What lifts the spirit more than hope? The story of the Blessed Mother’s title as “Our Lady of Hope” stems from her appearance to children at Pontmain, France in 1871; and remains popular today. The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. has a Chapel for Our Lady of Hope that was donated by the comic and movie star, Bob Hope and wife Dolores in memory of his mother Avis Townes Hope.
The Blessed Mother enables hope to nourish and fortify the soul through her intercessory relationship to her son Jesus. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Summa Theologiæ that “the object of hope is a future good, arduous but possible to obtain”. He writes much more about the nature of hope and its relationship to faith and charity – his writings can be accessed via the reference below.
A demonstration of hope and the Blessed Mother’s intercession comes from a story of an apparition of Our Lady in 1871 which popularized the title of “Our Lady of Hope”. On January 17, 1871, Mary appeared to six children in the village of Pontmain in northwestern France during the Franco-Prussian War. The Blessed Mother appeared as Prussian troops advanced toward the village and told the children, “Pray, my children. God will soon grant your request.” The townspeople and their priest followed Our Lady’s instruction and prayed to end the conflict; and sang hymns at the site of the apparition. The Prussian troops miraculously withdrew after three days, and within a week, the war was over. The story can be read in more detail in the reference below for the Notre-Dame de Pontmain Sanctuary.
A beautiful Chapel to Our Lady of Hope donated by Bob and Dolores Hope in memory of his mother, Avis Townes Hope, was dedicated in 1994 at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Bronze sculptures of Mary and two angels are mounted on the wall of white Carrara marble and Fior de Pesco marble. On the front of the altar are the words of Our Lady of Hope, “Pray my children.” See the Chapel here: https://www.nationalshrine.org/interactive-map/?location=im-32
Prayer to Our Lady of Pontmain (from https://www.sanctuaire-pontmain.com/Pray-Our-Lady-of-Pontmain.html)
Mother of hope, Our Lady of peace,
Most gracious Virgin Mary,
by your apparition at Pontmain,
you remind us of the importance of prayer,
you fortified in our hearts the hope and trust in God,
and you gave us peace.
Listen now with favor to our fervent prayers,
so that peace may be restored in our hearts,
in our families,
in our country and in all nations:
PEACE, the fruit of justice, truth and charity.
Inflame in our souls the wish to live fully our Christian faith,
without any compromise, in all circumstances of our life.
Help us to understand our brethren
and to love them in God from the depth of our hearts. Amen.
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Catholic Encyclopedia – The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas – https://www.newadvent.org/summa/3017.htm
Official site of Notre-Dame de Pontmain Sanctuary – https://www.sanctuaire-pontmain.com/
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – https://www.nationalshrine.org/blog/our-lady-of-hope-sustaining-us-in-times-of-trouble/
Washington Post – National Shrine to Consecrate Chapel, May 28, 1994 – https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1994/05/28/national-shrine-to-consecrate-chapel/66f17c79-07db-4f5d-8be6-9e7a40a3744d/