September 12th is one of the most significant feast days for Our Lady on the whole of the Church’s calendar-The Feast of The Holy Name of Mary.
In the 13th century, Manicheism had re-established itself in the south of France. But Saint Dominic appeared with Our Lady’s rosary for the defense 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. The Catholic Southern Front provides a detailed account of this epoch.
Saint Dominic left for France to impede the Albigensian heresy from spreading further. He preached for three and a half years and achieved little if no success at all. One time while praying in a church dedicated to Saint Jacques, Our Lady appeared to him and invited Saint Dominic to preach the Holy Rosary, as a means for eradicating heresy and sin. If he were to follow her instructions, the Blessed Mother pledged victory over the Cathari. The Order of the Dominicans later incorporated this idea of ‘war on heresy and sin,’ based on the recitation of the Holy Rosary. In 1209, Saint Dominic and Simon of Montfort formed a strong friendship which lasted till Simon’s death beneath the walls of Toulouse, occurring on June 25, 1218. Dominic accompanied the crusader at the Siege of Lavaur in 1211, at the capture of La Penne d’Ajen in 1212 and at the Battle of Muret.
On the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, September 12, 1213, the Battle of Muret took place. Before battle, Saint Dominic prayed at the altar of Saint Jacque’s Church for the triumph of the Catholic armies. Soon, Prince Peter and Raymond joined for battle and Peter initiated the attack. The fear of being recognized by the enemy, led the Prince of Aragon to wear ordinary armor. Simon de Montfort was attending Holy Mass, when his messengers announced to him that Peter of Aragon had surrounded the town, “…let me finish the Mass first,” he replied, “and then I will be with you.” Confident of victory, he ordered the gates to be opened and together with his crusaders he fell upon Peter and defeated the whole battalion. Prince Peter of Aragon lay killed, unrecognizable amongst the fallen. With a cavalry consisting of 800 men and a handful of foot soldiers, Simon of Montfort defeated a besieging army of 30,000-40,000 men.
6 centuries later, the ravaging Ottoman Army of Kara Mustafa, the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, had lay siege to Vienna under King Leopold I.
When it became known that no fewer than 300,000 Turks were advancing on the imperial capital, Pope Innocent ordered that rosaries be recited across Christendom. On the Feast of the Assumption, after assisting at Mass at the shrine of Our Lady of Czestahowa, Polish King Jon Sobieski III began to march his army of winged Husars to Vienna.
Sobieski marched his army toward Vienna for a decisive showdown. On the way under a banner of Our Lady, he and his troops prayed for her assistance at her shrine in Czestochowa. On the morning of Sept. 12, Sobieski worshipped at Mass, then confidently told his smaller, outnumbered army, “Let us march with confidence under the protection of Heaven and with the aid of the Most Holy Virgin!”
On this day, in 1683, Sobieski’s Catholic army, outnumbered more than 3-1, launched a surprise attack on the Mohammedans and by afternoon had driven 300,000 Turks into retreat. After the battle, Sobieski paraphrased Julius Caesar‘s famous quote by saying
Upon learning of the victory, exactly 30 days after the Feast of The Assumption, Pope Innocent enshrined this day to the Universal Church as the Feast of Our Lady’s Holy Name.