Rome: Our Lady Of The Wayside, part 2, By Monsignor J. T. McMahon, M.A., PH.D (THE ROSARY OF THE SEVEN JOURNEYS OF OUR LADY)


There were many difficulties on the way of the soldier-saint. There will be many for us. But Our Lady of the Wayside never leaves her travellers unprotected: “I will show thee the path of wisdom: I will lead thee by the paths of equity.”
For those who pass eagerly and joyfully along life’s way, caring nothing for the difficulties, “the path of the Just goeth forward as a shining light.” It is lit up by the presence of the Child and His Mother, and “will increase even unto perfect day,” when we shall see Our Lady of the Wayside with her Child face to face, and only then will we recognize from what dangers they have shielded us. “Without the Way there is no going.” (Imitation of Christ, iii, 56.)
As long as we keep close to Mary and her Divine Child, we are on the right road and will gain the heavenly city.


In 1890 Pope Leo XIII instituted the Feast of Our Lady of the Wayside on June 2, with a special Mass and Office granted to the Society of Jesus. Since then the feast day has been changed to May 24. In Australia and New Zealand the feast is celebrated on October 16 to avoid clashing with the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, the Patroness of Australia and New Zealand.


In me is all the grace of the way and the truth. In me is all the hope of life and of virtue. Blessed are they that are unspotted in the way, and walk in the law of the Lord. (Eccl., 24.)


O Lord, Jesus Christ, Who art the Way, the Truth, and the Life, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, mercifully grant that, running in the way of Thy commandments, we may in the end attain to life everlasting.


I will show thee the way of wisdom. I will lead thee by the paths of equity: which, when thou shalt have entered, thy steps shall not be straightened, and when thou runnest thou shalt not meet a stumbling block. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go; keep her, for she is thy life. Be not delighted in the paths of the wicked, nor let the way of evil men please thee. Flee from it: pass not by it; turn aside and leave it. But the path of the just goeth forward as a shining light and will increase even unto perfect day. (Prov. 4.)


Come over to me all ye that desire me, and ye shall be fulfilled with my generations. For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honeycomb. Alleluia. (Eccl., 24.) Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Alleluia. (Luke, I.)


Do Thou, O Lord, mercifully regard this offering, and by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant that sinners may come back from their evil way, and the just be confirmed in Thy way and Thy truth, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.


God hath girded me with strength, and set my way immaculate. (Ps. 17.)


Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty and Merciful God, that we, refreshed by these Thy gifts, may by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, walk in the path of justice, and so happily attain to the glory of heaven, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.


There are so many difficulties on the way, so many enticing by-ways, and so many temptations to laze and loiter on the way that we must have constant recourse to Our Lady of the Way. She will hear and heed us provided we are wise travellers and obey the rules of going her way. The passport to travel in Mary’s company is a cross. Without this no traveller can be accepted for the journey. “Whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (St. Luke xiv, 27.)
Very little luggage is allowed “for we brought nothing into this world, and certainly we can carry nothing out.” (I Tim. vi, 7.) The traveller is advised to lay aside “every weight”-anything that could hinder him and prevent him from running on the way. (Heb. xii, 1.) Children are especially welcome, for “of such is the Kingdom of Heaven,” and “unless you become as little children you shall not enter.” “Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me.” (Prov. ix, 4.)

Four directions of Our Lady of the Wayside must be followed, or she cannot accompany us on our way.

1. Obedience-”Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye.” (Words of Our Lady at Cana.)

2. Fidelity and Constancy-”Go not aside, neither to the right hand nor to the left. Thy ears shall hear the words of one admonishing thee behind thy back. This is the way; walk ye in it.” (Isaias xxx, 21.)

3. Copy the Model-”Looking on Jesus, Who endured the Cross.” (Heb. xii, 2.)

4. Devotion to Our Lady-”Come over to me all ye that desire me.” (Gradual.)
And the final resolution which each traveller must make, and strive to keep. “In the streets and the broadways I will seek Him Whom my soul loveth.” (Cant. iii, 2. )


Say the official prayer of the Church, the Collect of the Mass of Our Lady of the Way, celebrated on May 24 by the Society of Jesus throughout the world, and on October 16 in Australia and New Zealand to avoid clashing with the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians. “O Lord, Jesus Christ, Thou Who art the Way, the Truth, and the Life; grant graciously that by the intercession of Blessed Mary, Thy Virgin Mother, we, running in the way of Thy commandments, may attain to life-everlasting, Who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.”
God hath girded me with strength and set my way immaculate.
Our Lady of the Wayside, pray for us and guide us.
Then add three times-Pater, Ave, and Gloria, in Mary’s honour.


The Rosary consists of seven septets, or groups of seven, each one Our Father, seven Hail Marys and one Glory be to the Father, finishing with Hail, Holy Queen, etc.
The Gospels tell us particularly of the seven journeys of Our Lady. When we set out on any journey, then, however short, even to our daily work, let us accompany Our Lady, reciting one or more decades of her journeys, saluting her on the wayside. She is the Patroness of Travellers; many churches are dedicated to Our Lady of the Highway.

The First Journey of Our Lady was the VISITATION. “Mary, rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda and she entered into the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth . . . and Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and returned to her own home.” Great was Our Lady’s exultant holy joy as she went swiftly, as on wings of gladness, through the high, lonely hill country. Tradition says that so beautiful was Our Lady in her youth and graceful modesty that the villagers could not be satisfied with seeing her and St. Joseph passing, but ran on and climbed the hills that they may see her again and watch her out of sight. The angels had special care of her in the high and craggy mountain ways.
It was a long journey-about eighty miles each way. It occupied the greater part of a week. The humble Virgin was accompanied on this errand of charity by her spouse, St. Joseph, whose duty finished at the door of Zachary. He went, away, returning again to take the Holy Virgin back to her own house, after she had heard Zachary blessing God in that great canticle .of the Benedictus, the . special prayer of travellers, to “direct our feet in the way of peace.”

The Second Journey of Our Lady was the NATIVITY: And Joseph went up from Galilee out of the City of Nazareth into Judea, to the City of David which is called Bethlehem, to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife who was with child, “and she brought forth her first born son . . . and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Another long journey, actually the same distance as the first, but Our Lady did not complain, notwithstanding the state she was in. She cheerfully obeyed the laws of the land which ordained that a census be taken; she saw therein the most Holy Will of God. The hardships and annoyances of such a journey were patiently borne by Our Lady and St. Joseph. Even when refused accommodation they did not complain, but in the greatest humility and in the most holy poverty retired to a stable where the Saviour of the world was born.

The Third Journey of Our Lady is the PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE. After the, days of her Purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. And when His parents brought in the Child Jesus to do for Him according to the custom of the law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God and sang the hymn “Nunc Dimittis.” Our Lady brought with her on this journey the offering of the poor which was two turtle doves or two young pigeons.

The Fourth Journey of Our Lady is the FLIGHT INTO EGYPT. Joseph arose and took the Child and His mother by night and retired into Egypt. They remained there until the death of Herod. Again he arose and took the Child and His mother and came into the land of Israel, retiring into the quarters of Galilee, and coming he dwelt in a city called Nazareth.
This was indeed a long journey for Our Lady, upwards of three hundred miles and mostly through desert country. There is a beautiful story relating to this journey. In the south of Palestine when Our Lady was looking for water in that wilderness, a young robber led them to an oasis. He was afterwards the good thief on the cross. At Matarich near Shepherd’s Hotel outside Cairo, is a well which is pointed out as the scene of the abode of the Holy Family during the sojourn in Egypt.

The Fifth Journey of Our Lady is the FINDING IN THE TEMPLE. When the Child Jesus was twelve years old, His parents going up into Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast and having fulfilled the days when they returned, the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents knew it not, and thinking that He was in the company, they came a day’s journey . . . and not finding Him they returned to Jerusalem seeking Him, and after three days they found Him in the Temple and He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them and His Mother kept all these words in her heart.
This was an anxious journey for Our Lady. The women travelled in one group, the men in another; the Boy Jesus at that age, twelve years, could be with either group and so occurred the mystery of His disappearance. But Mary was entirely submissive to the Holy Will of God.

The Sixth Journey of Our Lady is the MARRIAGE FEAST OF CANA. There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee and the Mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus also was invited and His disciples to the marriage. The wine having failed they appealed to Our Lady. She besought her Divine Son to work a miracle before His time, and she told the waiters: “Whatsoever He shall say to you do ye.” He changed the water into wine at His Mother’s request; this beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee. Always keep the company of Our Lady in your social activities.

The Seventh Journey of Our Lady is to CALVARY. Having followed her Divine Son in His Passion, there stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother. When Jesus had seen His Mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His Mother, “Woman, behold thy son.” And after that He saith to the disciple, “Behold thy Mother” and from that hour the disciple took her to his own.
This last journey of Our Lady is the climax in the sacrifice of her Divine Son which she had already made at the Incarnation.
So you finish with the “Hail, Holy Queen” in which you ask Our Lady to be with you in every journey through life, and after your exile in this world to give you Jesus her Divine Son forever.


In Hilaire Belloc’s book, The Path to Rome, which describes the author’s walk from Toul, in France, to Rome, in fulfilment of a vow to Our Lady, is given a description of the wayside shrines which he saw on his journey, indicative of the Catholicity of the countries through which he walked. In France, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy, peasants, as they travel the roads, pause at the shrines to salute the crucifix and pray to Our Lady. In Australia, whose first name was “Australia del Espiritu Santo” (Land of the Holy Spirit) there is an inherited shyness, an English characteristic, about any parade of one’s faith or piety. The open simplicity and complete lack of self-consciousness of a French or Italian peasant praying aloud, and addressing the Madonna in the intimate words of a friendly conversation, is a form of childishness to the English race, something that just is not done. Australia is slowly breaking with that tradition and more pageantry, processions, and colourful ceremonial is growing in our midst. But we have not built many wayside shrines yet. We are afraid of ridicule, or that the shrines may be decorated with empty beer bottles by some midnight party. There is that danger, but that is easily remedied. The flow of migrants from Europe will, in time, leaven the public expression of our faith, and in due course wayside shrines will appear in our bushland.


In the meantime we may honour Our Lady of the Wayside by fixing her image on our motor cars and bikes, so that she may accompany us on our way. Let us follow the example of the Apostles by asking Our Lady’s blessing before we go out on any errand or journey. Mary always gives more than we ask and this is therefore a practice of great graces.
To remind ourselves that Australia is under the patronage of Our Lady, we should carry with us always the Rosary beads, and, as we travel through our bushland glory and scenic beauty, we should caress her beads and whisper a decade of the Rosary in her honour.


Driving a car, bus or truck we can have the little one-decade Rosary beads on a finger and say the beads as we drive. The Rosary beads and the practice of passing them through our fingers at odd moments of the day, will call Our Lady of the Wayside to our side as a travelling companion. That practice will make both the Australian city and countryside her wayside shrine. When we go hiking through the bushland in groups or alone, let us quietly make the whole bushland Mary’s shrine through reciting her Rosary.
St. Ignatius Loyola asks for a culture of the imagination to get the most profit from his spiritual exercises. He calls for action as a soldier should. He won extraordinary power over men through his creative imagination. His leadership attracted outstanding men such as St. Francis Borgia, who saw in his way of acting the master of the spiritual life. Let St. Ignatius be our guide as we pray to our Lady of the Wayside to be our companion on the road of life, to enliven our faith, to inspire our hope, and to kindle our love.


On earth, as in heaven, Our Lady still stays close to her devoted client, St. Ignatius. His mortal remains rest and are venerated in a chapel next to the chapel of Madonna della Strada. Even in death the saintly son has not left his Mother’s side, that Blessed Mother-Our Lady of the Wayside-who so wonderfully led him along the road that ends in heaven.
Our Lady of the Wayside will do the same for us. She is constant. She does not change. Prayer and penance pleased her in the sixteenth century. At Fatima, in the twentieth century, her expressed desire was still the same-Prayer and Penance. We have only to ask her, and to slip our hand confidingly into hers. Love and sacrifice bind us to her ever more closely.
Earthly mothers, anxious that their little ones should not stray, place gentle reins around their shoulders, so that they may walk the more safely. Our Lady of the Wayside, tenderest of mothers, attaches us to her by the sweet bonds of Prayer and Penance. She will walk beside us on our way constantly obtaining graces for us from her Divine Son, so that we may at last be with them both in heaven.

Let us then say to Our Lady of the Way:

Mother, Mother, I am coming home, Home to Jesus and to thee;
But my country’s hills are far away, And its lights 1 cannot see.
Mother, hearken as I pray,
Meet me, on my homeward way; Meet me, O Mother mine, today, Meet me, dear Lady of the way. Often-times my skies are clouded, I can see no sun nor star.
And the road is rough and narrow, And the end seems very far.
Lest perchance my feet should stray, Meet me, Mother on my way.
Meet me, O Mother mine, today, Meet me, dear Lady of the way. 1 must cross the burning desert, 1 shall thirst, O Mother mine; Fill thy vessel at the fountain Of thy Son’s Sweet Heart Divine; Lest 1 faint upon the way,
Tender Mother, stoop, 1 pray: Give my soul to drink today.
Do not wait until tomorrow,
For I need thee here and now; Wait not till I come to meet thee- Rather, Mother, meet me thou. Oh! in all 1 do or say,
Come and meet me on my way, Mother Mary, every day.

Nihil Obstat:
Censor Dioc.
Archiepiscopus Melbournensis. 14th September, 1953.

Dear Lady of the wayside
Let thy lights be always gleaming, As through all the darksome ages For the pilgrim they have glowed,
Till they lead us o’er the desert
To the haven of our dreaming,
To thy home, O Mother Mary!
At the ending of the road.
-Brian O’Higgins.