Friday, January 3, 2020


St. Alphonsus tells a story that illustrates how even a small daily habit of devotion to Mary, faithfully practiced, bears wonderful and lasting fruit.

An event recorded by Fr. Paul Segneri, in the work entitled Christian Instructed, is rightly well known. A young man of immoral habits, and laden with sins, went to Confession to Fr. Nicholas Zucchi in Rome. 

The confessor received him with charity. Filled with compassion for the young man’s unfortunate state, the priest assured him that devotion to our Blessed Lady could deliver him from the accursed vice to which he was addicted. So he gave him as his penance the instruction to say a Hail Mary to the Blessed Virgin every morning and evening, when getting up and when going to bed, until his next Confession. At the same time, he was to offer her his eyes, his hands, and his whole body, begging her to preserve them as something belonging to herself. He was also to kiss the ground three times.

The young man performed the penance, but at first there was only a slight change in his habits. Fr. Zucchi, however, continued to impress on him to maintain the new devotional practice, urging him never to abandon it. At the same time, he encouraged him to trust in the assistance of Mary.

In the meantime, the penitent left Rome with other companions, and for the next few years travelled in various parts of the world. When he returned, he once again sought out his confessor. Fr. Zucchi, to his great joy and admiration, found that the young man was entirely changed, and free from his former evil habits.

“My son,” the priest asked, “how have you obtained from God so wonderful a change?” The young man replied: “Father, our Blessed Lady obtained this grace for me through that little devotion that you taught me.” 

Father Zucchi, with the permission of the penitent, mentioned the fact from the pulpit. There was a soldier present who was actually in the habit of sins of impurity; he began to say every day the three "Hail Marys," and in a short time, with the aid that the divine Mother obtained for him, he soon renounced the evil habit. Through a false zeal, he went one day to the accomplice of his sins in order to convert her; but when he was on the point of entering her house he was suddenly driven back, and found himself transported to a considerable distance. He then understood that he had been prevented from speaking to the woman by a special grace obtained for him by Mary, for which he thanked her. Had he been placed again in the occasion of sin he would probably have relapsed.

Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, The Glories of Mary.