Humans, universally, have many worries. In 1917, Pope Benedict XV surely had his fair share. As pope during World War I, the Influenza epidemic, and the Russian Revolution, he knew that the world desperately needed a beacon of peace. There had to be something, or someone, who could placate the feeling of reigning uncertainty.
He chose to put his faith in the model of peace: Our Lady herself, Queen of Peace.
This title comes, in part, from a title we hold for Jesus: Prince of Peace. Reconciling the world through His Crucifixion, Jesus’ mother accompanied Him at the foot of His Cross. He brings all together in this sacrifice, and Mary, as the chosen Mother of God, is therefore the Queen of Peace, interceding on our behalf so that we may know peace through her Son.
Queen of Peace comes from Mary’s divine association, but the image comes from a young French man named Jean de Joyeuse. Knowing that as Christ brings peace, so does His mother, he gifted his bride Françoise de Voisins a unique statue of Mary. Holding an olive branch in one hand and the Prince of Peace Himself in the other, the statue became an heirloom for the next 200 years before finding a home with the Capuchin Franciscans in Paris. It was renamed Notre Dame de la Paix – Our Lady of Peace. After surviving a French revolution, a theological conflict with the Jansenist heresy, and the incredible growth of Catholicism in France, the statue was ceremonially crowned by the Archbishop of Paris in 1906. Today, three statues of the Queen of Peace exist, one of which is in Honolulu.
Benedict XV was simply adding to its long-standing legacy as a symbol of joy, stability, and peace when he added the title to the Litany of Loreto in 1917. In doing so, he also offered a new reminder of her presence in an ever-shifting world.
A Mass commemorating Our Lady in this name, asking for her continued intercession for peace to reign in the world, was added shortly thereafter. Mary, Queen of Peace continues to be remembered today in our world’s troubles and conflicts. We can remain confident that Our Lady hears our prayers and intercedes on our behalf. As Benedict XVI wrote almost ninety years later in The Human Person, The Heart of Peace, “May Mary show us, in her Son, the Way of peace, and enlighten our vision, so that we can recognize Christ’s face in the face of every human person, the heart of peace!”
Our Lady is celebrated under many names, from popular apparitions to small-town titles. Each reveal something different about the Blessed Mother to us – and affirms what we already know of her love and intercessory power! Deepen your devotion to Our Lady with Miracles, Mysteries, & Mary, a monthly collection of stories, Church teaching, reflections, and so much more – guaranteed to expand your knowledge of Our Blessed Mother. Sign up today to receive this Marian content, right to your inbox!