From the pen of the intrepid Dom Guéranger, that monkish powerhouse of Catholic piety and erudition, comes this brief rundown of the two battles in whose memory the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary was gratefully instituted:
Manicheism, revived under a variety of names, had established itself in the south of France, whence it hoped to spread its reign of shameless excess. But Dominic appeared with Mary’s rosary for the defence of the people. On September 12, 1213, Simon de Montfort and the crusaders of the faith, one against forty, crushed the Albigensian army at Muret. This was in the pontificate of Innocent III.
Nearly five centuries later, the Turks, who had more than once cause the west to tremble, again poured down upon Christendom. Vienna, worn out and dismantled, abandoned by its emperor, was surrounded by 300,000 infidels. But another great Pope, Innocent XI, again confided to Mary the defence of the baptized nations. Sobieski, mounting his charger on the feast of our Lady’s Assumption, hastended from Poland by forced marches. On the Sunday within the octave of the Nativity, September 12, 1683, Vienna was delivered; and then began for the Osmanlis that series of defeats which ended in the treaties of Carlowitz and Passarowitz, and the dismemberment of the Ottoman empire. The feast of the most holy name of Mary, inscribed on the calendar of the universal Church, was the homage of the world’s gratitude to Mary, our Lady and Queen.
In addition to these fine words of the militant, contemplative Abbot, Brother André Marie has written about this battle at slightly greater length (click here, and scroll down to the subheading, “The Battle of Vienna and the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary.”) Gary Potter has taken up the larger subject of Our Lady’s military exploits in Saint Mary of Victory – The Historical Role of Our Lady in the Armed Defense of the Faith.
And for something less combative, but beautifully devotional, read Saint Bernard’s meditation on the Holy Name of Mary.