Letters to Our Mother of Perpetual Help | Novena
Letters to Our Mother of Perpetual Help
An important feature of the Perpetual Novena is the reading of letters addressed to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Every week, hundreds of Petition and Thanksgiving letters are received at the Shrine. Many are from foreign lands where Filipinos happen to be. The more significant Thanksgiving letters are kept on file.
The letters to Our Mother of Perpetual Help were a significant way for people to express their concrete everyday problems through prayer. The thanksgiving letters are a testament to answered prayers which manifest the abundant graces that comes from God through perseverance in prayer.
Letters Received Last Week
PETITIONS | Mga Kahilingan
January 23 - 29, 2020
THANKSGIVING | Mga Pasasalamat
Spiritual Favours | Pang- Espiritual na mga Biyaya
Conversion / Pagbabalik-loob
Peace in the Home | Kapayapaan sa Tahanan
Partner in life/ Katuwang sa Buhay
Financial Help /Tulong Pinansyal
Health and Recovery from Sickness | Kalusugan at Paggaling
Education and Success in Studies | Pag-aaral
Delivered from All Dangers | Kaligtasan sa mga Sakuna
Board Exam/ Pagpasa sa Eksamen
Local Employment / Lokal na Trabaho
Legal Favours/ Pang-legal na Biyaya
Gift of a Child and Safe Delivery | Pagkakaroon ng Anak
Travel Abroad | Pagbiyahe sa Ibang Bansa
Social Justice and Peace in Society | Katarungan at Kapayapaan Panlipunan
Overseas Employment | Trabaho sa ibang Bansa
Temporal Favours | Pang Material na Biyaya
Unspecified/ All the Blessings | Lahat ng mga Biyaya
Ever since the novena began in the shrine, the Redemptorists have encouraged the devotees to write letters of petitions or thanksgiving to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Devotees can drop these letters to several boxes marked separately for letters of petition and letters of thanksgiving. They are located in conspicuous places in the shrine. Today, devotees can also send their letters of petitions and thanksgiving online—through the official website of the shrine. This is highly advantageous for overseas Filipino workers who cannot physically go to the shrine to drop their letters. Indeed, most of the letters received online comes from overseas Filipino workers’. Ayla Joy, an overseas Filipino workers writing on July 12, 2016, expresses her joy of being able to send letter to Our Mother of Perpetual Help from abroad,
I really wanted to send letter to our Blessed Virgin even though I am far away because I know she is the reason for the many blessings that I have received in my life today. All that I asked from her was fulfilled. All these blessings I owe to her son Jesus and to the Blessed Virgin. Thank you very much that there is this kind of way for overseas Filipino workers’s, despite that they are far away, they can be able to write their thanksgiving and petitions to our Blessed Virgin.
Every Tuesday of every week throughout the year, the Baclaran Redemptorist community come together to count the number of petition letters and read the letters of thanksgiving received during the past week. The letters of petitions are counted only not read while all the letters of thanksgiving are read. The letters of petitions are not read simply because of the sheer number of petition letters received; reading all the letters would take almost the whole week. After reading all the thanksgiving letters, the community chooses the best ones. Reading through the letters of thanksgiving every week, I could just admire the deep and genuine faith of the devotees. It gives me profound inspiration for my own devotion and faith.
The selected letters are read by the commentator during the novena and masses at the shrine the following day, Wednesday. The preacher sometimes takes inspiration from the letters for his homily. The commentator also announces the total number of letters of petitions and thanksgiving received.
The letters of petitions that the shrine have received throughout these years ever since the beginning of the novena can attest to the various needs that the devotees bring to Our Mother of Perpetual Help along with their trust and confidence in her loving care. On the other hand, the letters of thanksgiving that the shrine have received from the devotees can attest to the many favors that the devotees have received. The letters of thanksgiving attest to the conviction that the shrine is a shrine of miracles.
On any given year, the letters of petitions outnumber the letters of thanksgiving by a huge margin. Of the total letters received every year, 85% to 90% are letters of petitions while 10% to 15% are letters of thanksgiving. In 2016, for example, 136,819 letters of petitions were received which represents 87.83% of the total letters received while only 18,954 letters of thanksgiving were received which represents 12.17% of the total letters received. This does not accurately reflect, however, the actual number of petitions and thanksgiving of the devotees. For one, not all devotees write letters of petitions and thanksgiving to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
From the thanksgiving letters we read every Wednesday, one important albeit hard insight that devotees learn is that in prayer they receive not the answer which they desire, but the answer which God in his wisdom and his love knows to be best. Not all petitions from the devotees were answered by God in the exact way and time that the devotees hoped for. Cecilia & Gerald Salandanan learned this hard truth but their confidence in Our Mother of Perpetual Help never wavered. They share with us their experience through a thanksgiving letter written in September 3, 2014,
After 9 Wednesdays, I did not pray the novena again and I did not return to you as well. Not because I lost hope that you would not answer my petition at that time, but I had complete trust that you will not let me down. Thank you very much for you taught me to be strong and not let my impatience crush my faith. Even if my prayers were not answered immediately, my trust never waned, for all things happen for a reason and all things have an end. Thank you very much for my husband is finally home after 5 months of sickness, hardship, anger, tears and loneliness. Even though it has been painful and difficult, I believe that all things happen according to the will of God. Impossible things become possible. All is miracle, dear Mother. And I will not be surprised because I know that God the Father and almighty God will make all things to mend our lives through your prayers.
Even though their prayers are not answered in the way they expect, Our Mother of Perpetual Help empowers and strengthen them as they continue to hope that God will respond to their prayers in the way that God knows what is best for them. As the devotees pray in the novena, “Make us aware that God never ceases to love us; that He answers all our prayers in the way that is best for us.” As Krystelline Jimenez testifies in her thanksgiving letter February 3, 2016,
I have prayed the Novena every Wednesday morning for a couple of years now. Some of my petitions were answered with a “no”, some were “not yet” but most were “YES”. But more than the petitions, the Novena gives me a sense of security, a sense of peace, where nothing could ever go wrong. I thank the Lord and Mama Mary for taking care of me and my family despite my shortcomings. Thank you for my whole life, including the No and Not yets.
There are some devotees where many of their petitions were not even answered. Despite this, they continue to come to the shrine. For them, the warm presence and loving gaze of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is enough as it gives them inner peace and hope. This is the experience of Ritchie Limpin who wrote in July 08, 2014,
For a person who mas many concerns like me—a single mom who brings up my children alone, it is only to Our Mother of Perpetual Help that I hold on to. I must admit, there are times that I started to ask myself, what do I get out of coming here besides the profound peace I feel whenever I come to this place? Are there any prayers that she has already heard and come true? Despite all of these, I continue to visit her even though sometimes there is nothing that I can think of anymore to pray for. I just remain sitting or kneeling there and praying the novena.
For the petitions answered, however, they are not just miracles coming from God but accompanied by human efforts and cooperation. As the Filipino saying goes, “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa” (Mercy is God’s, action is for human beings) implies that prayer must be complemented by action while action must be supplemented by prayer. This is the experience of Mr. and Mrs. Rogelio and Jessie Sugcang. For 13 years they were devotee of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. They had a son who was a drug addict. He was living with them. He had two children. Whenever he gets high on drugs, he becomes out of control; he threatens them, he wanted to kill them. For almost four years they prayed to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. For them only a miracle could save their son. Because of their unwavering faith and devotion, the couple’s prayers were answered. His son found a job in the ship overseas. Now their son is successful in his career and living a life guided by Our Mother of Perpetual Help.