(A.D. 1347-1380)

O Mary, temple of the Trinity.
O Mary, bearer of fire.
O Mary, dispenser of mercy.
O Mary, restorer of human generation, 
because the world was repurchased 
by means of the sustenance 
that your flesh found in the Word, 
Christ repurchased the world 
with his Passion 
and you with your suffering.
O Mary, peaceful ocean.
O Mary, giver of peace.
O Mary, fruitful land.
You, O Mary, 
are that new plant 
from which we have the fragrant flower of the Word, 
only-begotten Son of God,
because this Word was sown in you, 
O fruitful land. 
You are the land and the plant.
O Mary, vehicle of fire
you bore the fire hidden 
and veiled beneath the ash of your humanity.
O Mary, vase of humility, 
in which there burns the light of true knowledge 
with which you lifted yourself above yourself 
and yet were pleasing to the eternal Father; 
hence he took 
and brought you to himself, 
loving you with a singular love.
With this light and fire of your charity 
and with the oil of your humility, 
you drew and inclined His divinity 
to come into you,
although He was first drawn to us 
by the most ardent fire of His inestimable charity.
Today, O Mary, 
you have become a book 
in which our rule is written. 
In you, today, 
is written the wisdom of the eternal Father. 
In you, today, 
is manifested the strength and freedom of all humankind.
I say that the dignity of humankind 
is manifested because when I look at you, O Mary, 
I see that the hand of the Holy Spirit 
has written the Trinity in you, 
forming in you the Incarnate Word, 
the only begotten Son of God. 
He has written for us 
the wisdom of the Father,
that is, the Word. 
He has written for us his power, 
because he was powerful 
in effecting this great mystery. 
And He has written for us
the clemency of that Holy Spirit, 
because only through grace 
and the Divine clemency 
was so great a mystery ordained and accomplished.
But today I ardently make my request, 
because it is the day of graces, 
and I know that nothing is refused to you, O Mary. 
Today, O Mary, 
your land has generated the Saviour for us. 
O Mary, blessed are you among women 
throughout the ages. 

*Saint Catherine of Siena TOSD (March 25, 1347 in Siena – April 29, 1380 in Rome), was a tertiary of the Dominican Order and a Scholastic philosopher and theologian. She also worked to bring the papacy of Gregory XI back to Rome from its displacement in France and to establish peace among the Italian city-states. She is believed, in Catholicism, to have had miraculous visions and felt herself to be united in marriage with Jesus,[1] stating in her letters that she wore the wedding ring he gave her but that it was invisible.

photo: Madonna di Valverde

A vintage postcard of Our Lady of Valverde in Acireale, Sicily. The painting is covered in jewellery, donated by pilgrims as ex votos.
sicily ex votos

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