The Marian Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is celebrated on June 27.
The image of the Cretan icon became the patron saint of Haiti when prayers were answered with rain that helped end a cholera outbreak.
The Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a 15th-century icon, originally from Crete, a major source of European religious imagery at the time.
The icon came from the Keras Kardiotissas Monastery in Crete, Greece, but is now in Rome, Italy at the church of San Matteo in Via Merulana. It was first placed there in 1499.
The icon was restored in 1866 and 1990. Carbon dating during the second restoration placed its creation between 1325 – 1480.
Patroness of Haiti
Haitians credit Our Lady of Perpetual Help with helping to end a cholera outbreak by bringing rain amid a drought in 1882. She was confirmed patroness of Haiti in 1942 under Pope Pius XII.
What Does She Mean?
The Virgin represents the Great Mother and Mother Nature. Mother is always willing to help her children.
In New York City
In New York City there is a Basilica dedicated to her in Sunset Park, Brooklyn; and a church in South Ozone Park, Queens.
In Haiti, she is called Notre-Dame du Perpètuel Secours. There are many parishes named after her, especially on the Tiburon Peninsula in the south.
Haitian Catholics do a national novena (nine-day prayer cycle) from June 18-26. On the feast day in Port-au-Prince, there is usually a procession from the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption à Port-au-Prince to the chapel of Notre-Dame du Perpètuel Secours in Bélair.
The Virgin can be syncretized with Erzulie, the Vodou family of Lwa associated with water and women.