Our Lady Mother of Consolation, Patroness of the Order
The Blessed Virgin Mary is venerated as Mother of Consolation because through her «God sent the Consoler, Christ Jesus, into the world». Her share in the suffering of the Passion of her Son and in the joy of His Resurrection make her able to console her children in whatever affliction may come their way. After the Ascension of Jesus Christ, in union with the Apostles, she ardently implored and trustfully awaited the coming of the Spirit, the Consoler. Now, taken up into Heaven, «she is the resplendent sign of sure hope and comfort to the People of God on their pilgrimage» ( LG 69 )
At least since the 17th century, «Mother of Consolation» or «Mother of the Cincture» is the principal title by which the Augustinian Order honours the Virgin. In 1439 it obtained the faculty to set up the Confraternity of the Cincture for lay people. An ancient legend which arose within the Order related that the Virgin had appeared to St Monica, who was saddened by the life Augustine was leading. She consoled her and gave her a cincture, the same which Augustine and his brothers would wear. Usually, iconography represents the Virgin and the Child in the act of giving cinctures to both St Monica and St Augustine respectively. In 1495 there arose, in the Augustinian church of Bologna, the confraternity of «St Mary of Consolation». In 1575 both confraternities merged in a single Archconfraternity of the Cincture, which the popes enriched with an abundance of indulgences. In the latter and approved liturgical calendars, she is declared Patroness of the Order.
The protection of the Mother of Consolation gives us serenity and comfort in our trials so that we too can console our brothers and sisters.
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