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Crown on Her Head, Light at Her Feet

A Crown on Her Head and a Light at Her Feet

It all started back in 1943. Like thousands of other young men, two brothers, Nicholas and Anthony Massaro, were fighting in the South Pacific. With the horrors of World War II raging on, thousands of Philadelphians flocked to The Miraculous Medal Shrine. They came with heavy hearts. They came asking our Blessed Mother to intercede for their loved ones. They came seeking hope. They found a loving, gentle, warmth that welcomed them.

Filomena Angelone was one of the 15,000 people who visited the Shrine every Monday for the Novena Masses and prayers. She asked Mary to bring her nephews, Nicholas and Anthony, home safely. And she promised Our Blessed Mother a gold crown for her statue in the Shrine when they returned.

With joyful hearts, the family greeted the two men when they came back after the war, and Filomena gratefully fulfilled her promise. She approached Fr. Joseph Skelly, CM, the founder and director of the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal, who helped her in getting the golden crown made. It was dedicated to our Blessed Mother and ceremoniously placed on her statue by Cardinal Dennis Dougherty on November 27, 1947, the Feast of the Miraculous Medal. Fifty years later, the crown was refurbished and rededicated, with the Massaro and Angelone families assisting Fr. O’Brien in placing it on Mary’s head once again. Since then, on Mary’s feast days and during May and October, her statue is honored with the glorious resplendence of this beautiful crown.

Amid the tumult of our current pandemic, when our priests—along with the rest of the world—are quarantined, our Mother has been crowned again this year. Some people might ask why, since the Shrine is closed and no one will see the statue. It’s simple. Regardless of our circumstances, we honor the promise that honors our Blessed Mother. Like Filomena back in 1943, we’re asking for great favors from Mary, acknowledging the countless favors we’ve already received, and trusting that our prayers will be heard.

In keeping with the tradition of honoring Mary for the month of May, we’ve also placed a vigil lamp at the foot of her statue. It will remain lit, representing your prayers and ours, until this pandemic ends. With a crown on her head and a light at her feet, our Blessed Mother stands as she always has, a beacon of love, hope, and grace.

Throughout this month, we’ll be placing at her statue the intentions of everyone who has either sent their petitions and roses to our Shrine for the May Procession that, because of the coronavirus, had to be cancelled, or who have submitted their petitions through our prayer line or website. We’re bringing your hope and love to Mary, as well, asking for immense graces, because our God gives immensely through her.

Join us from your own home by creating your own Marian shrine. Simply put a statue or picture of our Blessed Mother in a special place in your house, place a home-made crown on the statue or image, and pray a Rosary or the Miraculous Medal Novena prayers. This can be the spot where you go in the morning and before retiring at night to speak with our Blessed Mother and pray the Rosary or even a single Hail Mary. Unite your prayers with everyone else who will be honoring Mary in their homes, and you’ll create a chain of praise to God and devotion to His Mother—and, in a very real way, you’ll be like the vigil lamp that remains at Mary’s feet in our Shrine, bringing light to the world that will break through the darkness. (To light a vigil candle, click here.)

Mary asked us, through St. Catherine Labouré, to come to the altar “where graces will be showered on all, great and little, who ask for them.” Until the quarantine ends and you’re able to return to the Shrine, you can still respond to her invitation by going to your home “altar.” Turn to Mary, ask for her intercession, and have great confidence that she will hear your prayers.

With a crown on her head and a light at her feet, our Blessed Mother carries her maternal prayers to her royal Son. And she is the most powerful intercessor we can have before His throne.