9th July : Our Lady Of The Atonement

Our Lady Of The Atonement

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Year : 1901

The title, Our Lady of the Atonement, was given to Mary in 1901 by Father Paul James Francis, S.A., founder of the Society of the Atonement, while still outside the Church, and it recalls his own simple strong devotion to the Mother of God.  The singular character of the name is emphasized by the red mantle which Our Lady wears in honor of the Precious Blood and by the Infant Christ supported in her arms.  The Infant bears a cross as a sign of His victory on the altar of the cross.

Father Paul, together with Mother Lurana Mary Francis, S.A., the two founders of the Society of the Atonement, Graymoor, N.Y., received the grace to enter the Church on October 30, 1909, precisely because of their devotion to the Mother of God.  With their entrance into Peter’s Fold they brought their special devotion to the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Atonement.  Under the blessings of the Popes and the indulgences of the Church, devotion has spread ever more widely in various parts of the Catholic world, particularly by the Paulist Fathers.

According to Father Paul, Our Lady of the Atonement includes two ideas: the Cross and Unity.  He liked to say that the garments of our Blessed Mother were stained with the blood of Jesus when she stood on Calvary and when she held Him in her arms after death.  He fully approved of the words of the hymn:

“Remind us by thy mantle,

All steeped in crimson red,

The Precious Blood of Jesus,

To save men’s souls was shed.”

But there was another explanation he gave for Our Lady of the Atonement.  He said the name means Unity, for it may be divided to read At-one-ment, and the Mother of God is surely the great means of uniting men with God.  She constantly prays for the union of all men in the one Church established by her beloved Son.  With the assurance of an apostolic soul, Father Paul said the title “Atonement” must appeal to Mary in a special way.  “We have every reason to believe that the Blessed Virgin especially loves this title that links her name with that of Jesus in the glorious work of the Atonement wrought upon the Cross…Atonement speaks of reconciliation, pardon, peace, and of the fulfillment of the prayer, first breathed by her Divine Son, and so often repeated by herself, that Christian believers may be ONE.”

Our Lady is the Guardian and Mother of Unity.  She not only preserves the faithful in being united to Christ and with each other, but she prays for all separated from her Son.  She longs to bring all Schismatics, Protestants, Jewish people, and even atheists and communists into the Fold of Christ.  She is the special patroness of Christian Unity and her Mother’s heart embraces the world.

Pope John aroused the interest of people all over the world in Unity.  He has made Our Lady the Advocate of his Great Enterprise, the Council of 1962-63.  He has said, “Ours is a Marian Age, and it becomes more evident from day to day that the way for men to return to God is assured by Mary; Mary is the basis for men to return to God; Mary is the basis of our confidence, the guarantee of our security, the foundation of our hope.”

The title Our Lady of the Atonement was approved by the Church in 1948 with a special Mass and Office.  Father Paul claimed Mary wished to keep this title for the latter ages of the Church to furnish great joy to her children—she considered it an especially precious title.  The way to Unity is our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the At-one-ment.

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