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Our Lady of Ollignies

"When it was shown to Berthe [Petit] in 1919, after her return from Switzerland, she at once recognized it as the picture of the two-fold symbol of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary." (1)

"This picture of Our Lady of Ollignies is of a mysterious origin. It was discovered under peculiar circumstances in 1918 -- the year of the Armistice, in the Convent of the Bernardine nuns by whom Berthe Petit had been educated. After the withdrawal of the German troops from Belgium, consequent on the closure of the war, one of the sisters was asked to put up the cellar in order. Among the various papers, she found a piece of cardboard wrapped in an old newspaper, which she immediately tore off as useless, to be burnt along with other rubbish; but to her astonishment she found, underneath the cardboard, a beautiful picture of Our Lady. This was reported to the Mother Superior; the whole Community felt that their safety during the war was due to the special protection of Our Lady manifested by that picture within the precincts of the Convent. But in spite of a thorough investigation, they were never able to trace its origin. When it was shown to Berthe [Petit] in 1919, after her return from Switzerland, she at once recognized it as the picture of the two-fold symbol of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The image in the picture represents the Mother of God, holding in her left hand a lily, symbol of her Immaculate purity -- the gratuitous gift of her Divine Son; the finger of the right hand points out to her Sorrowful Heart surmounted by flames and pierced with a sword. The far-away gaze of the penetrating eyes seems as if the Blessed Virgin is beholding with sorrow the sins of mankind, which have caused the suffering expressed on the gentle countenance of her head, slightly inclined to the right. The gentle expression of the face is not quite unlike that of the "Pieta," so often seen in our Churches. At first, copies of this picture were distributed with discretion; but soon it came to be widely known and eagerly sought after all over Belgium. It bore "au verso," the Act of Consecration dictated by Our Lord Himself to Berthe Petit, and used by His Eminence Francis Cardinal Bourne, Primate of England, during and after the Great War, and the Imprimatur of the Bishop of Tournai." (1)

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Secret of the Rosary is a distributor and publisher of various media that promote the fullness of the Faith in accordance with the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church.

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(1) From "The Art of Divine Love or Berthe Petit (Franciscan Tertiary, 1870-1943) " by Rev. I. Duffner, M.S.C. Adapted from the French by Rev.Louis M. Shouriah; Printed at Don Bosco Press, Tanjore; 1955.
(2) Our Lady of Ollignies GIF file courtesy of James E. McNally, Jr.
(3) From "The Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary" Translated from the French by a nun of Kylemore Abbey; Prow Books, Franciscan Marytown Press; 1974.
(5) From "Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary" World Apostolate of Fatima; Washington, N.J.
(6) From "Berthe Petit Apotre du Coeur douloureux et Immacule de Marie" by R. P. Colin, C.S.S.R., Nouvelles Editions Latines; Paris 1967.
(7) From "Berthe Petit und das schmerzvolle Herz Mariens" by Irmgard Hausmann; Christiana-Verlag Stein Am Rhein; printed in Switzerland, 1970.
(8) From "Novena of Confidence and Thanksgiving to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary" Franciscan Marytown Press; Revised Edition, 1989.