Refugium Peccatorum

Refugium Peccatorum

Refugium Peccatorum meaning Refuge of Sinners is a Roman Catholic term which is one part of four Marian advocations in the Litany of Loreto, the others being Salus Informorum (illness) Consolatrix Afflictorum (sadness) and, Auxilium Christianorum (help of the Christians). Each advocation extolling Mary’s role as advocate for spiritual and corporeal mercy has a rich history, but in general, the notion of asking the Blessed Virgin Mary for help in temporal needs dates back to Saints Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Ambrose of Milan.

In the Roman Catholic tradition, Eve is viewed as being responsible for the sufferings of humans since their fall from Heaven and the Virgin Mary is viewed as the source of all healing. She is the new Eve, who cannot eliminate the damage created by Eve, but limit it. Her fullness of grace, her position among the disciples of Christ and her title as Mother of God are seen as assurances that the Virgin Mary is a powerful intercessor.

The term "Refugium peccatorum" is also used in various works of Roman Catholic Marian art. For instance, it is a marble statue representing Virgin Mary on the grand staircase of the old municipal palace in Venice, Italy. The name came from the fact that the convicts were allowed to stop in front of the Virgin Mary’s statute to pray for their soul on the way to the scaffold.


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