Salus Infirmorum

Health of the Sick

The representation of Our Lady is that of the Orante with hands folded in prayer of intercession. But the image also expresses Mary’s “compassion,” her suffering with those who suffer: “Quis infirmatur et ego non infirmor” (attributed to Saint Paul). Mary is not the ultimate source of health and redemption (salus). It is God himself who heals all our infirmities, as indicated in Psalm 103:3 topping the whole page.

The image of Mary is surrounded by the symbols of the apothecary and medical professions. The lower half of the illustration contrasts sickness (a sick person on her sick bed) and healing (possibly an allusion to the pool of Bethesda). “Health of the Sick,” Mary is a true physician. But her medical equipment is not the stethoscope. She acts as a healer by radiating holiness (virtue).


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