11th November : Our Lady Of The Portuguese

Our Lady Of The Portuguese

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In 1946, the three hundredth anniversary of the declaration of Mary Immaculate, as Queen of the country of Portugal was commemorated.

In 1641, Kind John IV in a solemn ceremony had taken the crown from his head and had placed it at the foot of a statue of the Blessed Virgin.  He declared her to be Queen of Portugal under the title of the Immaculate Conception.  By oath he bound himself and his successors to defend the dogma that Mary was conceived free of original sin.  He ordered the event inscribed on stone tablets in every town and city of the land.  The monarchs of Portugal never wore a crown after that.  They regarded it as belonging to Our Lady.  Portugal had become “The Land of Our Lady.”

For most of the three centuries that have passed since then, Portugal remained the Land of Our Lady.  There was a short lapse at the end of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of this one, but by 1946, it was plain that Our Lady’s rule was unquestioned.  Civil and religious leaders paid homage to her.  On May 13, 1946, a personal legate of Pope Pius XII placed a crown on the head of Our Lady of Fatima.  The jewels of this crown were donated by the women of Portugal.  Seven hundred thousand pilgrims were present when Our Lady’s rule over Portugal was thus renewed

The culminating event in the series of celebrations was the journey of Our Lady of Fatima to the capital city.  A stop was made at Lisbon and the statue remained in the church there for two days.  When the statue was being removed from the church, it had been raining hard, but when it was being carried out of the church, the rain ceased abruptly, the clouds rolled back and the moon shone brightly.  Half a million people lined the streets of Lisbon, shouting, “Hosanna to the Queen of Portugal”, flower petals showered down from the buildings.

In the afternoon of the following day the Cardinal, the hierarchy of Portugal, the president of the country, the Premier, the members of the diplomatic corps were in the cathedral to renew the act of consecration of Portugal to their Queen.

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