Our Lady of Grace

Our Lady of Grace

            Our Lady of Grace or St Mary of Graces is a devotion to the Virgin Mary in the Roman Catholic Church. Churches with this dedication often owe their foundation to thankfulness for graces received from the Virgin Mary, and are particularly numerous in Italy, India, Australia, United States and France.

            The title Our Lady of Grace is of French origin. The title corresponds to what we call a miraculous image. The image represents mother and child in tender embrace, and is an icon of italo-byzantine origin which found its way form Rome to Cambrai, France in 1440. It is here that the icon received the title “Notre Dame de Grâce” and was and still is venerated as patroness of the city of Cambrai. Attributed to Saint Lucas, the icon of modest dimensions (35.7 cm x 25.7 cm) was crowned in 1894, and is annually carried in procession through the streets of Cambrai on the day before the Assumption.

            The feast of Our Lady of Grace is observed in various churches at different times. Mary accordingly, is considered “full of grace” or, as the Mother who brings down graces and benefits on us. She does both, as the collect for the Mass of Our Lady of Grace states: “God conferred the grace of regeneration upon mankind through Mary’s fruitful virginity; may we then share her happiness in Heaven.”

            The familiar image of Our Lady of Grace depicts Mary with hands outspread toward her devotees, and from those hands rays of light flow, symbolizing that always she is ready and able to shower upon us, her children, all the graces and blessings we desire.

            Mary, Our Lady of Grace, promised Saint Gertrude, as we are told in the 19th chapter of the revelations, that the inestimable treasures of her loving compassion would be given to those who saluted her in the above prayer, known as the “Golden Ave Maria,” and in the words of the Blessed Virgin, “And at the hour of their departure, I will appear to them clothed with radiant beauty and I will pour into their souls heavenly sweetness and consolation.”