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Updated on January 28, 2010


           The earliest written account of the image comes from a Latin and Italian plaque placed in the church of San Matteo, where it was first venerated by the public in 1499. The writer of the icon is unknown, but according to legend the icon was stolen by a merchant from Crete who was sailing to Rome. The merchant sailed and hid the icon while traveling at sea, until a storm hit hard and the sailors prayed to the icon for help. When the merchant arrived in Rome he fell ill, and as his dying wish he asked a second merchant to place the icon in a church where it could serve as a visual image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The second merchant confided to his wife about the icon. Upon seeing the beautiful icon, the woman refused to give it to the church but instead hung it in their home. Later on, the Virgin Mary appeared to the merchant's daughter, requesting that the icon be turned in to a parish. Mary indicated to the little girl that the icon ought to be placed between the basilicas of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. The wife gave the icon to the Augustinian Friars. On March 27, 1499, the icon was transferred to the church of San Mateo where it remained for 300 years.


                Mary, the Mother of Perpetual Help in reality rescued and helped many people who prayed and requested from Her intercession. I had one chance for interviewing lots of Vietnamese boat people during their escaping over sea from their cruel Communist country in 1981 to 1989. Many Vietnamese witnessed the miracles from Mary who rescued them and led their fragile, small boat to different islands of the Asian neighbour countries such as Malaysia, Philippine, Thailand, and Hongkong safely. Many Budish Vietnamese converted their faith to Catholics afterward.

                 Their stories were amazing and powerful statements about Mary…A young lady told me that she escaped over Pacific sea by a small boat together with 100 others Vietnamese in 1981, her boat almost sunk by a big storm after 2 days departing; Suddenly there was a loud voice of a woman who was praying to Mary, the Mother of Perpetual Help, and this woman encouraged everyone in boat follow her in praying, Everybody followed her in their desperate and scaring including this young lady.After their praying fifteen minutes, the big storm stopped suddenly and totally, and their boat came to the shore of Thailand safely and easily two days later.

             Another story from an old man who escaped from Vietnam in 1982. After only one day departing, his boat sunk one third on the sea due to overweigh carrying too many people; the old man knelt down and prayed to Mary, the Mother of Perpetual Help and everybody on the boat followed him. They prayed and loudly called Mary’s name in their scaring and hopeless moment: “Maria, Mother, Mother!! Please come and save us!” The miracle happened, Mary accepted their prays, a rescued boat nearby from US Navy recognized and saw the sinking Vietnamese boat on their screen; the US hurrily coming to rescue 150 boat people and brought to Singapore shore camps finally.

               I strongly believed to Mary’s intercession to God for our welfares. I saw in the Bible, the first miracle Jesus performed on the earth is the miracle at Cana wedding Jesus did when Mary requested Him in making the water become the excellent wine for the wedding. If you need Help and Hope, please come and ask Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help. You can ask Her for everything you need with no doubt, and I believe Mary will answer for your request.


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