Our Lady of Victory

Q: What about Our Lady of Victory?

A: To commemorate the victory of the Christian Armada over the Turks on October 7, 1571, Pope Pius V introduced in 1572 the festem BMV de victoria (Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mother of Victory). In 1573 his successor, Pope Gregory XIII, changed this title to "Feast of the Holy Rosary" to be celebrated on the first Sunday of October. The privilege to celebrate this feast was granted to all those churches which had a Rosary altar. Clemens XI extended it to the whole Church. Under Pius X the feast was again scheduled for October 7; it changed name in 1960 and became "Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary." This appellation was changed again in 1969 to "Our Lady of the Rosary," and it is now a mandatory memorial. The reference to victory or Our Lady of Victory was maintained in titles and for sanctuaries the world over, in particular in Spain, Italy, France and Germany. The title frequently commemorates, even before Lepanto, the victory over heresy and paganism. Already Gregory Pisides (ca. 600-650) sees in Mary the only and unique victor over nature (miraculous birth of Christ and unarmed victory over the Avares in 626). One of the most famous sanctuaries dedicated to Our Lady of Victories is in Paris (Notre Dame des Victoires, 2eme arrondissement). The sanctuary is intimately connected with the Miraculous Medal and the Archconfraternity devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This devotion had its origin at the church of Notre Dame des Victoires in Paris and expanded during the latter half of last century over much of the Catholic world.

Mary, Refuge of Sinners, 1836
Basilica of Our Lady of Victories

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