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Remember Lepanto-Like Victory on Feast of Most Holy Name of Mary

The year was 1683. The situation was dire. Turkish invaders from the Ottoman Empire were about to overrun Western Europe. European people everywhere — including the papal nuncio — implored and begged for help, turning to John III Sobieski, King of Poland. Sobieski had courage and something greater — a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Answering their pleas, Sobieski marched his army toward Vienna for a decisive showdown. On the way under a banner of Our Lady, he and his troops prayed for her assistance at her shrine in Czestochowa. On the morning of Sept. 12, Sobieski worshipped at Mass, then confidently told his smaller, outnumbered army, “Let us march with confidence under the protection of Heaven and with the aid of the Most Holy Virgin!”

Fast forwarding, Sobieski himself led the charge, and his much smaller army and cavalry routed the Ottoman Turk invaders soundly and ended the invasion. With Vienna and the Christian world saved, Sobieski crediting the victory to God alone.

He rewrote Caesar’s famous words when he said: “Veni, vidi, Deus vicit” — “I came, I saw, God conquered.”

To honor Mary for her aid for this great Battle of Vienna victory, in 1683 Pope Innocent XI extended the celebration of the feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, observed in Spain from 1513, to the universal Church. (The memorial was dropped after Vatican II but reinstituted in 2002 by John Paul II.)

Innocent XI requested a Rosary to be said before the battle and asked everyone to pray for the defense of Christian Europe, Marians of the Immaculate Conception Father Kazimierz Chwalek provincial superior of the Mother of Mercy Province told me during a conversation. She said, “When we’re overwhelmed and there seems no way out, he sends his mother to assist us. He sent a king who loved our Lady and had a great devotion to her.”

The Marians connection goes to that battle. He said, “Our founder Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski — a confessor at the royal court — is the one who blessed the army.”

Every Sept. 12 when we celebrate this memorial, we should resolve to always honor the Most Holy Name of Mary, recall her qualities and call constantly upon her protection and assistance.

St. Alphonsus Ligouri knew why. In his book The Glories of Mary, he said, “After the most sacred name of Jesus, the name of Mary is so rich in every good thing, that on earth and in heaven there is no other from which devout souls receive so much grace, hope, and sweetness.”

“From this title Holy Name of Mary we unpack the dimensions of who she is to us,” explained Father Chwalek. She was called by that name by God, ‘Hail Mary, full of grace.’ Mary became the mother of his son. Calling her by different titles is the explication of the Most Holy Name of Mary.

Read more at National Catholic Register 

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