September is Mary's Month!
What titles of Mary do we celebrate this month?
I thought I would talk about a few feast days of Mary that are in the month of September.
Mary's Feast of Divine Shepherdess - this one sounds quite interesting....
"September 3: Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd, France
Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd, or Notre Dame de Brebieres, is located in the small town of Albert in the diocese of Amiens, France. Brebieres refers to brebis, which is French for sheep, and berger, which is French for shepherd.
At one time, probably sometime in the 12th century, and according to local tradition, a shepherd was grazing his sheep at Brebieres when he observed that many of the animals were staying in the same area to eat, ripping the grass out by the roots. It must have seemed very odd to the shepherd, who decided that the sheep were trying to uncover something, so he started to dig in the very spot himself. In a short time he uncovered a statue of the Blessed Virgin sculpted from a single piece of solid stone.
The statue was fairly large, nearly four feet tall, and represented the Blessed Mother holding the Divine Child in her arm. There was a sheep depicted quietly reclining at Mary’s feet. As has happened so often throughout history, the finding of the statue increased the enthusiasm and affection of the local populace toward the Mother of God. A small chapel was built at the site to honor the statue and receive the pilgrims who had already begun coming to Albert to visit the statue.
Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd- more info: Saint Colette can be credited for helping to spread of the fame of Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd at Brebieres. At age fourteen she was somewhat short and had a delicate constitution. Seeking a remedy through the favor of the Blessed Virgin, Saint Colette prayed to Our Lady of Brebieres. She not only obtained vigor and good health, she also found that several inches were miraculously added to her height.
In 1637 the sanctuary was partially burned, and the miraculous image was moved to the parish church of Albert in 1727. During the French Revolution the church was made into a pagan temple to the goddess of Reason while the image of the Mother of God was hidden until 1802 when the horrors of the Terror during this supposed time of reason subsided.
This feast is celebrated in a number of places and by certain religious communities and congregations: Capuchins, Marists and others, on widely different dates. It is a special festival of the shrine of Our Lady of Brebieres, a very old sanctuary near Albert in France, formerly much resorted to by the shepherds.
The pilgrimage here was revived after 1870, and a beautiful basilica was completed in 1887. The statue was crowned in 1901, and devastated in both world wars. The basilica has again been rebuilt." From: https://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/our-lady-of-the-divine-shepherd.html
Our Next feast day is:
September 8: Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15BC)
The Nativity of Our Lady, which happened, according to Baronius, in the year of the creation of the world 4007, on a Saturday, at daybreak, fifteen years before the birth of our Savior. This feast was instituted on the 8th of September, in the Greek Church and in the Latin, in the year 436, according to the same Baronius; and, in France, by Saint Maurillus, Bishop of Angers.
In the “Apocryphal” writings we read that the Virgin Mary was sprung from the royal family of David and educated at Jerusalem in the Temple of the Lord. Her father’s name was Joachim and her mother’s Anna. Her father’s family was of Galilee and her mother’s of Bethlehem. By some, Joachim is described as exceedingly rich. Tradition is unanimous that Mary was an only child, an heiress, and, therefore, so many of the eligible men were eager to obtain her hand in marriage.
Feast of the birth of the Blessed VirginJoachim and Anna lived chastely without any children for about twenty years, in the favor of God and the esteem of men. They vowed that if God should favor them with any issue, they would devote it to the service of the lord, for which reason they went every season of the year to the Temple. Again, the “Aprocryphal” tells us that both Joachim and Anna suffered much because of their childlessness, for to be this was considered a punishment from God. However, their prayers and sacrifices were rewarded and being informed by an angel that they would have a child, they offered ten she-lambs and twelve tender calves to the Lord in the Temple. And Anna brought forth, and inquiring of the midwife, she was told it was a girl, and she said:
“My soul has been magnified this day,”and she laid her child down. The days having been fulfilled, Anna was purified, and gave the breast to the child and called her name Mary. In Mary’s soul from the very beginning was the bliss of heaven; in the first instant of her conception, Mary, by a singular grace and privilege granted by God, was preserved exempt from all original sin.
“Thou art all fair, O my Love, and there is not a spot in thee.” And “Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as any army set in array.”
Holy Mother Church has selected September 8, as the day to celebrate the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary’s Nativity, Theotokos Deipara, Mother of God. God never created a being more perfect, more admirable, than she is; He imbued her with a richer grace, power, and blessedness; but in one simple respect she surpasses all creatures, namely, that she is the Mother of her Creator – giving her sanctity and greatness that cannot be surpassed.
Men sometimes wonder that we call her Mother of Life, of Mercy, of Salvation; what are all these titles compared to that one name, Mother of God?
Joachim and Anna bestowed the name of Mary on their little daughter, and she has become “Our Lady,” the greatest lady of all. What a happy choice of name! Mary is of all names the most common and the least vulgar, the name which is never really given, but lent, to those who have the honor to bear it, for it belongs by particular right to her who was the first to make it glorious. “Oh Mary! How great is thy name!” Source: https://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/feast-of-the-birth-of-the-blessed-virgin.html
Next feast day is September 12: The Most Holy Name of Mary
"And the name of the virgin was Mary." (St. Luke, I, 27)
In this simple phrase, St. Luke sums up the greatness of Mary, as epitomized in her holy name. That the Church recognizes this is quite apparent when we realize the numerous times the name of Mary occurs in her various prayer, invocations, and seasonal liturgy.
The name of Mary was chosen by the Most High for the fairest of the daughters of Eve, the mother of His Divine Son, and was revealed to Anne and Joachim by the angel Gabriel who was later to announce to their child the great privilege accorded her by God.
Mary! A name so lofty, in the regal majesty of its sound and meaning – Mary, Maria, Miriam! It is a name as familiar to us as the name of our Mother, as the bells of the church, as the peaks of the mountains which send their friendly greetings to the valleys below. Mary! A thousand times we have prayed, sung, wept this name, in good and evil days. Millions of women are called by that name and it weaves a golden thread around even the plainest woman. Mary! Holding on to this name, grope the way through the darkness of life and death. It is the rosy dawn heralding the rising sun, Jesus, in the Gospels as well as in the hearts of men.
A beautiful wreath of interpretation has grown around this holy name of Mary; the name Mary is supposed to stem from the word, “yam” – sea; “mar,” “mir,” “mor” – bitter sea, mistress of the sea, or the best known, “star of the sea.” Others find profound meaning by tracing Mary to “moras,” – hope; “mar” the bitter one; “maron” the exalted one, “moren,” the rising one, “marsh,” the enlightener, “mor,” myrrh. All these are ingenious but are not etymologically tenable. In all probability, the name Mary goes back to the Egyptian language. The sister of Moses and Aaron, born in Egypt like her brothers, is the only woman mentioned in the Old Testament with this name. It can be derived from the Egyptian root, “mir,” love, and “jam,” “jahu,” Yahu, Yahwe, God; so that Miriam means “God-loving,” or “beloved of God.” In Mary’s time it was more common to derive the name from Maron, the Exalted One, corresponding to our Madonna, Notre Dame, Our Blessed Mother or Our Blessed Lady. Source: https://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/holy-name-of-mary.html
I love the name of this apparition:
September 13: Our Lady of Zell (Mariazell), Austria
The places dedicated to Mary are the best proof that Mary gives help today to souls and bodies.
The glorious pilgrim church at Zell is nestled in the midst of the Styrian Mountains 50 miles southwest of Vienna. It is mantled in snow most of the winter and is the haven for skiers., is the Lourdes of central Europe. Since its founding, it has become the most popular Marian shrine in Austria, and there is a miraculous wooden statue of the Virgin Mary that is much venerated at the church.
According to tradition, there was once a Benedictine monk known as Magnus, who, in the year 1157, left his abbey at Lambrecht seeking a more contemplative life. As he was passing through a forest looking for a suitable place for his hermitage, he encountered a massive, black boulder that blocked his way. Magnus was stymied, as he could not continue in that direction, and so he took out a small statue of the Blessed Virgin that he kept with him. Placing the statue on a log, he knelt down to pray for guidance.
The heavenly assistance he requested was not long in coming, for the ground began to tremble, and with a loud crack, the boulder broke in two. A strange light emanated from the broken edges of the stone, revealing the miraculous cause of the break. Magnus realized at once that he had found the location of the hermitage he had been seeking, and placed his cherished statue on a stump and built a small shrine to display the miraculous statue. Pilgrims came to the place almost immediately as news of the miracle spread through the region.
Our Lady of Zell
Magnus’ statue, known as the "Magna Mater Austriae," can still be viewed. It is just over 18 inches tall, and is kept in what is called the Chapel of Miracles, which is located above the very place where Magnus had made his monastic cell. The statue depicts the Mother of God holding the Divine Child in her arm. The baby Jesus holds an apple, recalling the fall of man and his later redemption. The statue is also known as the Great Mother of Austria, the Great Lady of Hungary, and the Great Mother of the Slavic People.
This first small shrine was enlarged with a church in the year 1200, and was further expanded in 1335 after King Henry I had been granted a miraculous cure after being told in a dream to go to Our Lady of Zell. King Louis the Great of Hungary had the Mariazell Basilica built in the year 1363, which is also known as the Basilica of the Birth of the Virgin Mary, in gratitude for a military victory he won over a numerically superior army of Turks: 20,000 men against 80,000 Turks. The church he had built was of Gothic style, and in 1377, King Louis I added a chapel called the Gnadenkappelle, the Chapel of Grace. The church was damaged by fire in 1420 and again in 1474, but then expanded again in the 17th century, and is the same church that stands today.
The various peoples of the broad Danubian area have made Our Lady of Zell the goal of their pilgrimages. Jewels, crowns, and garments were brought to the Great Mother at Zell. Untold thousands of Austrians, Hungarians, Croats, Slovenes, Czechs have knelt there before Mary’s image, each feeling that his race was under the special protection of Mary.
A lamp of pure silver burns before the altar. It is the gift of the Empress Maria Theresa. She was mother of a great empire and brought her sorrow to Mariazell to the Mother of God. No castle of Our Lady was more honored and enriched by the Hapsburghs.
An average of one million people annually make a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Zell, which in 1907 was made a Minor Basilica by Pope Saint Pius X, who also crowned the statue that same year. There are solemn processions on the eve of the feasts of Our Lady of Mariazell, September 13th, The Feast of the Assumption, August 15th, and the Nativity of the Blessed Mother, September 8th.
The great Cardinal Mindszenty was buried at Mariazell, Our Lady of Zell, in 1975. Source: https://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/our-lady-of-zell.html
I may do another blog post later in the month to cover more of her titles for September - but I thought this might be good start. I'll cover Our Lady of Sorrows next post.
By the way, as our 20% off sale is ending for the big courses - however, I am going to put on a special sale for Our Lady of Sorrows Bereavement class this month and also a bundle sale - so watch for that and it will start close to a week from now. Thank you.
Juliana Larsen is the author of the Catholic Doula Blog.