Our Lady of Perpetual Help
of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour is painted on wood, with background of
gold. It is Byzantine in style and is supposed to have been painted in
the thirteenth century. It represents the Mother of God holding the
Divine Child while the Archangels Michael and Gabriel present before
Him the instruments of His Passion. Over the figures in the picture are
some Greek letters, which form the abbreviated words Mother of God,
Jesus Christ, Archangel Michael, and Archangel Gabriel respectively. It
was brought to Rome toward the end of the fifteenth century by a pious
merchant, who, dying there, ordered by his will that the picture should
be exposed in a church for public veneration. It was exposed in the
church of San Matteo, Via Merulana, between St. Mary Major and St. John
Lateran. Crowds flocked to this church, and for nearly three hundred
years many graces were obtained through the intercession of the Blessed
Virgin. The picture was then popularly called the Madonna di San
Matteo. The church was served for a time by the Hermits of St.
Augustine, who had sheltered their Irish brethren in their distress.
These Augustinians were still in charge when the French invaded Rome
(1812) and destroyed the church. The picture disappeared; it remained
hidden and neglected for over forty years, but a series of providential
circumstances between 1863 and 1865 led to its discovery in an oratory
of the Augustinian Fathers at Santa Maria in Posterula." -- website of
"Women for Faith and Family"
Also see the image types known as Nuestra Señora del Socorro.
More of the Virgin and Child
Photo: "Women for Faith and Family"