Mary, Mother of Fairest Love and St. Josemaria Escriva
“The holy Virgin Mary, Mother of Fair Love, will bring relief to your heart, when it makes you feel that it is of flesh, if you turn to her with confidence.”
ST. JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA
The Way, no. 504
St. Josemaria Escriva had a profound devotion to Our Lady under the title “Mother of Fair Love.” The title has its origins in Scripture — “I am the mother of fair love” (Sirach 24:24) — and has been used by the Church to describe Our Lady as our model of fairest — the most beautiful and pure — love.
In his homily, “Mother of God and Our Mother”, St. Josemaria reflects on the devotion explaining:
“‘I am the Mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge and of holy hope.’ These are the lessons which Mary reminds us of today. The lesson of fair love, of living a clean life, of having a sensitive and passionate heart, so that we may learn to be faithful in our service to the Church. This is no ordinary love. It is Love itself. There is no room here for betrayal, or calculation, or forgetfulness. It is a fair, a beautiful love, because its beginning and end is God, who is thrice Holy, who is all Beauty, all Goodness and all Greatness.
But there is also a reference to fear. For myself, the only fear I can imagine is that of turning away from Love. God Our Lord certainly does not want us to be inhibited, timid or lukewarm about our dedication to him. He wants us to be daring, courageous and refined” (Friends of God, no. 277).
On February 14th, by a decree of the Holy See, the Prelature of Opus Dei celebrates the Feast and Mass of Mary, Mother of Fairest Love in thanksgiving to commemorate the anniversaries of the beginning of Opus Dei’s activities with women in 1930 and the founding of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross in 1943.
In 1966, at the request of St. Josemaria, a shrine was dedicated to Our Lady of Fair Love on the campus of the University of Navarra in Spain. He devoutly began the project of the shrine in 1963 when he commissioned the statue of Our Lady.
In October 1967, while on the campus of the university, he said: “Just over a year ago, with this in mind, I gave the University of Navarra a statue of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Fair Love, so that the undergraduates who study there might learn from her the nobility of love, human love included” (Conversations, no. 105).
St. Josemaria’s desire to build a shrine to Mary, Mother of Fairest Love in the United States is underway! The shrine will be “a place where people come and ask Mary for many favors for their marriage, for their families, for their vocation, and also for holy purity.” Learn about the Mary, Mother of Fairest Love Family Shrine at: https://www.fairestloveshrine.org/
Image: “Mother of Fair Love” by Pasquale Sciancalepore, a gift of St. Josemaria Escriva to the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain