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The Catholic Defender: Our Lady of the Guard

Late one afternoon during the thirteenth century, a solitary French fisherman was fishing off the harbor of Marseille.

Before he became aware of it, a terrific storm burst upon him. His boat tossed around like a shell, and filled with water faster than he could bail it out. His rudder was lost; his mast snapped.

Cutting himself free from the rigging with a knife, he had saved himself temporarily from certain drowning.

Still, everything looked hopeless, and he felt he could never get back to the harbor.

The fisherman thought of the family he would never see again and cast a despairing look at the city, the huge rock standing like a sentinel or guard on the mountain which overtopped the city and harbor. Dimly through the gloom he suddenly saw a solitary figure of a lady, dressed in white, standing firmly on the very top of the rock.

She seemed to be extending her hand as if she would help him to the shelter and safety of the harbor. At once it came to him that the Lady so calmly defying the wind and rain could only be the Blessed Mother, so he prayed to her to help him.

Almost immediately his boat ceased its wild tossing, righted itself and pushed by a friendly gust of wind, raced into the calm water of the harbor until it drove onto the shore at the very foot of the mountain.

Stepping onto the shore, the fisherman fell to his knees and poured out his thanks to the Blessed Virgin, and then hurried home to his worried family.

The story of his rescue through the assistance of Our Lady quickly spread throughout the port. It was remembered that other sailors, on numerous occasions during severe storms, had also seen the figure of the Lady on top of the rock. Always when she had appeared, the angry seas had calmed and their crafts had ridden safely into the shelter.


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