Beating the Devil

Enthusiastic ChurchPop picked up on something “new” from Taylor Marshall (who has done good things recently): a title of Our Lady invoked as Exterminatrix of Heresies.   They posted an image of Mary which I’ve shown on and off on this blog since time immemorial.

Alas, the title for this marvelous image is not “Exterminatrix of Heresies”.

While we can invoke Mary with any of her titles when we are before any of her images or depictions – I wouldn’t hesititate to call Our Blessed Mother Queen of Priests while she is dressed in her Fatima garb – the title of the depiction in question is “Madonna del Soccorso… Our Lady of Succor, or Help.”   This version was painted in 1494 and it is found in the cloister of the Abbey of San Felice in Giano del Umbria, the Foundation house of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.

Mary putting the smack down on the Devil with a club is a common theme.  There are numerous depictions of the Devil trying to get at a soul, in the guise of a child running to mom for help.

I’ve written more about here HERE.

A few more versions just for nice.

It’s a whip this time.  Gotta sting.

Our Lady of Succor, ladies and gents.

And for the bonus round, here’s Barna da Siena’s offering of St. Margaret beating the stuffing out of the Devil with a hammer!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. MissBee says:

    I don’t recall who I read recently (maybe it was you, Fr. Z) who said that Mary is taking a sledgehammer to the church. I see that smashing evil with an object has been a common theme for hundreds of years. Our Lady of the Sledgehammer, pray for us.

  2. Dismas says:

    In other, yet related news, the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT, USA is now requiring all Masses to conclude with the St. Michael Prayer as of September 15.

    It has been said that in the Nazi concentration camps, there abounded those who were truly evil or truly good – there was no room for anything in between. We live in days that sort souls….

  3. Malta says:

    I’ve had the unfortunate experience of investigating a satanic cult, and it has scared the hell out of me (pun intended). These demons have had the gall to start harassing me. I had a witness (a young mom and her child) with me when poltergeists started creating all sort of havoc in my client’s home (just to give one example), and I’ve interviewed four witnesses who have seen either a black demon, or a strangely tall white being (but it created fear, so definitely not angelic). I personally sprinkled Holy Water around my client’s home, where satanic rituals took place (I couldn’t find a priest to do it). I wear a blessed Scapular and go to confession, etc. Believe it or not, coming in contact with demons has actually strengthened my faith.

  4. Kathleen10 says:

    I do love that image, there is so much to look at. The diminutive demon, looking tentatively at Our Lady, his little claw daring to touch the child, and she is going to whack him for it, and we’re glad.
    We certainly do need Our Lady to help. It is impossible to conceive of any mechanism by which we are going to uproot these men save divine intervention. We can put a hurtin on them to be sure, but get them out, harder to imagine. Yet we must. Our Lady of Succor, please help!

  5. youngcatholicgirl says:

    Is this where “Hail Mary, full of grace, punch the devil in the face!” came from?

  6. Mark Zielman says:

    “Just beat the devil out of it…”
    – Bob Ross

  7. Markus says:

    And St. Dunstan (Bishop), my patron saint. While in the metal shop, working on liturgical metalwork, was attacked by the devil. He took a pair of tongs and grabbed the devil by the nose…

  8. AveMariaGratiaPlena says:

    A few days ago someone posted an old drawing of Mary beating the crap out of the devil (with her bare hands) while an angel stood by holding baby Jesus.

  9. maternalView says:

    As satisfying and dare I say comforting as these images are, I can’t help but imagine our Dear Mother Mary only having to give the devil one look to cause him to keel over and slither away.

    Yes, her “Mom look” packs a mean punch. ;)

  10. Father G says:

    Here is some background info on the history of devotion to the Madonna del Soccorso:

    Also, it was a priest by the name of Fr. Bryce Sibley who applied the title “Exterminatrix of Heresies” to the image of the Madonna del Soccorso.


  11. Felipe says:

    I got to see this image at San Felice while on pilgrimage with Fr Jeffrey Keyes in the footsteps of St Gaspar Del Bufalo. Our Lady of Succor please pray for us and please do not hesitate to swing your club for the fence.

  12. Semper Gumby says:

    Great post and excellent bonus round.

    youngcatholicgirl: Sounds right to me.

    Mark Zielman: Good one. “We don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents.” “Let’s put in a friendly little tree over here.”

    Then there’s Jael in the Book of Judges who hammered a tent peg into a tyrant’s noggin. (Sidenote: the draft plan written in 1942 to deceive Hitler about the time and place of the June 1944 D-Day landings in Normandy was code-named Jael. It was later changed to Bodyguard.)

    Proverbs 20:18

  13. Sportsfan says:

    The idea of St. Joseph as “Terror of demons” comforts me.
    I can find very few good images though.

  14. Kathleen10 says:

    Fr. G., thank you for posting that. I really enjoyed looking at the photos from Boston.
    It has to make you shake your head at the media, who rarely share these kinds of good things going on. We know what they fear. It might encourage more people to attend and inspire faith.

  15. SanSan says:

    I loved seeing all the pictures of Our Mama clubbing and whipping hairy legs! Hope my continued prayers and rosaries are helping.

  16. SanSan says:

    Is this where “Hail Mary, full of grace, punch the devil in the face!” came from?

    thanks youngcatholicgirl…..FUNNY!

  17. RichR says:

    The Devil is rarely mentioned in the Ordinary Form Mass, Divine Office, or Sacraments. This is one of the main reasons I am naturally attracted to the EF. It acknowledges and positively identifies who the adversary is. The OF is severely lacking in demonology.

  18. Father G says:

    I was intrigued by the image of Saint Margaret beating the devil with a hammer so I did a Google search to find more images of her. She is known as Saint Marina of Antioch in the Christian East and there are several icons that depict her beating the devil with a hammer.

    Here is an article on her icons:

    I particularly like this version in which Saint Margaret/Marina has the devil around its throat with the hammer ready to strike: sSCTGtOmJoM/T4iVZpJnAiI/AAAAAAAADWQ/-tzbx_lgjnE/s1600/Agia%2BMarina%2B2.JPG

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