Mary, Our Blessed Lady Of The Chain

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The Devotion 

The devotion to Our Lady, venerated under the title of Our Lady of the Chain, had its origin in Palermo, Sicily.  At the end of the 14th Century the historian Mongitore, in his book "Palermo Devoted to Mary," relates: "In the year 1392, while Martin I reigned over Sicily, three young men were condemned to die on the gallows.  While these young men were being conducted under heavy guard to the square of Marina, where the execution was to take place, the Blessed Virgin Mary came to their assistance, either to protect their innocence, or in answer to their fervent prayers.

Suddenly, the skies darkened and a terrific storm broke out over the square.  The people who had gathered to witness the execution fled for shelter.  The guards and the prisoners found shelter in the Church of St. Mary of the Port.  The storm raged all day, and the execution had to be postponed.

Precautions were taken that the prisoners might not escape.  Extra chains were fastened on them and the doors of the Church were securely locked.  That night, the guards that were on duty fell asleep and the three young condemned men found themselves at the foot of an Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  They prayed  fervently  for deliverance.  While they were praying, the chains mysteriously fell to the ground.  The doors of the Church opened by themselves, and they heard these words coming from the Image of the Blessed Virgin: "Go, you are free, do not fear.  The Divine Infant Whom I hold in my arms, has heard your prayers and has granted your freedom."  The young men silently walked out of the Church.

The guards awakened from their sleep, not seeing their prisoners, sought them and, finally, caught up with them.  The prisoners would have been chained again, had it not been for the people who interceded for them with the King.  The King having heard what had happened, granted them their freedom, saying: "The Blessed Virgin Mary has set them free, so will I."

The news of the miracle which occurred in the Church of St. Mary of the Port very soon reached every corner of Sicily and became known to the people all over Italy.  Faithful from all parts of Sicily and Italy began their pilgrimages to the Holy Shrine to pay their homage to the miraculous image which, from then on, was given the title, "Our Lady of the Chain."  The devotion to Our Blessed Lady of the Chain increased rapidly, as many were the miracles and favors which were obtained from God through the intercession of Our Lady of the Chain, at the Shrine dedicated to her honor.

Novena Prayer To Our Lady Of The Chain

O Blessed Lady of the Chain, sweet hope, eternal comfort of those who with confidence, call upon you; prostrate at your feet, I profess my misery and my nothingness.  You who are the Queen of Heaven and earth; the Mother of Our Divine Savior; O you who are so powerful before the throne of God, please, obtain for me this favor which I need so much.

May the many favors and graces which you obtain daily from Jesus for those who invoke you under the title of Mother of the Chain, encourage me to have recourse to you and present to your maternal heart all my afflictions.  O powerful Virgin, break the chains of sin which hold me fast.  Destroy the snares of my spiritual and temporal enemies, chain me close to you and to Jesus with a lively faith, a firm hope, and a burning charity.

Encircle me with your chains and thus, unite me to your heart.  United in such a way to you and to Jesus, I will fear nothing.  There will be no doubt of my eternal salvation, no fear of not being granted all the temporal and spiritual blessings I need to lead a devout life.

Since I am in need of help in this present affliction, O loving Mother, I have recourse to you with childlike faith; and thus, I hope to obtain the favor I am now asking (Here make your petition).  I am sure you will grant me my request with that same love with which you did grant the request of the three prisoners.  I am confident you will grant this favor through your merits and the merits of your Divine Son and allow me to return soon to render to you the homage of my praises and grateful thanksgiving. 

Remember O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored Thy help, or sought Thy intercession was left unaided.  Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto Thee O Virgin of virgins my Mother!  To Thee I come, before Thee I stand sinful and sorrowful.  O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petition, but in Thy mercy hear and answer me.  Amen.

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