The icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, painted on wood in the thirteenth century. It is believed to be a replica of an original icon painted by St Luke the Evangelist. Each figure is labelled with Greek letters abbreviating the words of Mother Mary, Jesus Christ, St Gabriel the Archangel and St Michael the Archangel.
The icon covered in gold is proclaiming a salvation and triumph over sin and death by Jesus, the Saviour, to whom Mother Mary is pointing us to. The Archangels are holding the instruments of the Passion: the spear; the sponge and the crown of thorns, in the hands of St Michael the Archangel; and the cross and the nails, in hands of St Gabriel the Archangel. Jesus while contemplating the message is grasping the hand of Mary seeking comfort, and his sandal has slipped of his foot.
By the start on Mary’s forehead we can see her role in the plan of salvation as the Mother of God and our Mother in whom we can find comfort. Mother Mary is leading us to our Saviour Jesus Christ who suffered terrible death to redeem us from the slavery of sin. She intercedes on our behalf with her son.
Prayer to Our Mother of Perpetual Help
O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke your most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying.
O Purest Mary, O Sweetest Mary, let thy name henceforth be ever on my lips.
Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me whenever I call on you, for, in all my needs, in all my temptations I shall never cease to call on you, ever repeating thy sacred name, Mary, Mary.
O what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence, what emotion fill my soul when I pronounce your sacred name, or even only think of you.
I thank God for having given you, for my good, so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name.
But I will not be content with merely pronouncing your name: let my love for you prompt me ever to hail you, Mother of Perpetual Help. Amen.
A novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Oh Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke your powerful name, the protection of the living and the salvation of the dying. Purest Mary, let your name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, Blessed Lady, to rescue me whenever I call on you. In my temptations, in my needs, I will never cease to call on you, ever repeating your sacred name, Mary, Mary. What a consolation, what sweetness, what confidence fills my soul when I utter your sacred name or even only think of you! I thank the Lord for having given you so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely uttering your name. Let my love for you prompt me ever to hail you Mother of Perpetual Help. Mother of Perpetual Help pray for me and grant me the favour I confidently ask of you. (Then say three Hail Marys).
By Jolanta Mokrzycka