Our Lady of the Way
A Hodegetria, or Virgin Hodegetria, is an iconographic depiction of the Theotokos holding the Child Jesus at her side while pointing to Him as the source of salvation for humankind. The Virgin’s head usually inclines towards the Child, who raises his hand.
In a blog by Philip Shano, SJ on the World Day of Migrants, (29 September 2019) Phil quoted a blessing by Pope Francis,
“Through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Way, I invoke God’s abundant blessings upon all the world’s migrants and refugees and upon all those who accompany them on their journey.”
The title, Our Lady of the Way, has traditionally been a favourite Jesuit title for the Virgin Mary, stemming from a particular devotion of St. Ignatius to a wayside shrine Madonna de la Strada, in Rome dedicated to Our Lady and presently a chapel attached to the Gesu church in Rome.
I can’t help but notice a connection to the ancient Greek title of our Blessed Mother as the Hodigytria [Ὁδηγήτρια,] Virgin. The regular mountain guide in Greece was called the Hodigos. He showed the way up the difficult mountain paths, protecting travellers from danger. Hence the title of the Virgin of the Way who points the way to her Son and guides us on our path through life.
Peter Monty, SJ