A Prayer to Notre-Dame

We walk through the halls of Notre-Dame,

My daughter and I.

The towers and walls of the city of lights recede

As the darkness lays her soft arms across us.

The sounds of the tour boats travelling along the Seine

Are hushed as Notre-Dame takes us to her breast.

Step by step, the dust of the city rises from my sandals

And settles on the flagstones beneath my feet.

Step by step, the soles of my daughter

Press the dust into the ancient floor as she follows.

 

Alma Redemptóris Mater, quae pérvia caeli porta manes, et stella maris, 
succúrre cadénti, súrgere qui curat, pópulo. (1)

 

No Catholic, I, nor my daughter neither – a pagan, she.

Yet the gravity of the holy floor holds us fast.

The fingers of our ancestors grasp our souls,

And their cries of grief echo stories against the chapel walls.

No! No! I will not be pulled to earth by your anguish!

I have my own!

 

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus. (2)

 

Oh, crowned Mother! It is not you that holds us here.

Your hands reach down to lift us from the shackles we create.

One by one we have forged them.

One by one they fasten us to the dark.

In sorrow and woe, we are shrouded!

Our earthly cares tie us to this place!

Do not leave us here.

 

O mater pietatis et misericordiae, beatissima Virgo Maria, ego miser et indignus peccator ad te confugio toto corde et affectu. (3)

 

Your grace will free us and we will fly.

God’s love gifts wings upon us,

But you, Mother, you will teach us to soar.

Your hands will release me from my past…release my daughter too.

Lift her heavenwards, Mother, lift her as I cannot.

Liberate her from my sins,

And my mother’s sins,

And my grandmother’s sins.

Free her as you will free me.

 

 

Salve, Regína, Mater misericórdiæ, vita, dulcédo et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamámus, éxsules fílii Evæ.
Ad te suspirámus geméntes et flentes in hac lacrimárum valle.
Eia ergo, advocáta nostra, illos tuos misericórdes óculos ad nos convérte. (4)

 

And as I am made loose from the grief of my anguished ancestors

I take the hand of my daughter in peace.

You will protect us! You will raise us up!

And with this truth in my heart, we can leave the walls of your house

In sweet serenity.

 

 

 

  1. Holy Mother of our Redeemer, ever open gate of heaven and star of the sea, come to the aid of your children who have fallen and who seek to rise.

 

  1. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners.

 

  1. Mother of mercy and of love, most blessed Virgin Mary, I, a poor and unworthy sinner, fly to thee with all my heart and all my affection.

 

  1. Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, 
Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope! 
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us.