Our Lady of Peace
Our Lady of Peace, Mother of Peace, Queen of Peace or Our Lady Queen of Peace is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Roman Catholic Church. She is represented in art holding a dove and an olive branch, symbols of peace. Her official memorial feast is celebrated on January 24 each year in Hawaii and some churches in the United States. Elsewhere, the memorial feast is celebrated on July 9.
The traditional story holds that in the early 1500s in France, a certain Jean de Joyeuse presented the statue as a wedding gift to his young bride, Francoise e Voisins. The statue was known as the “Virgin of Joyeuse” and became a cherished family heirloom.
Around the year 1588, Henri Joyeuse, grandson of Jean de Joyeuse, joined the Capuchin Franciscans in Paris and brought the statue with him, where it remained for the next 200 years. With the olive branch in her hand and the Prince of Peace on her arm, the statue was called "Notre Dame de Paix" (Our Lady of Peace). In 1657 the Capuchin community erected a larger chapel to accommodate the growing number of faithful who sought her intercession. On July 9 that year, before a large crowd which included King Louis XIV, the papal nuncio to France blessed and solemnly enthroned the Blessed Mother’s statue. Pope Alexander VII would later designate this date for the Capuchin community to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Peace.
During the French Revolution, which erupted in 1789, the Capuchin's were driven from their monastery. They took their beloved Madonna with them to prevent her destruction by the ransacking rebels. When peace was restored in the land, the statue was brought out of hiding and entrusted to PeterCoudrin,a priest in Paris. He gave it to a nun, Mother Henriette Aymer de la Chevalerie, who, on May 6, 1806, enshrined it in a convent chapel in the Picpus district of Paris. In 1800 they had been the co-founders of a community of sisters, brothers and priests — the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The members were also known more simply as the Picpus or Sacred Hearts religious.
Excluding its pedestal, the figure, carved from a dark hardwood, stands only 11 inches tall, and is fashioned in the Renaissance style of the period. Mary is depicted as a dignified matron with the Christ Child on her left arm and an olive branch in her right hand.
Our Lady of Peace is the patroness of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary religious order, founded by Peter Coudrin in Paris during the French Revolution. When the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary established the Catholic Church in Hawaii, they consecrated the Hawaiian Islands under the protection of Our Lady of Peace. They erected the first Roman Catholic church in Hawaii to her. Today, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu is the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in continuous use in the United States.
There are three famous statues of Our Lady of Peace located in Paris and Honolulu. The original is a wooden carving located at a convent of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in France. A larger replica in bronze was hoisted above the altar and sanctuary at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. A third stands outside the cathedral on a pedestal.
The original statue of Our Lady of Peace was ceremonially crowned on July 9, 1906 by the Archbishop of Paris in the name of Pope Saint Pius X. Every July 9 since then, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary have celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Peace. During the troubled years of World War I, Pope Benedict XV added Our Lady of Peace to the Litany of Loreto, a sacred prayer in liturgy.
Pope John Paul II consecrated and dedicated the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in Côte d'Ivoire to Our Lady of Peace. It is the largest place of worship in Africa. Elsewhere throughout the world, there are parish churches named in honor of Our Lady of Peace in various forms, especially in Ireland and the United States. A notable example is the Queen of Peace church in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
The EDSA Shrine in Metro Manila, the Philippines is also dedicated to Our Lady of Peace. Located along EDSA, it commemorates the alleged intercession of the Virgin Mary preventing a military attack on more than a million protestors along the highway during the 1986 People Power Revolution that ended President Ferdinand Marcos' 21-year dictatorial rule.
The Foujita chapel in Reims, France is dedicated to Our Lady, Queen of Peace, as a reaction to the horror and devastation caused by the 1945 Bombing of Hiroshima and Bombing of Nagasaki by American forces towards the end of the Second World War.
- Yim, Louis H., "The saga of Our Lady of Peace", Hawaii Catholic Herald, July 4, 2014
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