THE LITANY OF
THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Picture of the Virgin Mary from the Italian Baroque painter Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato, courtesy of Wikipedia

The Litany of The Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as the Litany of Loreto, is a popular prayer of supplication, once prayed in processions to atone for sins and to prevent calamities.

Pilgrims at the famous Marian Shrine in Loreto, Italy used it in the 16th century, and it was approved in 1587 by Pope Sixtus V. Although it is often prayed privately, especially after the rosary, the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary has the distinction of being one of only six litanies approved for public recitation by the Holy See.

Its invocations to our Blessed Mother include titles given to her by the early Church Fathers in the first few centuries of Christianity. The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary has also been set to music (as the Litany of Loreto) by such celebrated composers as Palestrina, Charpentier, and Mozart. The congregation’s responses to a leader in public recitations appear in italics below.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world:
Have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us. (repeat at end of each phrase.)
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of Heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of angels,
Queen of patriarchs,
Queen of prophets,
Queen of apostles,
Queen of martyrs,
Queen of confessors,
Queen of virgins,
Queen of all saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of peace.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:
Grant, O Lord God, we beseech Thee, that we Thy servants may rejoice in continual health of mind and body; and, through the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, may be freed from present sorrow, and enjoy eternal gladness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

It is good, and comforting to remember when praying the Litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary, that, as St. Bernard once put it “Mary has made herself all to all, and opens her merciful heart to all, that all may receive of her fullness: the sick, health; those in affliction, comfort; the sinner, pardon, and God, glory.”

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