Our Lady Help Of Christians
In the second half of the sixteenth century, the power of the Turks had become so great that the peace of all Europe was threatened. St. Pius V, reigning Pontiff at the time, was famous for his Christian fortitude as well as his holy life. He caused the combined forces of Christendom to turn against the enemy. The Christians were inferior in numbers to the army of the Turks, but the former placed its trust in the help of the Blessed Virgin.
The enemy was routed, while the Holy Father knelt before a picture of our Blessed Lady; suddenly Mary appeared and told him in that very hour the enemy had been defeated. St. Pius ordained that the invocation “Help of Christians” be added to the Litany of Loreto.
Some years later Napoleon I, for five years confined Pope Pius VII in prison, to the great sorrow of the entire Church. Our Lady once more came to the aid of her faithful children; the Emperor was forced to abdicate and the Holy Father returned to Rome.
Pius VII in thanksgiving for his deliverance, crowned with his own hands the picture of Our Lady venerated at Savona, where he was first imprisoned; and ordained that the twenty-fourth of May should be kept as a special feast in Mary’s honor, under the title of “Help of Christians.”