Our St. Mary School song is “We Turn to You for Protection,” an ancient hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary. At St. Mary School, we believe in the powerful intercession of Mary, who is always guiding us to a closer relationship with her son, Jesus. Just as she did at the wedding feast at Cana, Mary humbly presents her Son with our needs. Moreover, Mary always points us back to Jesus, instructing us “Do whatever he tells you!” (John 2:5).
We are grateful to Dr. Marcia Marchesi who composed the music for our School song. Listen to the St. Mary School Choir sing our song here!
We Turn to You for Protection
(Sub Tuum Praesidium)
We turn to you for protection
Holy Mother of God.
Listen to our prayer, listen to our prayer,
Listen to our prayer and help us in our need.
Save us from every danger, save us from every danger
Glorious, glorious and blessed Virgin.
Background & History of the Hymn
Sub Tuum Praesidium is the oldest surviving hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The earliest version of this hymn was written in Greek on a piece of Egyptian papyrus and dates to approximately 250 A.D. It was prayed by the early Coptic (Egyptian Christian) community during the Roman persecutions. Besides the Greek text, ancient versions can also be found in Coptic, Syriac, Armenian and Latin.
These early Christians knew that the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles as they were praying together with Mary. And they knew that, at the foot of the cross, Jesus gave us Mary as mother when he said to St. John, “Behold your mother.” Our Lord Jesus himself established a wonderful connection between his mother and us. From Heaven, Mary continues to act as a mother toward her children here on earth.
Text of the Hymn
Here is the Latin text and English translation as given in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Sub tuum præsídium confúgimus,
sancta Dei Génetrix;
nostras deprecatiónes ne despícias
sed a perículis cunctis
líbera nos semper,
Virgo gloriósa et benedícta.
We fly to thy protection,
O holy Mother of God.
Despise not our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from all dangers
O glorious and blessed Virgin.