We all need some encouragement once in a while. I just finished the novena to Our Lady of Good Success. I have seen the video about her, but had never done the novena. I was happy to read how God allowed Mary to appear and bring such joy. But also I had never known how much Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres had suffered, even the stigmata (wounds of Christ crucified) for a while. Our Lady appeared to her in Quito Equador in 1599.
So I am going to put on the story to give all of you some joy and encouragement to go on serving God through Mary. Her body, along with the other founding sisters of the convent are incorrupt.
“Consider how great and incomparable are the wonders of God Omnipotent, manifesting the treasures of His Mercy in favor of those He redeemed. Therefore, if we admire the excesses of His Goodness in the many benefits with which he has enriched us, how much more should we marvel at and be filled with gratitude for the greatest blessing of His Right Hand, that most excellent and privileged creature, Mary most holy, whom He gave us for our consolation, especially for those who serve and love Him with all their hearts, and inspired the diverse titles and invocations that honor her. Through these devotions, we receive great favors by means of her succor and protection. This has been the experience of true devotees of the Mother of God, and especially of those who have recourse to her by means of the marvelous Statue of Good Success, which is placed in the Church of the Royal Hospital in the City of Madrid, miraculous from the beginning in the special and unexpected way that this Treasure was found in the wilderness. As God said to the Prophet Isaiah, He would seek out those who had not come seeking for Him, and would set aside those who had not believed in His goodness and largesse. Thus also did the Most High made clear His Will that His Holy Mother be honored and venerated under the avocation of Good Success.
Consider how the providence of the Most High desired to so favor mankind by manifesting the hidden treasure of the precious statue of Holy Mary under the avocation of Good Success. After the death of Brother Bernandine de Obrego n, founder of the Brotherhood of the (Friar) Minors for the Service of the Sick (the Order of St. Francis of Paola), Gabriel de Fontaned was elected to replace him. Accompanied by Guillermo Rigosa, he traveled to Rome to ask the Supreme Pontiff for his official approval of the Institute and the habit with the purple cross that distinguishes the order.
As they were passing through the town of Traigueras (under the jurisdiction of Tortosa in the Principate of Cataluna), they were caught in a terrifying hailstorm with lightening and thunder so strong that their hearts were filled with terror.. They begged God to provide them with a shelter where they could take refuge so that they might prepare to die in peace, for the unrelenting rigor of the storm had persuaded them that they would not survive it. But God in His Divine Mercy so disposed that this search for shelter should be a presage of a good fortune. In a burst of lightning, they were able to discern a turnoff in the path. Following it, they could see the contours of a cave set far up in the hill above them. Even from the distance, they could see a bright light illuminating its interior and smell a sweet and heavenly aroma, more intense than anything on earth. Their souls were inundated with a great happiness as well as a sentiment of reverent admiration. At the same time, they felt an interior impulse to know the cause of such wonders.
Consider how the travelers, impelled by grace and attracted by curiosity to examine such surprising wonders, set out for the site offering them refuge. Taking off their shoes, they climbed the hill with great difficulty, helping each other over large boulders and sharp cliffs. When they reached the cave, which they were able to see in the flashes of lightening, how great was their surprise of joy and admiration! For they saw that this cave had been delicately carved by nature as a spacious temple. It protected a beautiful Statue of the Holy Virgin holding the Christ Child in her left arm, and carrying a scepter in her right hand. A precious crown rested on her forehead. Her dress, like that of the Infant, was simple but elegant, and both were made in the same material and style.
The site was adorned with various types of flowers that carpeted the floor and climbed on the walls, filling the air with an exquisite fragrance for the Queen of Heaven. Set in the rock was a lamp so expertly craft ed that it gave off the illumination of many lights. Such beauty and delight to honor such an admirable Lady! Such surprise and admiration for the overwhelmed travelers! The ecstatic pair contemplated this little part of Heaven and calmed their overwrought hearts in the presence of their Mother, who, after the terrible storm, had come to them so unexpectedly, radiant with beauty and tender of feature, to provide them with refuge and consolation in that desperate and difficult juncture.
So also my soul is calmed before the image of Mary. When the burdens of life and its imminent dangers bring us close to despair, let us go, then, to her with tranquility and confidence, thanking God Who in His Omnipotence permitted that portentous statue to be miraculously found in that hidden place for the honor of the Immaculate Virgin and so that all might venerate Her under that precious avocation of Good Success.
Consider the indescribable joy of the good Minorite brothers upon contemplating these prodigies. The Statue of our beloved Mother shone before them like a resplendent star, and they reverently prostrated themselves before her to praise and thank her for a gift so unique and an event so extraordinary. Their thoughts and sentiments were raised to heavenly considerations and they believe themselves favored by something supernatural. For everything they saw and felt within those walls of rock in such an inaccessible place so far from any other houses seemed made by more than human hands. They repeated their prayers of thanksgiving with fervor.
Then, asking light and grace from Heaven to know what they should do, they decided to try to discover the origin of that sanctuary and Statue by seeking the pious persons or community who were caring so prodigiously for this cult. Even though it seemed impossible to them that such magnificence was the work of men in a place so retired and inaccessible, prudence and piety cautioned them to first make a cautious investigation about the matter. They inquired at the hamlets nearest the cave, which were more than three leagues in distance, but found no one who could give them the least information about the Statue. Not even the persons they questioned who were 80 and 100 years old had ever heard about the statue or any such devotion in those outlying woods or any other place near the region.
Consider, then, the astonishment and holy joy of the Brothers, now the owners of the extraordinary finding, as they humbled themselves again before the Holy Statue, offering her their warmest thanks with embraces and warm emotion, choosing her as their special patron and mediatrix under the very significant title of Mother of Good Success. The heart is moved by sentiments of pious gratitude and admiration for such a prodigious favor as this that was granted to the Holy Brothers.
Let us unite with them in their tender embraces of Mary, loving her and lavishing her with generous resolutions, because we also have mercifully found her on the dangerous pathway of life amid the horror of the storm of our passions.
Consider how the holy travelers, now convinced that their precious discovery belonged to them, placed the Statue in a basket, and with this so amiable and powerful companion they continued easily and happily on their trip to Rome, where they were graciously received by His Holiness Paul V, a very chaste and pious man. They informed him of how they had found the Statue of the Virgin. Seeing her so precious and radiating with a supernatural presence, he prostrated himself before her and hung his precious gold and enamel pectoral around the neck of the Statue, granting graces and indulgences to all who venerated her.
He charged the fortunate religious who had found the image in such a marvelous way to honor the statue and zealously spread her devotion everywhere. They saw in this, and even in the name of Our Lady of Good Success that the Pope gave her, all the signs that this was a supernatural discovery. This prodigious gift soon became an inexhaustible source of graces and wonders which were experienced by the inhabitants of the city of Valencia where the religious brothers took her. Later the Statue was transferred with solemn splendor to the magnificent Church of Madrid, the capitol of Spain, where the venerated Statue continues to work wonders, her cult extending throughout Europe and even to the farthest regions of our America.
Animate yourself, my soul, in the presence of Mary, that this encounter might carry you through the most difficult junctures of life, consoling you with her sweet and smiling visage. See, then, the Holy Father of the faithful prostrate in her presence, offering you this most priceless treasure and charging you to be devout and faithful in the service of Mary. Be content with the state in which God has placed you, because you have Mary, who serves you as companion and protectress. Praise her, bless her, and present her with the pectoral of your love, placing at her feet your dominant passion, offering your efforts to overcome yourself with determination and constancy in order to obtain the exceptional favors that so many pious people have received from this Holy Statue of Good Success.
Consider how the city of Quito and its oldest Convent, the Convent of the Conceptionists, also experienced the special favor of the glorious Mother of Good Success, who appeared prodigiously to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres, a Spaniard and one of the Founding Mothers of this Convent, in the year 1610, after the Convent had already been founded for 33 years. This fortunate and pious sister was praying alone with tender devotion, imploring the help of Mary under the avocation of Good Success for the needs of her own soul, for her sisters in the cloister, and for all mankind. In the fervor of her pleas, made with such profound faith and confidence, she raised her eager eyes to Heaven, calling on her Mother to come and save her and grant what she humbly asked with sincere interest for the good of her Convent and for all the Catholic Church.
Suddenly a refulgent light flooded the church, and the good sister fell into ecstasy. Her mind was overcome by a sudden astonishment and her heart was moved by an inexplicable joy. Her faith grew and her devotion increased as the light diffused itself before her astonished and dazzled gaze. A singular joy entered her heart, and she redoubled her pleas in an ecstasy of unlimited confidence.
Thus is the soul invited to leave the mean Earth and look to Heaven with the eyes of a lively and penetrating faith. Heaven opens for it a path to the light of divine clarity and inundates it with the splendors of divinity. “The just live by faith.” So indeed do the Just make their Heaven here on the lowly earth, attracting by their faith the light that does nothing to diminish the morning stars.
Let us also strengthen our faith in the revealed mysteries. Let us see with the eyes of intelligence, following the example of true religious souls, all the actions of our lives, leaving aside all thoughts of this lowly material life and focusing our understanding with efforts of faith on the ways of Divine Providence. It is principally by prayer that we leave this earth and transfer our thinking to matters of Heaven, where the Omnipotent God and Mary, his Daughter, Mother, and Spouse, dwell, awaiting our humble entreaties as pilgrims who, prostrate at their feet, implore the graces that we need.
Consider how the fortunate religious, in the fervor of her pleas and illuminated by that bright light that inundated her, fixed her eyes upon the source of that brilliance, finding before her a Lady of extraordinary beauty and kindness of face. As the light dissolved, she saw that the Lady was carrying in her left arm a Child, shining and bright like a morning star, full of grace and goodness, His features tender and kind. In her right hand she held a beautiful l scepter of shining gold and precious stones, and around her forehead was a magnificent crown with dazzling stones. She wore a garment similar to the that of the Statue (in Spain) of Mary of Good Success, whose miraculous discovery was recounted earlier and to whom the pious Conceptionist sister had been praying when she received the favor of this vision.
The good religious was at the same time transported with joy and confused to be thus visited by her Celestial Mother. Her soul was filled with a joy and gratitude without limit, and her heart flooded by holy sentiments. As thoughts of lively faith and valiant love and confidence overwhelmed her being, she asked: “Who art thou? And what dost thou desire?”
Then, O marvel of goodness! In a sweet and suave voice, the Lady responded:
“I am Mary of Good Success whom you invoked with such tender affection. Your prayer has pleased me very much. Your faith has brought me here. You love has invited me to visit you.”
Ponder, O my soul, the singular privilege of this blessed sister, who merited by her faith, devotion, and fervor in prayer to attract the presence of Mary Most Holy and to thus contemplate her so lovely, so pure, and so beautiful, to be dazzled by her splendors, to enjoy her intimacies, and to hear her most amiable voice. Ah! Fortunate creature! How great your love for your Celestial Mother! How strong your inclination to humble yourself and bless her! How ardent your desire to be with her! How continuous, attentive, and devout your prayers!
This goodness of Mary should thus encourage us to invoke her with deep faith under the title of Good Success and to pray always with attention and confidence, considering that only a living faith and vigilant attention in prayer will make us deserve to be heard and favored by the Holy Virgin, who will respond not with privileged visions, but with other gifts of grace that will help us triumph over our passions and the enemies of religion.
Consider that the Holy Virgin, on appearing to the sister, did not desire to favor her alone with a single transitory grace, for God does not bestow His special gifts except with the providential plan of increasing the piety, stimulating the moral progress, and improving the religious discipline of all the members of a community, a country, or the whole Church. For this reason Mary Most Holy of Good Success told the Conceptionist sister, “It is the Will of God that I command you to have a statue made that would represent this apparition in all its details, so that it might be placed in the choir where all the religious pray directly above the Abbess’ chair, so that they might consider this memorable Statue as their principal Abbess.” Thus would this Statue stimulate perpetual gratitude, special attentiveness in prayer, perfect obedience, a firm faith, a confident hope, and an ardent love for Mary Most Holy who thus offered herself to preside over and govern this Convent.
Ah, if we had a living faith! With what veneration and respect would we place ourselves before that Statue! How keenly we would recall her apparition so full of goodness and her promises and favors! How confident would we be in our supplications, how attentive in our prayers, how fervent in our devotions, how spontaneous in our obedience, how regular in our observance of the Commandments and the duties of our state of life!
Enliven, O my soul, your faith and if you are lacking in it, ask God and Mary of Good Success to grant it to you. Thus, by taking advantage of the special gift and singular privilege of having Mary of Good Success as our intercessor, we may not be responsible for a disdain or lack of appreciation for the gift that Providence has given us to increase our piety and encourage us in the practice of the virtues of faith, confidence, charity, obedience, and the fulfillment of all our duties and obligations.
Consider how the humble sister felt on hearing the command of Holy Mary to have a statue made of the same size and appearance as the apparition. She excused herself saying that it would be impossible, that no sculptor could reproduce such rare beauty or render with precision its proper proportions. The beautiful Lady, with most amiable forbearance, replied to her: ” Do not fear for this reason. Take off the cord around your waist and measure my height.”
Since, from a natural fear, the religious did not dare to touch Mary with her hands, the Heavenly Queen herself took the end of the cord and held it to her head, while the sister touched it to her feet to measure the exact height of the marvelous vision. Then Holy Mary said: ” Here, as I told you, you have the height for the statue that you should order to be made, and the rest of the measurements should be in proportion to it. Place the statue in the place I have indicated with a crosier and the keys of the cloister in my right hand, for I desire to be Advocate and Protectress of this Convent.” Having said this, the vision disappeared.
The heart of the sister who had just received so signal a favor and so pleasing a mission was penetrated, filled with gratitude and warm sentiments for Mary Most Holy! Ah! Search, o my soul, in your heart for those sentiments, and be dissolved in gratitude for Mary of Good Success, our Advocate and Protectress. Let me venerate her Image with the most tender gratitude and the vehement desire of corresponding to such singular graces by leading a life that is holy, obedient, and observant of all the duties of my state of life.
Then the holy sister who had been favored with this vision sent for a capable sculptor to begin the work on this statue that Mary herself had ordered to be made. And thus this statue, full of sweetness and majesty, will last until the end of time. Venerated in the upper choir of this Convent, the religious there always have recourse to her in their most grave conflicts. So also has she been the refuge of all the people who come to her in their necessities, and through her intercession many portentous favors and special graces have been obtained.
The measurements given by Mary symbolize the measure of her humility, obedience, and love of God and neighbor, which she gives to us so that we might strive to reproduce them. Imitate her, and you will also carry an image of the Virgin Most Holy in your heart. Strive like that holy sister to make the moral image of your Virgin Mother in your customs and sentiments, in your bearing and way of acting, in your fidelity to the rule and your prayers, in your meekness and your candor, in your purity and your detachment from earthly things, thus aspiring only to heavenly goods.”
This Novena was written by Fr. Jose M. Urrate S.J. and taken from tradbooks.com
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.