O most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Gentleness and Mercy, I, an unworthy sinner, fly to you with sentiments of confidence and love. I beg you who stood close to your most beloved Son as He hung upon the cross, graciously to remain near me.
- Part of a traditional prayer
The high altar of the basilica of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice decorated for the annual feast in honour of Our Lady of Health, the patroness of the city.
At the centre of the altar the 13th century Greek icon of the Madonna of Health is enshrined. In 1621 Venice was struck by a terrible plague. Many Venetians came to pray before the icon and asked for deliverance. The majority of the population was saved and the Venetian Republic decided to build a church dedicated to Mary as thanksgiving.