The Center

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Mary Most Holy Mother of Light

In 1722, almost 300 years ago, Father Giovanni Antonio Genovesi, SJ, wanted a painting of the Virgin Mary to take with him and display as he preached throughout the island of Sicily. He sought the help of a devout lady who was said to have been visited frequently by the Virgin and asked her to request guidance. Our Lady granted the request and described exactly how she wished to be represented.


The Virgin appeared in a glorious light, surrounded by a host of seraphim and was extremely beautiful. She wore an imperial crown and had a girdle adorned with jewels that surpassed the beauty of the stars. On her shoulders was a blue mantle. On her left arm, she carried the Child Jesus. With her right hand, she lifted a sinful soul from the horrible throat of Hell, keeping it from falling back in. On the other side, a kneeling angel held up a basket filled with hearts, which he presented to the Divine Child in His mother's arms. He took the hearts one at a time and inflamed them with his love. The Virgin Mary said she wished to be called Maria Madre Santissima del Lume (Mary Most Holy Mother of Light). She repeated this command three times and promised that those who called her by this title would be crowned with every grace and blessing. The pious lady returned to Father Genovesi and recounted all that the Virgin had said, and he quickly found a painter to carry out the instructions.



Mary, Mother of Light, with calm confidence we call upon you, asking you to share with us your mission of bringing the Light and Love of Jesus to this world, which is so often veiled in darkness.


Teach us to protect the flame of faith given to us in Baptism. With your prayer and guidance allow us to illuminate with Christ’s love the lives of the suffering and the poor who feel forgotten and lost, who live lives burdened by many afflictions. For love of you and Jesus, may we walk with them and see their struggles transformed into a life-giving participation in the fruitful Sacrifice of His Holy Cross. Amen.


Mary, Mother of Light, pray for us.


María, Madre de la Luz, con plena confianza te invocamos pidiendo que compartas con nosotros tu misión de llevar la Luz y el Amor de Jesús a este mundo, que está oculto en la oscuridad.


Enséñanos a proteger la llama de la fe que se nos da en el Bautismo. Con tu oración y guía permítanos iluminar con el amor de Cristo las vidas de los que sufren y los pobres que se sienten olvidados y perdidos, que tienen vidas agobiadas por muchas aflicciones. Por amor a ti y a Jesús, te pedimos que podemos caminar con ellos y ver sus luchas transformadas en una participación de vida en el fructífero Sacrificio de Su Santa Cruz. Amén.


María, Madre de la Luz, ruega por nosotros.

Prayer by Fr. Matthew Zuberbueler