The miraculous statue of Our Lady of Aberdeen is one of the few British statues of Mary that survived the Reformation.
After a great deal of miracle-enforced reluctance to destroy the statue, it was thrown out of Aberdeen’s cathedral, hidden in various places, and kept in a private home. The family converted to Catholicism after seeing all sorts of miracles take place. Finally, a Scottish official working for the court of the Archduchess Isabella in Belgium got hold of the statue and shipped it out of Scotland. The ship was wracked by storm and had to fight the Dutch, but it got through. Shortly afterward, the Archduchess fought the Dutch and won a great battle. In gratitude, she named the statue Our Lady of Good Success (Notre-Dame de Bon Succes) and clothed it in her own finery and jewels. It has been famous in Belgium ever since.
Here she is. It’s a statue of Mary holding the child Jesus, along with a bunch of golden grapes (foreshadowing the Eucharist), while playing with her son’s foot (which will tread on the Serpent). Jesus is tugging on His mother’s headrail and blessing the world. The statue is painted, in the medieval style. You can visit Our Lady of Aberdeen at the parish church of Notre-Dame de Finistere, in Brussels.
Unfortunately, current Belgian law says that old churches are the property of the state, along with all their contents. Aberdeen asked many times to get it back, but Belgium has always refused. This was a sore spot that grated on people so much that a Highland regiment in WWI actually plotted to lift the statue and take it home. However, on seeing the devotion of locals, the regiment lost heart for their plan and decided to leave the statue in its home away from home.
Here’s a prayer to Our Lady of Aberdeen from St. Mary’s Cathedral in Aberdeen. (Her feast in Aberdeen is July 9th.):
“Our Lady of Aberdeen, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, we thank you for your intercession on our behalf in the past. With renewed confidence we turn to you again, asking that you may through your Son, help to strengthen our faith and guide us in our resolve to carry out his will.
We commend to you our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and our Bishop, N., and ask that you may look favourably upon their intentions.
We pray for all the needs of the Church; that you may bring about unity among men in the love of your Son.
Our Lady of Aberdeen, we pray for those who rule us, we pray for our neighbours, our families and ourselves that the peace of Christ may reign among us, always.
Our Lady of Aberdeen, Our Lady of Good Success, pray for us.”