May 8 is the day of the Supplica, the Supplication, to Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii, which is also repeated on the first Sunday of October, the day on which the Catholic Church celebrates Our Lady as Queen of the Holy Rosary. It was Blessed Bartolo Longo, the man who at the end of the 1800’s began the devotion to the Mother of God in the small town of the Neapolitan inland, who chose the two dates. October 7 was the more obvious choice, given that Bartolo Longo cared so much for the recitation of the Rosary. May 8, however, was chosen because it was the feast day of the Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel on Mount Gargano in Puglia, Blessed Longo’s region of origin.
This is a curious point, of which very few people are aware, even among those most devoted to Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii. Bartolo Longo explained a letter entitled “Why did we choose St. Michael as the Defender and Guardian of Shrine of Pompeii” in 1907, his thoughts on the matter: “If therefore, St. Michael is the guardian of the whole Church, and the defender of all the great Divine works, was it not fitting that the defense of this great work of God in modern times that is the Shrine of Pompeii, be dedicated to him?”
The Supplica is a devotional practice celebrated at the Shrine for more than a century. Each year, tens of thousands of people who visit what has become over time, one of the main centers of Marian spirituality in Italy together with the Holy House of Loreto in the Marche, participate in the Supplica, which is a simple prayer written by Longo, and modified several times over the years. The number of the faithful grows every year, and has increased since Bartolo Longo, a man of profound spirituality who started the numerous works of charity in Pompeii, was declared blessed by St. John Paul II in 1980.
The devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii, Patroness of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George and the Royal House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, has always been dear to the Royal Family and all the members of the Constantinian Order.
This year too, we are invited therefore, to elevate the Supplica to Heaven, possibly at Noon on Sunday, May 8, invoking the Virgin Mary for peace in the world, for all mothers, and for all the special intentions which everyone holds in their own hearts.
Text of the Supplication to Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii, by Bl. Bartolo Longo
- O august Queen of victories, Virgin who reignest in paradise, whose mighty name causes heaven to rejoice and hell to tremble, glorious Queen of the most holy Rosary, we, thy happy children chosen by thy goodness in this century to build thee a temple at Pompeii, kneeling at thy feet on this solemn day to commemorate thy latest triumphs on the spot where idols and demons were formerly worshipped, pour out with tears the feelings of our hearts and with a filial confidence lay before thee our miseries. From that throne of mercy where thou sittest as Queen, Mary, turn down thy pitiful eyes on us, on our families, on Italy, on Europe, and the whole Church; take into pity the afflictions which overwhelm us and the cares which embitter our lives. Thou seest, O Mother, how many dangers of soul and body, how many calamities and afflictions press upon us. O Mother, keep back the arm of justice of thy indignant Son, and conquer by thy mercy the hearts of sinners, since they are our brethren and thy children, redeemed through the blood of our sweet Jesus and through the wounds of thy most tender heart pierced with the sword. Show thyself to all in this day, as thou art, the Queen of peace and mercy.
II. It is but too true that we, although thy children, are the first who crucify Jesus in our hearts and wound anew thy heart by our sins. We confess it, we deserve the severest chastisements; yet remember how thou didst receive, on the top of Golgotha, the last drops of that divine blood, and the testament of our dying Redeemer. And this testament of a God, sealed with the blood of a Man-God, appointed thee our Mother, the Mother of sinners. Thus, as our Mother, thou art our Advocate and our Hope. To thee, amidst sighs, do we lift up our hands, crying for mercy! Have pity, good mother, have pity on us, on our souls, on our families, on our relations, on our friends, on our departed brethren, above all, on our enemies, and on so many who claim the name of Christians, yet wound the loving heart of thy Son. Pity, Mother, we now implore thee for pity on the erring nations, on all Europe, on the whole world, that they may repair repentant to thy heart. Be merciful to all, Mother of mercy.
III. What does it cost thee, Mary, to hear us? What does it cost thee to save us? Did not Jesus entrust to thy hands all the treasures of his graces and mercies? Thou sittest as Queen at the right hand of thy Son, crowned with immortal glory, above all the choirs of angels. Thou extendest thy dominion as far as the heavens expand; the earth and all the creatures that people it are subject to thee. Thy power even reaches hell, and thou alone, Mary, canst rescue us from the devil’s grasp. Thou art almighty by grace, and therefore thou canst save us. Now if you sayest thou willest not help us because we are ungrateful children and unworthy of thy protection, tell us at least to whom shall we have recourse in order to be released from so many evils? Oh! No, thy maternal heart will never bear to see the ruin of thy children. The divine Child we behold on thy knees, the mystical crown we admire in thy hand, both inspire us with hope that we will be heard. And full of confidence in thee, we throw ourselves at thy feet, we trust ourselves as feeble children into the arms of the tenderest amongst mothers, and today, this very day, we expect from thee the graces we are longing for.
Let us ask Mary for her blessing. We now ask of thee, O Queen, a last favor which thou canst not refuse on this solemn day. Grant to all of us thy constant love and in a special manner thy maternal blessing. No, we will not leave thy feet today nor cease clasping thy knees till thou hast blessed us. Bless now, Mary, the sovereign Pontiff. To the first laurels of thy crown, to the ancient trophies of the Rosary, whence thou art called Queen of victories, add also this one, Mother, grant triumph to religion and peace to mankind. Bless our bishop, the priests and particularly those who promote the honor of thy Sanctuary; bless finally all those who are associated to thy new temple of Pompeii and who practice and spread devotion to thy most holy rosary. O blessed rosary of Mary, sweet chain which unites us to God, bond of love, which connects us with the angels, tower of safety against the assaults of hell, sure harbor in the universal shipwreck, never more shall we part with thee; thou shall be our comfort in the hour of agony: to thee the last kiss of our life; and the last word of our dying lips shall be thy sweet name, Queen of the Rosary of the Valley of Pompeii. Mother dear, only refuge of sinners, supreme comforter of the afflicted, blessed be thy name, now and forever, on earth and in heaven. Amen.
Hail, Holy Queen…