This popular prayer, a favorite of many Catholics, dates back to the 15th century and takes its name from the first Latin word of the prayer, "memorare," which means "remember."
The Memorare is of unknown authorship, although it has been attributed to St. Augustine (354-430), St. John Chrysostom (c. 347-407) and, with more reason, to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (c. 1090-1153).
St. Bernard's sermons on Mary were famous, and it was his Cistercian monks in the monastery of Citeaux in the 12th century who popularized the name "Our Lady" for Mary.
The Memorare has also been attributed to the French cleric Claude Bernard (1588-1641), known as the "poor priest" of Paris, whose homilies contain passages that echo its words.
No matter who wrote this prayer, it was Father Bernard who did much to popularize it, teaching it in hospitals and prisons, where Mary's intercession was effective in working miracles of grace. The first manuscript of the Memorare appeared in 1489 as part of a longer prayer. It appeared again in 1503 and is found in its present form in an 1849 edition of theRaccolta, a collection of documents on prayers. ("Raccolta" is the Italian word for collection.) The prayer inspired a longer version in verse form, by St. Louis de Montfort in the 18th century, as well as "Memorares" to St. Joseph and other saints.