Feast Day - 24 May Our Lady Mary Help of Christians

The Feast Day of Our Lady Mary Help of Christians has been celebrated in Australia since 1844 but the history to this day, dates back to the start of the 1800's at a time when Napoleon Bonaparte had gaoled Pius VI (who also died in gaol). And later, when Pope Pius VII was elected he too was gaoled by Bonaparte, who kept him prisoner at Fontainebleau.

The Holy Father vowed to God that if he were restored to the Roman See, he would institute a special feast in honour of Mary.

The military eventually forced Bonaparte to release the Pope and on 24 May, 1814 Pius VII returned in triumph to Rome.

Twelve months later the Pope decreed that the Feast of Our Lady Mary Help of Christians be kept on 24 May.

The infant church in Australia had a special reason for turning to Mary. No priests were sent to the colony in its early days and Mass was not allowed except for one brief year until 1820. It was largely the Rosary in those early days that kept the faith alive.

The Australian Catholic community remained faithful to Mary and Australia was the first nation to choose her under the title, 'Mary Help of Christians' as principle Patroness.

Australia also became the first country to have a cathedral dedicated in Our Lady, Mary's name. St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney was dedicated in her honour by the Irish pioneer priest, Fr John Therry who arrived in Sydney in 1820.

St Columbans Mission Society thanks Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese for their articles.

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Comments (11)

  1. anonymous:
    May 24, 2013 at 07:52 PM

    Our Lady Help Of Christians please let there be tolerance, understanding and empathy among all the people of AUSTRALIA regardless of ethnicity, background and gender.

    Last Edit: 22 Nov, 2013, 04:36:36 by Columban Missionaries


  2. Moya:
    Mar 28, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    What a courageous woman


  3. Bella:
    Apr 30, 2014 at 09:51 AM

    this is an awesome website:)

    Last Edit: 9 May, 2014, 04:20:28 by Columban Missionaries


  4. Carla:
    Apr 30, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    she was a great lady

    Last Edit: 9 May, 2014, 04:20:20 by Columban Missionaries


  5. Moyapooo:
    Apr 30, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    She is an amazing woman. I hope I will grow to be an amazing woman like her!I will follow in her footsteps.

    Last Edit: 9 May, 2014, 04:20:13 by Columban Missionaries


  6. Nikita:
    May 28, 2015 at 01:47 PM


    Last Edit: 28 May, 2015, 01:50:57 by Columban Missionaries


  7. Hayes van der Meer:
    May 23, 2017 at 02:55 PM

    A true inspiration and the heart and soul of our Christian faith.

    Last Edit: 24 May, 2017, 12:32:10 by Columban Missionaries


  8. Sharbel:
    May 23, 2017 at 06:00 PM

    May the holy mother of God obtain for us from her Divine Son the grace to leave behind all sin and harmful things, and seek the true faith which can save our souls.


  9. Ruth Power:
    May 24, 2017 at 11:09 AM

    Our Lady Help of Christians, on this your special feast day, please bless my beautiful daughter, Mary who told me yesterday she is to be a mother for the first time. You know this will make me a grandmother too for the first time - please make me worthy of this role - help me to be like your own dear mother, Ann, who must have loved you so much. Stay close I implore you to my first grandchild and his precious mother and fill us with your grace. Thank you. Amen.


  10. Maddie:
    Sep 06, 2019 at 10:11 AM

    You need to put in what she symbolises.


  11. Charlotte Corley:
    Sep 06, 2019 at 10:11 AM

    I love this website


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