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Refugium Peccatorum: Our Lady Refuge of Sinners

Our Lady Refuge of Sinners

Refugium Peccatorum meaning Refuge of Sinners is a Roman Catholic title for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Its use goes back to Saint Germanus of Constantinople in the 8th century. (Saint Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary.)

Our Lady Refuge of Sinners
Our Lady Refuge of Sinners

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent thee this day to meet me; . . . and blessed be thou, who hast kept me to-day from coming to blood.” (1 Kings, xxv, 32, 33.)

THE worst evil that can befall us is unquestionably sin. This is of a truth our soul’s enemy, which by sullying its purity, renders it an object of abhorrence in the sight of God, who is essential Holiness. Furthermore, sin deprives our soul of all share in the spiritual life, and subjects it, in a certain degree, to the do minion of the spirit of darkness.

At the beginning, Adam, by his transgression, infected the human race with sin. In consequence of this original sin, we are all born children of wrath, and though we are regenerated by holy Baptism, alas ! we oftentimes leave the path of justice and truth, and follow our unruly passions or give ear to the promptings of self-love. How often do we rebel against God, our Heavenly Father! Ah, how priceless and beneficial is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shed all this most precious blood to redeem us from sin ! “The blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, cleanseth us from all sin.” John 1:7.

God’s infinite mercy has not only prepared for us a potent remedy against sin in the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour, but it has also given us, poor sinners, a secure refuge in the assistance of the Blessed Virgin.

We read that there were, in the Old Law, cities of refuge, to which the guilty, whose crimes had rendered them worthy of death, could flee for safety. In the New Law, the mantle of the Mother of God is like a citadel, wherein sinful souls may find refuge. How can the divine wrath strike us, if we are covered by the mantle of Mary, the chosen daughter and the honored Mother of God?

Mary, by taking us under her protection, is not merely a pledge of our safety, but more over, by her unrivaled sanctity, she is an earnest of pardon to all sinners who have recourse to her intercession. Not only does the Immaculate Virgin, by the fervor of her supplications, disarm God’s just anger roused by our sins, but also she obtains for her true clients sincere and heartfelt conversion. It is enough that we should turn toward her with faith, in order that we may obtain, through her, of the Divine Clemency, the means to rise from the mire of sin. I thank thee, O my God, for having granted me in the protection of Thy Mother, an assured refuge, where I may be sheltered from the se verity of Thy justice. May I never neglect to have recourse to a Benefactress so powerful and so full of pity!

To be cleansed from sin and to be admitted once again into friendship with God is a grace beyond compare: but to be kept free from fresh falls is even more important, as our salvation de pends entirely upon final perseverance. Mary, by her intercession, obtains for us not only to detest past faults, but also to escape renewed lapses, and herein again her assistance is of the utmost value.

It was the privilege of the Mother of God to be exempt from all sin, original as well as actual ; and so the principal grace she accords to her faithful servants is to preserve them from sin. Like a most tender and loving mother, she protects her clients against the fierce onslaughts of the enemy, supporting and guiding them through the thorny pathways of life, and keeping them away from all stumbling-blocks. And since, through God’s permission, we are tempted in all sorts of ways, Mary’s watchful assistance helps us to put Satan to flight, while she suggests to us, through our angel guardian, all manner of chaste thoughts and holy aspirations.

But it is more especially at the hour of death, that the Holy Mother shelters her faithful servants, driving the Tempter far from them, and encouraging them to fight valiantly to the last gasp.

Happy he who frequently has recourse to Mary with faith and devotion ! Despite his weakness, despite his many failures, he may surely hope for salvation, for Mary “is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her, and he that shall retain her is blessed.” Prov. III, 18.

Peayer to Our Lady Refuge of Sinners

O Mary, Mother of God, see me prostrate
at thy feet, a poor sinner guilty, alas! of many
transgressions, and moreover surrounded with
daily occasions of sin. I have, therefore,
recourse to thee, with all the fervor of my soul,
and I pray thee to cast thy mantle over me, to
drive away the evil one, and to bring me, through
all the dangers of this life, on to the harbor of
eternal safety. Amen.

Source: The Fairest Flower of Paradise. Considérations on the Litany of the Blessed Virgin
by Lépicier, Alexis Henri Marie, 1863-1936.

Nihil Obstat
Censor Librorum

Archbishop of New York
New York, June 30, 1929

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