Our Mother of Perpetual Help
For many centuries throughout the world this picture has been revered as an icon of hope and inspiration. The original picture of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is the product of Byzantine art. It is known to be at least 500 years old in its present form.
Historical records indicate that around the year 1499 the picture was located in Saint Matthew’s Church in Rome. People came from miles around to pray before the picture because of the many miracles attributed to the sacred icon. For 300 years the picture hung over the main altar in the church of Saint Matthew the Apostle and the miracles continue to occur. In 1798 the picture was taken into hiding by the monks who fled the city of Rome to avoid being captured by Napoleon’s invading armies. The picture resurfaced some years later in an Augustinian monastery chapel.
Meanwhile the Redemptorists had built the church of Saint Alphonsus near the site of Saint Matthew’s which had been destroyed by Napoleon’s invading forces. In time the Redemptorists learned about the miraculous picture of Our Mother of Perpetual Help that had been enshrined on that site for several centuries. They requested that the picture be placed there once again.
In 1866 Pope Pius IX entrusted the miraculous icon to the Redemptorists and told them to make her known throughout the world. Since then the Redemptorists have encouraged people to gather each week to pray the novena prayers and then to pray daily in their homes to Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Hundreds of people do this and millions of copies of the picture can be seen around the world in churches and in homes.