THE THREE HAIL MARYS DEVOTION
One of the greatest means of salvation and one of the surest signs of predestination, is unquestionably, the devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin. All the holy doctors of the Church are unanimous in saying with St. Alphonsus of Liguori: "A devout servant of Mary shall never perish." The chief thing is to persevere faithfully till death in this devotion.
Numerous examples show how agreeable the three Hail Marys Devotion is to the Divine Mother and what special graces it draws, during life and at the hour of death, on those who never omit it for a single day.
This practice was revealed to St. Melchtilde (13th century) while she was beseeching Our Blessed Mother to assist her in her hour of death. Our Lady appeared to her and said: "I will, certainly. But I also want you to say three special Hail Marys to me every day.
"The first will be in honor of God the Father, Whose omnipotence raised my soul so high above every other creature that after God I have the greatest power in heaven and on earth. In the hour of your death I will use that power of God the Father to keep any hostile power far from you.
"The second Hail Mary will be said in honor of the Son of God Who communicated His inscrutable wisdom to me. In the hour of your death I will fill your soul with the light of that wisdom so that all the darkness of ignorance and error will be dispelled.
"The third Hail Mary will be in honor of God the Holy Ghost Who filled my soul with the sweetness of His love and tenderness and mercy. In your last hour I will then change the bitterness of death into divine sweetness and delight."
Our Blessed Mother also revealed to St. Gertrude the Great: "To any soul who faithfully prays the Three Hail Marys, I will appear at the hour of death in a splendor so extraordinary that it will fill the soul with heavenly consolation."
St. Leonard of Port Maurice, the celebrated missionary, had the Three Hail Marys recited morning and evening in honor of Mary Immaculate, to obtain the grace of avoiding all mortal sins during the day or night; moreover he promised in a special manner eternal salvation to all those who proved constantly faithful to this practice. He gave this devotion of Three Hail Marys as a penance in the confessional, especially for those who were struggling with sins of impurity.
Practice: Recite morning and evening, three Hail Marys in honor of the three great privileges bestowed upon Our Blessed Mother by the most Blessed Trinity with this invocation at the end: for the morning: "O my Mother preserve me from mortal sin during this day." For the evening: "O my Mother preserve me from mortal sin during this night."
(Indulgences of 200 days granted by Leo XIII, 300 days for the members of the Archconfraternity of the Three Hail Marys by Benedict XV, and Apostolic Benediction by St. Pius X.)
The Hail Mary: Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
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THE DEVOTION OF THE "THREE HAIL MARYS"
The Blessed Trinity has crowned the Blessed Virgin Mary with three
God the Father had endowed the Blessed Virgin with Power in Heaven, on
earth and in hell;
God the Son had endowed her with Wisdom of God and of His creatures;
God the Holy Spirit has endowed her with Love for God and for man.
Through the devotion of the "Three Hail Marys", we remember these three
crowns and honor her for this God-given privilege; thus the purpose of this
devotion is to give glory to God. This was revealed by Our Lady herself to
The Vision of St. Gertrude
In a vision, St. Gertrude saw the following:
Three Beams of Light issue from the Heart of the Three Divine Persons
and penetrate into the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then, They return
to Their Source in the Blessed Trinity.
Herein lies the admirable compendium of the entire Marian Theology. In
this vision, Mary is presented to us as "the splendor of the Eternal Light,
the mirror of the Divine Majesty and the image of the Infinite Goodness",
receiving and reflecting all the graces of the Blessed Trinity.
Through the devotion of the "Three Hail Marys", Our Lady shows us her
gratitude to the Blessed Trinity, reminding us of this august Mystery.
Moreover, this devotion enables us to honor the Mother of God in a suitable
manner, for -- as Our Lady herself revealed to St. Mathilda -- the "Hail
Mary" is the best prayer we can offer to Our Lady to recall her God-given
privilege as Mother of God and to give her due honor for it.
Practiced and Recommended
Many great saints have practiced and recommended the devotion of the
"Three Hail Mary". Here are the names of but a few of them: St. Leonard of
Port Maurice, St. Bruno, St. Bonaventure, St. John Berchmans, St. John
Baptist Mary Vianney (Cure of Ars), St. Anthony of Lisbon and of Padua, St.
Stanislaus Kostka, St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, St. John Joseph of
the Cross, St. John Baptist de Rossi, St. Gerard Majella, St. Gabriel of Our
Lady of Sorrows, Blessed Marcellinus Champagnat, and, above all, the great
Marian doctor St. Alphonsus Liguori who, in his writings recommended this
devotion about twenty times.
As a result, this devotion has been spreading, and we are reminded of it
in many ways: at shrines, in churches and chapels, through association and
sodalities, through novenas, pictures, statues and medals, and especially by
the innumerable graces and favors received through the practice of this
devotion. No doubt, one day in the near future, it will be numbered among
the universally-known important Marian devotions.
Moreover, various Popes have indicated that they favor this devotion:
Some (like Pius IX, Leo XIII and St. Pius X) have granted special
indulgences for the practice of this devotion. Others (since Urban II at the
Council of Clermont in 1095) have proposed it as a means for obtaining the
triumph of the Church; while still others (like Leo XIII and St. Pius X)
have ordered its recitation after the Mass for the same intention. (This was
the reason the "Three Hail Marys" were recited after the Low Masses before
the Liturgical Reform.)
St. Pius X said: "This devotion will save Mexico", and so he recommended
all the faithful to practice it.
"Astonishing conversions, increase in virtues, cure of the sick,
temptations conquered, business difficulties solved, holy death.and
salvation." (This is the promise made by the Blessed Virgin to St.
The "Three Hail Marys", are "the best safeguard for chastity" (in the
words of St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori). This statement was recorded and
attributed to St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori by St. Pius X; "that it is true,
has been confirmed by our experiences as well as those of many missionaries"
(according to Frassinetti). Even the number of graces and favors obtained
through the practice of this devotion show us just how pleasing it is to the
Blessed Virgin Mary.
Devotion for Everyone
This devotion is suitable for everyone:
For sinners, it is a classic example of a devotion approved especially
for them by the Church. Even if the complete renewal in our way of life does
not occur immediately, at least a great change for the better will be noted.
Our faithful perseverance in this practice will succeed in obtaining the
complete change, sooner or later, through Our lady's intercession. (This is
what St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori wrote about this devotion.)
Of course, it is understood that the person who is praying for the
favor -- even if he/she be a great sinner -- must have pure intentions and
good will, and pray with great attention, fervor and constancy.
For those who progress in spiritual life, the "Three Hail Marys" are
powerful arms against temptations, especially those against purity. "From my
wide experience, I know that boys and girls who faithfully honor Mary, do
not usually commit serious sins" (according to Frassinetti).
And this devotion is really very easily practiced, for its very brevity
makes it suitable for everyone, however busy they may be, since it does not
even take one minute to pray the "Three Hail Marys". (It takes only some 40
seconds.) Therefore, of the 1,440 minutes in each day, are we unable to
devote about one minute and half per day to reciting the "Three Hail Marys"
in the morning and at night in order that we may obtain our eternal
How to Pray the "Three Hail Marys"
Although the devotion of the "Three Hail Marys" is very easy, there are
certain conditions which we should observe:
1. Our intentions must be pure, and we must have good will.
2. We must pray with attention, fervor and constancy.
3. With each "Hail Mary", we must have the intention of honoring one of the
three privileges granted by the Blessed Trinity to the Blessed Virgin Mary:
POWER, WISDOM and MERCY.
4. Since the main aim of these "Three Hail Marys" is our sanctification and
salvation, we should add one of the ejaculations which recall this aim. Some
of them had been recommended and indulgenced by Leo XIII or by St. Pius X.
Here are some examples:
a) "Mary, my Mother, keep me free from mortal sin during this day" or
"during this night" (as the case may be).
b) "O Mary, by your Immaculate Conception, keep my body pure and my
c) "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to
thee and also for those who do not have recourse to thee, especially for the
enemies of the Church."
Here is the personal testimony of a sinner who used the devotion with
"For the last three years, I have been the slave of a bad habit against
the virtue of purity. How could I get rid of this terrible passion? I tried
every means available, but all proved useless. I used to give in to very
serious sins and even to sacrileges. This was most disheartening.
"Then, one day, someone recommended to me the devotion of the "Three
Hail Marys". And now, it is not yet quite one month since I started to pray
the "Three Hail Marys" every morning and every night without fail. I cannot
explain what has happened within me, but I do know and can assure you that,
since the very first moment, it has produced wonderful results within me: I
have not succumbed to the impure temptations since then. When I have been
weak and just about ready to succumb, something or another has happened
which has stopped me from giving in; and, indeed, I do know that it was
something stronger than my desire of sinning."
Fatal Delay in Explaining
Although the recitation of the "Three Hail Marys" was recommended after
Low Masses, at the beginning of each Rosary, etc., the importance of this
devotion was not explained to the faithful on a wide scale. Therefore, most
Catholics did not know its meaning or its importance, and so, they did not
pray them with the proper dispositions. As a result, anti-Christian
forces -- like Atheism, Communism, etc. -- have been able to organize secret
societies to attack the Church.
Let us hasten to start practicing this devotion of the "Three Hail
Marys" every morning and every night! Let us not put it off till tomorrow!
Moreover, let us introduce this devotion to our friends and relations and
urge them to recite the "Three Hail Marys" daily, every morning and every
night! Through the practice of this simple devotion we may be led to study
the Message of Fatima in greater detail, and so we may lead a life of
greater prayer, sacrifice and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The suppression of the anti-Christian doctrines, the conversion of sinners
and of Russia, and -- above all -- peace in the world depends on our
obtaining the necessary graces from God through our prayers and sacrifices!
(Translated and adapted by Rally of June, 1978 from an extract from a
leaflet by Rev. Fr. Nazario Perez, S.J., which appeared in the "Cavaleiro da
The above is an article from "Fatima Findings" (January 2002), a monthly
bulletin of the Reparation Society of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 7920
Beverly Ave., Baltimore, Maryland 21234-5308
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While still in the month of October, we recommend listening to Fr.
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