Our Lady’s Favorite Marian Prayer

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Roy Schoeman is a Jewish convert to Catholicism. Through mystical experiences with both Jesus and Mary, he came to understand the strong and beautiful link between Judaism and Christianity. Jesus Christ himself was a devout Jew in his earthly life, fulfilling it while bringing about Christianity.

In Roy’s testimony, he shares a mystical encounter with Mary, Mother of Jesus, in which he learns of her favorite Marian prayer:

The beauty of her voice was at least as intoxicating as the beauty of her appearance, but most intoxicating of all was the love itself flowing from her. My initial reaction was to want to throw myself down at her feet and honor her; I remember wishing that I knew at least the Hail Mary! In fact, the first question I asked her came out of that desire to honor her. I asked what her favorite prayer to her was. Her initial reply was ‘I love all prayers to me!” I was a bit pushy and pressed, “But you must love some prayers to you more than others… ?”

She relented and recited a prayer in Portuguese. I knew it was in Portuguese without being told. I know no Portuguese so I couldn’t understand the words. The best that I could do was to memorize phonetically the sound of the first few words and write them down the next morning when I awoke. Later I identified the prayer, to the best of my ability, as the Portuguese version of “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.” At the time I knew that the prayer being in Portuguese reflected, in part, a particular childlike devotion to Mary still present among the Portuguese. Perhaps it was also an allusion to Fatima. It might also be significant that that prayer was first given by Mary at another apparition, the one in 1830 to Saint Catherine Laborouré in Paris, that resulted in the miraculous medal.—Roy Schoeman, Honey from the Rock: Sixteen Jews Find the Sweetness of Christ

The Portuguese translation and pronunciation of “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you” is:

Ó Maria, concebida sem pecado, rogai por nós que recorremos a Vós.

In addition to Roy’s points, I’ll add that Mary perhaps also loves the Portuguese version because of how sweetly it rolls off the tongue. It inherently has a beautiful cadence and rhyme to it: Ó-pecado-nós-recorremos-Vós and also Maria-concebida.

In her incredible humility, she may also love the prayer’s brevity, because she wants us to focus on God who, as three persons, is simultaneously her father, son, and spouse. It’s also made clear in the text that it’s not her favorite prayer of all prayers, just the ones directed to her as we seek her intercession and aid!

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