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By Fr. William Saunders, Catholic Exchange, January 8, 2020
Fr. Saunders is pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Potomac Falls and a professor of catechetics and theology at Notre Dame Graduate School in Alexandria. If you enjoy reading Fr. Saunders’s work, his new book entitled Straight Answers (400 pages) is available at the Pauline Book and Media Center of Arlington, Virginia (703/549-3806).
Q: What is the story behind our Blessed Mother’s title “Our Lady of Hope?”
In 1861, Kaiser Wilhelm I ascended the throne of Prussia, and immediately appointed Otto von Bismark as his chancellor. Their goal was to unite all German-speaking states into a single country. Together, they assumed an aggressive, bellicose stance. To assert as well as to test its position among their neighbors, Prussia waged three quick wars: first, against Denmark in 1864, taking Holstein; second, against Austria in 1866, putting Prussia in control of Germany; and finally, against France in 1870.
On August 1, 1870, the first cannon was fired, beginning the Franco-Prussian War. The French army quickly fell to the militarily superior Prussian army. By December 27, the Prussians had invaded Paris. Then they turned to the western provinces of Normandy and Brittany.
By mid-January, 1871, the Prussian army was just a few miles from the town of Pontmain, which was located right inside the French defensive line. The citizens feared for their lives. Father Guerin, who had been the parish priest for 35 years, instructed the children to pray to the Blessed Mother for protection. ….