“Mary remains ever the path that leads to Christ. Every encounter with her can only result in an encounter with Christ Himself” (Pope Paul VI, Mense Maio 2). Just as Marian devotion has played any important part in the history of Christian piety, so too has this devotion, which takes so many different forms, played a most important role in the devotional life of our parish. In the 1954 Marian Year, for instance, Old St. Mary’s was designated by Archbishop Karl J. Alter as the official pilgrimage site for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Pilgrims would circle the aisles each week making the Pilgrimage of Grace devotion, reciting novena prayers at each of our six Marian shrines.
Our Lady of Sorrows
This type of Marian shrine dates back to 13th century Spain and is often called a Pietà (Italian for ‘pity’ or ‘mercy’). It was made famous by Michelangelo’s sculpture for the new St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome circa 1500. Here the Blessed Virgin is seated, holding the dead Christ in her arms, after he was taken down from the Cross. The Pietà offers a beautiful reflective and meditative subject.
Our Lady of Fatima
This shrine commemorates the miracle at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 when the Blessed Virgin appeared as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary to the three shepherd children who kneel here before her. The Fatima shrine reminds us of the importance of the Holy Rosary.
Our Lady of Grace
This shrine of the Blessed Virgin depicts Mary standing on a globe crushing a serpent’s head. Its design reflects the image which was struck onto the “Miraculous Medal” inspired by the visions of Catherine Labouré in 1830 and in honor of the Immaculate Conception.
Our Lady of Lourdes
In 1858, a young peasant girl witnessed many apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the grotto at Lourdes, which is now an important pilgrimage site known for the miraculous healing power of its waters. “I am the Immaculate Conception,” were the words of the visions, confirming for many Pope Pius IX’s declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Our Lady of Lourdes is patroness of the sick.
Our Lady of the Poor Souls
A popular shrine on the Feast of All Souls Day (November 2) each year, the Blessed Virgin is here pictured as assisting the souls in purgatory.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
This statue, which brought with it a special indulgenced blessing bestowed on it by Pope Leo XIII, is modeled after the miraculous 15th century Byzantine painting exposed in the church of San Matteo in Rome for three centuries. Crowds flocked to this church, and for nearly three hundred years many graces were obtained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, under the title Our Lady of Perpetual Help.