May 12 ---------- Our Lady of the Abandoned
Every May 12, the people in Valencia, Spain celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Abandoned. The origins of this feast date back to the 15th century when a confraternity was founded to take care of abandoned children under the invocation of Our Lady of the Abandoned.
One day three very handsome young men knocked on the door of the institute with some very interesting requests. They offered to carve a statue of Our Lady in return for shelter and the necessary materials for the work. In addition, they asked to be left entirely alone and undisturbed for three days. Their request was readily accepted.
After three days, not a sound was heard from the room where the three youths resided. The brothers of the institute, becoming alarmed, forced the door down and to their amazement a beautiful statue stood in the center of the room. It was described as majestic and protective, signifying the goodness, mercy and assistance that Our Lady would give to her abandoned children.
The youths had disappeared; so it seemed that Our Lady herself sent three angels to complete her statue which was the source of many miracles.
St. Bonaventure has said of this devotion: " When all human help fails, it is imperative that we not despair. For normally in this extreme situation, the divine help of Mary comes." The chaos and confusion in today's world can sometimes make one feel as an abandoned child. Now we know that Our Lady of the Abandoned will always come to our rescue.
How fitting it is that this feast precedes the feast of Our Lady's first apparition at Fatima where she warned the world of dire consequences if her message was unheeded.
Let us constantly turn to this Good Mother who is so concerned about her children and invoke her maternal care, even if all seems lost, for we have every proof that she will never abandon her "abandoned" ones.