LOS CARDALES, Argentina, OCT. 3, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the depressed was enthroned in a parish in Argentina.
Bishop Oscar Sarlinga of Zarate-Campana on Saturday enthroned Mary in her manifestation as Our Lady of the Well (Madonna del Pozzo).
In 2006, the bishop established this devotion to Our Lady as a recourse for the depressed, due to the tradition surrounding the image.
This dedication dates to the year 1256. The original image of Our Lady of the Well, painted on a stone tile, is in the church of Santa Maria in Via in Rome.
One account relates that in the 13th century, a servant at a Roman cardinal’s house flung the heavy stone into a well, perhaps out of contempt, anger or hatred. Tradition holds, however, that it remained miraculously floating on the waters. Another version states that the well overflowed, and the image was found floating on the water.
The people of Rome and the Pope himself believed that the Virgin wished to show that despite our being submerged by those who hate us or do not know us, or are wounded and seek to wound us, we can always surface and rise, even against the physical laws of nature and the psyche.
Pope Honorius honored the image in 1256 carrying it in procession through the city of Rome.
Now this Virgin suggests to many faithful the possibility of being able to rise, to surface from the depths of distress, sadness and sorrow.
Bishop Sarlinga acknowledged the “pastoral need to address with faith and hope the realm of anxiety and depression in which not a few of our brothers and sisters live.”
In a letter addressed in 2007 to people suffering from depression, anxiety and situations of great need, the bishop reminded that Christian joy “stems from hope that cannot disappoint, from that ‘already but not yet,’ which is the anticipation of the glory of heaven.”
According to the prelate, “depression is a particularly complex ailment present in our contemporary age that is characterized — as in no other age — by progress in scientific knowledge and man’s control over the planet, but also marked by abandonment, loneliness, uncertainty and the myriad possibilities of frustration, so often originating in the senselessness of life, that is, in which human life seems for many to have no meaning, or otherwise originating from external factors, such as grave inflicted injustices, unjust poverty, disappointments, calumnies, frauds, tragic loss of loved ones, loss of faith and hope because of scandal or laziness or the malevolence of those who should help.”
He encouraged the depressed to accept their suffering as a way of participating in the Passion of Christ, and to pray and have frequent recourse to the sacraments.
“A spiritual recovery will be invaluable help for those suffering from anxiety, depression and states of urgent need,” the bishop said, “because they will be helped to love themselves more, to appreciate themselves more and to recover the sense of a just struggle, of hope, and of a way out from the darkness of despair.”