The history of Our Lady and America’s founding
For instance: The earliest explorers of North America—sent by the Catholic king of Norway in the 14th century—left behind a carving in modern-day Minnesota in what became known as the Kensington Stone. Dated 1362, it read: “Hail Virgin Mary; save us from evil” (making it the oldest historical record found in the U. S.).
Christopher Columbus dedicated his voyage of discovery to Mary, changing the name of his flagship from Gallega to Santa Maria, and led the crews of all three vessels in hymns to Our Lady each evening. Upon discovering the island of San Salvador (named after the Savior), Columbus and his men went ashore and sang the Salve Regina in Our Lady’s honor; they taught the natives there the Ave Maria (“Hail Mary”) and other Catholic prayers.
Columbus’ three ships were named the Santa Maria (“Saint Mary”), the Pinta (“Paint”), and Nina (“Girl”)–which, put together in a sentence, reads “Holy Mary paints girl.” This refers to the miraculous event which occurred 49 years later, when Mary “painted” an image of herself as a young Indian maiden on St. Juan Diego’s tilma, or cloak—a scientifically-inexplicable image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which still exists in all its beauty today, and which prompted the conversion of nine million Mexican Indians to Catholicism in just one decade’s time.
The French explorer Fr. Jacques Marquette named the greatest river in North America the “River of the Immaculate Conception” (though its name was later changed to the Mississippi). The Spanish and French introduced Catholicism to many Native Americans, but the One True Faith wasn’t welcome in the English colonies. Catholic settlers established themselves in Maryland (the first colony to allow freedom of religion); they were able to name their colony after Our Lady only because they claimed to be honoring the English Queen Henrietta Maria.
It’s believed Our Lady’s intervention may have saved the life of General George Washington on several occasions; it’s also recorded that she encouraged him at the most trying time of the American Revolution, appearing to him at his headquarters in Valley Forge during the terrible winter of 1777-78. He later described her as a “woman of singular beauty,” and related how she said, “Son of the Republic, look and learn!” In the vision of the future he was then given, Washington saw the colonies take root and thrive, only to be fiercely attacked and dreadfully scourged on three different occasions—the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and a future conflict (World War III?) still to take place.
Has the United States remained true to its founding ideals? In particular, are Jesus and His Mother afforded a place of honor in our nation’s culture, politics, and economy? The answer to these questions is obviously a negative one—and so you and I are called to pray, fast, and sacrifice for the moral and spiritual renewal of the United States, and for the mitigation or prevention of any future war involving our country (a very appropriate theme for the remainder of Lent). America is still very dear to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart; our Heavenly Mother will gladly obtain her Son’s blessing and protection for our homeland, if only enough of us humbly beseech her for this grace.
Support Aleteia! It only takes a minute.
If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.
Here are some numbers:
- 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
- Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
- Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
- Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
- Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
- We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)
As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.
Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!