Tradition holds that over 150 years ago, the faithful of Pontmain, France were reminded to have faith in God’s plans with the appearance of Our Lady of Hope. Today, the legacy of that Marian apparition continues to bring hope to believers around the world, encouraging them to remain steadfast. As we face unforeseen challenges and trials in the year ahead, we invite you to learn more about this devotion and reflect on this prayer to Our Lady of Hope.
History of the Devotion and the Basilica Chapel
According to tradition, the devotion of Our Lady of Hope originated in 1871 in Pontmain, France, where Mary appeared to six children asking them to pray, resulting in the safe return of the Pontmain troops involved in the Franco-Prussian conflict. The devotion is honored at the Basilica in the Chapel of Our Lady of Hope, which features bronze sculptures of Mary and two angels surrounded by white Carrara marble and Fior de Pesco marble. Carved into the façade of the altar are the words of Our Lady of Hope: “Pray my children.”
Prayer to Our Lady of Hope
The chapel features the following prayer:
O Mary, my Mother, I kneel before you with heavy heart. The burden of my sins oppresses me. The knowledge of my weakness discourages me. I am beset by fear and temptation of every sort. Yet I am so attached to the things of this world that instead of longing for Heaven I am filled with dread at the thought of death.
O Mother of Mercy, have pity on me in my distress. You are all-powerful with your Divine Son. He can refuse no request of your Immaculate Heart. Show yourself a true Mother to me by being my advocate before His throne. O Refuge of Sinners and Hope of Hopeless, to whom shall I turn if not you?
Obtain for me, then, O Mother of Hope, the grace of true sorrow for my sins, the gift of perfect resignation to God’s Holy Will, and the courage to take up my cross and follow Jesus.
But above all I pray, O dearest Mother, that through your most powerful intercession, my heart may be filled with Holy Hope, so that in life’s darkest hour I may never fail to trust in God my Savior, but by walking in the way of His commandments I may merit to be united with Him, and with you in the eternal joys of Heaven. Amen.
The Basilica Guidebook, Dr. Geraldine Rohling
Light a Candle at the Basilica
In honor of Our Lady of Hope, we invite you to light a candle today at the National Shrine. Vigil candles burn in the chapels throughout the Great Upper Church and lower crypt level of the National Shrine. Each candle represents the faith of the supplicants and their fervent prayers entrusted to the loving intercession of the Blessed Mother.