Our Mother of Consolation

September 4

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near the Cross, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother."--John 19: 26-27

With these words Jesus was asking his Church, represented by the disciple, to console and care for his mother. At the same time he was asking his mother to console and care for the Church. From this arose the tradition that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a source of consolation for the whole Church.

Monica, the mother of Augustine, suffered much from her wayward son's early life of sin. According to an ancient story, she confided her distress to Mary, who appeared to Monica wearing a leather cincture (a type of belt). As a pledge of her support, Mary removed the cincture and gave it to Monica to wear. Monica gave it to her son, who, after his conversion to Christ, gave it to the members of his monastic community.

The traditional depiction of Our Mother of Consolation shows Mary holding the child Jesus on her lap. Jesus and Mary both hold the Augustinian cincture in their hands.

Devotion to the mother of Jesus under the title Mother of Consolation has been an Augustinian tradition for centuries, since the cincture that is part of the Augustinian habit reminds them of the compassionate consolation she offers to the Church.