In Re: “Maria Auxiliadora”

Maria Auxiliatrice (Mary the Helper) is the Italian name for Mary, Help of Christians. (The Latin title is Maria Auxilium Christianorum.)

The simpler version of the title is particularly associated with Don Bosco’s Salesian orders, because the order’s first church was Maria Auxiliatrice, and Don Bosco had a special devotion to her.

Don Bosco taught people to do a very simple novena:

For nine days, say:

Three Our Fathers, three Hail Mary’s, three Glory Be’s, and one Hail Holy Queen.

After the end of the novena, do a work of charity as a thanksgiving.

The feast of Mary Help of Christians is May 24th, in commemoration of the pope’s return to Rome in 1814 after being held captive by Napoleon.

Don Bosco: A Sketch of His Life and Miracles has a lot of interesting material in it, including the story of Don Bosco’s mysterious dog, Il Grigio, and Don Bosco’s many narrow escapes from death.

People tend to slide right past miracles when it comes to modern saints known for their charity; but historically, miracles tend to come thick and fast in charitable ministries. There’s no reason to be ashamed of God’s charismatic gifts. Considering how many religious orders and charitable institutions only manage to get along by trusting in  God’s providence, why wouldn’t this be so?



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3 responses to “In Re: “Maria Auxiliadora”

  1. Cool, I was wondering.

    Do you know of the “full name is a saint with a title” thing is an Italian tradition, or a general old world Catholic thing? I had a Basq godfather named “John the Baptist.”

    • I think it’s a thing when people want it to be a thing, or when there are more than one in a family. But yeah, it’s a little old-fashioned and European. You’ll see a French guy with a name like Jean-Baptiste, for example. On the other hand, there are still a buttload of Francis Xavier O’Donnellys (for example) in the US, hence all the people with the initials F.X.

      Sometimes folks conceal their full load of Baptismal names, too, or it just doesn’t come up.

      But yeah, if you tend to add Mary, Maria, or Marie to everybody’s names, pretty soon you start wanting to add something more, so you can yell for the correct kid. 🙂 Also, you want people to know on what name-day they should give your kid presents.

  2. Thanks for the link to the book. The parish we’re currently at is run by Salesians, and you can just feel Don Bosco’s charism exuding from them. They have a definite way with children that is unmatched. It’ll also be good to have a few more stories about the saint in my back pocket for when one of them gets referenced in passing.

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