Rome (Italy).Mary Immaculate is for the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians a familiar presence and a point of reference for the vocational journey and for the educational mission. Among the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians on their way to the altars, of theServant of God Sr. Antonietta Bohm (1907 – 2008) whose diocesan investigation is underway for the cause of Beatification, there is no writing in which she expressly speaks of her devotions, but through various documents and testimonies three great Marian devotions can be deduced: the Immaculate Conception, Mary Help of, and the Virgin of Guadalupe.
It is very probable that Mother Antonietta knew and cultivated from her adolescence the devotion to the Immaculate Virgin since, after her mother’s death, she goes to live with her brother in Essen, a small village located in the state of North Rhine – Westphalia, Germany. In that region, in another small town called Neviges, there is a Marian sanctuary, a pilgrimage center since the end of the 18th century. The image venerated there was a copper engraving of the Immaculate Conception.
Furthermore, there is evidence in the chronicles of the house in Essen, the place where Mother Antonietta met the FMA and where she assisted at the oratory, that the sisters visited that Shrine. In the chronicle of 8 May 1923, it is said:
“Walk in Neviges where the Virgin invoked with the name of the Immaculate Conception is venerated in a famous sanctuary. Let us renew our faith before the miraculous image of our Mother and with the offering of our person; let us join with confidence the prayer of graces and blessings on our venerable Mother General, on our Congregation, and on all our loved ones. By a special concession, we can kiss her miraculous image and with her smile and her maternal blessing we return home.”
Moreover, in the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception has been one of the main feasts and a much loved devotion since its origins, given that it was precisely with an Ave Maria recited with Bartolomeo Garelli on 8 December 1841, in the sacristy of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Turin, that Don Bosco traces the birth of the Salesian work.
Mother Antonietta used to express herself this way about Our Lady, “Courage, stay calm and serene, the Lord and the Virgin are with you.” And also, “The Virgin is by your side and she will help you, have faith and trust.” “We have a lot of faith and trust in Our Lady, because her intercession is effcacious.”
The main evidence of Mother Antonietta’s devotion to the Immaculate Conception is in the prayer she coined herself to give the blessing, in which she invokes the Immaculate Conception of Mary and attributes to her a great power of intercession:
O Mary, my Mother, show the power of the Hail Mary.
Most Holy Virgin, bless them, protect them, free them from all danger to soul and body.
My Mother, for your Immaculate Conception,
for the most precious blood that Christ shed on the way to Calvary,
for that painful wound He suffered on his back carrying the cross,
with faith, with trust, grant to all who listen,
your maternal blessing, your maternal protection.
We ask you with faith, with trust, my Mother, listen to them, my Mother, protect them.
May Mary Help of Christians, powerful Virgin, intercede for all the needs that each one has.
My Mother, our Help of Christians,
guide them, enlighten them, may peace and joy always be with each of them.
Mary help of Christians, pray for us.
All those who turn to Mother Antonietta note that she continues to intercede before the Immaculate Virgin Mary for the needs of the poorest.
On the Facebook profile dedicated to this FMA on her way to the altars, you will find information and videos that illustrate her figure and her spiritual characteristics, as well as the collecting of requests for prayers and graces received through her intercession.