Our Lady of Good Deliverance
In the chapel of the Congregation of
the Sisters of St. Thomas of Villeneuve (open to the public), 52 Blvd.
d'Argenson, Neuilly-sur-Seine, outside of Paris, 14th century, replacing
an 11th century version of The Black Virgin of Paris, 150 cm, painted
She used to stand in the church Saint-Etienne-des-Grès in the Latin Quarter, but that church was destroyed during the Revolution and all its content sold. Madame de Carignan, a pious rich lady bought the statue and venerated her in her private home until she was arrested during the Reign of Terror (a period of 11 months following the Revolution, which cost 20-40,000 people their lives.) In jail she used to pray to Our Lady of Good Deliverance with others who had been arrested for their faith, in particular the Sisters of St. Thomas. When all of them survived and were freed in 1806, Madame gave the Black Virgin to the Sisters.
Under the patronage of this Virgin the Royal Confraternity of the Charity of Our Lady of Good Deliverance had been founded in 1533 and comprised thousands of aristocratic and common members. It was meant to be "a saintly society" dedicated to the honor of God and "his very dignified Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary … to keep a singular devotion alive in all real Christian men and women." This association was founded by a priest named Jean Olivier, who was "greatly pious, devoted to Our Lady with strong affection, in the service of the Queen of Angels".(*1) The group organized processions and ministered to prisoners, even paying their debts if they were imprisoned for not being able to pay them.
Our Lady of Good Deliverance was invoked as a helper in all kinds of calamities and suffering, whether of a spiritual or material nature. She was also called upon as the Victorious One in the fight against the Huguenots and other "heretics."
The great saints of Paris, most notably Vincent de Paul and Francis de
Sales prayed before her. Young Francis spent some years in Paris as he
was trying to find his way in life. His poor soul went into a downward
spiral of despair as he became more and more convinced that he was doomed
to eternal hell fire. One day he went before Our Lady of Good Deliverance
to pour out his heart. Soon he was moved to pick up a prayer tablet that
was hanging from the railing of her chapel. He read the prayer, "…rose
from his knees, and at that very moment felt entirely healed. His troubles,
so it seemed to him, had fallen about his feet like a leper's scales."(*2)
Immediately he made a vow of celibacy before God and his Mother. The prayer
he had sent to Heaven was the Memorare:
Not long after this event another priest with great love for Our Mother
who ministered to the poor and to prisoners in Paris, spread the fame
of this prayer. To this day it is recited all over the world at the conclusion
of the Rosary.