Mary, our Life, our Sweetness.
Father Bovio relates that there was a sinful woman, named Ellen, who entered a church, and by chance heard a sermon on the Rosary. On leaving the church she purchased a set of beads, but wore them concealed as she did not wish it to be known that she had them. She began to recite them, and though she did so without devotion, our most Blessed Lady poured such sweetness and consolation into her soul during the whole time, that she could not cease repeating the Hail Marys. At last she was filled with such a horror for her wicked life, that she could no longer find repose, and was obliged to go to confession. She accomplished this duty with such contrition that the priest was filled with astonishment. After her confession, she went to the foot of an altar of the most Blessed Virgin, and there, in thanksgiving to her advocate, she said the Rosary. The divine mother then addressed her from the image in the following words: “Ellen, you have already too much offended God and me; from this moment change your life, and I will bestow a large share of my graces upon you.” The poor sinner, in the deepest confusion, replied: “Ah! Most Holy Virgin, it is true that up to now I have been a wicked sinner; but you can do all, help me; on my part I abandon myself to you, and will spend the remainder of my life in doing penance for my sins.” With the assistance of Mary, she distributed all her goods among the poor, and began a life of rigorous mortification. She was tormented with dreadful temptations, but constantly recommended herself to the Mother of God, and thus was always victorious. She was favored with many extraordinary graces, with visions, revelations, and even the gift of prophecy. Finally, before her death, which was announced to her by Mary some days before it took place, the most Blessed Virgin came herself, with her divine Son, to visit her; and when she expired, her soul was seen flying towards heaven in the form of a beautiful dove.
Behold, O Mother of my God, my only hope. Mary, behold at your feet a miserable sinner, who asks you for mercy. You are proclaimed and called by the whole Church, and by all the faithful, the refuge of sinners. You are consequently my refuge; you have to save me. I will say with William of Paris, You know, most sweet Mother of God, how much your Blessed Son desires our salvation. You know all that Jesus Christ endured for this end. I present to you, O my Mother, the sufferings of Jesus: the cold that he endured in the stable, his journey into Egypt, his toils, his sweat, the blood that he shed, the anguish which caused his death on the cross, and of which you were yourself a witness. O, show that you love your beloved Son, and by this love I implore you to assist me. Extend your hand to a poor creature who has fallen, and asks your help. Were I a saint, I would not need seek your mercy; but because I am a sinner, I fly to you, who are the Mother of Mercies. I know that your compassionate heart finds its consolation in assisting the miserable, when you can do so, and do not find them obstinate. Console, then, your compassionate heart, and console me this day; for now you have the opportunity of saving a poor creature condemned to hell; and you can do so, for I will not be obstinate. I abandon myself into your hands, only tell me what you would have me do, and obtain for me strength to execute it, for I am resolved to do all that depends on me to recover the divine grace. I take refuge under your mantle. Jesus wills that I should have recourse to you, in order not only that his blood may save me, but also that your prayers may assist me in this great work; for your glory, and for his own, since you are his Mother. He sends me to you, that you may help me. O Mary, see, I have recourse to you; in you do I confide. You pray for so many others, pray also for me; say only a word. Tell our Lord that you will my salvation, and God will certainly save me. Say that I am yours, and then I have obtained all that I ask, all that I desire.