How Does Our Lady of Perpetual Help Assist Us?
John Izo is one of the millions of people the world over who knows Our Lady (Mother) of Perpetual Help will come to his aid.
A cold fog wrapped the plane John Izo boarded in Detroit. This dreary December morning was not a good time to travel, but it certainly was a good time to be going home.
As the plane taxied onto the runway, John, like many of the other passengers, slipped something out of his briefcase to read. But John’s reading material wasn’t the latest bestseller or a last-minute business report. Though this flight would bring John home in time for his son’s confirmation, he would be missing another important appointment—the regular Monday night novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. John hated to miss that time spent with a Mother who comforted and stood by him, so he had brought the prayers along with him. And there, far from the reverent, hushed atmosphere of a church, amid the travel-worn airplane seats, the attendants busy with last-minute preparations, and the coughing, chatting passengers, John began to pray.
As he said his prayers in the airplane, he began to grow sleepy. As the plane was readied for takeoff, he laid his head against the cool surface of the window by his seat and gazed out into the fog. Soon, his eyes were closed, and he dozed safe within Mary’s arms.
Suddenly there was a loud thud and a blast. John opened his eyes to see briefcases, luggage, and books flying past. Something struck his neck, and blood spilled out. Fire shot from the back of the plane. John would later learn that another plane had collided with the one in which he was flying. Eight people died in the crash. The pamphlet from which John had prayed was burned up in the crash, but the prayers lived on. He came out of the ordeal alive and well. John believes it was Our Mother of Perpetual Help who saved his life.
But John isn’t the only one to have experienced Mary’s help and comfort.
Multiple sclerosis had forced Rita Klaus first onto crutches, then into braces. Even surgery that turned her right kneecap inward to help her walk didn’t stop her slow physical deterioration into paralysis. At first, her spirit had also been paralyzed, with anger and bitterness, but her faith remained strong. Rita’s devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, which had begun when she was ten years old, helped her find peace with what God had planned for her, and she continued to participate as fully as possible in her family life and her teaching career.
Then one day, as she was resting in bed, she heard a voice say, “Why don’t you just ask.” So Rita prayed, “Dear Mary, my mother, please ask your son Jesus to heal me in any way that I need to be healed.” Immediately a warm pleasant energy surged through her body and she fell into a peaceful sleep. By the next day, she had forgotten the whole experience, until her legs, which had had no feeling in them for years, started itching. When she took off her brace, she began to scream—the kneecap that had been moved in surgery was now straight out in front again. She looked up her stairs and thought, “If I’m healed, I can run up those steps.” She ran up the stairs and down again, shouting, “Thank you, God, thank you, Blessed Mother.”
Pope John Paul II himself has a personal devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, he always visited the Redemptorist church on his way home from the factory where he worked. In the church there was a picture of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. “I thought the picture was so beautiful,” he said. “I continued to visit that church when I was made a bishop and cardinal…I have to thank the Madonna of the Perpetual Help who has shown herself ever a perpetual help to me in difficult situations.”
From Houston, Texas
Business and alcohol don’t mix. I found this out thirty-five years ago. I couldn’t stop drinking on my own, so I turned to Our Mother of Perpetual Help and asked her to make me sick if I took more than one drink. SHE DID. I stopped drinking. Now I pray to our Mother every day to thank her for her assistance.
From Fenton, Michigan
My wife and I began Our Mother of Perpetual Help devotions almost immediately after we were married in 1933. Our Mother has never let us down. We raised four children, and she was always at our side. My wife was recently diagnosed with cancer. She began chemotherapy, and our family prayers to Our Mother of Perpetual Help were intensified. Here we are after four treatments, and my wife’s doctor has given her a clean bill of health. What a beautiful miracle. Many thanks to our Mother.
From St. Louis, Missouri
Forty years ago, while still in school, I attended the novenas and weekly devotions to our Lady. Since then, there has been real sorrow in my life. I no longer attended the devotions, since they were not held in my parish. Then, about three years ago, I made a novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. In the midst of the prayers, tears ran down my cheeks. I had suddenly realized that it was our Blessed Mother who kept me close to her son, in spite of the crosses that came my way. It was she who led me to continue seeking God. I found him. For this, I thank Mary with all my heart.
From Woodstown, New Jersey
I thank our dear Mother for her endless love and the help she has given me with the very difficult management job I have at my place of work. Although there seems to be an evil element within the structure of this office environment, my prayers to our Mother strengthen me in this stressful situation, and her grace appears in the many blessings she gives to me to cope with the attitude of the people with whom I work.
From Grand Rapids, Michigan
Last year I met a boy who had not been to confession or to church for at least six years. We became good friends, and while talking with him one evening, we got on the subject of confession. That was when he told me about his long neglect of church attendance and the sacraments. He seemed sincere about wanting to return to the practice of his faith, but he was very much afraid of the confessional. I told him that our Lady had helped me in overcoming many of my fears. I saw him at Mass and Communion that next Sunday. She is wonderful, isn’t she?
From Maryland Heights, Missouri
About five years ago, I had lost my job, my car, my house, my savings—just about everything, except for my health. I moved in with relatives, and it took me a long time just to find part-time work to carry me over until permanent employment came along. During that dark period, I received several publications from Liguori, including a Mother of Perpetual Help pamphlet. I found a source of strength and consolation in my daily devotions to her, which continues to this day. Thanks to God’s grace, I now have the best job I’ve ever had, with a good income, my own place to live, and a company car. The future looks bright. I owe this all to God and our Mother for caring for me and guiding me along the way. This acknowledgement has been long overdue.
From Vale, Oregon
This is a long overdue letter of thanksgiving to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. I first began my devotion to Our Lady early in the 1950s. My son had run away from home (he was only gone a few hours), and I was so frightened. I promised Mary I would continue to have a special devotion to her for the rest of my life. Our Lady has never let me down. My prayers have always been answered, maybe not in the way I expected, but I know she was always right.
Excerpt from The Mother of Millions, available from Liguori Publications. The Story of Perpetual Help, Devotions in Honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, a video “The Story of Our Mother of Perpetual Help”, pictures, holy cards, and prayer cards. The Mother of Millions, Copyright © 1995, Liguori Publications. All rights reserved.