On Saturday evenings at 6.00 p.m. at the
Shrine in Ahmadi people gather for the Perpetual Novena Service. Before the
celebration of the Holy Mass, the prayers are recited. Near the Statue of the
Queen of Arabia, in a special box, letters, with requests for favours or
thanksgiving for benefits granted, are kept and a mention is made during the
OUR LADY OF ARABIA
Our Lady went into a strange country
And they crowned her for a queen,
For she needed never to be stayed or questioned
But Only Seen;
And they were broken down under unbeareable beauty
As we have been.
(G.K.Chesterton - The Queen of Seven Swords)
The devotion to Our Lady of Arabia started on the day on which a Chapel in Her honour was dedicated in Ahmadi: December 8, 1948.
To the officiating clergy as well as to the faithful attending, this title of Our Lady seemed quite ''new.'' Yet the Right Rev. Apostolic Administrator of Arabia had approved it.
It is meant to fulfill the prophecy of the Blessed Virgin contained in the "Magnificat" : “Behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed! ‘‘(Luke 1:48)
Few are aware that for the last thousand three hundred years the Arabs were reading in the Qur—an such a praise of the sweet mother of Jesus: “0 Mary, verily God hath chosen thee above all women of the world” (Chap. Ill, Section 5 - 45th verse).
To the glorious Arab crowned women mentioned in the Holy Scripture and in the ancient history as well as in that of the Arabs: i.e., the biblical Queen of Sheba, then Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, who led her people against the armies of a Roman emperor, and the gentle sovereign of the ‘‘Arabian Nights’’ a greater Queen is added in our days.
From the desert of Arabia she spreads out her charm and power in every country. Mary - The Queen of Arabia - rallies around her throne in Ahmadi Catholics of twelve different nationalities, English and Palestinian, Australian, North American, Indian, Irish, French, Pakistani, Lebanese, Syrian, Iraquee, lranee. We could apply to this image of Our blessed Mother the words of St. John, in a different sense: ‘‘Upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Apocalypse XII). Through these people she will be invoked, she will be asked for favours in other parts of the world, as Our Lady of Arabia.