Mandeville, LA – Many Catholics practice the twice daily devotion to Our Lady, made famous by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, of reciting three Hail Mary’s with a special devotional in between. Here is a bit of history on the devotion to Our Lady.
One of the first to say the three Hail Marys and to recommend them to others was the illustrious St. Anthony of Padua. His special aim in this practice was to honor the spotless Virginity of Mary and to preserve a perfect purity of mind, heart and body in the midst of the dangers of the world. Many, like him, have felt its salutary effects.
Later on, St. Leonard of Port-Maurice, the celebrated missionary, had the three Ave Marias recited morning and evening in honor of Mary Immaculate, to obtain the grace of avoiding all mortal sins during the day or and night; moreover, he promised in a special manner eternal salvation to all those who proved constantly faithful to this practice.
After the example of these two great Franciscan Saints, St. Alphonsus Liguori adopted this pious practice and gave it his most ardent and powerful support. He counseled its use and even imposed it as a penance on those who had not adopted this good habit. The holy Doctor exhorts, in particular, parents, and confessors to watch carefully that children be faithful in reciting each day their three Hail Marys, morning and evening and recommended it to all the devout young or old.
It is this Saint who suggested adding the aspiration after each Hail Mary: “By thy Immaculate Conception, O Mary, make my body pure and my soul holy.”
I have expanded, per Fr. Michael Mary of the Alpine Redemptorist’s, Saint Alphonsus Ligouri’s formula thus.
Ave Maria… et cetera
O’ most Blessed Virgin Mary,
by Virtue of thy Immaculate Conception,
And thy Holy Purity,
Help my body to stay pure, and,
my Soul to stay Sanctified;
O’ my Mother, help me to remain free of mortal sin this day (night).
The formula I practice, per Pope Benedict’s exhortation to learn all important prayers in Latin, is of alternating the Ave Maria’s in Latin then English then Latin. On the Latin prayers I end with the edited Ligouri devotion form above. On the Hail Mary (English) the Paraclete helped me craft the following devotional prayer.
O’ most Beautiful, most Pure, most Humble Virgin Mary
Please pray to the Lord our God
That I might obtain the Graces needed
To imitate thy most Perfect and Beautiful,
Purity, Chastity and Humility.
Practice this devotion twice daily and you will quickly see the Graces that come from it.
Our Lady, Sedes Sapientia, Oremus!