be greater or less in proportion
to the degree of confidence on the part of the devotee.
Subsequent approval was climaxed by the favorable reception
of the scapular by Pope Pius XI, who placed the scapular
on his desk with the Miraculous Medal.
Green Scapular was the occasion of all manner of graces,
of favors and cures; it is not to our purpose to cite them
here. What is important to our thesis is that the Immaculate
Heart of Mary was attested to by our Lady herself in anticipation
to the coming of her age. Here again she was presaging the
great climax in the Message of Fatima where she said: "Jesus
wishes His Sacred Heart honored in union with my Immaculate
Heart." Again on July 13 after the children of
Fatima had seen the vision of hell: "You have just
seen hell where the souls of sinners will suffer forever.
To save souls from hell, God wishes to establish in the
world devotion to my Immaculate Heart."
Immaculate Conception was heralded with Catherine Laboure
and her Medal; it appeared with the Sacred Heart of Jesus
on the back of the medal. The Immaculate Heart of Mary was
proclaimed again with the Green Scapular; likewise the Sacred
Heart of Jesus and Mary were correlated on the back of the
scapular. The reverse of the medal consisted of a large
"M" surmounted by a cross upright on a bar supported
by the letter. Beneath the letter was the Sacred Heart on
the left, crowned with thorns and across rising out of flames
issuing from the top; the Immaculate Heart of Mary as on
the Green Scapular was to the right, pierced with a sword,
and the same flames rising forth. All was encircled by a
diadem of twelve stars. St. John speaks in the Apocalypse
of the "Woman clothed with the sun, the moon under
her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.' She
The particular power of this scapular is to help in the conversion
of sinners, and in obtaining for them the grace
of a happy death.
complete the correlation there was the red scapular, given
during the same period to another Sister of Charity. On
July 29, 1846, another Daughter of Charity, Sister Appoline
Andriveau, was favored by an apparition of our Lord, Who
revealed to her a new scapular of a red color, on which,
next to His Heart, was also that of His Mother, and which
for this reason received the name of Scapular of the Sacred
Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Lady was building the edifice of devotion to her Immaculate
Heart to save souls from hell with many means, long before
her greatest plea at Fatima in 1917. The Marian Age was
speedily under way; the opening strokes were completed;
the essential cores were wound and energized.
Recent Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by
With each and
every Ave of the rosary, we call twice on the holy
name of Mary. Her name is the source of blessings. Jesus
so loves His mother that He turns to look when anyone speaks
ago, He began to pronounce this beautiful word, and used
it honour His most beautiful creation. On Mary's lap He
sat and learned to repeat her name: "Maria, mother."
The music of this word is a font of eternal joy. We
can do no better than also to call upon the Mother of God,
if we wish to share her Son's love and protection.
Mary's gifts to men is the green scapular. Those who keep
it, give honour to the holy name written thereon. No wonder
it is a powerful help for conversions and the restoration
United to you in devotion to the Blessed Virgin, I am,