Our Lady of Liesse, also known as “Our Lady, Cause of Our Joy.” This devotion to Our Blessed Mother originated in Egypt, and was carried to France. We recognize our loving Mother, Mary, as the Cause of Our Joy, for her role in the Incarnation of Jesus, and the grace she mediates from Heaven. Our Lady of Liesse, Pray for us!
Devotion to Our Lady of Liesse is based upon the story of three knights who brought back from Egypt a beautiful statue of Our Lady. As the story is told, in 1134, three brothers, knights from the French region of Laon, left on a voyage to the East. They were captured in Egypt, and held prisoner by the sultan. The sultan wished to force the young pious knights to renounce their faith, but they remained steadfast. Trying at all costs to make them apostatize, he sent his remarkably beautiful daughter to seduce them. Her name was Ismenia, and she engaged them in a conversation about the Gospel, certain that she would draw their attention away from the Lord and into licentious behavior.
But they did not have to carve anything. While they slept that evening, the Mother of God dispatched angels, bearing her radiant image, to the knights. When they awoke, they were amazed, and when Ismenia returned to the dungeons, she found them filled with a dazzling light and heavenly perfume emanating from the statue. She was instantly converted, and took the statue with her to her chambers. The knights praised the Lord, and His Mother, crying out “Our Lady of Liesse!”
Trust me, Ismenia! I have prayed to my Son for you. You will be his faithful servant. You will free my three beloved knights. You will be baptized and through you, France will be enriched by countless graces. Through you my name will become famous and later, I will receive you forever in paradise."
Doing as she was told, Ismenia assisted the three brothers in their escape, and fled back to France with them. On their journey, all four were overtaken by a deep sleep, and during that sleep, heavenly angels transported them to France. When they awoke, the three knights were in their country, near their castle in Marchais. Ismenia was baptized and they had a chapel built at the site where they had awoken, in honor of Our Lady of Liesse.
O God, who brought joy to the world by the Incarnation of Christ your Son, grant to us, who honor his Mother as Cause of our Joy, the grace to follow your commandments and to set our hearts on the true joys of heaven. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."