Yes, please
No, thanks

Hymns & songs

donate Books CDs HOME updates search contact

Mariam Matrem Virginem

Medieval pilgrim song to Our Lady of Montserrat

Mariam Matrem Virginem (Mary Virgin Mother) is one of 10 songs from the Llibre Vermell (Red Book), a 14th century manuscript kept in the Benedictine Monastery of Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain, (listen to Stella Splendens and Polorum Regina, two other songs).

Montserrat – meaning “serrated mountain” because of its jagged rocks – has been a major pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages. Pilgrims journey there to visit a miraculous statue of Our Lady and Christ Child called La Moreneta (The Dear Black Lady), said to have been carved in the early days of the Church in Jerusalem.

Mariam Matrem Virginem evokes the solemn and majestic contemplation that would have occurred in the medieval Church of Our Lady of Montserrat, in Santa Maria de Montserrat (Benedictine) Abbey. In this sacral ambience, the song makes a plea: "Mary, haven for us all, defend us; Jesus, Savior of us all, hear us." This plea to Jesus and Mary calls to mind the devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary proposed by St. John Eudes, who says: "Jesus and Mary are the two first foundations of the Catholic Religion."

The landmark recording of the Llibre Vermell remains the 1978 recording of Jordi Savall and Catalonian ensemble Hesperion XX (their more recent version of Mariam Matrem Virginem can be seen here.) Mariam Matrem Virginem has inspired diverse interpretations; the one we have included below is by the English ensemble the Monteverdi Choir, directed by Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

Listen to Mariam Matrem Virginem by the Monteverdi Choir


Latin text:

Mariam Matrem Virginem attolite,
Jesum Christum extolite concorditer.

1. Maria, saeculi asilum, defende nos.
Jesu, tutum refugium, exaudi nos.
Jam estis vos totaliter diffugium,
Totum mundi confugium realiter.


2. Jesu, suprema bonitas verissima.
Maria, dulcis pietas gratissima.
Amplissima conformiter sit caritas
Ad nos quos pellit vanitas enormiter.


3. Maria, facta saeculis salvatio.
Jesu, damnati hominis redemptio.
Pugnare quem viriliter per famulis
Percussis duris iaculis atrociter.


English translation (1):

Exult we, Mary, Virgin Mother,
Extol Jesus Christ with one accord.

1. Mary, haven for all, defend us.
Jesus, Saviour of us all, hear us.
Indeed thou [both] art our refuge,
Truly a shelter for the whole world.


2. Jesus, supreme and most true Goodness,
Mary, sweet and most gracious Mercy,
May thy charity be abundantly given
To us who are overcome by vanity.


3. Mary became the salvation of all,
Jesus, Redemption of damned man.
They fought ardently for their followers
Who suffered atrocious blows.


burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes

Mariam Matrem Virginem

For a high-resolution JPG version, click here.

For a high-resolution PDF version, click here.

For a version in C Major, click here.

For a three or four part choir version (as in the recording) click here.

Mariam Matrem Manuscript

For a high-resolution image of this manuscript, click here.
Original source here, courtesy of Dick Wursten.

burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes

La Moreneta

The Virgin of Montserrat

  1. Translation and choral sheet music from the Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL) page, here.

Hymns & Songs  |  Home  |  Books  |  CDs  |  Search  |  Contact Us  |  Donate

Tradition in Action
© 2002-   Tradition in Action, Inc.    All Rights Reserved