Project Description

Pellegrini welcome

The original icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is venerated above the main altar of the shrine in the Church of St. Alphonsus in Rome. This church is on the Esquiline Hill, near St. Mary Major Basilica, at Via Merulana, 26.

The tradition is that in the XVth century, a merchant brought this icon to Rome from the island of Crete. Eventually, in 1499, it came to a church in Rome called St. Matthew’s.

For three centuries the icon inspired great devotion. But in 1798, after the destruction of St. Matthew’s by Napoleon’s troops, it was hidden away in another Roman Church of “St. Mary in Posterula. “There it was, almost forgotten, for seventy years.

In 1855 Redemptorist Missionaries acquired “Villa Caserta” for their Headquarters. This huge estate included the ruins of old St. Matthew’s and on its grounds the Redemptorists built St. Alphonsus Church to honor their founder, Alphonsus Liguori. After the hidden location of the famous icon was made known, in December 1865 Pope Pius IX expressed his wish that he was returned to where it had been venerated for so many years. As he entrusted it to the Redemptorists, the pope told them, “Make her known throughout the world.”

Thus on April 26, 1866, the original icon was again displayed for public veneration, but now in the Church of St. Alphonsus. Today this icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is the most venerated Byzantine image of Mary in the whole world.


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Mother of Perpetual Help, * with great confidence we come before your Image * begging for your help. * We trust not in our own merits or our good works, but in the faithfulness of your Son Jesus. * You were a witness to His love for us * as He poured out His blood for our salvation. *

And we remember * how in your son’s dying moment * He gave you to us * to be a Mother of us all. * It was your choice * to be known as Our Mother of Perpetual Help. *

So now we turn to you * asking you to listen to our cry for help. * Intercede for us at this moment, * as we beg for help in these special needs * which we now hold in our hearts …

[Brief Pause]

You know, dear Mother, * how many Jesus wishes to pour out upon us * the benefits of his redemption. * We believe that He places in your hands * treasures to be given to us. * Obtain for us, then, from Him * the favors which we ask. * Above all, * grant that we may grow in love for Him. * And let us follow the path of life * revealed to us in the Gospel. * We look forward to humility and joy * to that day in Heaven * when we will sing His praises * with you and with our loved ones forever. * Amen.