Origin of the name:
The title “Our Lady of Grace” should be understood in two respects:
- Mary Most Holy is the one who brings the Grace par excellence, that is, Her son Jesus, therefore She is the “Mother of Divine Grace”;
- Mary is the Queen of all graces, She is the one who, interceding for us with God (“as Our Advocate”) makes sure that He grants us all grace: in Catholic theology it is believed that God denies nothing to the Blessed Virgin.
Especially this second aspect is that which has made a breach in popular devotion: Mary appears as a loving mother who obtains all that men need for eternal salvation. This title comes from the biblical episode known as the “Marriage of Cana”: it is Mary who urges Jesus to perform the miracle, and spurs the servants saying to them: “Do what He tells you”.
Over the centuries, many saints and poets have recalled the powerful work of intercession that Mary works between man and God. It is sufficient to site:
St. Bernard, who in his Memorare says ” Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, and sought thy intercession, was left unaided. “.
Dante in the XXXIII Canto of the Paradiso s: Divine Comedy / Paradiso / Canto XXXIII puts a prayer to the Virgin in San Bernardo’s mouth that later became famous:
” Lady, thou art so great, and so prevailing,
That he who wishes grace, nor runs to thee,
His aspirations without wings would fly.
Not only thy benignity gives succour
To him who asketh it, but oftentimes
Forerunneth of its own accord the asking. »
The Catholic Church does not have a specific feast for Our Lady of Grace in its liturgical year: this title is associated with various Marian feasts based on local customs and the history of individual sanctuaries.
Many places associate this title with the feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth on May 31st. In ancient times the feast day took place on Monday in Albis, then it was moved to July 2, and even today on this last date many continue to celebrate in most of the places where the Our Lady of Grace is venerated. Elsewhere the holiday occurs on 26 August or, with a mobile date, the third Sunday after Pentecost.
In some places the title of Our Lady of Grace is associated with the feast of the Nativity of Mary on September 8; so, it is in Udine and Pordenone (Italy).
This title of the Madonna is celebrated in over 136 churches and shrines in Italy.