Three Hail Marys
|Roman Catholic Mariology
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Three Hail Marys is a traditional Roman Catholic devotional practice of reciting three Hail Marys as a petition for purity and other virtues. Believers recommended that it be prayed before going to bed, and after the examination of conscience at night. This prayer has been recommended by St Anthony of Padua, St Alphonsus Liguori, St. John Bosco and St Leonard of Port Maurice. Two saints, Mechtilde and Gertrude, received revelations from the Blessed Virgin Mary on the excellence of this practice.
The practice of reciting the Hail Mary three times dates at least to the 12th century; St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) strongly recommended it, and it was a favourite of St Mechtilde of Helfta (1241-1298). The practice of saying three Hail Marys in the evening somewhere about sunset had become general throughout Europe in the first half of the fourteenth century and it was recommended and indulgenced by Pope John XXII in 1318 and 1327.
Many saints have practiced and recommended the devotion of the "Three Hail Mary", such as, St. Leonard of Port Maurice, St. Bonaventure, St. John Berchmans, St. John Baptist Mary Vianney (Cure of Ars), St. Stanislaus Kostka, St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, St. John Joseph of the Cross, St. John Baptist de Rossi, St. Gerard Majella, St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Blessed Marcellinus Champagnat, and, St. Alphonsus Liguori.
One of the first to practice this and to recommend it was St Anthony of Padua (1195–1231). His purpose was "to honor the spotless Virginity of Mary and to preserve a perfect purity of mind, heart and body in the midst of the dangers of the world".
Revelations from the Blessed Virgin Mary 
St Mechtilde (1241-1298), a Benedictine nun, received a private revelation from the Virgin Mary on how the Three Hail Marys honor the three persons of the Blessed Trinity. This was the prayer that she said she had been taught:
O Holy Mary! Our sovereign Queen! as God the Father, by his omnipotence, has made thee most powerful, so assist us at the hour of our death, by defending us against all the power that is contrary to thine. Hail, Mary, etc.
O Holy Mary! our sovereign Queen! as God the Son has endowed thee with so much knowledge and splendor, that it enlightens all Heaven, so in the hour of our death, illumine and strengthen our souls with the knowledge of the true faith, that they be not perverted by error or pernicious ignorance. Hail, Mary, etc.
O Holy Mary! our sovereign Queen! as the Holy Ghost has plentifully replenished thee with the love of God, so instil into us at the hour of our death, the sweetness of divine love, that all bitterness at that time may become acceptable and pleasant to us Hail, Mary, etc.
According to St. Gertrude (1256–1301), the Blessed Virgin Mary promised the following: "To any soul who faithfully prays the Three Hail Marys I will appear at the hour of death in a splendor of beauty so extraordinary that it will fill the soul with Heavenly consolation."
Other recommendations 
Later on, St Leonard of Port Maurice "had the three Ave Marias recited morning and evening in honor of Mary Immaculate, to obtain the grace of avoiding all mortal sins during the day or and night; moreover, he promised in a special manner eternal salvation to all those who proved constantly faithful to this practice."
Doctor of the Church St Alphonsus Liguori (1696–1787) adopted this pious practice and highly recommended it. He told parents to train their children to acquire the habit of saying three Hail Marys in the morning and evening. After each Hail Mary, he advised that the following prayer be said: "By thy pure and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, make my body pure and my soul holy."
According to the St Martha Catholic Church of the Pallottine Fathers, after Night Prayers: "Many saints have had the practice of adding three Hail Marys here in honor of Mary's purity for the grace of a chaste and holy life." Thus, it has been recommended as a daily practice for people who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation that they pray the Three Hail Marys for "purity of mind, heart and body" after examination of conscience, before going to bed.
The Newtown, Connecticut Knights of Columbus initiated a Three Hail Mary's Prayer Drive in support of those effected by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Council requested other Knight Councils and religious organizations to encourage the praying of one Hail Mary for the deceased and their families, one for first responders and teachers, and one for the community.
- Luppino, Giuseppe. "Short History of the Angelus", L'Osservatore Romano, 4 September 2002, p.6
- Thurston, Herbert. "Angelus." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 9 May 2013
- Moran, Fr. Patrick. The Catholic Prayer Book and manual of meditations p. 519
- "Three Hail Mary Prayer Drive", St. Virgilius Council, Knights of Columbus, Newtown, Connecticut
- Catholic tradition
- Fatima Network
- EWTN on the Efficacious Novena of the Three Hail Marys
- St. Martha Catholic Church of the Pallotine Fathers