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Virgin of Consolation

Virgin of Consolation by Joan Cole
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O Mary Immaculate, our Mother and Consolation, I take refuge in thy most loving heart with all the confidence of which I am capable; thou shalt be the dearest object of my love and veneration. To thee, who art the dispenser of the treasures of Heaven, I shall always have recourse in my sorrows to have peace, in my doubts to have light, in my dangers to be defended, in all my needs to obtain thy assistance. Be therefore my refuge, my strength, my consolation, O Mary the Consoler! Amen.

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There are several versions of the image of Our Lady of Consolation. The original one is in Turin at the Shrine of the Consolata. Our Lady's headdress is almost always ornate, or where not, there is an icon like resemblance to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The star on her shoulder is a hallmark of almost all the images.

For centuries, going back into antiquity pious Catholics have had a devotion to Our Lady as consoler. Sometimes she was given the express title of Consolation. But the practice had never been formalized. Then, immigrants from northern Italy who were seeking better conditions for work and family life brought with them their devotion to Our Lady as the mother of consolation. The devotion to her under this title spread. In 1901 the rector of the Shrine in Turin established a religious institute to spread Marian piety through this title. He was the nephew of Saint Joseph Cafasso, the priest of the gallows and who was also from Turin. Saint Joseph Cafasso wrote a prayer in preparation for death that includes his intention of seeking consolation in Our Lady. The devotion is now worldwide, including Kenya and Ethiopia. In the United States and the United Kingdom there are many parishes/shrines dedicated to her under the title of Our Lady of Consolation. Whatever prayer is used there is usually an invocation for the Church, for holiness in its members, for the light of faith, and peace therein.

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