Annual Mass for the Venerable Mary Potter


For the cause of Beatification and Canonisation of Venerable Mary Potter

“We are commencing a work in time that is to influence all eternity”.
Venerable Mary Potter

On 8th February 1988 Pope Saint John Paul II declared Mary Potter venerable. We join together every year in praying for the cause of Beatification and Canonisation of this extraordinary woman and her visionary work in praying and caring for the sick, the suffering and the dying. On 13th February we celebrated a Votive Mass of Our Lady of Good Counsel which was a much loved and significant devotion in the life of Mary Potter. Inspired by her devotion to the Maternal Heart of Mary when at the foot of the Cross she stood by her Son accepting and sharing his suffering, bringing him comfort in his dying moments “God showed me his desire, a new Order in the Church the spirit and model which would be Calvary” (Venerable Mary Potter).

Mary was born in London on 22 November 1847, the youngest of five children. She was born with a congenital heart and lung disease and later faced cancer and tuberculosis. With lifelong frail health, Mary had a strong personal empathy for the sick and the dying. Mary also faced much psychological and spiritual suffering as she struggled to actualise her mission from God. She faced much opposition from her family, her mother in particular, and her Spiritual Directors. It was against this background that in 1877 the 29-year-old Mary Potter and two companions came to rent a derelict stocking factory in the then deprived area of Hyson Green, Nottingham where the poor living in squalid conditions with neglected disease struggled to survive. Despite further trials and setbacks, Mother Mary’s vision was to ensure that her sisters had a strong spiritual foundation with a disciplined life of prayer as well as the highest standards of professional training so that they could offer the best nursing care and tend to the spiritual welfare of their dying patients. The building was blessed as a convent dedicated to the Maternal Heart of Mary and became the foundation of what was to become a global Order of the Little Company of Mary where the high standards of nursing, palliative and spiritual care continue to this day.

It was Pope Leo XIII who signed the Decree which approved the Little Company of Mary and he invited Mary Potter to open a house in Rome. This was to become the Mother House where Mary lived until her death in 1913. In 1997 her remains were transferred to the Cathedral of St Barnabas here in Nottingham, where the Little Company of Mary was founded.


In his homily Fr Julian Booth, Vice-Postulator for the cause of Mary Potter’s canonisation, spoke of her devotion to Our Lady of Good Counsel whose shrine is in Genazzano, 30 miles from Rome. Here a miraculous image of Our Lady and the Child Jesus is venerated. The doctors had given Mary months to live and declared that it would need a miracle for her to survive. Determined to see the sisters off to Sydney from Naples, a very ill Mary Potter stopped at Genazzano during the return journey to pray before the image of Our Lady of Good Counsel. In a state of collapse, Mary was put to bed until the next morning when she was carried to pray before the miraculous image. That evening whilst the Rosary was being prayed in her room, Mary got up from her bed and walked unassisted. She continued unaided to Mass the next morning and was able to spend a long time in prayer. While many referred to this as a miracle, Mary referred to it as a great “Grace” when good health was restored to her enabling her to continue the work of the Little Company of Mary.

Fr Julian explained that “The gift of Counsel points us to the Maternal Heart of Mary, pierced with a sword, but a heart which is the temple of the Holy Spirit and a heart which will always tell us what to do”. He asks us all to pray and to invoke Our Lady of Good Counsel so that we can “learn to love Our Lady better”. He also explained that it is the gift of Counsel that urges us to do the right thing in praying and fostering devotion to Venerable Mary Potter. “We look to the prayers of the Mother of God in our desire to see her faithful servant, Mary Potter raised to the altars”.

Writing to her sisters at Christmas 1885, Mother Mary Potter said: “I have visited Our Lady on earth, if I may so express it, at her lovely Sanctuary at Genazzano, where she seemed to take me in her arms and bless my soul and body”. Fr Julian asks us to visit Our Lady of Good Counsel in spirit if not in body by using a picture of the image and by keeping it in our homes as a reminder to pray for the cause of Mary Potter and to also ask Our Lady for the gift of wise counsel.

During this year 2024, Fr Julian, the Sisters, Associates and Affiliates of the Little Company of Mary would ask that you continue with the prayers and promotion of the cause, for a miracle that could be attributed to Venerable Mary Potter’s intercession and would advance the Church’s careful process of canonisation. We can do this by giving people the Beatification Prayer Card; by introducing at least one person to Venerable Mary Potter; to visit her tomb and to visit the Heritage Centre at 32 Regent Street, Nottingham. Find out more here. 

Beatification Prayer
O God, to whose glory the Little Company of Mary was founded by Venerable Mary Potter,
grant that she may beatified soon, so that her work and spirit may benefit still more the
suffering members of Jesus Christ. Amen. Mary Mother of the Church, may this ardent
apostle of your Maternal Heart be more widely known by special favours granted through
her intercession.

(Here make your petition).

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.  


Caroline Smith
LCM Associate