In 1198, St. John of Matha founded the Trinitarian Order. This community was founded in a dangerous time.
Muslim fleets were continuously raiding and capturing Catholics. Thousands of individuals found themselves sold as slaves to Muslim masters and many of the women were forced to join harems.
Italians, Portuguese, and the Spanish were especially affected by these raids. Other countries began to feel their pain as Britain, France, Holland, and Ireland experienced similar attacks.
St. John of Matha and the Trinitarians’ charism was to rescue their fellow Christians who were being enslaved. The method devised was to buy back these slaves in order to set them free. Such a task required large sums of money, but where could such a donor be found?
The Trinitarians called on the Mother of God. Over the centuries, they freed thousands upon thousands of people.
Their fundraising and endeavors were so successful that St. John bestowed Mary with the title of Our Lady of Good Remedy. Her feast is celebrated on October 8th — the Feast of Our Lady of Good Remedy.
This ancient image features Our Lady holding the Christ Child. Both of their heads are adorned with crowns of gold, and Mary usually holds a money bag. Her red dress and blue mantle trimmed in gold capture the eye, while simultaneously resembling Our Lady of Sorrows.
Perhaps this was done to remind mankind that in times of distress and sorrow that one should entrust all cares and worries to Our Lady of Good Remedy.
There are many titles that speak of the heavenly Mother’s unfailing aid: Our Lady Undoer of Knots, Mater Misericordiae — Mother of Mercy, Our Lady of Good Ransom, Our Lady of Solitude, Refuge of Sinners, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Seat of Wisdom, and many more. She truly is as the Novena to Our Lady of Good Remedy doubly reminds, the “source of unfailing help . . .”
In present times, we face many trials, temptations, and difficulties. Some are different from those Christians who were enslaved during the time of St. John of Matha, but in many ways, we may find ourselves enslaved just like them.
Some of us are enslaved by fears, anxieties, and a lack of control. Others are imprisoned by pride, anger, unforgiveness, or certain sins that leave one feeling helpless and alone.
Our Lady of Good Remedy reminds us that we are not alone.
Her title and image call us to realize that “we are not struggling against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, the powers, and the cosmic rulers of this present darkness, and against the spirits of evil in the heavens” (Eph. 6:12).
This interior and eternal battle is why we need heavenly protectors like Our Lady of Good Remedy.
There are many times where we must fight these captors that steal our joy and peace. Sometimes they enslave us without our realizing and hinder us from loving, answering God’s call, or taking a leap of faith into something challenging but beautiful. It is in times like these where we should ask Our Lady of Good Remedy to provide her aid.
Money bags can hold money, as they did for St. John of Matha, but when making deals with the Mother of God . . . her money bag can hold much more than cold, hard cash. She can provide infinite graces to aid us along our earthly journey and heavenly remedies to heal our souls. She can and will set us free from everything and anything that enslaves us. All we have to do is acknowledge our weaknesses, our needs, and beg for her intercession.